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Osteria del Circo Coming to Dallas

The scope of this newest addition to a restaurant empire is a little staggering.

I ventured in a recent post that Circo, part of the Maccioni restaurant empire, might open a location in Dallas. It’s been confirmed: Circo Dallas is slated to open in February 2017 in the towering building now under construction at 2519 McKinney.

(Courtesy of Circo Dallas.)
(Courtesy of Circo Dallas.)

Circo New York originated as the whimsical, more casual little sister to Le Cirque, whose first iconic location, opened over 40 years ago by restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, was famous for being frequented by the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace, for doing elegance with a kind of saltimbanco panache, for being the first US restaurant to put crème brulee and pasta primavera on its menu. (For an example of how this plays out, crystal and linen under a lush harlequin-bold fabric canopy, check out the interior of the Le Cirque at the Bellaggio in Las Vegas.) Le Cirque now has locations in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Circo, meanwhile, opened first in New York, where its spirit is captured by a flying trapeze. It’s made its way to Abu Dhabi and the Dominican Republic, each time the interior décor retaining central motifs but reflecting the location. Now Dallas.

Dallas is an interesting fit, I thought, when I first heard that the Maccionis had their eye on us. We like to be entertained. We like fine dining. We often treat fine dining, in fact, as entertainment. I had no idea what was coming.

The restaurant will be housed in the first and second story of the towering building still under construction on McKinney. The eighteen stories of apartments with a rooftop pool are owned by Stoneleigh Cos. LLC. Le Cirque was looking to expand their brand. The space in the heart of Uptown was a match made in heaven.

The restaurant itself will have familiar Circo accouterments: the Maccioni family cookbook, their bottled estate-grown olive oil, the maître d’ who welcomes you at the door. It’s the rest that’s staggering.

“It’s giant,” Santagati says. Giant and over-the-top. A glass staircase leading to the second floor’s glass-bottomed pool, itself surrounded by locker rooms and several bars and seven private cabanas, where you can have your nails done and drink a mojito and lounge. (At night, a clear glass floor will cover the pool, the venue available to be rented out for DJ’ed private events). An elevator in the vast kitchen will respond to the room service needs of 18 stories of residents. “We’re staying true to the original,” Santagati told me. “We’re just adding attractions, resort-style.”

One touching detail: the Maccionis have received correspondence from near and far over the years. For Circo Dallas they plan to donate letters from Jackie Kennedy, which will hang, framed, a nod to the Kennedy history here.

They’re just finishing up the major construction. They should have keys in hand this month. Then Miami-based designer Francois Frossard can do his work. I still don’t know what to think. Are you ready, Dallas?



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