One of Dallas' most elegant Southern restaurants, Sissy's Southern Kitchen and Bar, has closed possibly temporarily, maybe for good. Owner Lisa Garza-Selcer confirms that the restaurant is closed for now due to a variety of issues, some of which may make the closure permanent.
The restaurant shut down in early September, due to what Garza-Selcer says are issues with the building.
"Unfortunately, there are major infrastructure issues with the building, and I am having to close while we work with the landlord to address them," she says. "At the same time, our lease is up for renewal, and we're trying to decide with our landlord how to best move forward."
Sissy's opened in 2012 on Henderson Avenue as a welcome newcomer to the diminishing field of grand old Southern-themed restaurants. That combined with Garza-Selcer's fame as a contestant on Food Network's The Next Food Network Star helped draw big crowds. Its Southern-mansion atmosphere, with fine china and servers in cute uniforms, has made it a favorite place to take your mom and a popular destination for brunch.
Sissy's was ahead of the pack on fried chicken, with a unique rendition in which the chicken is brined, then fried in a pressure fryer. A dozen fried chicken restaurants have opened since, in a trend that peaked in 2016. That includes the arrival of Houston-based chain Max's Wine Dive, which opened branches in Uptown Dallas and Fort Worth; the Uptown branch closed in August.
Other signature dishes at Sissy's include curry deviled eggs with tobiko caviar, gumbo, Texas quail, lobster étouffée, and squash fritters. The beverage program was also early on trends such as barrel-aged bourbons and house punches.
Garza-Selcer had a setback in 2015 when a restaurant she was supposed to open in the LTV Tower in downtown Dallas called Shelby Hall fell through. Just as the building was ready to open, HRI Properties decided to run the restaurant themselves and sent Garza-Selcer a notice to vacate. A well-known player in the commercial real estate business told SideDish that, "Lisa got so screwed," calling it "the biggest screw job I've seen my whole career."
"I'm just taking one day at a time right now," she says.