Flora Street Cafe and its restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Fauna, are closed.
The two restaurants, owned by Dallas chef Stephan Pyles, are shutting down as Pyles retires from the restaurant business and moves into hospitality consulting, the company announced Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a bittersweet moment to be exiting the business I have always been so passionate about, but the time has come to let the next generation of Dallas chefs and restaurateurs follow in my footsteps," said Pyles, 68. "I would like to thank the city and my longtime loyal patrons for such an incredible gastronomic ride. I also would like to thank the thousands of staff members I have employed, many of whom have become family, for their dedication and respect. I have certainly left the restaurant world in a better place than I found it 36 years ago.”
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Pyles, along with fellow Dallas chef Dean Fearing, is credited as one of the co-founders of Southwestern cuisine. He owned and operated 17 restaurants and created another eight through license agreements in six cities.
2019 was a year of transition for Flora Street, as food critic Brian Reinhart wrote in July:
This summer, Flora Street Cafe was supposed to execute a full makeover, an attempt by owner Stephan Pyles to bring some life to a fine-dining kitchen that had lost its way. The main dining room would become a more casual concept, with smoked meats and brunches from chef Tim Byres. The private back dining room, meanwhile, would host small groups of diners for an elegant $150 12-course tasting menu called Fauna.
Now the casual dinner menu is finally here, but Fauna is being scaled back, and its chef is gone. The changes take place amid a wave of leadership turnover: Byres left several weeks ago to pursue solo ventures, followed by Cody Sharp, a longtime Dallas veteran who had been working in the main kitchen.
Last year, D Magazine's Eve Hill-Agnus named Fauna one of its best new restaurants of the year, calling it "a place with artistic plating, whimsy, and wickedly focused French technique, alighted, like something from another galaxy, with a mission to turn dining into art and a 12-course tasting menu that took my breath away."