Despite the coronavirus still hovering like a cloud, Dallas restaurants forge on, showing the optimism and customer service for which they are known, with the hope that better times are on the horizon.
Trying to reopen now can't be an easy thing, but three DFW restaurants have all newly reopened. But there's also another that has closed.
Here's the COVID-19 lineup:
La Tarte Tropezienne opening
French bakery famous for its cream-filled tart will finally open its first location in Texas at 1604 Main St., in front of the Joule Dallas hotel. The shop was originally slated to open in the spring until the virus came along. With the Joule open again, La Tarte owners Jan Marien and Rebecca Velázquez will officially open the shop on August 1.
Part of the delay was due to the protests that overwhelmed the downtown area during much of June. Those have since abated. "Downtown felt like a ghost town for a while, but we're finally starting to see people return," Velázquez says.
La Tarte Tropézienne was established by Alexandre Micka in 1955 in the village of Saint-Tropez. The signature pastry is the Tarte Tropézienne, which features a blend of two creams piped onto a sweet gourmet brioche and sprinkled with sugar.
They'll also serve a quartet of sandwiches on crisp baguettes that include their best-selling Jambon Buerre sandwich with ham, comté-butter spread, horseradish, cornichons, and aged white cheddar; and Pan Bagnat, which they call a "French version of a tuna sandwich" with albacore tuna marinated in a red wine Dijon vinaigrette with Kalamata olives, red onion, tomato, and green peppers. "The bread gets moistened because it soaks up the juices from the tuna and vinaigrette," she says.
They also have quiches, salads, and a vegetarian triple-cream Brie sandwich on a baguette with strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar, with pepper and baby arugula. In addition to the famous tarts, they have croissants and eclairs, coffee and tea, and an "amazing" French sparkling wine and champagne program.
They'll open on Saturday August 1, but they'll be in the store setting up on Friday July 31, if you can't wait.
Dude Sweet Chocolate closing
Next door to La Tarte, the Dude Sweet Chocolate location in downtown Dallas is closing for now. Owner Katherine Clapner says that she's pivoting to focus on the "mothership" original location in Bishop Arts, along with shipping chocolates ordered online.
"For the moment, we're 'popping down' the downtown pop-up," Clapner says.
As a result, everything at the downtown location is going on sale at 20 percent off, for pick up to take place on Friday-Saturday-Sunday from 11 am-6 pm.
You can order online at dude-sweet-chocolate.square.site and input the code "DowntownDude20."
City Works Eatery & Pour House opening
After being closed for four months, this Illinois-based gastropub chain with a focus on classic American food with an expansive beer and beverage list has reopened both DFW locations: City Works Eatery & Pour House at 5288 Monahans Ave. in Fort Worth, and City Works Eatery & Pour House at 3680 The Star Blvd. in Frisco. Both re-opened on July 15.
New procedures include masks, hand-sanitizing stations, 30-minute cleanings, limiting physical contact and touchpoints, and maintaining social distancing. A new staff position, the Shift Safety Manager, will ensure protocol is being followed.
City Works' menu includes burgers, fried chicken sandwich on a brioche bun, the Impossible Burger, beer-battered fried pickles, and Nashville hot or Southern fried popcorn chicken. A new queso dip with hot chorizo, pepper jack cheese sauce, queso fresco, and green onions, served with corn tortilla chips, smoked BBQ ribs, chopped salad, and a new Tex Mex Mac & Cheese with spicy chorizo, roasted jalapeno, jack cheese sauce, crispy tortilla strips, and cilantro over cavatappi.
The restaurant also hosts a rock n’ roll themed brunch on weekends until 3 pm. Brunch beverage offerings include mimosas by the flight by choosing four flavors with options such as classic, Bellini, Aperol, rosé, paloma, tropical, and more. Happier Hours continue with both food and drink specials every weekday from 3-6 p.m.
Holy Grail Pub opening
Plano gastropub reopened on July 22 with a reboot that centers more of its business on food rather than drinks.
They were previously listed as a bar, which would have required them to close, under Gov. Greg Abbott's shutter of bars across the state. They've had to shelve some of their premium alcohol products to maintain the food-to-alcohol sales ratio required by Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission guidelines.
To ensure a safe experience, they're maintaining social distancing inside the pub and on the patio and request that patrons wear masks.
They're still offering the extensive meals to-go program with curbside delivery they've developed during the pandemic for all menu items as well as family-sized turkey Swedish meatballs, sausage lasagna, and chicken tikka masala.