Two new bakeries are on the way, while two new chefs are making their mark in local kitchens. There are new restaurants in Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff, and new menus all over.
Here's our summary of the top Dallas dining news:
A San Antonio bakery and lunch spot called Bird Bakery is expanding to Dallas. It will open its second location in Highland Park Village in spring 2016, with a lineup of goods that is reminiscent of Celebrity, which is leaving in early 2016 for the Shops of Highland Park. Bird does sandwiches, quiche, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, pies, cupcakes, lemon squares, muffins, seasonal decorated cookies, gingerbread men, Mexican hot chocolate brownies, and gluten-free treats as well.
Kitchen LTO, the incubator restaurant concept at Trinity Groves, is soliciting chef and artist applications for its sixth-round pop-up restaurant. This marks the third year of permanent pop-ups at Kitchen LTO. The rotation will last six months. Applications must be received by December 31. Finalists will be introduced at a voting party on January 31. Voting ends on February 3, and the winners announced by February 5. Current chef Anastacia Quinones' last day is February 28. The new concept re-opens on March 2. To download an application, visit KitchenLTO.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sundown at Granada has a new executive chef: Jason West, the former executive chef at Steel, who has 17 years of culinary experience. He's introducing a menu featuring 15 new and original items such as brisket and pork meatballs with marinara and toast points; flatbread with brisket, cheddar, and barbecue sauce; and shrimp and grits with cheddar, bacon, and kale. New desserts include a vegan chocolate brownie with house-made vegan dulce de leche ice cream and salted coconut caramel swirl; and apple crumble with toasted granola and vegan ice cream.
R Taco has opened its new location in Dallas at 3604 Oak Lawn Ave., in the former Snookie's Bar & Grill, which closed in May after 26 years. R Taco is the new name for Rusty Taco, named for Rusty Fenton, who founded the chain in 2010. Guests who stop by on December 14 receive one free taco if they are a fan or follower of R Taco on social media.
Society Bakery will open a third location in March 2016 at Preston-Royal Shopping Center in what used to be the Creme de la Cookie space. They'll serve their most popular sweets and a selection of savory items, including pimento cheese, available to go or on a sandwich or toast. They've also launched a select savory menu of $5 to $6 sandwiches at their Medical City location: pimento cheese slider, pimento cheese croissant, cranberry chicken almond slider, cranberry chicken almond croissant, and a spinach Swiss quiche.
Jed's Grill in Oak Cliff is now open. This is the restaurant at 1001 W. Jefferson Blvd. from Jonathan Kovens and his mother Esther Gallegos in the short-lived Fish restaurant, and previously home to Mexican restaurants such as Los Herrera Cafe. They're doing classic American dishes with a twist, such as meatballs, tater tots with Shiner cheese sauce, and a battered chicken sandwich. They'll be open 8 am-9 pm every day.
PDQ, a fast casual chicken chain from Florida, opened its third restaurant in the Dallas area in Plano, at 1151 Preston Rd., at the intersection of Plano Parkway; the other two branches are in Frisco and Murphy. PDQ does chicken tenders, fries, and milkshakes. This is their 50th branch.
Hooters remodeled its Irving location at 2522 North Beltline Rd. with revamped high back chairs and booths, sleek finishes, and top-of-the-line AV packages. A centrally located bar area offers a wider selection of cocktails and craft beers.
Max's Wine Dive Dallas has a new chef with new dishes and cocktails. Chef Sean Hill grew up on a family farm in Arkansas and has worked in Dallas, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Dishes include pork belly, catfish ponchartrain, vegetarian jambalaya with crab hush puppy, and smoked salmon fettuccini with salmon smoked on site and house-made pasta. Drinks include the Puppet Master with whiskey, Drambuie, and bitters.
Ruth's Chris Steak House has a new menu with dishes such as bone-in 40-ounce tomahawk rib eye; a 16-ounce filet; 19-ounce New York strip; seafood tower with lobster, crab, and shrimp cocktail; lobster mac and cheese; and white chocolate bread pudding.
Dugg Burger is doing a "special topping week" from December 14-20, with a different comfort food topping each day. Those include mac and cheese, chili, Frito pie, mashed potatoes with gravy, and creamed corn. Those sound pretty sloppy for a burger topping, but maybe that doesn't matter.
Paul Martin's American Grill has new menu items, available until January 3, as follows: crab legs, filet mignon with mashed potatoes and spinach, lamb with mushroom farro, and egg nog with Maker's Mark bourbon and Myers's dark rum.
Cantina Laredo has new menu items including white queso with poblano peppers, spinach, and artichokes; and a chicken and tomatillo stew with red pepper, mushroom, asparagus, and queso fresco. New dinner options include pork chop and bone-in ribeye. New lunch options include tacos with spicy chicken or seasoned taco beef; chicken flautas; and mushroom relleno with cremini mushrooms, Oaxaca cheese, corn, spinach, and zucchini.
Sweet Arleen's in Plano has added two holiday items for December: a peppermint hot cocoa cupcake and candy cane bread pudding, with thin layers of candy canes baked on top, and a mint-white chocolate sauce.
Midnight Rambler has a new winter cocktail menu featuring some very precious names and ingredients. The Bobby Keys contains whiskey, cold smoked Italian vermouth with bitter, Benedictine, Amaro Dell'Erborista, and lemon zest. The Asbury Park Swizzle has white Applejack, mint, lemon, orange blossom honey, and an aromatic bitters blend. That last drink is a collaboration between Christy Pope and Chad Solomon, which makes perfect sense because there is no way just one person could have devised such a wondrous cocktail on their own.
Parliament has Dallas' first molecular cocktail program, and not a moment too soon. A gin fizz has sweet cream and gin spherification with citrus pop rocks and orange blossom air. A molecular margarita has Patron margarita spherification, salt air, and dehydrated Cointreau powder. This molecular program is the design of Parliament partner Andrew Brimecome and bar wizard Eddie "Lucky" Campbell.
Dallas-based food blog DallasFood.org has a new expose on a national chocolate maker: Mast Brothers, a Brooklyn-based company with three retail shops. Bearded brothers Rick and Michael Mast claim they've always made their own chocolate since they launched in 2007, but the report by Dallasfood.org makes it seem otherwise. The series has two entries so far, on taste and equipment, and has already caught the eye of national publications such as Grub Street. DallasFood.org made national news in 2006 with an expose of Plano chocolate company Noka, and in 2011, did a 35-part series on gianduia.