While the coronavirus continues to keep some of us paralyzed, others are moving forward, pushing on with an action plan and hoping for the best.
For Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants, that can mean opening under restrictions, or else it can mean the crushing step of closing for good.
This list has both, openings and closings, all undertaken while COVID-19 still stares us down.
Rowdy bar-restaurant next to Deep Ellum was always more of a bar with food, but it reopened on August 14 by recasting itself as a restaurant — a pizzeria, to be exact. This is to get around Gov. Greg Abbott's COVID-19 orders, which say that bars still cannot reopen but restaurant-bars can, as long as they're bringing in at least 51 percent of their receipts from food.
Almost instantly, BB was drawing what looked like capacity crowds. In less than two weeks, they've drawn the scrutiny of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, who are investigating them for possibly not following COVID-19 protocols.
This mom-and-pop coffee shop with craft beer at US-75 and Walnut Hill Lane has reopened as a to-go shop, serving a full menu of beverages, sandwiches, croissants, and pastries at a spiffy new walk-up window. You can place your order online at this link and they'll have it ready when you arrive; or you can just order at the window.
While coffee to go is surely not uncommon, Civil Pour's menu is, including a Cuban sandwich with pulled pork from Pecan Lodge; pour-over coffee with choice of regular milk, oak milk, or almond milk; and one-of-a-kind cold drinks such as the Shakerado with espresso, simple syrup, orange bitters, orange peel, and a splash of soda.
Elm & Good
In-house restaurant at the new Kimpton Pittman Hotel in Deep Ellum opened August 12 as a modern American tavern, with a menu of no-fuss farmhouse fare by chef Graham Dodds. It's open for breakfast every day and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5:30-10 pm.
The swanky neighborhood restaurant and bar in Lakewood from brothers Brooks Anderson, Bradley Anderson, and chef Nathan Tate reopened on August 17, initially for curbside pickup. They're still awaiting the necessary approval from the TABC to reopen for patio service, but that is theoretically "coming soon."
Meanwhile, doors open at 5 pm and you can swing by for a menu of entrees such as brown sugar pork chop, plus salads, sides, cheeseburgers, smoked "bologna" sandwich, and nightly specials like their sliced flat iron steak sandwich with cilantro and lime aioli, sliced jalapeno sticks, salsa verde, lettuce, and green onions on toasted bread, $17.
Filipino fast-food chain known for its crispy fried chicken opened its first Dallas-area location on August 20 in Plano, in a former Pollo Tropical space at 1016 Preston Rd. Jollibee takes a homey approach to its fried chicken, which they serve with steamed rice and a side of gravy. Their other signature dish is spaghetti featuring a signature sweet-style sauce with slices of ham and hotdog.
Katy Trail Ice House
Austin-style beer garden and restaurant on the Katy Trail in Uptown successfully repositioned itself with the TABC as a restaurant and not a bar, and reopened on August 7. Owner Buddy Cramer said that they would be shifting their program and have customers order an entree and also lower some of their drink prices to balance the 51 percent requirement.
Hipster bar-restaurant that's an outpost of coolness on Garland Road is reopening ever so carefully on September 17.
Founder Julie Doyle says that they're doing all the "obvious COVID-19 friendly precautions," but are also striving to keep things small and containable. They'll go with a skeleton crew, a close-knit circle of staffers who monitor their situation carefully, and observe consistent service. There'll be dining room seating only, no sitting at the bar. They'll also do to-go.
They'll start out at 25 percent capacity, with a reservations-only policy — email email@example.com - and they'll be open limited hours: Thursday-Saturday 4 pm-midnight. "Hopefully this will all go well and we will all be OK!" Doyle says.
Chain based in Tokyo specializes in handmade Japanese udon noodles, plus tempura, robata grilled foods, and katsu sandos. Marugame Udon first came to the U.S. more than 10 years ago when it opened a flagship location in Waikiki, Hawaii. The chain has since expanded to California, opening eight restaurants up and down the West coast. The concept makes its Texas debut thanks to Mark H. Brezinski and Pete Botonis, who worked together at Pei Wei. The first location opens in Carrollton at 3450 E. Hebron Pkwy. on August 31.
Niwa Japanese BBQ
Yakiniku, aka Japanese BBQ, restaurant in Deep Ellum will be opening back up on August 29. They'll take it slow at first — they're open 6-11 pm that day — and reservations are required.
Greenville Avenue restaurant from brothers Brooks Anderson, Bradley Anderson, and chef Nathan Tate reopened on August 17, for patio dining and curbside pickup.
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Turtle Creek hotel and accompanying restaurant reopened on August 10 with enhanced protocols and new experiential offerings. The hotel's 142 guestrooms and suites, along with The Mansion Restaurant, The Mansion Bar, and additional recreational facilities, with a busy cleaning and disinfecting program, regular renewal of air filters and air conditioning systems, and implementation of physical distancing protocols.
Guest rooms will be equipped with personal care kits comprised of face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes, plus alternative options for check-in and check-out, in-room dining, parking, and housekeeping.
Downtown Dallas bistro from restaurateur Tim McEneny reopens on August 26 with some updates to the menu that include the addition of a hot fried chicken sandwich, smoked turkey Rueben, and avocado toast, but also with an exciting spinoff: Pizza Leila, a new in-house concept specializing in Sicilian-style pizza, a thick yet airy version that's also part of a whole square-pizza trend going on in Dallas right now. Varieties include vodka sausage & peppers, porchetta, and a veggie pizza with artichoke & spinach.
They've spaced out the tables with 50 percent capacity, with no parties larger than 10, and safe social distancing. Bar service is not available.
Curbside Beer To Go is still running at their Southside station.
True Kitchen + Kocktails
Black-owned restaurant and bar has opened at 1933 Elm St. the historic Hart Building in downtown Dallas behind the Majestic Theatre, with comfort food, craft cocktails, live music, and DJs. The menu features Southern classics with a twist, including fried chicken & lobster tails, shrimp & grits, and oxtails.
Reservations are required for weekends, but they accept walk-ins on Tuesday-Thursday. They're open for lunch and dinner, from 11 am-9 pm.
T-Swirl Japanese Crepe
Mini crepe chain has re-opened for business at both Carrollton and Frisco locations. You can order at the store from their kiosk, or even online for curbside pick-up, without leaving your car.
World of Beer Bar & Kitchen
Fort Worth location of this chain known for its wide selection of more than 350 beers from 40 different countries, beer flights, and rotating taps, has reopened for limited dine-in.
This small but growing local coffee chain closed its Thanksgiving Tower location in downtown Dallas on August 10, and the Willow Bend location in Plano in May. But other locations are still open in the Design District, at Crescent Court, at Cypress Waters, and Addison.
This upscale taco chain once had two locations in Dallas-Fort Worth: at Preston Center in Dallas, and at the West Bend development in Fort Worth.
The Dallas location closed in early 2020, but Fort Worth was still hanging in there — until last week. Customers found a closed-up restaurant and a West Bend spokesperson said in an uncertain voice, "We don't know what's going to happen with Bartaco."
Fish Bowl Poke
The Frisco location of this poke shop has closed. It had been at Preston and 121 for several years. A location is McKinney is still open.
The location in downtown Dallas got a notice to terminate from landlord Alto 211 Management, along with small neighboring restaurant Miguel's Cantina. A letter calling for the restaurant to vacate the premises stated that the restaurant owed $141,708 in unpaid rent.
According to a downtown resident, Miguel's owner was 64, and it didn't make economica sense to try and re-open, especially since he depended on the lunch trade, which is currently non-existent.
Cafe Izmir still has its location on Greenville Avenue.
Latin-South American restaurant at Walnut Hill and US-75 closed on August 18, via an announcement on Facebook. "Goodbye & Thanks!" it said. "We are so sorry to say that COVID-19 got the best of us. Thanks to all of our guests, present and past employees, and vendors. Almost 8 years in Dallas is a testament in itself. We love all of y'all! It was a blast!"
Latest restaurant originally opened by chef Avner Samuels shut down on August 1. Samuels was gone after six months, and the restaurant clung on for another six months before calling it quits.
The upscale gastropub at Klyde Warren Park closed on August 23, along with Relish, its companion burger stand. Park management will rethink the concept and meanwhile rent out the space for events.