After two years of pandemic-induced shrinkage, Dallas is enjoying a revival, with a little boom in restaurant openings — even as the holidays loom, which is not usually an ideal time to open a new place.
With so many opening lately, it's hard to keep track, so we've been like Santa and keeping a list.
Here's six restaurants that are newly opened around Dallas:
This new Cuban restaurant and dessert shop is one of the nicest success stories of 2021. Founded by longtime baker Siv Lopez during the throes of the pandemic, it started out as a kiosk inside Garland Corner Food Mart, where Lopez earned a following for her creamy flans and flan cakes (a two-tiered dessert combining flan and cake).
In September, she decided to take that next step and expand with a new location. Following the usual grueling permitting process, she just opened last week. She's located at 817 W. Arapaho Rd., Richardson in a former boba tea shop, to which she's added a sweet outside patio, with colorful pastel furniture and strings of festive lights.
The menu includes croquettes, Cuban sandwiches, flan, and Bustelo, which she declares makes the best Cuban coffee in the world.
Her signature is her "potato balls": mashed potatoes with some kind of filling — traditionally piccadillo seasoned ground beef — which get breaded and fried into scrumptious savory bites. She also has an extended dessert case with treats such as strawberry-and-cheese turnovers and guava-and-cheese pastelitos.
But what seems to be drawing the crowds are her Cuban sandwiches, served with thin, crunchy plantain chips on the side. She's heard from many natives of Cuba that her sandwiches are piercingly authentic.
She's also doing an amazing veggie version of a Cuban sandwich, featuring grilled mojo-marinated portabella mushrooms, roasted pineapple, Swiss cheese, pickle, and spicy Bella Flan mustard.
(Bella Flan Express Garland, her original location at the Garland Corner Food Mart, is still open with flan and other desserts.)
New concept from Vandelay Hospitality Group (East Hampton Sandwich Co., Hudson House, Lucky's Hot Chicken) is a classic American tavern, featuring dishes with a Windy-City theme. The centerpiece is their Chicago-style cracker crust pizza, which has become a favorite at Drake's Hollywood, as well as martinis, a Vandelay motif. Salads, sandwiches, and bar snack standards such as garlic knots round out the menu.
Decor echoes the Chicago vibe with a brownstone theme, including reclaimed wood floors, green checkered tile, wooden blinds, and antique windowpanes. Every design element is a mid-century relic including a 1960's theater exit sign and a decades-old double-faced train station clock.
The space also includes a garden patio with retractable roof, plus 16 tables with wooden benches inspired by the Chicago Transit Authority. It's located at 6501 Hillcrest Ave. in a space previously occupied by Biscuit Bar.
Kim's House Grill & BBQ
New Korean BBQ place at 320 Singleton Blvd. #100 is at Cypress at Trinity Groves, the first mixed-use project in the West Dallas development, across Singleton Boulevard from the Trinity Groves restaurant incubator.
Kim's replaces K's House, an ambitious Korean place that opened in that location in 2019, but closed during the pandemic. Kim's has an all-you-can-eat format menu which allows you to get both Korean barbecue as well as hotpot soup, for $30 per person.
They also have a set menu option, $99 for two, with special dishes such as rib eye and marinated short rib. To discourage waste, they charge diners $50 if they leave leftovers, which are common at AYCE places.
Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
A new location of the Texas-based burger chain has opened in Wylie, at 3100 FM 544. It's from a group called Agape Management Company, and is their third location, with a goal to open seven more in the DFW area.
Burger options include a low-cal served on a "bun" made from iceberg lettuce; a turkey burger; and vegetarian and vegan options featuring Dr. Praeger's Black Bean patty with avocado, sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce on a potato bun (the vegetarian is on a multi-grain bun).
The chain, which is based in Plano and recently appointed a new president, Doug Willmarth, to give them a big push, has approximately 90 locations, 23 of which are in Texas, and they're planning to add 54 more across Texas by 2030.
Oni Ramen at CityLine
Oni Ramen has opened its second DFW location at CityLine, the development in Richardson, where it's serving multiple versions of ramen, plus a full bar with cocktails, Japanese whiskey, and sake.
One new twist: Patrons can order through handy self-serve kiosks.
Owner Jennifer Pham calls CityLine Plaza "the perfect location" to open a new Oni Ramen. The other location is in Deep Ellum.
New steakhouse from restaurateur Richard Ellman (El Bolero, Hawthorn) opened the first week of December in the former Oak Dallas space in the Design District. The kitchen is headed by executive chef Aaron Redlitz, who previously worked with California-based Innovative Dining Group (Boa Steakhouse, Katana), and features Prime steaks, seafood, and a full sushi and sashimi menu, craft cocktails, and an extensive wine list.
No relation to the Deep Ellum bar called Wits End, the restaurant is named after The University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa, often referred to as Wits University; Ellman was born in South Africa, and his mother went to school there.