Dallas’ 10 Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2013

By Farah Fleurima  |  December 16, 2013

At the end of the year, it's natural to reflect on the highlights of the last 12 months. For us, that means pondering the most important restaurant launches - ones that had a terrific impact on the city in a meaningful way, brought something new to the table (literally) or, most basically, knocked it out of the park with some fantastic food. Here, in no particular order, are 10 restaurants that did just that.

  • Mot Hai Ba

    Inspired by a motorcycle trek through northern Vietnam, chef-owners Jeana Johnson and Colleen O’Hare brought back the flavors and textures they experienced to this well-loved East Dallas restaurant. Dishes like the rotating Hanoian lunch, imperial rolls and spicy market crab are not only beautifully prepared and plated but are served up in an elegantly casual space that’s never stuffy. We also think their wonderfully executed pho can take credit for readying Dallas’ palate for the noodle shop boom.

    6047 Lewis St.; 972-638-7468

  • Trinity Groves

    While we’d love to single out each of the eateries that have popped up at this West Dallas dining complex, we think that such disparate parts making such a buzzy, successful whole is noteworthy. Not just for enlivening a once-sleepy neighborhood and bringing traffic and excitement, but also for housing an endlessly interesting mix of restaurants: the Moroccan delights at Souk, beer-friendly eats at LUCK, the European stylings of Resto Gastro Bistro, the Spanish tapas at Casa Rubia, the fun and fanciful franks at Hofmann Hots, the rotating concepts at Kitchen LTO; and Babb Bros. BBQ and Blues, the smokehouse with soul.

    Gulden Ln., Bedford St. and Singleton Blvd., just over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge; 214-744-0100

  • CBD Provisions

    This downtown spot adjacent to the Joule Hotel had a minor setback this month when a fire broke out underneath it after the ice storm, but it didn’t diminish the buzz that’s been around it from the start. Calling itself a modern Texas brasserie, CBD serves seasonal fare with an eye toward sustainable sources. If the pork rinds, pig tail appetizer and pig head carnitas are any indication, chef Michael Sindoni takes a decidedly snout-to-tail approach, too. We love the menu’s variety - from the meat-filled Little Goat Pie to the top-notch Kennebec fries and fried redfish with chow-chow - and we imagine it and the cool, contemporary interior with a hopping central bar, will keep diners coming back.

    1530 Main St.; 214-261-4500

  • Tanoshii Ramen + Bar

    As the city’s first proper ramen shop (there’s been pop-up ramen at Ten Bells Tavern and bowls of the stuff on several menus for a spell), Tanoshii landed at just the right time, and not just because Deep Ellum is on the upswing and finding itself back in vogue. As recently as three years ago, Dallas’ collective palate might not have embraced a dedicated noodle shop enough to sustain it. But Joey and Chi Le’s hub of homemade noodles brings back fans and greets curious newbies with dishes like curry ramen, yaki-ramen (which is a broth-free variety), steamed buns and dumplings, all with an eye toward satisfying carnivores and vegetarians alike. 

    2724 Commerce St.;  214-651-6800

  • Zoli’s NY Pizza Tavern

    Where Jay Jerrier’s Cane Rosso crafts pizzas with an authenticity that tastes of Italy, his new outpost in Oak Cliff aims for New York-style pies. Not only are the thin-sliced and super-thick Neapolitan types stuff-your-face worthy, but the Grandma-Style is the happy love child of the two: medium-height crust that’s saucy and cheese in perfect measure. Jerrier knows his stuff, which explains the line out the door here on opening day. Don’t miss the garlic rolls with marinara and the equally carb-tastic sweet diavoletti.

    202 W. Davis St.; 214-942-9654

  • 20 Feet Seafood Joint

    After star turns at The Green Room and Stephan Pyles’ Star Canyon, as well as a brief run at short-lived Henderson Avenue bar-restaurant Park, chef-owner Marc Cassel went to work on this East Dallas seafood shack to much fanfare. Raves were immediate for the New England lobster roll and the pork belly “po-banh mi,” but the fish 'n' chips and transplanted Green Room mussels are standouts that maintain this restaurant’s buzz.

    1160 Peavy Rd.; 972-707-7442

  • Pakpao

    When the owners of Design District gem Oak and Uptown jewel Belly & Trumpet announce a new opening, Dallas diners take notice. Pakpao is tucked away right behind Oak in a brightly lit, modern space with pops of color and a wicked menu, thanks to chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin’s devotion to keeping true Thai flavors intact. That means a sweet-spicy grilled shrimp salad, noodle dishes galore and fun items like Sweet Thai Pork Jerky. That the restaurant offers takeout is icing on this cake.

    1628 Oak Lawn Ave.; 214-749-7002

  • Lark on the Park

    Some Dallas diners wondered if the first Klyde Warren Park-adjacent restaurant would be a novelty, thanks to its prime location, but Lark on the Park’s chef-driven cuisine has kept things hopping. Chefs Dennis Kelley and Melody Bishop maintain a seasonal menu, with standouts ranging from the light niçoise to the Akaushi skirt steak frites. Windows and a spacious patio let diners revel in watching the Park’s passersby, and nifty chalkboard art from local artists gives the interior an artsy vibe.

    2015 Woodall Rodgers Fwy.; 214-855-5275

  • Truck Yard

    Jason Boso's Lower Greenville tribute to the backyards of our youth - with a healthy dose of trucker culture - has been ablaze since opening, for a number of (super-fun) reasons. Tops on the list has to be the treehouse bar, which is always filled despite (or maybe because of) its one-cocktail minimum. A sprawling, kitsch-filled outdoor space, food truck mini-park, a carnival barker’s ice cream window, and cheesesteak haven Steak Me Home Tonight round out the joint's popular attractions.

    5624 Sears St.; 469-500-0139

  • The Slow Bone

    Word is out: Jack Perkins knows his meat. The restaurateur continues to wow Dallas carnivores with Maple & Motor, that bastion of burgers and tater tots, and this year he launched The Slow Bone, a mecca for barbecued meats and rich sides. It’s only open from 11 AM to 3 PM, which leads one to believe it’s popular enough to only need to be open during that small window, and, indeed, it is. The crowds come for some of the best brisket in town, an assortment of sausages like smoked cilantro and jalapeño brats, and ribs smoked to tender perfection. Don’t miss out on decadent sides like pea salad and mac 'n' cheese.

    2234 Irving Blvd.; 214-377-7727