Despite the lingering coronavirus, Dallas is seeing another wave of restaurants and bars-that-are-now-also-restaurants getting back in the game.
Reopenings are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. This week's roundup includes a big concept in Deep Ellum and two East Dallas bar-restaurant treasures.
Here are the comebacks of the week:
Punch Bowl Social
Nevermind the week, this is the comeback of the year, and not just due to COVID-19: The Colorado-based dining and entertainment chain has experienced lots of management upheaval, with the most recent development being the resignation of its founder in August.
But they have a new turnaround specialist running the show and have already reopened locations in Denver, Cleveland, Atlanta, and now Deep Ellum — for which they've made changes to activities available and added safety protocols including sanitizing, masks, and social distancing.
Current entertainment offerings include bowling, foosball, darts, cornhole, karaoke, and ping pong. They're allowing groups of eight or less to dine, drink, and participate in all those activities, with seating indoors and outdoors on two patios.
For now, they will have brunch but no happy hour or Bloody Mary bar.
Cosmo's Restaurant and Bar
One of the saddest sights wrought by the coronavirus has been driving east on Live Oak Street and coming upon the darkened exterior of this revered dive bar, which had been closed since June. Now, praise the baby Jesus, they are magically returning.
Their return date is September 28, and they'll come back with their Vietnamese pop-up dinner intact. The menu includes pho, Seoul tacos with pork belly, Mekong tacos with spicy rib eye, steamed and fried dumplings, crispy Vietnamese egg rolls, chicken wings, tater tots either loaded or with kimchi, and create-your-own pizzas.
This treasured East Dallas bar and restaurant reopened on September 19. They're operating at limited capacity, and are doing a QR-scanner menu and QR payment. No touchy touchy.
Customers and staff will get hand sanitizer at entry. Probably the most radical step is that they've changed the facade so that they can open the front windows for fresh air.
Lots of little adjustments but a fresh makeover, says owner Julie Doyle.
"It's taken several people to make the reopening a reality — the moving parts, so many!" she says.
Italian market-restaurant-and wine shop reopened its Sylvan Thirty location, which makes sense because they have a huge lawn patio which always served as a dining room of sorts. And at this time, they are offering outdoor seating only.
For the reopening, they've introduced several new menu items, new wines by the glass, and new seasonal beers on tap.
Big Guys Chicken and Rice
Mediterranean restaurant in Deep Ellum similar to Halal Guys has rekindled its late-night service hours starting September 18.
Their dining room is still closed out of precaution, but they're open for carry-out and delivery.