Judy Dunston Kissel is Forced Out of Partnership at Dunston’s on Lovers Lane in Dallas

I wasn’t going to post anything on this news until I sat down with Judy Dunston Kissel tomorrow, but I’ve received several emails from readers who are hearing different reports. All I can tell you at this point is that Judy, who has been working at Dunston’s Prime Steakhouse Lovers Lane for 40 years,  and her brother Gene Dunston, who operates the family location on Harry Hines that opened in 1955, are at odds. “It was a forced buyout,” said Judy.

Judy and I are sitting down tomorrow to discuss the details.

UPDATE: There will be no updates on this situation for a few weeks.


  • Lindi Funk

    So sad to hear this news . . .

  • ClintonTwiss

    Sorry to hear about the family strife between Judy and Gene, but my main concern is that the decor and the vibe at Dunston’s Lovers Lane location — which has been very “Joe Mannix was just here” for about four years — remain unchanged. Any spot that has Lara’s Theme and Strangers in the Night on its Muzak without irony needs preserving.

  • ClintonTwiss

    Sorry — Meant 40 years, not four.

  • Dan

    Not too worried about the family matter; although I hate to hear about it at their age. I’m sure there are valid reasons. I do hope that Gene will continue the wonderful ambiance that transports me back in time to when I was a kid, eating there with my father. So many memories of Dunston’s! I hope it doesn’t end up going the way of Austin’s BBQ in Oak Cliff Dallas. Me, my wife, children and friends still frequent the place and talk with Gene on occasion.

  • PJFunny1

    I am fiercely loyal to Judy, as well as her sister, Shirley. This makes me very sad.

  • Gene Dunston

    The Dunston family recognizes and appreciates my sister, Judy Dunston Kissel, her husband Homer Kissel and their family. We are grateful for their 40 years of hard work and dedication to Dunston’s Steakhouse on Lover’s Lane. Several years after I opened the Lover’s Lane restaurant, Judy joined me in a partnership that has flourished over the years. The decision for the restaurant to return to a single owner was necessary to ensure that Dunston’s would remain open for another 40 years. We plan to keep things the same at Dunston’s, from decor to food along with improvements to attract new customers. We are so pleased that Dunston’s Steakhouse is continuing as a family-run business. We love our customers and appreciate their loyalty and support during this transition. We are determined to maintain the restaurant’s warmth and familiarity, which has become a Dallas tradition since 1955. Gene Dunston, owner

  • Nancy Nichols

    Thank you, Gene.

  • mremanne

    So I’m guessing the buyout included radio silence? Run silent, Run deep.

  • Diana Pryor

    Good luck with that without Judy. She was the driving force behind the success and ambiance of Lovers Lane. As I have heard from so many friends and family,”Judy is Dunston’s.”

  • Jon

    The Harry Hines Dunston’s is extremely successful and serves the best steak in Dallas. This is proof that “Gene is Dunston’s”.

  • Jeff Sauers

    Gene I think you are up for a Rude Awaking! If Judy and Shirley are gone so are a lot of other people. Good Luck!

  • jack

    Shirley is still there.

  • Gabe48

    Wonderful steaks, a Dallas institution .

  • Disappointed

    We were Dunston’s Lovers Lane loyalists until a few months ago when the service fell apart as well as the quality. Huge disapointment as we enjoyed the atmosphere, the food and always appreciated Shirley’s service. Gene, hopefully you can get this back on track.

  • Marti Paschall

    Dunston’s has been my home away from home all my life. My dad, Dr Earle Paschall, frequented the establishment when we weren’t at the lake enjoying Judy & Homer on the boat. Since our slip was next door to theirs, many stories have been told and many laughs are long forgotten, since daddy died in 2002.

    Since i am single, Dunston’s has provided a place for me to always go alone or with girlfriends and never feel uncomfortable. I was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 lung cancer 14 mos ago, which has metastasized to the bone and lymph nodes. Imagine my surprise when I was finally strong enough to go to Dunston’s for dinner and see my friends.

    I don’t know all of the particulars with the sale of the restaurant, but i DO know that if business was handled properly and with the respect Judy deserved, she would be right here praising her brother. Just like she has done all these years. While she was tooting his horn, he was planning her demise ? I know that losing my business won’t affect Dunston’s in one way or the other, But the people I bring with me, might cause ya some serious hurt. As much as you might believe this to be true …. Patrons can NOT be replaced. You cant buy loyalty, but you might get a straggler in every once in awhile .. from out of town. Park Cities has always supported Dunston’s, but maybe those ole boys in Chicago can order enough steaks to get you through.

    In regards to the poor service someone experienced at Dunston’s lately, I wasnt there, so I may be speaking out of turn, but I would imagine it would be like working with a gun to your head since February. To US, Dunston’s is a friendly establishment that we called our home … To Judy, Homer & Shirley .. this was family. What a heartbreaking situation to have happen at this age in our life. You can never hide from Karma …. so we shall see how this turns out .. Personally, I hope David Campisi expands and laughs all the way to the bank.

  • jack