Openings & Closings
January begins with burst of Dallas restaurant openings (and closings)
December 2023 was like many Decembers with end-of-the-year closures befalling Dallas restaurants — but now it's January 2024, and there are openings to report, with a slew of restaurants that have debuted in recent days.
(There's also been a closure or two, or at the very least the threat of a closure or two, but we'll stick those at the bottom.)
Here's the latest:
Cenzo's Pizza & Deli
New restaurant just opened in Oak Cliff, in a former Magnolia service station that dates back to 1930, at 1700 W. 10th St. — now transformed by chef Chad Dolezal and partner Vinnie Sherman into a pizzeria and deli, with a menu of sandwiches, pizzas, appetizers like antipasto and garlic bread, and a lunch deal with salad and a slice. Pizzas fall in two categories, "red" or "white" indicating sauce, with toppings like spicy salami, gorgonzola cheese, and arugula, and run from $21 to $26.
Esco Restaurant and Tapas
Concept co-founded in Atlanta by Most Expensivest TV host 2 Chainz just opened in downtown Dallas, at 1300 Jackson St., in a space that was previously home to Lenny's Sub Shop, which closed in 2018. Bringing Esco to Dallas is Apiphany Fuller, a military veteran and entrepreneur. The menu features seafood, Southern dishes, and bar food staples such as red velvet chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits, chicken wings, crab cakes, and salmon croquettes, and they're already earning praise for their weekend brunch.
Burger spot is softly open at 2109 S. Edgefield Ave. in Oak Cliff, in a space with some turnover most recently occupied by Pizza Fritta, from Will Rhoten, AKA DJ Sober, partnered with Peaberry coffee owner Elijah Salazar and Jake Saenz, owner of Rev’s Grilled Cheese known for their pop-ups throughout Dallas. They're starting out with a limited menu and will roll out veggie options and other items in the weeks to come. Decor is super-cool retro, with curved wood booths, an old-fashioned Coca-Cola neon clock, and an old-school diner-style menu board on the wall.
Marco's Pizza - Casa View
Marco's is a chain but all of its locations are spread around the deep suburbs of the north and east, from Carrollton to Rockwall to Forney. This location is not only welcome in Casa View, it's also the first inside the loop. They're known for their better-than-the-usual-chain menu, featuring not only pepperoni pizza but also the likes of chicken Florentine, as well as crust-less pizza bowls, subs, wings, and salads.
Nando's Peri Peri
Buzzy South African fast-casual restaurant chain famous for its spicy chicken has oh-so-quietly opened its first DFW location in Addison at at Village on the Parkway, at 5100 Belt Line Rd. #728. Nando's first debuted in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1987, and is known for two things: marinated chicken grilled over a flame; and their spicy Bird’s Eye Chili Pepper. Their technique involves marinating chicken in Peri-Peri, then basting with more Peri-Peri to the diner’s spice level of choice. The menu also has fries, grilled corn, Brussel sprouts, crunch salad, and natas (Portuguese custard tart).
This is not so much a new restaurant as a rebranding of the former downtown steakhouse Dallas Chop House at 1717 Main St. by DRG Concepts. DRG opened the similar Wicked Butcher in Fort Worth in January 2020, only to close it almost immediately due to the pandemic, then reopen in December 2020. Like Dallas Chop House, the menu at Wicked Butcher has deviled eggs, fried artichokes, steak tartare, wedge, Caesar, and big steaks with sauces and butters. One notable difference between the two: the Fort Worth Wicked Butcher is in a hotel, so it's open three meals a day. Anyhoo, the Dallas spinoff just opened so it makes the list.
Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburgers - Lakewood
Lakewood outlet of this local burger chain closed the first week of January. It had been there at 6115 La Vista Dr. for a decade. A representative from the company said the location wasn't drawing enough customers. It survived the finicky dining waters of Lakewood for a relatively long time: a decade, having first opened there in December 2013. That leaves three Chip's: the original in Park Cities, plus Plano and Oak Cliff.
Locura Small Bites
Woman-owned drive-thru spot specializing in Mexican-style street corn closed just after the New Year. Owners Laura Carrizales and Mel Arizpe initially opened this elote-centric concept in West Dallas in the former Trompo space on Singleton Boulevard in 2020, then relocated to Shindig Food Park in December 2022. "We'd like to thank all of those who came out to see and support us in East Dallas over the last year and since we started our small biz in West Dallas in 2020," the duo said on Instagram. "Not sure what 2024 has in store for us yet but from the bottom of our hearts Chef Laura + I thank you + we hope to see you again soon friends, gracias!"
Shindig Food Park
With their anchor tenant Locura Small Bites folding, the plucky little food park at 3766 Samuell Blvd. is closing as well, although only temporarily, they say. "We’ve decided to temporarily close for the winter season. This closure gives us time to find other awesome food concepts, complete some needed venue improvements, and prepare for a Grand Re-Opening in Spring 2024," their post says. "We’ll keep you updated on our construction progress to weatherize the covered patio, our search for new food vendors, and opportunities to partner with our East Dallas neighbors."
Itinerant taqueria in Oak Cliff is facing closure, according to owner Luis Olvera, who says in an Instagram post that he needs $36,000 in five days, in order to keep the doors open. He's launched a gofundme campaign.