Where to Eat
Where to Eat

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 9 must-visit restaurants for October

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 9 must-visit restaurants for October

fish corn
Seafood with elote "corn ribs" from Modest Rogers. Modest Rogers

It's time for our monthly feature, Where to Eat, highlighting the nine most exciting restaurants for October.

This edition features some of the newest restaurants that have recently opened around Dallas, if you like to visit the latest new thing.

There are also a couple of places that have opened in the past year and offer something special — good value or conscientious preparation — that make them worth a look.

Here's our list of nine restaurants to try right now:

Hot Chicks Dallas
What started as a pop-up is blossoming into a local chain. Hot Chicks is the spicy hot-chicken concept from One Entertainment (Landmark Bar & Kitchen, Texas Republic, Theory Nightclub, Cutie Pies Pizza) and this location off SMU Boulevard near Greenville Avenue is the concept's debut in Dallas, following locations in Plano and Fort Worth. They do fried chicken sandwiches, crinkle cut fries that they cut themselves (rare), pickles, cole slaw, plus grilled hot chicken, tacos, rice bowls, and a bevy of sides such as mac & cheese. They also served frozen slushies with spiked versions of sweet tea, lemonade, and Big Red. The Dallas location has a prominent curbside pickup and delivery location, and is also next door to their newly opened sibling Texas Republic, whose customers they will also service.

Modest Rogers Kitchen & Bar
Charming bistro is from husband-and-wife Modesto and Kathryn Rodriguez, who opened this brick-and-mortar in a cute house at 3811 Fairmount St., near Oak Lawn Avenue. An El Centro alum, Modesto started as a graphic designer who loved to cook for friends and family at home, before switching careers to worked at acclaimed restaurants such as Nonna and Carbone's. He's created a menu that incorporates influences from his Venezuelan heritage, along with Spanish and Mexican flavors. The menu is still in progress but might include fried cauliflower and onions battered in a chili spice batter, served with caper aioli; sliced Wagyu with chimichurri sauce and arugula salad; or seafood with elote corn "ribs" — long strips of corn kernels cut straight from the cob.

National Anthem
Latest restaurant from popular chef Nick Badovinus has opened quietly on the east side of downtown in the historic Magnolia Petroleum Building, the long, thin structure at Commerce and Cesar Chavez Boulevard. The National — or should you call it the Anthem? — has an Americana theme with Badovinus' trademark attention to decor, incorporating vintage books, art, and motorcycles, one of his favorite motifs, and themed staff uniforms. The menu includes oysters, burgers, salads, sandwiches, and small plates to share including Neighborhood Services' signature meatballs. There's also steak frites with flatiron steak, a "reuben riff" with Angus pastrami, and an apple pie about which the menu amusingly says, "This pie is f'n awesome and has walnuts!" They're not yet taking reservations so if you're dying to be in the first wave, show up with your fingers crossed.

Neon Kitten
Deep Ellum now has a place in Dallas proper for late-night dim sum, cocktails on tap, and craft cocktails made with Japanese spirits. Open in the former Beauty Bar space, Neon Kitten is a cocktail lounge first, with cocktails served in quirky vessels such as the one with gin, sage, and salted pomelo that's served in a cup shaped like a white bear. They also have a canning system so you can get cocktails to-go, as well as cocktails on tap. But there are also small bites, ranging from $6 to $12, including puffs, spring rolls, and all kinds of dumplings - shrimp, mushrooms, soup dumplings, and a pretty green vegetarian one with edamame.

Pita Hot Grill
This one may be in Arlington but it's worth the drive if you like shawarma, kebobs, falafel, hummus, and fresh soft pita bread, served warm and fragrant. Mediterranean plates come with choice of lamb chops, gyro, or falafel, plus rice, pita, veggies, and choice of two sides, starting at $13. They have a big selection of pastries such as baklava, and they do an intriguing weekend breakfast, from 7 am-12 noon combining eggs with Middle Eastern classics like the Pita Hot Breakfast Plate with 2 falafel, hummus, 2 eggs, turkey bacon, and hash browns. Hummus can totally be a breakfast food.

RoPo & Logan
New dive bar in Deep Ellum is dedicated to all things Midwest, from Italian beef sandwiches to Chicago hot dogs that are an homage to the famed Portillo's, even down to the crinkle-cut fries on the side. Cocktails such as the "Green River," a frozen drink with citrus and vodka, utilize Chicago brands such as Malort, a popular liqueur in the Windy City with a bitter licorice flavor. RoPo is located in the former Hide space at 2816 Elm St., and bar is from Abby Perkins, wife of Hide owner Scott Backlund, who relocated Hide to 1928 Greenville Ave. Bonus: It's managed by Jessica Brodsky, a longtime Deep Ellum F&B favorite (Green Room, Three Links).

Scoop N' Buns
Mom-and-pop ice cream shop at 507 W. Walnut St. in Garland is from husband-and-wife Gerardo and Zoya Hernandez, who specialize in ice cream sandwiches made with doughnuts. The doughnuts are from a Garland shop, and the ice cream comes from a family-owned ice cream maker in North Texas, but in a range of flavors you don't often see. There are basics including vanilla and strawberry, but also unique options such as horchata, sweet corn, and ube. They always have a couple of vegan/nondairy flavors such as Vegan Mexican Vanilla Oreo and Sea Salt Caramel, and you can get the ice cream in a cup or a vegan cone. They're creative, rotating seasonal and holiday-themed items, as well as Filipino baked desserts on the side such as cassava cake, Filipino flan, and ube crinkle cookies, plus cool ube drinks including an ube-chata and an ube-chata latte.

Sister
This sibling to The Charles, the buzzy eatery in Dallas' Design District from Duro Hospitality, has opened coyly, quietly, which of course only makes it that much more appealing to get in. It's located in the storied location that was once The Grape, with a wine list heavy on bottles from Italy and a creative food menu of Mediterranean and Italian dishes, with pastas such as pesto farfalle with fennel sausage, and Calabrian chile ravioli with broccoli and ricotta. Larger plates include their twist on chicken marsala with black truffle, kale, and maitake mushrooms; and prime ribeye with crispy potato and halloumi, the trendy grilled cheese. A good selection of veg dishes includes "grilled" eggplant parmesn, and a charred carrots dish with dates and spiced cashews.

SoCo Coffee & Bistro
SoCo stands for Southern Comfort, and that's what owners Jonny Bean and Charles Bader strive to provide at this Lake Highlands cafe, located at 9660 Audelia Rd. in the Lakeridge Village center. It's a daytime cafe, open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, and they pride themselves on making everything themselves, from a homey Mexican meatloaf with a chile pepper running down the middle to all of their fine baked goods: sticky buns, chocolate triple layer cake, or seasonal pumpkin muffins which, as they note, just happen to be vegan. The couple moved to Dallas from Seattle and you know what that means: good coffee, which they procure from Seattle Café Vivace, a brand that Bean says he's been drinking since he was 18 years old.