After what was basically a two-year drought induced by the pandemic, Dallas is making up for lost time with an onslaught of new restaurant openings, and with even more restaurants coming-soon, it's looking like that will be the case for most of 2022.
These five restaurants have all opened recently (except for one, which will open this week) surrounded by lots of fanfare:
One of the original Nashville hot chicken restaurants, Hattie B's opened its first Texas location in Deep Ellum in late February. A family-run joint from Nashville, they're a regular stop in their hometown for visiting celebs. They're known for their hot chicken — bone-in, tenders, and sandwich — served with varying levels of heat. A Hot Chicken Sandwich served with one side is $11.50, while a Tenders Plate with 3 tenders, 2 sides, bread, and pickles is $12. Dallas has a lot of places doing hot chicken sandwiches right now, but these guys are the real deal.
La Stella Cucina Verace
Italian restaurants are opening all over Dallas right now; this is the one in Dallas' Arts District, in the space that used to be Flora Street Cafe. They opened March 10, which was smart, to beat the opening of Carbone, because otherwise they might've gotten buried. The team at La Stella, including chef Luigi Iannuario and general manager Riccardo Ravaglia, were most recently at Da Mario at the Star in Frisco, but they've been around Dallas for a while now. If anyone should know how to make a go of it in Dallas' strange Italian restaurant world, surely it should be them. Dishes like this Semifreddo alla Nutella dessert, sweetened with Italian meringue and coated in Valrhona dark chocolate, can't hurt.
Mexican restaurant in the Design District is a love letter from Monterrey businessman Roberto Gonzalez Alcalá, whose family owns Mission Foods, among other companies, and if it hinged on his sincerity and passion alone, it would surely flourish. It's a beautiful, art-filled space, but Dallas can be sticky about Mexican food, and by sticky, I mean cheap, even when a restaurant is doing interesting dishes with high-quality ingredients and chef-level preparations. This is really more of a steakhouse with Mexican flavors such as the New York strip with roja habanero sauce. If he wanted to guarantee his success in Dallas, he probably should have named it "The Steakhouse" instead.
Bakery and breakfast-centric restaurant from New York-based Major Food Group opened in Highland Park Village with a flurry of influencer Instagram posts, few of whom could afford to eat here on a regular basis: Blueberry pancakes are $19, omelets are $22, benedicts are $26, and a side of coleslaw is $10. Everything is a size fake-out. The bloody Mary is tall but the glass is narrow, which makes the celery, carrot stick, and olives seem larger than they are. They use three-tiered stands for dishes such as the "bagel tower" which, thanks to some savvy thin slicing, makes a tomato and half of a cucumber look like a lot of food. For their triple-decker sandwiches, they cut the crusts off, which probably fits local tastes since Dallas fears crusty breads.
New Italian restaurant opens this week in the Design District and is from Major Food Group, who have also brought Sadelle's to Highland Park Village. The space is old-school swanky with chandeliers, wine buckets, and banquettes set into the wall; and their menu consists of red sauce classics like veal parmesan, lobster fra diavolo, and spicy rigatoni & meatballs. But like Sadelle's and The Mexican, prices are not cheap; at the New York location, pastas range from $25 to $40. If Dallas won't pay for Mexican food, they definitely won't pay for Italian food. Two words: Il Mulino.