Victor Tangos RIP

Pioneering Dallas restaurant-bar Victor Tangos pours last cocktail

Pioneering Dallas restaurant-bar Victor Tangos pours last cocktail

Victor Tangos Dallas
VTs fans still have a couple days for this.^^^ Photo courtesy of Victor Tangos

After 10 years on the cutting edge of mixology in Dallas, Henderson Avenue restaurant-bar Victor Tangos is closing its doors. The final cocktail shake-shake-shake will go down on New Year's Eve.

With its kitchen-driven approach to cocktails, Victor Tangos was unquestionably the first bar that brought the art of mixology to Dallas. They launched in 2008 with a menu consultancy by Christy Pope, of the famed mixologist team Christy Pope and Chad Solomon, who went on to open Midnight Rambler, the underground bar at the Joule Dallas hotel.

It's easy now to take mixology for granted, but prior to VT's opening, cocktails in Dallas were a dreary blend of alcohol, watery mixes, and not much else. Their approach, incorporating fresh fruits and even vegetables like the red pepper in their trademark Pepper Smash, added an entirely new culinary dimension to drinking.

It has won countless nods, including numerous CultureMap Tastemaker awards — the most important kind — for Best Bartender and Rising Star Chef to then-chef Kirstyn Brewer; she left in late 2016, to be replaced in March 2017 by Jeff Harris.

For all its cocktail accolades, Victor Tangos always had great food. It was one of the first restaurants in Dallas to put chicken and waffles on the menu, and its version was exemplary, with boneless tenders coated in a perfectly spicy crunchy crust, propped atop a row of triangular waffles, ladled with pancetta gravy and maple syrup, for the bargain price of $12.

In a civilized, cosmopolitan gesture, the kitchen observed late-night hours, allowing diners to get a decent meal after 10 pm.

When Tristan Simon opened Victor Tangos, along with companion concepts Cuba Libre, Hibiscus, and The Porch, they were early pioneers on Henderson Avenue, back when the street was in its early transformation from home furnishings and design center to the restaurant row it has become. Simon sold the Consilient portfolio to Hotel Joule owner Tim Headington in 2014.

In the past 10 years, Henderson Avenue has seen a slew of eateries open, but has recently experienced the inevitable ebb and flow; other early settlers such as its sibling Hibiscus, as well as fried chicken temple Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar, have closed in recent months.

According to a spokesperson, all staff has been given the opportunity to transfer to other restaurants in the Headington Cos. family, which include the newly opened Commissary in downtown Dallas, along with Sassetta and the Wheelhouse in Dallas' Design District.

"We're very grateful to everyone that was a part of its development and growth and are thankful to the community that supported us for all these years," the spokestatement says. "We hope everyone has an opportunity to come say goodbye over these next two weeks. As always, our guests are always welcome at any one of our sister concepts."