Top Dallas restaurant Homewood closes following death of co-owner
One of Dallas' most acclaimed restaurants has closed: Homewood, the restaurant led by creative and award-getting chef Matt McCallister, closed on February 14.
The closure followed the death of its co-owner Michael Barnett, 39, who died on February 13, confirmed by the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office, who stated that the cause of death is still pending, and the results of a toxicology test would take 8 to 10 weeks.
UPDATE 2-18-2023: A service was held for Barnett on February 18. In addition to Homewood, he also co-founded a second restaurant, Odelay, in April 2022. He's survived by his wife Jessica Dunn, three children, parents Mike and Susie Barnett, plus siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Homewood posted the news of its sudden closure on its Instagram page, but without reference to Barnett's passing:
"It’s with a heavy heart that we are announcing Homewood will be closed effective immediately due to unforeseen circumstances," the post said. "We’re devastated that so many of you who have been supporting us for nearly four years will not get to come back one more time and have a last meal with us."
"Homewood was more than just a restaurant for us. It was our second home; a community where we could all be creative and explore our love of food and wine. It was a space we could share our passion with the Dallas community. It’s not something that can easily be replicated. It’s a heartbreaking day for the entire Homewood team. This was more than just a job for us. This was our family."
"It was an absolute honor to serve the Dallas community and we encourage you to continue the conversation about food and wine beyond our walls."
Homewood opened on Oak Lawn Avenue in 2019, a partnership between McCallister and Barnett, whose father Mike Barnett is chairman of Benchmark Bank.
It represented a comeback for McCallister after he closed his Design District restaurant FT33 in 2018. Homewood was more rustic, with pastas, intriguing vegetable treatments, in-house pickling, and use of local produce, including a garden on-site.
It quickly earned nods including Texas Monthly's Best New Restaurants for 2020, and Best New Restaurant in CultureMap's 2020 Tastemaker Awards. It received a nomination for 2022 Tastemaker Best Restaurant and Best Wine Program.
The Instagram post announcing the closure was met with a chorus of laments such as "Very heartbreaking news! This was by far one of the best restaurants Dallas has ever seen."
Fans called "one of the most well executed restaurants in town," "a huge loss for the Dallas restaurant and dining community," with "some of the best meals we've ever eaten and always huge supporters of local farms and ranches."
A few commenters were taken aback by the abrupt closure, which contradicted local media reports stating the restaurant would be closing on February 19.
"Whaaaat!? this is seriously heartbreaking. we had a res for Friday to get in one more time," said one, followed by another that said, "So so sad, this was me and my husband’s special occasion go to spot and we had dinner booked for the 19th..Y’all will be missed!"
But most expressed gratitude, with one saying, "Thanks for everything you’ve done for us by setting the scene for great food, conversation, and vibes," offering acknowledgements to the restaurant's superior wine program "and most of all thanks for the killer food."
"Thank you for making the dining scene in Dallas better for 4 years," said one fan. "You will be missed but your impact will continue."