We have good news for May if you like the idea of hitting restaurants that are new. All of the places on our list have something new about them: They're either brand-new or have moved to a new location. New is the theme for May.
The original branch of Asian Mint, which opened in 2005 on Forest Lane and US-75, has just re-opened after a big redo that more than doubled its bar and dining space. There's also a private dining room and meeting space with A/V capabilities. Known for its Asian fusion menu with New Bangkok-style cuisine, Asian Mint's menu features pad Thai and signature dishes, such as the spicy tuna crisps, but also new item,s including Asian noodle salad, red snapper, and peanut basil chicken. (Its sibling, The Mint, is still open at The Shops at Highland Park.)
Blatt Beer & Table
Beery bar-food restaurant is open at Preston Hollow Village, the same complex as its sibling concept Blue Sushi Sake Grill, also owned by the Omaha-based Flagship Restaurant Group. Menu includes Bavarian pretzels, burgers, and chicken and waffles, plus 32 beers on draft and wine from a keg. The name is a nod to Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium (now TD Ameritrade Park), original home of the College World Series.
Cultivar Coffee Oak Cliff
What began as a coffee roaster in 2009 continues its ever-expanding journey. This new location in Oak Cliff is Cultivar's third, following its partnering outposts at Goodfriend Package Store and Hypnotic Donuts in Denton. But this is the first stand-alone, and it has an accompanying bigger menu with oh-so-trendy toasts and lunch items including sandwiches on croissants provided by neighboring Rush Patisserie. Coffee, too, of course.
Ellen's Southern Kitchen
Ellen's was cutting-edge when it opened in the former Johnny Rocket's space in 2012, just as a downtown residential scene began to coalesce. A stellar menu by chef Russell Mertz (one of our Tastemaker finalists for Chef of the Year) with dishes such as shrimp and grits and meatloaf, combined with customer-friendly long hours and sharp service by founder Joe Groves, had customers lining up. On May 5, they move to fabulous new digs in a historic building at 1701 N. Market St.
Denton is home to the first Texas branch of Fat Shack, a Colorado-based concept that brags about how fat and fried and awful its food is. The menu includes burgers, wings, and "fat" sandwiches that pile ingredients such as chicken fingers and french fries or cheesesteak and mozzarella sticks together in one. They must be so proud. The last similar concept that came through was the short-lived Heart Attack Grill, whose founder eventually died of a heart attack.
Independent Bar & Kitchen
Chef Andrew Dilda (Barter, Reata) is doing old-school European pub food at this Deep Ellum restaurant-bar from the team behind Club Dada, City Tavern, and Off the Record. Dishes include shepherd's pie, fish and chips, mussels with frites, and desserts such as sticky pudding and cookies with milk. Eatery takes up former Pepe's Ranch space, and makes good use of its killer street-side patio, which they've strung with festive lights.
Richardson gets a taste of Kent Rathbun with the opening of his "gourmet backyard" restaurant at the CityLine development (following the original in Plano). Design by Jones Baker incorporates limestone, cold-rolled steel, walnut, two fireplaces, a window wall that opens onto a circular patio, and a wine room. Menu includes chopped wedge, baby back ribs, Maytag blue cheese potato chips, and Gouda mac and cheese. It'll be just lunch until May 16, when it opens for dinner, too.
Knuckle Sandwich Co.
This hybrid deli concept combines a sophisticated bar with great sandwiches in the former Vagabond space on Greenville Avenue. It comes from the team behind the successful Parliament bar in Uptown Dallas: Andrew Brimecome and legendary cocktail king Eddie "Lucky" Campbell, whose inspiration comes from a beloved sandwich shop, Lost Dog Cafe, where he grew up in Virginia. Those in the neighborhood are lucky, since there'll be delivery to those who live nearby.
Deep Ellum gets more noodles with this pho spot which is fast and cheap. Menu centers on make-your-own bowls with rice or noodles, to which you add vegetables, meats if you want, sauces, and herbs. There are also spring rolls, banh mi sandwiches, kimchi, shaken beef, Korean barbecue, and tacos. You order at a counter and then hit the bright and cheerful dining room, with highly lacquered community tables and lime green chairs.
Restaurant in the newly christened Maple Avenue Dining District from chef Julian Barsotti (Nonna, Carbone's) has pizza by the slice done al taglio style — baked in large rectangular trays with a thick, bready crust and topped. There are also house-made pastas and an Italian-centric beverage program, with an all-Italian wine list, Italian beers, and Italian-style cocktails.