Dallas may be on the brink of summer, and Dallas may also be in the center of a blazing heat wave. But that is not stopping the merry-go-round of restaurant openings and closures.
A crop of newbies has risen, mere days after our June edition of Where to Eat, which itself included seven newly-opened restaurants.
Sadly, there is also news of closures. But openings first.
Baonecci is from husband-and-wife Walter and Stefania Gambaccini, who previously owned a small, unassuming, yet highly regarded trattoria in San Francisco's North Beach. Walter is the charming host. Stefania is the acclaimed chef, known for simple but authentic dishes including lasagna, bolognese, and crunchy thin-crust pizza. Elia and Filipo are their sons.
They serve rustic dishes from their native Lucca, a city in Tuscany — dishes you might only find in Italian homes such as carpaccio di bresaola, a light, flavorful dish rarely seen in American restaurants. They've also created a unique style of thin-crust pizza that seems destined to please Dallas' preference for a crisp crust.
International fried chicken chain known for its unique and spicy Korean-style fried chicken opened its first location in Frisco on June 20, at 4760 Preston Rd., #228, in a Tom Thumb shopping center at Lebanon Road. This is their third Dallas-area location, following The Colony and Addison, but Frisco is the first to offer pick-up boxes, to streamline delivery and online ordering.
Bonchon's chicken is double-fried, which gives the crust a satisfyingly chew, and it has a unique red sauce that's garlicky, sweet, and spicy. The menu includes wings, drumettes, and boneless strips. There are also Korean tacos, which you can get with chicken or with bulgogi/marinated beef, plus fried rice, fries, coleslaw, and a kimchi coleslaw.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub at Grandscape
Arizona-based chain known for affordable food, beer, and cocktails, has opened its latest North Texas location at Grandscape in The Colony, at 5754 Grandscape Blvd. #205. A release says this is their most ambitious location so far and their biggest in North Texas, with two stories that include a second floor bar and rooftop patio; 6,500 square feet of outdoor seating; and a 2,500-square-foot greenspace patio.
Thirsty Lion was founded in 2010 as a comfortable but aspirational gastropub with a chef-driven menu that would please foodies and non-foodies alike, with a mixture of items both approachable and cutting-edge. This will be their third location in Texas, following Irving which opened in 2017, and Glade Parks Town Center in Euless which opened in 2018.
Steam Theory Brewing
Brewery-restaurant at Dallas' Trinity Groves closed on June 19, after four years. The venue was owned by Jonathan Barrows and Chuck Homola, alumni of the North Texas Homebrewers Club who shared a vision of a restaurant with beer and food that showcased fresh, simple ingredients.
But they were eventually felled by the deadly assortment of factors that have plagued everyone. They posted their closure on Facebook:
"It's with a heavy heart to write this but Steam Theory will pour the last beer this Sunday evening on June 19th," their post said. "For the last four years, we have had the pleasure of sharing great beer, food, laughs, and tears with our regulars, friends, staff, and local community. This place became a second home for our staff and regulars were strangers became friends and friends became family. We worked so hard to keep the taps flowing through a global pandemic the great resignation of 2021, a recession, and inflation."
Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar Las Colinas
Baton Rouge-based chain founded by Brandon Landry and co-owned by New Orleans Saints superstar Drew Brees closed its Las Colinas restaurant in late May. When the restaurant opened in 2018, it was the first Walk-On's to open in North Texas; locations have since opened at Grandscape in The Colony in 2020 and in Arlington, in 2019.
The signage for the Las Colinas location has been removed and a spokesperson confirmed that it had closed "about a month ago," which seems sad after the ownership staged a prominent post-pandemic reopening of that location in March.
It hasn't stopped their interest in the area. Two more locations are listed as "coming soon," in Euless and McKinney.