Downtown News

Dallas' iconic underground downtown restaurant Dakota's rises again

Dallas' iconic underground downtown restaurant Dakota's rises again

Dakota's Steakhouse Dallas
The steak will be back but they'll also have new menu items including sides galore. Photo courtesy of Dakota's Steakhouse

A legendary downtown Dallas steakhouse will rise again: Dakota's Steakhouse, the distinctive subterranean restaurant at 600 N. Akard St. which closed in 2020 after 37 years, will reopen on Monday, September 13 under new ownership, and with a new chef.

The new owner is restaurateur Meredith McEneny, who assumed controlling interest in January 2021. McEneny is married to Tim McEneny, a hospitality veteran who currently owns Sloane's Corner and who previously founded restaurants such as Dish and Jalisco Norte (since acquired by Local Favorite Restaurants).

Meredith, who has worked with her husband for more than a decade, says in a statement that she had a soft spot for the historic restaurant.

"The closing of Dakota's hit especially hard for me as I spent many nights celebrating special occasions there," she says. "After a refresh, we are excited to open these doors again and continue Dakota’s legacy for another 37 years."

Dakota's casts a magical spell because of its transformative nature. To get there, you must take a canopied glass elevator to an underground oasis with an 1,800-square-foot al fresco courtyard, 20-foot 5-tiered granite water wall, multi-tiered landscaping, and lava rock fire pit.

Between the patio and the New Orleans vibe of the restaurant's interior, Dakota's has always made the list for most romantic dining spots. It was also an employer to many a F&B professional over the years, including Tim McEneny, who oversaw its operations from 2009 to 2019.

Meredith gave the kitchen an overhaul but kept the dining room and patio features which include vintage black-and-white photographs, Italian Carrera marble, and gas lamps.

The new chef is Ji Kang, who is chef at Sloane's Corner and Pizza Leila, who was tasked with creating a menu that kept its original staples — steak from the renowned Allen Brothers and seafood — but also adding new entrées as well as a big array of sides such as broccolini, roasted parsnip, and Yukon potato puree.

New dishes include Lobster & King Crab Rigatoni, served with ‘nduja, PEI mussels, cherry tomatoes, English peas, basil and toasted breadcrumbs; and beef Wellington with puff pastry, mushroom duxelles, prosciutto and bordelaise and Roasted Bone Marrow, served with a braised oxtail and beet marmalade.

The lunch menu is especially key given the restaurant's downtown location and features Steak Frites cleverly priced at $19.84, to symbolize the year the restaurant debuted.

Other lunch items include:

  • shaved ribeye sandwich with arugula, gruyere cheese and horseradish
  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken with honey mustard aioli and B&B pickles
  • Turkey Club with house made smoked turkey breast, bacon, bibb lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, and dijonnaise.

Hours will be Monday-Saturday 11 am-2:30 pm, and dinner from 5-10 pm, with a happy hour from 4-6 pm on weekdays.