How many have you been to?
Picking a best restaurant that opened in Dallas in 2019 is a matter of opinion. But picking the biggest, buzziest restaurant doesn’t have to be: We combed through our digital analytics to find the 10 stories you clicked on most.
In essence, this list is of your favorite restaurant and bar openings, if every click is one vote.
And my, we’ve had a fun year talking about restaurants, haven’t we?
Outside of restaurant and bar openings (which you’ll find detailed in the list below), 2019 was the year that Bon Appetit named Dallas the Restaurant City of the Year. It was the year that Popeyes failed Dallas not once but twice when it debuted its chicken sandwich and couldn’t keep up with demand. And it was the year of our biggest food-news story, a look at the restaurants closed in Preston Hollow after a tornado ripped through the neighborhood so fiercely that “it look[ed] like bombs went off,” said one restaurateur. I was especially touched by the interest foodies took to that story, and I choose to believe that the hundreds of thousands of you who read it sent hot meals, money, thoughts or prayers to the local restaurateurs who struggled in the wake of the storm.
It’s been a delicious year and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings.
Here are our 10 biggest restaurant and bar openings in 2019 in North Texas — as chosen by you.
10. Hall’s Honey Fried Chicken
It’s tough not to smile when you see Mackenzie Hall’s big grin. The 25-year-old opened her own fried-chicken joint this year after growing up in a restaurant family: They’ve operated some of Dallas’ best fried-chicken shops since 1948. Hall’s new restaurant in the Medical District attracted tons of interest from hungry readers.
Hall’s Honey Fried Chicken is at 1407 Medical District Drive, Dallas.
9. Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse
The fact that the Pappas family (the restaurateurs behind Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and more) finally opened a Plano restaurant was interesting enough on its own. But this place earned extended interest when y’all learned it was an upscale barbecue restaurant. There’s brisket, turkey and really great sausage on the menu, all served in a sit-down environment. (And unlike many other Texas barbecue joints, they don’t sell out before lunchtime.) Plano’s dining scene has steadily gotten more interesting, and Delta Blues seemed a welcome addition in West Plano.
Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse is at 3916 Dallas Parkway, Plano.
8. Lupe Tortilla
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when Houston has something we don’t. So Lupe Tortilla’s expansion into D-FW was a moment of victory. You could see Lupe as just another Tex-Mex place slinging margaritas and pricey fajitas. But the fervor with which you clicked on this story would lead us to believe that another Tex-Mex chain in North Texas is almost always a good thing.
Lupe Tortillas have opened at 4535 Belt Line Road, Addison, and 3131 Regent Blvd., Irving. Others are opening soon in Allen and Fort Worth.
7. Maple Bacon Restaurant
Canadian food, y’all! News of the opening of this breakfast-all-day restaurant landed very late in the year, in mid-December, and yet it landed as the 7th most popular restaurant opening story of the year. Beyond waffles, eggs Benedict and the like, Maple Bacon also sells the famous Canadian bar snack, poutine.
Maple Bacon Restaurant is at 6009 W. Parker Road, Plano.
6. Crab House Seafood and Oyster Bar, better known as the ‘seafood restaurant with a pool’
We think the popularity of this food story came from sheer curiosity. Why does a Viet-Cajun restaurant in Uptown Dallas have a pool? The answer: The pool was already there. And isn’t it kind of fascinating (if not utterly strange), to wear a swimsuit and nosh on crab legs in a restaurant, then walk out back and sit in a cabana and sip Champagne? This isn’t Vegas, but it sure feels like it.
Crab House Seafood & Oyster Bar is at 2508 Maple Ave., Dallas.
Sexy. That’s the best word to describe this speakeasy in the Dallas Arts District. Even the Real Housewives of Dallas think so: Cast member LeeAnne Locken’s lingerie shower was hosted inside Akai, a red-velveted bar with a secret side door.
Akai is at 1740 Crockett St., Dallas.
We’re surprised that the opening of Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s burger joint in Frisco isn’t No. 1 on this list. On opening day, I was among the crowds of people who waited two hours for a table. And maybe that was short: Some people drive cross-country to their closest Wahlburgers, explains one company staffer. The burger we tried was great, and once the frenzy dies down, it’s likely to be a quick and reliable place to grab lunch. Plus, the famous Wahlberg brothers could walk in at any time! They probably won’t, but you can dream.
Wahlburgers is at 3685 The Star Blvd., Frisco.
In April, chef Matt McCallister’s new restaurant Homewood was the most anticipated restaurant of 2019. Now that we’ve reached the end of the year, that remains true: Homewood near Highland Park is one of the most lauded new restaurants of the past 12 months, and one of the most rewarding places to snag a reservation if you’re willing to spend some green. Homewood received a rare four-star restaurant review and remains the only four-star restaurant on our roster right now. Tens of thousands of you were interested in its opening.
Homewood is located at 4002 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas.
2. La La Land Kind Cafe
The twentysomething operator of this new Dallas coffee shop near Lower Greenville has an ultra-compelling story: Francois Reihani is employing former foster kids who have aged out of the system and have trouble getting jobs. He lets them slide when they slip up and miss a shift — and sometimes, they do. He opened the shop in a buzzy neighborhood, in a redesigned building that feels equal parts old and new. And he decked out the shop in cheery, bright yellow colors to make the entire experience feel like one big caffeinated hug. For those buying coffee anyhow, it feels good to buy from La La Land.
La La Land Kind Cafe is at 5626 Bell Ave., Dallas.
For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.
4:00 AM on Dec 20, 2019