RIP These Eateries
In the inevitable swinging door of life, restaurants open and restaurants close. In 2017, Dallas wasn't hit as hard as some prior years, but this is not to say that there were not tragic closures. Here's a final memorial to those who are gone:
Amsterdam Falafelshop, a cool concept from Washington, D.C. with falafel sandwiches and bowls, closed its only Dallas location in July. Prices were low, and it enjoyed a busy lunch, but went long stretches without customers. Deep Ellum is still destination-oriented when it comes to restaurants, while Amsterdam thrives on street traffic. It also sold itself as vegan-friendly, a risky approach in DFW.
Aunt Stelle's Sno-Cones, the beloved family-owned shaved-ice stand in Oak Cliff that has been open every summer since 1962, opted not to open in 2017. The stand celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, but in recent years had cut back on its hours, from a daily operation to weekends only, from Fridays-Sundays. Don't rule 2018 out, as the stand's Facebook page remains active.
Banh Shop, the fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant on SMU Boulevard dedicated to sandwiches, closed in January. Banh Shop was originally developed in 2014 for Yum! Brands, which also owns Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut. The concept was sold and is being retrofitted for airports; there's one at DFW Airport.
Bolsa Mercado, the Bishop Arts market concept, closed in July. The shop opened as a spinoff of Bolsa, the restaurant nearby, but after seven years, the lease was up and the owners decided not to renew.
Daddy Jack's, the longtime Greenville Avenue seafood restaurant, closed in May. The restaurant had been serving New England-style seafood since 1993.
Dough Pizzeria, the pizzeria at Preston-Forest, closed in April. An offshoot of the original Dough in San Antonio, it was among the first in a wave of Neapolitan-style pizzerias that have opened around DFW. The company is repositioning itself with a smaller footprint, and has a location in Plano.
The Elbow Room, the East Dallas dive, closed in April. The bar was demolished to make room for a dental school being built by Texas A&M.
Filament Dallas, the Deep Ellum restaurant from chef Matt McCallister, closed in August. Conceived as a more casual sibling to fine-dining spot FT33, it suffered an inconsistent tenure, with chefs cycling in and out.
Haymaker, an Austin gastropub that opened a branch on Lower Greenville, closed in December. Unlike other Austin transplants such as Uchi, Torchy's, TacoDeli, Hopdoddy, and Houndstooth Coffee, Haymaker did not find a local audience, despite surefire lures such as parking, a patio, and poutine.
Hot Joy, the colorful Asian-themed restaurant from San Antonio, closed in October. Hot Joy opened in Uptown Dallas as a pop-up, and was met with the kind of feverish adulation that only a millennial can bestow. But it wasn't drawing enough customers to stay afloat.
Joyce & Gigi's Kitchen, the Latin-American restaurant on the edge of East Dallas, closed in August. Diners revered its food and indie spirit, but after five years, founder Gigliola "Gigi" Zimmermann was ready for a break and chose not to renew her lease.
Little Woodrow's, the Houston sports bar, closed its only Dallas branch in May. The bar opened in a renovated building on Ross Avenue with craft beer and a good reputation from Houston. But its fortunes were undermined by a couple of unfortunate incidents, including a robbery. The space is now home to Ross & Hall, a neighborhood restaurant from the folks who own State & Allen.
Madrina, the upscale restaurant that married French techniques with Mexican cuisine, closed in January. A sibling to One Arts Plaza restaurant Proof + Pantry, Madrina was an ambitious venture with cocktails and a great menu from chef Julio Peraza that earned him a nomination for Chef of the Year in CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards as well as the No. 3 slot on CultureMap's Top 100 Restaurants in Dallas. Peraza eventually left and so did the restaurant's buzz.
Max's Wine Dive, the Houston-based concept dedicated to fried chicken and champagne, closed in August. Located in the former Borders Bookstore space at the West Village complex, the restaurant had been there for five years. The Fort Worth location remains open.
Mellow Mushroom, the hippie-ish Atlanta-based pizza chain, closed its only location in Dallas in the former Hacienda on Henderson space in June after only five months. Poor management and stiff competition led to its demise. The remaining area locations are all in the suburbs.
The Palm, the famed steakhouse that had long resided in Dallas' West End, closed in June. The owners stated that safety in the area had become a concern following the July 2016 shooting in downtown Dallas when five police officers were killed. Locations in San Antonio and Houston are still open.
Palomino Euro Bistro, the chic restaurant at The Crescent in Uptown Dallas, closed in February, after nearly 20 years. The Crescent has undergone a major renovation, with new restaurants such as Moxie's. Palomino is being replaced by Sixty Vines, the pizzeria-wine bar that opened in Plano in 2016.
Pollo Tropical, the chicken restaurant chain from Fiesta Restaurant Group, closed all DFW locations in April. The company, which also owns the Taco Cabana chain, was stretched by an overly ambitious expansion plan.
Preston Hollow Grill, which opened in 2015 in the space long occupied by Balls Hamburgers, closed in June. PHG's opening team included alumni from Neighborhood Services and Nick & Sam's, and the menu was similar. But it endured repeat turnover among managers and chefs.
Romano's Macaroni Grill, the casual Italian chain, closed two Dallas-area restaurants in May, including the flagship on Northwest Highway and the location in Addison. A spokesperson blamed high rent; however, other branches also closed in North Carolina, Alabama, Lousiana, and California.
Sherlock's Baker St. Pub, the Arlington location of a chain, closed in November. A former employee said there was a lull in business and parking problems at the Lincoln Square center where Sherlock's had resided for a decade. The only area location remaining is in Addison. A month later, a number of its Baker Street Pub & Grill siblings closed, as well.
Sissy's Southern Kitchen and Bar, one of Dallas' most elegant Southern restaurants, closed in September. Owner Lisa Garza-Selcer blamed issues with the building and initially hoped she might re-open. Sissy's opened in 2012 on Henderson Avenue with unique fried chicken, cooked in a pressure fryer. It was a favorite place to take your mom and a popular destination for brunch.
Smoke Restaurant, the fancy barbecue restaurant from the owners of Bolsa, closed its Plano location in August. An offshoot of the restaurant at the Belmont Hotel in Dallas, Smoke Plano opened in a former Snuffer's in 2015. The food, service, and customers floundered in the months before it closed.
T. Blanco's Mexican Cantina, a Mexican concept from Longview that opened in Addison in February, closed in June. The signature dish was fried avocado, stuffed with meat and jack cheese. The restaurant opened in the former Sambuca space; it lasted four months.
Texas Land & Cattle, the steakhouse chain, closed two Dallas-area locations, in Frisco and Fairview, in August. Founded in 1991, TL&C was famous for its smoked sirloin. At its height, it had 27 locations in five states. There are still locations in Garland and Arlington.
Tokyo Joe's, the healthy Asian restaurant chain from Colorado, closed its Richardson location in June 22 after two years. Three other branches are still open in McKinney, Fort Worth, and Arlington.
Victor Tangos, the pioneering pub on Henderson Avenue, closes on New Year's Eve. VTs was the first to introduce fine cocktails to Dallas, and one of the first to serve chicken and waffles. A statement attributed the closure to the inexorable ebb and flow of the local restaurant scene.
ZuZu Handmade Mexican, the fast-casual Mexican restaurant mini-chain founded in 1989, closed its final Dallas location in July, when the owner decided not to renew the lease.