Complaint Desk

Stephan Pyles Says Goodbye to Samar and Hello to More Boring

Well this sucks.

It hasn't even been a year since I wrote about the temporary closure of Samar and its potential impact on the sandwich scene here in Dallas. Samar earned four stars in the Dallas Morning News, and it was arguably one of owner Stephan Pyles' most exciting restaurants. The menu gathered flavors from India to the Middle East, brought them together and made them sing. It was good stuff, and you didn't have to drive to Richardson to eat it.

If you are a sandwich lover, the best item on the menu was the shawarma, but only if you ordered it made with bread fresh out of the kitchen's oven. For whatever reason the kitchen typically made sandwiches with bread shipped in from a bakery, even though an oven behind the bar turned out fresh baked rounds for table snacking by the minute. Still, if you asked they were happy to switch the bread out for you. Hooray sandwich.

So last May when the closure of Samar was announced, I tried to warn people: "Get your shawarma while you still can." I even pounded the keys while I typed it. Even though Samar was to reopen after the significant renovation, Pyles admitted he planned to change the menu. I feared this could be it for the shawarma for good.

And of course, yesterday Pyles announced that he's not just going to retool the menu, but he's building an entirely new Latin American restaurant instead. There are tandoors in Peru so... so long shawarma.

It gets worse.

Pyles said "some people" thought Samar was a little too exotic, according to the Dallas Morning News, and that despite his love for Samar and its niche following, it just wasn't making enough money. He hopes the new restaurant San Salvaje will appeal to a wider audience. Or as he puts it even more succinctly, "I don't want a $1.5 million restaurant, I want a $2.5 million restaurant."

Translation: Plyles wants the new place to cater to "some people."

Whoever these people are, they don't exactly sound like adventurous eaters. And that makes it a little harder for me to get excited about Pyles' upcoming San Salvaje. You can expect tacos, empanadas, ceviches and fresh tortillas, according to the News. But please, don't expect anything too exotic.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz