My Five Cents: Dallas Has Too Many Boring American Restaurants

Paul Martin's American Grill is opening this summer. Do we need more mac and cheese, burgers, and braised short ribs?

I’m all about supporting the local restaurant business. After watching it shrink and suffer during the recent depression, it’s been nice to watch it bloom and grow over the last five years.

I have two concerns about the recent boom. One: I’m concerned the labor pool is stretched too thin. There are too many restaurants and not enough talented chefs, sous chefs, line cooks, and kitchen staff to maintain high quality. Gifted chefs own the market. And they move around so often it’s hard to keep track of them. I’ve often wondered why chefs in other markets don’t see Dallas as a great market opportunity to move here and develop their skills. I get calls all of the time from restaurant owners who are looking for some new blood.

My second concern is the overabundance of the American restaurants. Quit trying to be the next Houston’s (it isn’t going to happen) and let your freak flag fly.

Today comes word that Paul Martin’s American Grill is opening this summer on the corner of Oak Lawn and Blackburn. This is not a personal attack on this burgeoning chain restaurant headquartered in Roseville, California; it is more of a reaction a 6,000-square foot restaurant with “a menu of contemporary American dishes utilizing the finest seasonal produce, seafood from sustainable fisheries, and free-range meats and poultry” moving into a saturated American food market.

Will somebody please think outside of the “seasonal and delicious” box? Do we need more mac and cheese, burgers, and braised short ribs?