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The King of Dallas' Underground Dining Scene Is Close to Opening His First Restaurant

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Could David Anthony Temple's long awaited Twenty Seven finally be coming to fruition? The rogue chef says he's aiming to open his first restaurant at the start of next year in Deep Ellum.

Temple gained popularity years ago as one of the first chefs to shore up Dallas' rather anemic underground dining scene. But in 2011, Temple began using the private diners he held at a catering company in Deep Ellum to fuel his dream of a fully licensed restaurant. Temple announced Twenty Seven, a fine-dining restaurant whose name gave a nod to Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and other artists who died at the same age. For a while, though, it didn't seem like his restaurant was going to survive much past conception.

Those initial efforts, aimed at an address nearby in Deep Ellum on Main Street that's since turned into a bar, failed. Still, Temple chugged along, continuing to host a mix of his underground dinners, cooking classes and other dining events. He eventually took over the lease on the catering building he's been operating from and prepared for a second take at Twenty Seven.

While nearly four years is a long time to wait for any restaurant, there's some evidence that Temple has finally turned a corner. After the self-trained chef posted loving words to his Facebook page about his recent interactions with the city, he indicated he's well into the permitting process with his second restaurant attempt. "The goal is to open right around Thanksgiving," Temple told me, before clarifying that the first month the business is open he will focus solely on private events. Twenty Seven, the restaurant the rest of us can patronize, won't open till the first of the year.

When it does open, Temple says he wants to compete with the best fine-dining restaurants in town. His (lofty) goal is to provide the same execution you'd find at The Mansion or FT33, but at a lower price. He's also working exclusively with tasting menus and says he'll offer four simultaneously on any given day. Tasting menus will focus on seafood, meat or vegetables and a signature menu will offer some of Temple's favorite dishes with a slant toward cooking from New Orleans.

Temple is still dealing with many of the issues new restaurateurs have to tackle. An unexpected plumbing project saddled the chef with a $14,000 bill, and a graffiti artist decided the best time to tag his building was after it was freshly painted gray. But he does seem closer than he has been before to opening his first restaurant. The next step, though, is obtaining that certificate of occupancy. Until he secures that coveted document, Temple will continue to cook in the shadows.

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