An illustrious Dallas restaurant team has something delicious with red sauce in the works: Called Dea, it's a new Italian-ish restaurant from Tracy Moore Rathbun and Lynae Fearing, who own acclaimed restaurants Shinsei and Lovers Seafood & Market.
Dea will go into the former Fireside Pies space at 7709 Inwood Rd., and is slated to open this summer.
Dea is "goddess" in Italian, and feels appropriate for Rathbun and Fearing, whose hospitality skills have earned an intensely loyal following from Preston Hollow neighbors and foodies alike, as well as accolades such as OpenTable's 100 Best Restaurants in America in 2017; Top 10 Sushi Restaurants in CultureMap's 2016 Tastemaker Awards; and Top 10 Neighborhood Restaurants in CultureMap's 2015 Tastemaker Awards.
Fireside Pies closed in October. Located right next door to Shinsei, it was a vacancy that Rathbun and Fearing felt they could not resist.
"We've always had our eye on the space, and when it became available, we felt like we had to — only because if we didn't, someone else would," Rathbun says. "But we also felt like there would be an opportunity for great synergy between three restaurants. One of our priorities, one of the things that makes us special, is that we're there in our restaurants. We are part of the team. Having that proximity, where we can go from restaurant to restaurant each night, is so valuable."
Dea's menu will be Italian-centric, with house-made pasta and modern takes on traditional dishes like osso buco. They'll also take advantage of an asset that comes with the space: a wood-fired oven.
"We definitely need to put that pizza oven to use, so we'll have flatbreads but we'll also use it for other dishes on the menu, including some steaks, seafood, and chicken," Fearing says. "But it'll be the same way we've always been — we don't feel the need to be pigeonholed. We call Lovers Seafood 'New England-style,' but there are also dishes like Cajun shrimp & grits."
"The most important thing is that the food is really great," Rathbun says. "That sounds simplistic, but so many places get caught up in innovation. For us, it's that whatever we serve makes you say, 'OMG I've got to come back and have that again.'"
They describe the atmosphere as "sexy but not off-putting" — "which means you can come in for a business meeting, on a date, or in workout clothes — we're all about being a welcoming place," Fearing says.
They've commissioned a mural that will grace the outside of the building by artist Alli Koch. They gave her simple instructions.
"We told her the name, and that it was two women, and the name is goddess," Fearing says. "We're hoping it will make the building interesting and cool."
"We want something that complements our neighborhood," Rathbun says. "We've both lived here for 25 years. Our customers are such pleasures, and have always been so supportive. We'll do our same deal we've always done: really great food and drinks, and friendly efficient service."