Mike Stites

Awards season has arrived with the 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, our annual event honoring the best in local food and drink. It's the premiere food celebration, combining nods to top chefs and restaurants with a tasting party featuring sips and bites.

Over the next few weeks, we'll spotlight nominees in all categories of food and beverage, from best bartenders to the best restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth.

We'll honor them at a celebratory party on May 4 from 7-10 pm at The Fashion Industry Gallery, with tastings and an announcement of the winners, voted on by a panel of their food & beverage peers, and emceed by F&B pro Jason Roach. Tickets to the event are already on sale, for $60 to $125 (for VIP), and can be purchased here.

While we count down to the big party, we'll get to know the nominees in an editorial series leading up to the event.

Our first installment profiles the category of Rising Star Chefs. These are the up-and-comers, the chefs who are newly established in their own kitchens or restaurants, or who've made local waves for their food.

Meet the nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year:

Anthony Hsia - Ellie's
Executive chef at fine-dining restaurant at Hall Arts Hotel
Hsia says he began his culinary career "by accident," when he was dining at a friend's restaurant in Germany and jumped into the kitchen after a chef walked out. Before joining Ellie's as executive chef, he helped open the W Taipei, a luxury hotel in Taiwan, and has worked at The Fairmont in San Jose and Singapore, the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, and in the Catering Division for Google Headquarters.

Corrin Ellis - Tango Room
Executive chef at Design District steakhouse from Tim Headington
California native attended Xavier University of Louisiana in pre-med before switching to the food & beverage industry, working for the SBE Hospitality group of Beverly HIlls at concepts such as Cleo, a Mediterranean restaurant at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood. After cooking at The Henry in West Hollywood, she got transferred to do the same for its sibling in Uptown Dallas. She's also punched the clock for Unco (HG Sply Co.) and for the Yardbird Group.

JP Mancha - Poco Fiasco
Executive chef at Italian restaurant from Harwood Hospitality Group
Mancha trained at Cordon Bleu and has worked with acclaimed chefs at restaurants such as Bijoux, Small Brewpub, The Cedars Social, 18th & Vine BBQ, and CT Provisions. He joined Harwood in December 2021 and has served as executive chef at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, helped reopen Dolce Riviera in May 2022, and helped launch this pizza concept, inspired by the great pizzerias of Brooklyn. He's also part of the private events team at Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens.

Justin Mosley - Meridian
Executive chef at Brazilian restaurant in The Village
Mosley is a lifelong restaurant guy who attended Cordon Bleu and honed his chops at places such as Knife Dallas and FT33, where he first worked with mentor chef and Meridian founder Junior Borges. The two worked together at Mirador, and then Meridian, where Mosley helped revamp the menu into its new fixed-price format, featuring a four-course meal in which diners can select three or four choices in each course for $73, with an optional wine pairing for $40.

Kashawn Cruell - Carbone Vino
Chef de cuisine at Italian restaurant from New York-based Major Food Group
A graduate of CUNY New York City College of Technology Hospitality Administration, this New York transplant has been working with chef Mario Carbone at his Major Food Group organization since he was 17, including The Grill, Carbone, Sadelle's, and The Parm (where he got written up by the New York Times), and now Carbone Vino in Dallas. He also helped his fiancee Paige Muller launch Boxed Bites, a charcuterie gift company.

Mike Matis - Fearing's
Chef de cuisine at renowned Ritz-Carlton Dallas restaurant from chef Dean Fearing
A native of Virginia and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Matis worked in the Washington, D.C. restaurant scene before heading overseas to serve as Sous Chef of Conte-Gouts in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also worked at Khong River House in Miami, and was previously executive chef under Chef Stephan Pyles at Stampede 66. At Fearing’s, he launched Fearing’s and Friends, a dinner series bringing in local Dallas chefs for sold-out collaborative dinners.

Mike Stites - Cry Wolf
Chef de cuisine at highly rated East Dallas restaurant from chef/owner Ross Demers
A native of Corpus Christi, Stites gained valuable life experience that included serving in the Army and selling cars before transitioning into the restaurant industry, starting with an externship from Le Cordon Bleu at SER in the Anatole. He's worked in sterling kitchens including Stephan Pyles' Flora Street, Roister in Chicago for Grant Achatz, Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty, Gemma, and Carte Blanche, before landing at Cry Wolf.

Sophia Schoenstedt - Gemma
Chef de cuisine at acclaimed American bistro on Henderson Avenue
Minnesota native was a prodigy, completing an online program with Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Certificate of Culinary Arts while still in high school. She earned an associate's degree at Minnesota State University and graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education Culinary Arts before joining Union Square Hospitality Group, working in New York and Hawaii at restaurants such as Maialino Mare and Marta. She's also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Health & Wellness coach.

Terance Jenkins - Restaurant Beatrice
Executive chef at Louisiana-inspired restaurant from chef Michelle Carpenter
New Orleans native is a sought-after consultant who started his career making gumbo at the famed Commander's Palace. He was most recently chef/owner of Bon Temps Events in Houston, and has led kitchens at AmberJax, Screen Door, and Cedars Social, as well as tenures at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Rex’s Seafood, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Whole Foods, where he oversaw composting and locavore practices, and is a member of El Centro Food and Hospitality Institute’s Hall of Fame.

Tony Ibarra - The Village - Anise
Executive chef at apartment complex restaurant installation
Ibarra grew up in El Paso, attended Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, and has worked at critical favorites such as Petra and the Beast, FT33, CBD Provisions, Small Brewpub, Proof & Pantry, and Nana.

Modern Market

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 8 best restaurants to grab lunch

Where to eat

The March edition of Where to Eat, our monthly feature recommending best restaurants in Dallas to check out, gives love to a meal that needs it: lunch.

Lunch has been on the skids since the pandemic, when COVID-shy workers stopped going into the office. Along came the work-from-home trend, and it was goodbye to lunch. The lunch traffic that kept many restaurants afloat evaporated overnight.

In good news, that trend is starting to reverse. According to security company Kastle Systems, which monitors the work-from-home trend weekly, office workers are returning to the workplace. A recent survey of 10 of the largest cities in the U.S. found that office occupancy is at its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you're a worker back in the office or else still doing the WFH thing, it's time to get out and grab a bite at those restaurants putting out mid-day spreads.

Here are eight great places in Dallas for lunch:

Best salad: Bread Zeppelin
This Dallas-based chain takes an ingenious approach to salad, that lunchtime staple, by packaging it in an edible container: a crusty, artisan baguette which gets hollowed out and stuffed with your customized chopped salad drawn from 40 ingredient options. Or choose one of their signature selections such as the Shanghai with mixed greens, carrot, almonds, currants, Chinese noodles, Mandarin oranges, and choice of tofu or chicken in a carrot-ginger-lime dressing. The bread sops up just enough of the dressing but doesn't get soggy. It's portable, eco-friendly, and really good. They have six DFW locations including the original in Irving and one in downtown Dallas, and there's another opening later this year in Knox Park Village.

Best healthy bowl: Buddha Bowl at Modern Market
Healthy bowls make for a handy lunch, and none is more ubiquitous than the classic Buddha bowl, with its perfectly balanced combination of grains, veggies, and protein; Veganuary says the name was coined by Martha Stewart. The one at Modern Market is awesome, popular enough to inspire knockoff recipes on the internet. It features warm rice & quinoa, spicy roasted broccoli, carrot, citrus cabbage slaw, peanut, cilantro in peanut-mango sauce, topped with thick slices of sesame-glazed tofu that have the perfect creamy and dense texture. It's only $11.45 and Modern Market — which has five locations in DFW including one at Preston Hollow Village — makes lunch easy with its fast-casual ordering style and casual cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Best lunch with a buzzy chef: Parigi Restaurant
Oak Lawn restaurant from owner Janice Provost has always been a classic, and always a great destination for lunch. But for those who need a new excuse, there's a new-ish chef in the kitchen: Joel Orsini, who has earned acclaim in kitchens such as Izkina and FT33, and who is turning out seasonally driven dishes such as a stunning pasta featuring leek top cavatelli, Hakuri turnips, baby carrots, sugar & snow peas, and confit chicken thighs. There's also Parigi's reliable assortment of incredible salads, sandwiches, and risotto, and great wine by the glass.

parigi pastaPasta with turnips, carrots, and snow peas from Parigi.Parigi

Best lunch buffet: DiMassi's
The lunch buffet was in peril during the fearful days of the pandemic, but that's all behind us — to the great relief of fans of this Mediterranean buffet concept, first founded in Houston in 1992, now with four DFW locations in Richardson, Grapevine, Irving, and Plano. Their menu of Mediterranean and middle-Eastern favorites includes four kinds of hummus, warm puffy pita bread in both plain and whole wheat versions, beautifully grilled vegetables, meats, and seafood, stuffed grape leaves, salads, and desserts like baklava. Some buffets are about excess, but this is a place where it's simply a variety of items, excellently prepared.

Best Indian lunch in Irving: Our Place
Irving's vibrant Indian community makes it one of the best places to find Indian food, with a bounty of restaurants. That includes this popular classic that's been dishing out all kinds of Indian cuisine — from north Indian and south Indian to Moghlai and Indo-Chinese — since 2005. They're proud of their time-tested skills with cooking Tandoori-style in a clay oven, and also their signature lunch buffet, served every day, with more than 40 items including a full salad bar, veggies, Halal meats, seafood, breads, desserts, and ice cream.

Best lunch for a work group: Terry Black's BBQ
Who'd have ever thought we'd feel nostalgic about the work-group lunch expedition? But it's one of those benchmarks of office normalcy, of life as it was pre-pandemic. Barbecue joints are a popular choice for this, for many reasons. For starters, you go through a line and pay for your own, so there's no awkward hassle over who's picking up the check. There's no wait because the food's all ready. Terry Black's, the Austin-based family chain that opened a location in Deep Ellum in 2019, is centrally located, has plenty of seating and menu options. You can get a sandwich or meat or just a side like mac & cheese.

Best Tex-Mex combo lunch: El Jordan Cafe in Bishop Arts
Small no-frills longtime Tex-Mex in the thick of things dates back to the days before Bishop Arts was an Arts District, when rent was still cheap, serving as a reminder of the neighborhood's original charm. It's also a reminder of the cheap and funky Tex-Mex joints that were once common but have faded away, where you can get a combo plate with taco and enchilada for $7.50 or a BLT for $4.50. They're not open past lunch but they are open for breakfast with migas, omelets, pancakes, and a breakfast special with eggs, bacon or sausage, and pancakes for $5.50. This kind of place is on the wane; go eat there while you still have a chance.

Best for ladies-who-lunch: Cafe Pacific
Bless the ladies who lunch, making their valuable contribution to the restaurant lunch scene (and hopefully tipping more generously than the reputation that precedes them). Ground zero for this set is Highland Park Village, a neighborhood which surely boasts a higher per capita ratio of this diner category than other less fortunate parts of DFW. HPV has multiple dining options these days, but the perennial is Cafe Pacific, whose entree salads, French dip sandwiches, grilled seafood, elegant atmosphere, and doting service make it a favorite for the likes of Yvonne Crum, the one-time flight attendant, effervescent bold-faced name, and a gracious lady if there ever was one.

Knife Dallas

Where to eat: Best Dallas restaurants for Easter 2023 brunch

Holiday Dining Roundup

Easter is officially a religious event, but for savvy Dallas diners, it's also a day for an epic brunch. In 2023, that day is April 9.

So whether you're a dutiful churchgoer or just someone who loves you some benedicts, these restaurants are here to serve — mostly brunch but also some lunch and dinner, if you're still hungry.

Here's the big list of where to eat on Easter in Dallas in 2023:

Adolphus Hotel. Buffet in the Governor’s Ballroom on the 19th floor features raw bar with oysters, omelet station, prime rib and lamb carving stations, breakfast bar, salads, desserts, and an appearance by the Easter Bunny. $85, or $45 for 12 and under. Two seatings: 10 am and 1 pm. Tickets are required, purchase online. 214-742-8200.

Asador. Brunch with Easter Bunny includes charcuterie & cheese, salad bar, omelet station, French toast, benedicts, Danish, croissants, kolaches, prime rib, jalapeno cheddar cornbread, porchetta, shrimp cocktail, crab claws, lobster rolls, Pasta Station with fusilli, tortellini, smoked gouda mac & cheese, truffle Alfredo, dessert station with strawberry rhubarb cobbler, cheesecake, brown butter fudge, macaroons, truffles, mascarpone tartlets with berries, and BYO Mimosa and Bloody Mary station. $95, or $35 for 12 and under. 10 am-3 pm. 214-267-4815.

Blue Mesa Grill. Brunch award-winner will add extra items for Easter including ginger chipotle glazed ham, on top of signatures like street tacos, omelets, Belgian waffles, churros, biscuits & gravy, blue corn cheese enchiladas, potato chile tarts, Chimayo corn, Adobe Pie, and dessert bar with chocolate-dipped strawberries, banana pudding, fruit cobbler, raspberry-cajeta bread pudding, cookies, and bars. $35, includes Mimosas, or $10 for 11 and under. 8 am-4 pm. Addison 972-934-0165, Fort Worth 817-332-6372, Plano 214-387-4407.

Bonefish Grill. Opening one hour earlier for brunch with entrées such as Grand Marnier French toast sticks, and frittatas with bacon & cheddar, Caprese with tomatoes and mozzarella, and crab & Fontina cheese, all served with bacon and breakfast potatoes. Shareable pitchers include blackberry red sangria, sparkling mango white sangria, or margarita with OJ and Grand Marnier, plus bloody Marys, espresso martinis, and mimosas. 10 am-3 pm. Southlake 817-421-3263.

Cantina Laredo. Brunch with crab cakes benedict, chilaquiles, chorizo con huevos, and complimentary mimosa, bloody Mary, or bloody Maria. Addison 972-458-0962, Frisco 214-618-9860.

Capital Grille. Opening early with full dinner menu, as well as four special brunch features: lobster frittata with asparagus, NY strip steak & eggs, filet mignon with white cheddar hash browns, and smoked salmon and caviar. 10 am-2 pm. Dallas 214-303-0500 Plano 972-398-2221.

Chído Taco Lounge. Brunch with choices Choices from salsa sampler, queso, guacamole, pozole verde, elote, avocado tostada, breakfast nachos, tacos including chorizo, bacon, barbacoa, steak, brisket, & ham, churro French toast, huevos rancheros, croissant sandwich with scrambled eggs & bacon, biscuits & gravy, migas, breakfast burrito, and “birriaquiles” — chilaquiles with birria-style beef and consommé. 11 am-3 pm. 469-200-5715.

Dolce Riviera. Special brunch includes omelet station, bruschetta bar, carving station with leg of lamb, mini lemon ricotta pancakes, eggs benedict, avocado & burrata toast, cacio pepe, lasagna, and Mimosa & Rosé specials. 10 am- 4 pm, last reservation at 2:30 pm. $95, or $35 for 12 or under. 469-458-6623.

Eddie V's. Choose from 3-course brunch includes cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, choice of salad, lobster bisque, smoked salmon, steak & eggs with red-eye gravy, lobster quiche Florentine with Fuji apple salad, avocado and crab on brioche toast, seasonal berries, or bananas Foster cake. Kids menu includes fruit, scrambled eggs, chicken fingers, Mac & cheese, sorbet, or ice cream. Full menu also available. $52, or $16 for 12 and under. 10 am-2 pm. 469-268-3758.

Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge. Jazz brunch with live music plus lemon ricotta pancakes, sea salt grilled branzino, and devilled eggs with smoked trout roe. 6:30 am-3 pm. 972-629-0924.

Fearing's. Three-course brunch features starter, main course, and dessert, including Texas BBQ Wagyu brisket with strawberry-cheddar tart, lamb chops, and carrot cake cheesecake. $145, or $90 vegetarian, or $45 for 12 and under. 11 am-3 pm. 214-922-4848.

The Finch. A special Easter-inspired cocktail Peep Mimosa comes with champagne and choice of orange, cranberry, pineapple, or grapefruit juice with a Peep on the rim. 10 am-3 pm. 469-893-0990.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. 3-course menu includes filet mignon with crab-stuffed shrimp scampi or lobster tail scampi. Beverages include Blueberry Lemon Drop with Tito’s Vodka, blueberries, and candied lemon, or Boen Pinot Noir. $85. 11 am-9 pm. 972-543-2141.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop. Easter to-go for parties of 10 or more with Build Your Own Taco bar ($120), Fajita bar ($140), and Nacho bar ($100). Order online by April 7.

The Henry. Uptown brunch fave serves a menu straddling breakfast and lunch, from bagels to burgers, plus salads such as the sprouts & squash, with Brussels, maple glazed butternut, kale, farro, cauliflower, quinoa, golden raisin, fig, pumpkin seed, candied pecan, pecorino, in a mustard vinaigrette. 10 am-4 pm. 972-677-9560.

Knife Dallas. Brunch includes steak & eggs, beef cheek Benedict, soufflé French toast, Tomatillo Bloody Mary, and Ter. Royal with Crème de Cassis and Champagne. 11 am-2 pm. 214-443-9339.

Knife Plano. Open for brunch and dinner with steaks, pastas, burgers, and seafood, with a big selection of family-style items. 11 am-3 pm, 5-9 pm. 214-299-5943.

Kona Grill. Brunch specials 10 am-2 pm include eggs benedict, crab eggs benedict, lobster eggs benedict, steak & eggs, and macadamia nut French toast, plus all-day special prime rib surf & turf with choice of shrimp skewer or crab oscar and sauteed green beans. 214-369-7600.

La Parisienne. 3-course meal includes choices from French onion soup, salmon, scallops, filet Oscar, eclairs, and fruit tarts. $55-$75. 9 am-8 pm. 469-200-5411.

Las Colinas Resort. Buffet in ballroom features breakfast, brunch, action stations, and a dessert hall. $125, or $50 for 12 and under. 11 am-4 pm.

LAW. Restaurant at Las Colinas Resort features 4-course brunch with menu that includes choices from burgers, shrimp & grits, steak & eggs. $85. 11 am-4 pm.

Malai Kitchen. Brunch includes banh mi French toast, Thai eggs benedict, fried rice “over easy”, spicy bloody Marys, and mimosas. Price varies. 11 am-3 pm. Dallas Preston Center 972-373-4434, Dallas Uptown 214-599-7857, Southlake 817-251-9141, Fort Worth 682-707-3959.

Mercat Bistro. Easter Brunch specials to supplement the regular brunch menu which will be available all day. also offer Champagne & Rosé specials. 214-953- 0917.

Mesa Mezcal. Brunch buffet includes smoked salmon, omelet station, dessert station, ham carving station, and more. $59, or $30 for 12 and under. 11 am-2 pm. 469-472-0700.

Mexican Bar Company. Easter specials include Ahi Tuna Tostadas, Tacos de Birria with Calabacitas, Scallops on of angel hair pasta, and lamb shoulder chop served with cilantro rice and vegetables; and Tres Leches. 3-9 pm.

Monarch. In addition to regular menu, Easter features include lamb chop and Key lime cheesecake in a chocolate nest with pineapple orange sorbet. 4-9:45 pm. 214-945-2222.

Nobu Dallas. Brunch includes a selection of Nobu signatures including snow crab eggs benedict and beef tenderloin with egg and yuzu soy butter (AKA "steak 'n eggs Nobu style"), in addition to an a la carte menu. $68. 11 am-2 pm. 214-252-7000.

Ocean Prime Dallas. Easter brunch includes specials such as lobster avocado toast, crabcake eggs benedict, brioche French toast, and Prime steak & eggs. 11 am–3 pm. (Dinner service begins at 3 pm.) 214-965-0440.

Open Palette. Sheraton Dallas restaurant hosts brunch buffet with chicken & waffles, butternut squash soup, omelets, pepper crusted prime rib, pork belly, charcuterie, salads, pastas, and sweets. $59, or $25 for 12 and under. 10 am-2 pm. 469-371-1486.

Perry's Steakhouse. Holiday specials include choice of glazed ham ($49) or prime rib ($69) with whipped potatoes & green beans almondine, with choice of starter from salad or carrot-ginger soup. Regular menu also available. 11 am-9 pm. 214-855-5151.

Pyramid Restaurant and Bar. Fairmont Dallas hosts brunch with choices such as pimento cheese biscuits with sorghum honey, smoked salmon bagel toast, watermelon with tajin, huevos rancheros with chorizo & black beans, shrimp & grits, prime rib with truffled mac and cheese, sorghum glazed carrots, red velvet cupcakes, pistachio raspberry cake, strawberry tarts, petit fours, macarons, mango cheesecake pops, and doughnut holes. 10:30 am-1:30 pm. 214-720-2020.

Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. Easter To-Go with nine dishes includes glazed ham with grilled pineapple, leg of lamb with mint sauce, carrots with citrus crème fraiche, and brown butter carrot cake. Order by March 31 for pickup April 7, 12-5 pm. $500 for 10 people. Call 214-922-4783 or email Donna.Bosworth@ritzcarlton.com.

Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar. Brunch buffet includes French toast, lobster frittatas, short rib hash, chicken & waffles, themed cocktails and specials on Champagne & Rosé. 10 am-4 pm; last reservation at 2:30 pm. $65, or $20 for 12 or under. 214-782-9807.

Scout at Statler Dallas. Three-course lunch buffet includes pineapple-glazed baked ham, fried chicken, carving stations with prime rib au jus and lamb. Free arcade-game play and bowling. $50, plus $5 for mimosa and bloody mary bar. 11 am-4 pm. 866-554-3671.

Seasons 52. Brunch includes crab & cheddar quiche, French toast, shrimp & grits, mimosas, sangria, bloody Marys, and rosé lemonade. Dinner special is apricot-glazed spiral ham with sweet potato mash and maple-pecan streusel. Easter to go for 4-6 has three courses: spiral ham, cedar plank salmon, or beef tenderloin, with salad, sides, and dessert. 10 am-2 pm. 972-312-8852.

Second Floor Kitchen. Westin Galleria Dallas buffet features eggs benedict, pancake station, lobster deviled eggs, and carving station with prime rib, honey ham & more. 10:30 am-1:30 pm. $65, or $30 for 12 and under. 972-934-9494.

Silver Fox. Full menu plus an Easter special: beef tenderloin benedict, with poached egg, hollandaise, asparagus, and fingerling potatoes, for $60. Drink specials include a Bloody Mary with Tito’s Handmade Vodka for $18, and a Mimosa for $12. 11 am-4 pm. Richardson 972-423-8121, Fort Worth 817-332-9060.

Stirr. Buffet with three stations has choices from five salads, a build-your-own omelet, and dessert from choice of pie, cake, cookies, Danish, or muffin. Deep Ellum 214-983-1222, Addison 214-903-0543.

STK Steakhouse. Brunch on both Saturday and Sunday with choices from truffle steak & eggs and lobster eggs benedict, plus dinner specials including crab deviled eggs, prime rib with charred baby carrots, and lamb T-bones with peas, mint, and smoked bacon. 972-842-9450.

SusieCakes. SusieChick luscious lemon cake, Easter cupcakes (with carrots, bunnies, and Happy Easter decorations), Peeps sugar cookies, cookie decorating kits, and cakes with bunny and cross decorations. Hillside Village 945-245-2253, Preston Center 214-983-2253.

Ten50 BBQ. Pitmaster package with meat, sides, and dessert for $35, plus a la carte items including whole brisket, spiral sliced ham, brisket baked beans, five cheese mac, mashed potatoes, Key lime pie, and fruit cobbler. Order by April 7 at 1-855-QUE-1050 or catering@1050BBQ.com.

Terra Mediterranean. Buffet offers soups, salads, gyro, chicken, chicken kabob, baked kafta, vegetable moussaka, beef moussaka, falafel, and vegetarian grape leaves. $25 for adults, $12 for children (aged 4-10). 11am-3pm.

III Forks. Full menu plus an Easter special: Roasted Beef Tenderloin Benedict, with poached egg, hollandaise, asparagus, and fingerling potatoes, for $60. Drink specials include a Bloody Mary with Tito’s Handmade Vodka for $18, and a Mimosa for $12. 11 am-4 pm. 972-267-1776.

TJ's Seafood. Special menu items include challah French toast, migas, lobster rolls, and white cranberry mimosas At Preston Royal location only. 214-691-2369.

Truluck's. Easter special favorites including miso-glazed sea bass with crab fried rice, tuna, King crab, lobster tail, and a spring fling cocktail with vodka, ramazotti rosato, and cava. 11 am-8 pm. Uptown 214-220-2401, Southlake, 817-912-0500.

Urban Crust. Brunch includes Italian French toast, Nutella calzone, and a specialty pizza with bacon, egg, spinach, and tomato. 11 am-3 pm. 972-509-1400.

Urban Rio. Brunch specials include breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, and Pedros Breakfast with eggs, pico de gallo, and queso fresco. 11 am-3 pm. 972-422-4466.

Urban Seafood. Coastal-inspired brunch includes fried lobster & waffles, and crab eggs benedict. 11:30 am-3 pm. 214-251-8771.

Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort and Spa. Brunch includes seasonal fruit and berries, breakfast bar, seafood, carving stations with pecan-crusted rack of lamb, apricot-thyme rubbed ham, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels, oysters, smoked salmon, chicken, steak Diane, sweet potato quinoa, bananas Foster, blueberry polenta bread pudding, cheesecake, and cakes. $78, or $60 over 65, or $32 for 12 and under. 10:30 am-1:30 pm. 972-668-8713.

Whistle Britches. Brunch classics such as chicken n' waffles, tenders, challah French toast, and chicken benny. 10am-3pm.

Yardbird. Specials include strawberry rhubarb shortcakes for brunch, plus these dinner specials: burrata & heirloom tomato salad, rosemary lamb shank with mint & field pea succotash, glazed carrots & pearl onions, and lemon chiffon pie with blueberry compote. 10 am-10 pm. 469-208-2441.

Photo by Brad Murano

Top Dallas restaurant Homewood closes following death of co-owner

Closure News

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.

McCallister was a James Beard semifinalist in 2022, and a nominee for Tastemaker Chef of the Year in 2020.

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."


These Dallas restaurants and hotels made prestigious Forbes Travel Guide

Awards News

The 2023 rendition of the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide is out, and 26 properties in Texas have made the list.

This is the 65th annual Forbes Travel Guide, which a release describes as the only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, and spas, worldwide. Bow down to Forbes Travel Guide, bow down.

Ratings are broken into three categories: Five-Star, Four-Star, and Recommended, Five-Star being best. The list, which comprises 1,956 properties around the world, runs heavy on hotels (1378) and spas (314), with only 259 restaurants. And for the first year, the list also includes ocean cruises.

In Texas, the list included five restaurants, 12 hotels, and seven spas, although come on who cares about spas, it's the restaurants and hotels that are most intriguing, am I right.

In a reprise of 2022, only three properties in Texas earned five stars: Carte Blanche restaurant in Dallas, Post Oak Hotel in Houston (and its spa), and the Ritz-Carlton Dallas hotel.

These are the properties in Texas that made the 2023 list, by category:


  • Carte Blanche / Dallas: 5-star
  • Fearing's / Dallas: 4-star
  • Garrison / Austin: 4-star
  • The Mansion / Dallas: 4-star
  • French Room / Dallas: Recommended


  • Adolphus / Dallas: Recommended
  • Archer Hotel / Austin: 4-star
  • Austin Proper Hotel / Austin: 4-star
  • Commodore Perry Estate Auberge Resorts Collection / Austin: 4-star
  • Fairmont Austin: 4-star
  • Four Seasons Hotel Austin: 4-star
  • Four Seasons Hotel Houston: 4-star
  • The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa: 4-star
  • The Joule / Dallas: 4-star
  • Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek / Dallas: 4-star
  • The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston: 5-star
  • The Ritz-Carlton Dallas: 5-star
  • Mokara Hotel & Spa/ San Antonio: 4-star
  • The St. Regis Houston: 4-star


  • Fairmont Spa Austin: 4 star
  • Mokara Spa / San Antonio: 4-star
  • The Ritz Carlton Spa Dallas: 4-star
  • The Spa at Four Seasons Austin: 4-star
  • The Spa at the Joule / Dallas: 4-star
  • The Spa at the Post Oak Hotel Houston: 5-star
  • Trellis Spa Houston: 4-star

The Forbes Travel guide started in 1958 as Mobil Travel Guide, a guidebook for US motorists. They created the original Five-Star rating system for hospitality in the US.

To determine the ratings, Forbes Travel Guide's inspectors visit every hotel, restaurant, spa, and cruise ship in person, visiting anonymously as a typical guest. Participants pay a fee to be considered, but no one can buy a rating.


Where to Eat in Dallas right now: 10 restaurants with dishes to share

Where to Eat

This February edition of CultureMap's monthly Where to Eat series is all about sharing. It's a solid theme for the month, both because it's Valentine's Day month (and you can see our full list of Valentine's Day options here), and also because shareable dishes have become a big trend. Restaurant prices (and prices in general) are higher, so if you still want to dine out, you split an entree and share a few starters.

Here are 10 restaurants in Dallas with shareable dishes:

District. Northern California concept debuted in May 2022 at 5100 Belt Line Rd, #544, at the Village on the Parkway in Addison with a menu of globally-inspired shareable plates, with a big wine and whiskey program. Co-founder Jon D'Angelica and his partner Ryan Vance opened the first District 15 years ago in San Francisco on the idea that shareable plates paired with the right wine (or whiskey) create a more intimate dining experience. They're a standard-bearer for the shareable trend. There are flatbreads, deviled eggs, and a cool twist on Indian pakoras with sweet potato.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare. Pan-Asian restaurant concept founded in Florida is all about street foods. They opened their first Texas location in Dallas in the former Curtain Club space at 2800 Main St. in Deep Ellum, in November 2021 with a menu featuring Thai, Malaysian, and Chinese cuisine including Korean wings, pad Thai, skewers of bulgogi chicken or satay chicken, cooked on a traditional hibachi grill. You get a bunch for the table and share away.

The Londoner. British pub chain came to the rescue of pub fans when it opened a location in Mockingbird Station in the former Trinity Hall Pub space. The menu has classics like fish & chips but in recent years has added a bounty of shareable starters including Scotch eggs, chips & salsa, hummus & pita, wings, cheesy Hampton fries topped with aged white cheddar, a cheese board, and “Rusty nuts,” like fritters containing potato, bacon, jalapeño, onion, and cheese, rolled in bread crumbs and fried.

Melting Pot. Before sharing was a trend, you had Melting Pot, the fondue concept where you and your tablemate split cheese or chocolate fondue, taking turns dipping bites like pretzel bread, seasonal veggies & fruit, macarons, Oreo-dusted marshmallows, and fruit — making them a favorite on any list of Most Romantic Restaurants. They recently introduced Shareable Sips, a menu of cocktails such as Pink Crush, with New Amsterdam Pink Whitney Vodka and La Marca Prosecco.

Mission Pizza. Pizza is the original sharing food, and no one should miss this Denton pop-up at Herf's Denton County Taphouse (Monday-Friday 5-9 pm, Saturday 12-9 pm, Sunday 12-7 pm). A nominee for CultureMap's 2022 Tastemaker Awards, they're worth the trip thanks to their one-of-a-kind angle: South Shore bar pizza, a crispy, cheesy style from founder Steve North's hometown Massachusetts. It's a rich pie with a crisp, buttery crust; crushed tomato sauce; and cheddar cheese, cooked in a pan like Chicago-style or Detroit-style, with sauce and cheese spread to the edge, and with crisp Detroit-style burnt edges.

Nuno's Tacos & Vegmex Grill. Tex-Mex is an easy cuisine to share, with nachos being the most sharing-est dish of all. Nuno's, a North Dallas restaurant that does vegan Mexican food, does amazing vegan BBQ nachos, featuring tortilla chips topped with refried black beans, queso, mac & cheese, smoked BBQ ground "beef," sour cream, pickled onions, jalapenos, and in an unpredictable twist, little chunks of jalapeno-cheddar corn bread. Two notes: It's available Fridays and Saturdays only, and their dining is small, so reservations are a must; call 972-685-2703.

Postino Wine Cafe. Eclectic concept from Phoenix opened their first location in Dallas at 2647 Main St. in Deep Ellum, with a menu built around shareables. The favorite is bruschetta, in 12 varieties including Brie, Apple & Fig Spread; Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil; Warm Artichoke Spread; Smoked Salmon & Pesto; Piquillo Pepper & Goat Cheese; and Burrata, Bacon, Arugula & Tomato. Charcuterie boards form their own category and include veggie and meat versions as well as a Pub Board with soft pretzel, chorizo, cornichon, cheddar, Peruvian corn nuts, and pickle. They also feature 30 wines by the glass and 40 wines by the bottle.

Queen of Sheba. Dallas has a robust Ethiopian population — and that brings us an equally robust selection of Ethiopian restaurants. They're not afraid to be spicy, making the cuisine a good fit for Texas palates. Sheba is a Dallas classic: serving authentic Ethiopian food at its Addison location since 1991. The trademark dish is injera, a sharing classic where you eat without utensils, and they have options with and without meat. You use spongey moist injera bread to scoop up your sauteed spinach, lentils, slow-cooked cabbage, and rice.

Seapot. Conveyor-belt style hot pot restaurant in Northern California just opened its first Texas location in Plano at 1900 N. Central Expwy., near Park Boulevard. Hot pot is the fun communal experience in which a shared pot of simmering hot broth is brought to the table, with raw ingredients that you and your tablemates cook in the broth, then dip in sauces once it's cooked. They offer lots of variety in their options, their ingredients, are fresh, and the conveyor belt makes it more fun and easier to grab items you like.

STK Steakhouse. Fancy chain opened in Uptown Dallas in November 2022, a combination steakhouse-lounge, and is the quintessential example of the current shareable trend, where the entrees are too expensive for each person to get their own, starting at $55 for a 6-ounce filet and topping out at $157 for a 34-ounce tomahawk. (That doesn't count toppings: $5 for a peppercorn crust, $6 for a "zingy rub," $12 for a flavored butter.) The upside: It puts steak in the category of indulgence, something to nibble as a garnish on your mac & cheese.

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Texas rises through the ranks of most innovative states, says new report


The Lone Star State has again taken a step up on an annual report that ranks the most and least innovative states in the country — this time cracking the top 15.

Texas ranked No. 15 in personal finance site WalletHub's 2023’s Most and Least Innovative States ranking. It's a steady improvement for the state, which ranked No. 16 in 2022 and No. 17 in 2021.

The report analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia and how each performed across 22 key metrics, including population of STEM professionals, venture capital investment activity, number of technology companies, patents per capita, and more. The data was pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, National Center for Education Statistics, United States Patent and Trademark Office, and other records.

Here's how Texas performed at a glance:

  • No. 18 – for share of STEM professionals
  • No. 16 – for projected STEM job demand by 2030
  • No. 25 – for eighth grade math and science performance
  • No. 21 – for share of science and engineering graduates aged 25 or older
  • No. 13 – for share of technology companies
  • No. 31 – for R&D spending per capita
  • No. 18 – venture capital funding per capita

For the 11th year, Texas won Site Selection Magazine's Governor's Cup, the governor's office announced earlier this year. The award, which Texas has won 19 times since its inception in 1978, recognizes the nation’s top-performing state for job-creating business relocations and expansions.

"Texas truly is America’s economic engine, and we stand apart as a model for the nation. When choosing where to relocate or expand their businesses, more and more innovative industry leaders find themselves at home in our state," Governor Greg Abbott says in a news release about the award.

"I congratulate the exceptional economic development teams at the local, regional, and state level who have worked so diligently to attract and retain these growing businesses and the jobs they create in diverse communities across this great state," he continues.

The most innovative states included the District of Columbia, which ranked at No. 1, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and California, respectively. The least innovative state was identified as Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas, respectively.

Source: WalletHub

Access to quality education is a significant contributor to each state's innovation economy, the experts say in the report.

"Investing in education, particularly K-12 but also at the University level, it is no accident that innovative ecosystems develop in states with strong education systems and research universities," says David L. Deeds, professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. "These institutions build strong capable modern workforces that attract capital, and jobs and create innovations. The benefits do not happen overnight, in fact, they take years if not decades, but consider what The UC’s or the University of Texas at Austin have meant for the development of premier innovative ecosystems."

Hall Group to open new hotel in mixed-use re-do of Frisco office park

Hotel News

Frisco is getting a new hotel at one of the city's pioneering office developments: Called the Hall Park Hotel, Autograph Collection, it'll open at Hall Park, and will be part of the Autograph Collection Hotels – Marriott Bonvoy collection.

According to a release, construction is anticipated to be complete in late 2023, with an opening set for spring 2024.

The hotel is part of the first phase of a $7 billion new masterplan to shift Hall Park from an office focus into a live-work-play community. It'll be owned by Dallas-based Hall Group, and operated by Coury Hospitality.

Autograph Collection Hotels – Marriott Bonvoy is known for its diverse independent hotels that champion individuality.

Hall Park Hotel will feature:

  • world-class contemporary art
  • outdoor pool
  • 4,000 square-foot ballroom
  • state-of-the-art fitness center
  • chef-driven restaurant and lounge
  • expansive patio

There will be 224 guest rooms and 60 well-appointed suites, supporting both short term and longer stays, with a focus on business travelers, events, meetings, regional “staycationers,” and tourists visiting Toyota Stadium, The Star in Frisco, regional youth sports tournaments, the upcoming PGA of America complex, and Universal Studios Park.

This makes the second hotel for Hall Group, the first being the Hall Arts Hotel which opened in the Dallas Arts District in 2019; and the fifth Autograph Hotel in the DFW area (others include the Adolphus in downtown Dallas, Hotel Vin in Grapevine, the Sinclair in Fort Worth, and Hotel Drover in Fort Worth).

Coury Hospitality is based in Las Colinas, with a portfolio of more than 30 hotels and restaurants, including 10 hotels in the Autograph Collection.

“Our partnership with Autograph Collection Hotels provides the opportunity to deliver a one-of-a-kind property to the residents and visitors of Frisco that will include a museum-quality art collection and world-class food and wine offerings,” says Hall Group chairman and CEO Craig Hall. “Framed by views of the art-filled Kaleidoscope Park, which is currently underway, hotel guests will be able to experience Frisco not only as a business and sports hub but also as an emerging arts and culture destination.”

Other new developments at Hall Park include The Monarch, a 19-story, luxury apartment tower expected to open in the fourth quarter. It'll have 214 units with 29 floorplans, including eight penthouse units with oversized balconies and high-end appliances and finishes, spa-inspired master baths and park views.

Amenities include a club room with kitchen, pool, fitness center, outdoor grilling areas, yoga and meditation space, bike storage, pet washing area, and meeting space.

The base of the residential tower will hold a 10,000-square-foot eatery, slated to open in 2024, with a diverse selection of 10 unique, chef-driven restaurants.

They're also building The Tower at Hall Park, a 16-story office tower that shares a podium with the hotel and will boast multiple terraces on every suite level, outdoor amenity space, and direct park access. That tower will also include 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space facing Kaleidoscope Park. It's also forecast to open in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Dallas to give away free produce in one neighborhood every other Friday

Vegetable News

The City of Dallas’ Office of Community Care, in collaboration with the American Heart Association and the Last Patrol, has launched a fresh produce drive at the West Dallas Multipurpose Center.

Starting Friday, March 24, Dallas residents can drive-thru or walk-up to the WDMC to get fresh produce, free of charge. The drive thru will take place on the second and fourth Friday of each month.

Through this initiative, OCC and its partners aim to provide access to fresh food and nutritional support to more than 370,000 community members in West Dallas who are impacted by food insecurity.

"Food insecurity occurs when healthy food is not readily available daily, due to poverty or socioeconomic challenges, causing people to go hungry or eat food that is of reduced quality, variety or desirability," says West Dallas Multipurpose Center manager Ashley Hutto in a statement. "This program will support community members in improving food security and access to fresh produce in West Dallas."

Aamerican Heart Association Community Impact Director Bry Mabry says they chose the location for its accessibility to a large population in need.

“This center is a centerpiece of the community in West Dallas and a suitable location to reach a large portion of the residents of West Dallas," Mabry says.

"This area within Dallas County historically has had high rates of poverty and food insecurity," she says. "Knowing and understanding the needs in this area, the American Heart Association's North Texas Team continues to partner with the West Dallas Multipurpose Center to create more opportunities for positive impact."

The fresh produce distribution will be first-come, first-serve, from 1-2:30 p.m. at WDMC, located at 2828 Fish Trap Rd.

There is no income or zip code requirement to participate.