Dallas Attracts a Flock of Luxury Restaurants

crowd pouring in Highland Park Village hungry for luxury. At this open-air shopping center outside Dallas, they valet Porsches, carry Yves Saint Laurent handbags, pop in and out of his Audemars Piguet, and have brunch at Sadell’s. major food group in New York.

Sadelle’s has been open for just over a year, and it’s not uncommon for the restaurant to be packed on Tuesday afternoons. Well-dressed guests sip on mimosas while he eats $18 pigs wrapped in blankets and $85 latkes topped with salmon and ossetra his caviar. Sugar for your coffee is also delivered to your table in a tiny Le Creuset dutch oven.

Dallas has long had a reputation for being widely populated, an image built on oil money and sprawling ranches. TV series of the same name. Today, however, the city is enjoying new developments, new residents, a new surge of wealth, and the dining scene is also getting a boost with the arrival of several upscale national restaurant groups looking to cater to parties. I’m here.

These companies are giving Dallas the same attention they’ve been generously giving to tourist playgrounds like Las Vegas and Miami. In the last two years or so, local outposts have been established.STKRH, Komodo, La Neta Koshin i Lounge and further Nusr Et, Salt base steak house. Major Food Group opened a Dallas branch of maximalist Italian restaurant Carbone last year and says it has even bigger ambitions in the city.

Speculation abounds at local rumor mills about a possible next import. jaws stone club From Miami (said there were no such plans) or from Ralph Lauren polo bar (didn’t respond to a request for comment) and Pastis From New York City (who said the space was in “preliminary negotiations”).

“We’ve been getting calls from every restaurant group in the country,” said Stephen Summers, whose family owns Highland Park Village. He added, “From Los Angeles to New York City to international groups, every conceivable group seems to want to stay in Dallas.”

The pandemic has prompted many Americans to relocate to places such as: Miami and San Antoniothe weather was warm and Covid regulations were lax.

No city has benefited from this change more than Dallas. From April 2020 to July 2021, the Dallas-Fort Worth area will add about 122,000 new residents, more than any other metropolitan area in the nation, according to census data. Some demographers predict Dallas (now the largest metropolis in Texas) by the 2030s. could replace Chicago As third largest national metropolitan areas.

Where are they going to hang out? The Dallas and Fort Worth area doesn’t have beaches, mountains, or world wonders, but it does have about 15,000 dining options. In 2022, the average Dallas household will spend a higher percentage of its income on dining out than households in New York, Miami and San Francisco, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dallas, like any major city, has its fair share of shortages. 17.7 percent Much of its population lives in poverty, economic inequality. According to one source, there are 92,300 billionaires and 18 millionaires living in the area. 2022 report Dallas ranks as the 18th wealthiest city in the world, according to London investment firm Henley & Partners. Several Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T and American Airlines, are headquartered in the area.

“We have no idea how fast spending is going to happen in that market,” says founder Julie McCraw. McCraw American single malt whiskey, sold at many restaurants in Dallas for $350 to $400 a shot. “It’s like the American version of Dubai.”

These upscale chains serve the needs of the city’s ultra-rich and those looking to spend the night just like them.Las Vegas-based restaurant group Blau + Associates recently opened crown block The Seafood Tower, located in Dallas’ towering Reunion Tower, is priced at $230.The place had approx. 10,000 reservations Even before announcing the menu.

The three-month-old Dallas location of La Neta Cocina y Lounge, a Las Vegas-based restaurant, serves $95 lobster tacos in cheese-stuffed tortillas.

Restaurant owner Ryan Labe has high hopes for Dallas, where, unlike Las Vegas, dining is more than just a rest stop on the way to a show or club.

“Dinner in Dallas is your night,” he said.

In Dallas, these companies also ensure manageable operating costs. There is no state or local income tax. The Chicago-based company’s partner and chief development officer, Matt Wynn, says rent is cheaper than in many other major cities, and food costs are lower. Maple Hospitality Groupwhich has 2 restaurants in Dallas — monarch and the end — and plans to open a third store, Maple & Ash. It has become easier to hire workers and sell fancy food, he said.

At Monarch, “a whole king crab is $1,000 for eight servings,” Wynn said. Dallas diners “will show up and spend their money.”

In this city where the dining scene tends to be hidden in the shadows, houstona variety of dishes and AustinLined with unique independent restaurants, it attracts the attention of many locals.

“There are two Ritz-Carltons being built here,” says former IT salesman and diner George White. “Things are happening.”

But the flashy dining scene isn’t always interesting, says D magazine restaurant critic Brian Reinhart. published the list Of the 50 best restaurants in the city, we deliberately left out the out-of-town chains.

“If we are moving towards a world where fine dining is chained as much as the most basic fast food, it will be difficult for Dallas to maintain any sort of differentiation or culinary character. Let’s go,” he said.

Chain restaurants have historically been part of a city’s identity, albeit inexpensively. Chilean, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Seven-Eleven We all started here. Founder Mark Massinger said the proliferation of such businesses would tarnish the image of the local dining scene. open real estate advisorleases real estate to a restaurant in Dallas.

But in recent years, many of the city’s independent restaurants have thrived and won national acclaim. Bonappetit chose Dallas as its base. restaurant city of the year Other publications have named it: petra and the beast and roots southern table It ranks among the best in the country. (The Times has included Roots on its list of favorite American restaurants for 2021.)

Sam Romano, owner of a local steakhouse Nick & Samssaid the influx of out-of-town restaurant groups would make Dallas even better known. “With restaurants, there’s prestige,” he said, citing Major Food Group’s decision to open only four Carbon satellites in the United States. “It says something about Dallas.”

A few years ago, Dallas escaped the attention of New York restaurateur Eugene Lem. When he visited in 2021 on the recommendation of his colleague, he was surprised to find the diner full every night.

“Even if you find a restaurant that is busy on Mondays and Tuesdays, or a restaurant within a dense two-mile radius that makes $17 million, $22 million, there are 10 or fewer markets that can justify that kind of spending on a regular basis.” He said. “That’s what makes it special.”

Next year he plans to open the next location catchis an upscale seafood and steak restaurant in the city’s burgeoning Uptown district.

He said he used to associate Dallas with “George Bush and a cowboy hat,” but found it more like New York. “People go to membership clubs, they have the same Dior stores, the same Gucci stores, and everything is the same.”

Not all national restaurant groups thrive here.Chef Tom Colicchio has closed Craft’s Dallas location in 2012. Il MulinoItalian imports from New York City, with shutter In 2006, just two years after its founding.

Today, Dallas diners are more cosmopolitan, says Candice Nelson, who opened the location. Furikake Opened a cupcake shop in 2007, followed by a restaurant branch in Los Angeles pizzana “They are very excited when many travel concepts choose the cities they visit.”

That excitement was palpable among guests on a recent Friday night at Carbone. Throughout the night, customers in stilettos and suits poured in from her Cadillac Escalade. Waiters in crimson uniforms flitted around the restaurant carrying $600 bottles of Burgundy and chocolate cakes topped with edible gold.

“The people who work here are called captains and they dress well,” said Nabu Singh, who works in real estate and splurges on his birthday celebration at Carbon. . “They put a lot of effort into it. At a family-run store, it’s probably a white shirt and black pants.” Compared to the average Dallas restaurant, “it’s more upmarket here,” he said.

But the suburban restaurant boom hasn’t come without casualties for the home team.

In 2021, Julian Barsotti, the longtime owner of the Dallas restaurant Carbons, sued Carbon, alleging copyright infringement.But it was Barsotti who made the final decision. rename Bought his restaurant after signing a deal with Major Food Group.

“In the end, if the name meant so much to them, we were happy to compromise,” said Barsotti, who declined to disclose the terms of the deal.

Erin Willis is recently closed Her French restaurant, RM 12:20 Bistro, in east Dallas, said big restaurant groups also took some of the blame.

“Now these big companies that own all the restaurants can afford to pay more for advertising, they are richer and more glamorous,” she said. “Small places like mine are relegated to the background and we can’t survive.”

Outside groups also dilute the city’s culinary diversity, she said.

“Dallas has a lot of ethnic food to offer, but what companies are doing is bringing it to the metropolitan area,” she says. “There is no diversity. It drives out people who try to stay true to their culture.”

Teiichi Sakurai, who runs a Japanese restaurant in downtown Tokyo suggestA short drive from two nationally renowned sushi restaurants, Knob and home, it came from another city. But Sakurai said his business was not affected by competition.

“Nobu-san, they have more European dishes with Japanese fish carpaccio,” he said. “We do handmade soba.”

And Dallas diners are loyal, he said. “We have regulars who have been here for 25 years,” he said, with national groups coming and going. “They don’t remember their names.”

Regino Rojas, who serves Michoacán cuisine from his hometown Mexico at his restaurant, revolver taco lounge and Revolver Gastro Cantina, said the upmarket chain is more focused on setting the mood than offering unique cuisine. His customer base is different.

What’s more, Nick & Sam’s Romano said Dallas is only going to get denser and bigger as new development expands the size of the metropolitan area. If a restaurant group wants to set up here, “we have the space and the people for them.”

Is there such a thing as too many places to eat?

“I don’t think it’s enough yet,” he said.

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