If there’s anything to be learned during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that restaurateurs are creative in times of crisis. About two dozen new restaurants have opened in Dallas-Fort Worth, and they’re exceptionally varied, from a Chinese noodle shop in Lake Highlands to a “savage” ghost kitchen in Grapevine.
If you want to feel like you’re escaping to California wine country but you’ve only got 30 minutes of commute time, a lovely new restaurant called Stone House Restaurant in Colleyville is serving New American cuisine in a home that looks out over a backyard with fire pits.
There’s also a buzzy new Heim Barbecue in Dallas, a brewery in Fort Worth, two new restaurants in Trinity Groves, a vegan Thai restaurant in DeSoto and a heck of a lot of fried chicken and taco joints.
Here’s a look at the latest restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth, listed in alphabetical order:
Basic Taco and Yellow Rosa: Two businesses, one address. Basic Taco is a former food truck company that parked itself in Deep Ellum; Yellow Rosa is its hidden cocktail bar. They couldn’t be more different: Basic Taco has a hot pink door and a minimalist design. Yellow Rosa has natural earth tones, macrame curtains and iron chairs. Their concepting creator and designer, Joel Roland, was born in Guatemala, raised in California, moved to North Carolina and is now in Texas. How’s that for geographic variety? Basic Taco and Yellow Rosa are rooted in his Guatemalan heritage. Yellow Rosa is a personal project, named after his grandmother Rosa. The cocktaileria has a stout list of drinks, including four margaritas, and a food menu that’s different from Basic Taco. Every Wednesday, Yellow Rosa will host special menus from guest chefs — similar to an underground dinner. Entrance is a lottery: Sign up online. Basic Taco and Yellow Rosa are at 2901 Commerce St., Dallas. Yellow Rosa requires reservations. Both opened Oct. 15.
Dahlia Bar & Bistro: It calls itself a "neighborhood cocktail garden,” so let’s start on the patio. The 1,600-square-foot courtyard has stylish couches and was a contender for our list of spacious patios to patronize during the coronavirus pandemic. Dahlia’s menu is described as “Southern European inspired cuisine”: steamed mussels, seafood pasta, steak frites and the like. Saturday and Sunday brunches offer shakshuka, an open-faced smoked salmon croissant and a breakfast flatbread. 3300 Ross Ave., Dallas. Opened Oct. 8.
Encina: You call it “the new Bolsa,” but soon, you’ll call it Encina. Chef Matt Balke and front-of-house talent Corey McCombs have opened their restaurant in North Oak Cliff, in place of Bolsa. Some of the most popular dishes from Bolsa remain, like the sausage and pepper flatbread and the beef cheek pastrami. But most of the menu is new, yet somehow still familiar. Grab a seat on the redesigned patio. Encina is at 614 W. Davis St., Dallas. Opened Oct. 8.
Grind Burger Bar y Taqueria: Grind’s third restaurant in North Texas opened in late September. It’s the second Grind in McKinney and the first one to add tacos to the menu. Taco options include Buffalo chicken, fried shrimp, brisket and steak. Grind Burger Bar y Taqueria is at 3350 W. Virginia Parkway, McKinney. Opened Sept. 28.
Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken: With a name like that, this better be good chicken, right? Something’s definitely working, because Gus’s has been in business since 1953. Get a breast, thigh, leg, wing or tender, and get it fried, then order sides like potato salad, mac and cheese and fried okra. Gus’s has grown from its Tennessee home to more than two dozen restaurants, including one that opened in Fort Worth in 2016. Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken is at 2904 Commerce St., Dallas. Opened Sept. 28.
Heim Barbecue: Finally, Dallasites have their own Heim Barbecue. As owners Travis and Emma Heim can attest, Dallas folks have been asking for one since the beginning, when the Heims started selling smoked briskets from a barbecue trailer in Fort Worth in 2015. The husband-and-wife owners now operate two Heims in Fort Worth, one in Dallas, and started selling their barbecue sauce in Buc-ee’s. During all that, they were recognized as one of the state’s top barbecue joints by Texas Monthly. Heim Barbecue is at 3130 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. Opened Oct. 22.
Hula Girl Poke: Several restaurants closed in Trinity Groves during the pandemic, leaving room for some new ones. Hula Girl Poke is one of those. It’s a build-your-own bowl shop, with raw tuna and salmon as options alongside mushrooms, cucumber, edamame, mango, avocado and the like. Hula Girl Poke is at 3015 Gulden Lane (at Trinity Groves), Dallas. Delivery and pick up only. Opened Oct. 15.
Hurdy Gurdy: The name still makes us giggle, and Hurdy Gurdy’s co-owners Charles Nelson and David Herrera seem to appreciate a light-hearted sentiment towards their new bar-restaurant in the Dallas Farmers Market. The co-owners took over the former Mudhen Meat & Greens and turned it into a breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner spot serving both coffee and cocktails. It’s supposed to feel like you’re drinking and dining in someone’s living room. Hurdy Gurdy is at 900 S. Harwood St., Dallas. Opened Oct. 5.
Ixta-Tacos: Popular Southern Dallas taco shop Ixta-Tacos has opened a second location, in Grand Prairie. Go for the flautitas or birria tacos. Ixta-Tacos is at 950 S. Carrier Parkway (inside the Carrier C convenience store), Grand Prairie. Opened Oct. 12.
LB Wings: LB Wings is so named because it sells wings by the pound. One pound costs $8, two pounds cost $15, and so on. The menu is simple: Pick your wing flavor, pick your dipping sauce, pick a side like fried okra, mac and cheese or bourbon corn. LB Wings is at 3015 Gulden Lane (at Trinity Groves), Dallas. Delivery and pick up only. Opened Oct. 15.
Maestro Tacos: Chef Miguel Mendoza’s new taqueria in Fort Worth is inspired by the years he spent in Monterrey, Mexico. Tortillas will be made in-house, then loaded with carnitas, barbacoa and more. The shop will also sell margaritas and mezcal. Maestro Tacos is at 3011 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth. Expected to open Oct. 29.
Maple Branch Craft Brewery: Fort Worth couple Stuart and Allyssa Maples spent five years saving up to open their own brewery, PaperCity says. They’ve now got a sprawling shop in the Foundry District, 7,000 square feet of which is used for a beer garden — and oh, how we need beer gardens during this pandemic. Stuart Maples is the brewer, and some of the early favorites include a coffee stout and the Munich Helles lager. The couple wants to eventually have 24 taps, Allyssa Maples says in an interview with Fort Worth Weekly. “Our funky community means a lot to us, and we’re proud to call ourselves Fort Worth locals,” the owners say on their site. Maple Branch Craft Brewery is at 2628 Whitmore St., Fort Worth. Opened Oct. 3.
Monkey King Noodle Company: The Chinese hand-pulled noodle shop that got its start in Deep Ellum is stretching across North Texas. Its most recent shop is in Lake Highlands, and the owners say on Facebook that a Richardson restaurant is coming soon. (The ones in Carrollton and at Legacy Hall in Plano didn’t make it.) Monkey King is a street-food restaurant that prides itself on being takeout friendly, according to the Advocate. The hot spicy beef noodle soup and spicy garlic peanut noodles are beloved. Monkey King Noodle Company is at 6770 Abrams Road, Dallas. Opened Oct. 15.
Palmer’s Hot Chicken: Tucked back in a strip center in Lakewood, what was once a sports bar called Lakewood’s First & 10 is hardly recognizable since Palmer’s Hot Chicken owner Palmer Fortune outfitted the front portion of the restaurant with garage doors and green turf, for a fun indoor-outdoor vibe. Palmer’s Hot Chicken is serving some serious Southern food. The Nashville hot chicken is one option, but fried catfish and pimento cheese grits are just as good. Palmer’s Hot Chicken is at 6465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. Opened Oct. 17.
Pietro’s Bakery & Cafe: This family-owned restaurant in Frisco looks like it’ll become known for its desserts, available by the slice or as whole cakes: Italian cream, limoncello mascarpone mousse, red velvet and more. Lunch and dinner options include an Italian-inflected list of bruschetta, caprese salad, meatball subs and pastas. They also sell family-style meals, according to the website. Pietro’s Bakery & Cafe is at 11625 Custer Road, Frisco. Opened Oct. 16.
Raising Cane’s: Tell a Caniac: Mesquite’s first Raising Cane’s has opened on Town East Boulevard. It’s the 166th Raising Cane’s in Texas and the 522nd systemwide, according to a press release. The drive-through shop is beloved for its simple menu of fried chicken, crinkle-cut fries and Cane’s Sauce. Raising Cane’s is at 1980 N. Town East Blvd., Mesquite. Opened Oct. 13.
Savage Burrito: Don’t go looking for the dining room, because there isn’t one. Savage Burrito is a ghost kitchen from the Uncle Julio’s Restaurant Group, and it’s serving burritos via third-party delivery services in Grapevine. Burritos can come packed with chicken, steak or veggies along with queso, beans, rice, ranch and more. Like Chipotle or Freebirds, Savage’s ingredients can go in a bowl or a salad instead of a burrito. The company plans to sell boozy frozen margarita pops and cans of beer for delivery, too. No address. Delivery is available in the Grapevine area only, for now. Launched Oct. 14.
Scrambler Cafe: New Plano restaurant Scrambler Cafe has opened at Independence Parkway and Legacy Drive, serving a lengthy menu for breakfast and lunch. The front of the menu is egg dishes: omelets, Benedicts, scramblers and more. On the back are lunch options: a reuben sandwich, turkey pesto panini, Buffalo chicken wrap and the like. Scrambler Cafe is at 7000 Independence Parkway, Plano. Opened Oct. 7.
Seely’s Mill: This new restaurant is intended to be a place for travelers to eat Texas barbecue and Tex-Mex all in one place — which is why its location inside a hotel makes sense. Seely’s Mill sells brisket, pulled pork and burnt ends pit beans alongside street tacos. It also has a cheeseburger made with 44 Farms beef, a well-liked shop among Dallas foodies. The bar sells tequila and whiskey flights. Seely’s Mill is at 6070 N. Central Expressway (inside the Beeman Hotel), Dallas. Opened Sept. 25.
Soirée Coffee Bar: A jazz-themed coffee shop has landed in Trinity Groves, notes the Advocate. It’s a Black-owned business with jazz-themed drinks and a stage for live music. “Black people have really been phenomenal music influencers for years, so we thought it would be cool to merge the two; people’s love for coffee and music," co-owner Tara McDaniel tells the Advocate. Soirée Coffee Bar is at 320 Singleton Blvd., Dallas. Opens Oct. 24.
Stone House Restaurant: It won’t feel like you’re in Colleyville, or even in North Texas, when you gaze out into the backyard of Stone House Restaurant. Its founding partners purchased the property on Colleyville Boulevard, then tied two homes on the property together. The back house is the kitchen and the front is the main dining room. They’re serving blue crab empanadas, cast iron red chile shrimp and steaks, to name a few. Grab a seat on the patio for sight lines out into a green backyard that sounds positively transcendent for those of us not traveling right now: “It’s got very much a wine country feel to it,” says operating partner Greg Kalina. Stone House Restaurant is at 5201 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville. Opened Sept. 28.
Taco Paseo: Fort Worth’s Cultural District has a new taco shop with Taco Paseo. The generous menu includes nine breakfast tacos, six “traditional” tacos like barbacoa and al pastor, and 16 specialty tacos. The shop is located near the Crockett Hall food hall, connected by a covered patio. Taco Paseo is at 3000 Crockett St., Fort Worth. Opened Sept. 9.
Taquero: After closing in West Dallas, beloved taco shop Taquero popped back up on Lowest Greenville, in place of the former Pints & Quarts burger joint. Owner Fino Rodriguez kept the spirit of the remodeled gas station but gave it a sleek face-lift. Leaving West Dallas was hard, Rodriguez said, but he believes this new addresses could change his business for the better. “I had to make a decision to stay in the same spot or pursue my dream,” he says. “This let me open my imagination to everything this brand could be." One of his favorite dishes is the toro taco, made with sirloin and poblanos and served with a side of chimichurri sauce. While the restaurant has a few surprises, like Mexican Brussels sprouts, tacos are the things to get. Taquero is at 5434 Ross Ave., Dallas. Opened Sept. 25.
ThaiBinh’s: The restaurant technically opened in 2019 as Pho ThaiBinh, CultureMap reports, but mid-pandemic, the company added an apostrophe s to the name and established itself as a vegan restaurant. Refined sugars have been replaced with agave, according to the company website, and the company says it is mostly organic, 100% vegan and does not use MSG. Menu options include “peaceful wings” (which are deep-fried mushrooms); pad ThaiBinh made with vegan chicken, mushrooms or tofu; and bowls of pho. ThaiBinh’s is at 324 E. Belt Line Road, DeSoto. New vegan menu became available Aug. 26.
Velvet Taco: Dallas-bred restaurant Velvet Taco has opened its newest restaurant at Park and Preston in Plano. (The COVID-19 crisis doesn’t appear to have slowed down this local expansion, as the company also opened a restaurant in early August in Addison.) Velvet Taco is a nontraditional taco shop selling funky options like Nashville hot tofu and Korean pork. The WTF — Weekly Taco Feature — lets customers taste new dishes, like a lobster-avocado taco and a blackened mahi mahi taco. Velvet Taco is at 5013 W. Park Blvd., Plano. Opened Oct. 12.
If you like to read about new restaurants, read on:
- In seven days in September, eight restaurants opened in D-FW
- 26 restaurants in North Texas opened in summer 2020
- Check out 22 eateries that debuted in March, April, May and early June
Updated Oct. 22 to add two more new spots: Maple Branch Craft Brewery in Fort Worth and Soirée Coffee Bar in Dallas.