Image originally shot in May 2020: Lee Harvey's indoor seating? Don't even think about it. There's plenty of space outside. Bret Redman

News Bites

What Has Reopening in Dallas Looked Like So Far?

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas: coronavirus edition part nine.

Since the very beginning of May, Texas has been slowly reopening the economy, including many of the restaurants and bars that were forced to shutter back in March. Bars had been closed for nine weeks—that’s 63 days without pulling up to a bar top and waving a bartender down for a cold drink. It’s also enough time for us to think about how we’d approach drinking out again—how to do it responsibly or, in some cases, less so. And so after a brief hiatus, SideDish’s mostly-weekly News Bites has returned.

We captured scenes throughout the first weekend of reopened bars at partial capacity all over the city. In Deep Ellum, places like Bottled Blonde appeared to disregard the 25 percent occupancy order. At the other end of the caution spectrum, Lee Harvey’s in the Cedars closed its interior so patrons could only sit outside. Some bars with outdoor spaces—and restaurants, too, which were allowed to reopen at 50 percent occupancy last weekend—just may be better suited to have guests at limited capacity.

Still, four North Texas health experts told The Dallas Morning News that they wouldn’t dine out in a restaurant yet, though outdoor dining would be safer with proper precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing. Bars on the other hand present scenarios in which maintaining social distance could be harder to manage. (On bars, one expert told DMN: “That is, like, a hard no.”)

So, a lot of food and drink business are sticking with takeout and delivery only, like Double Wide, Las Almas Rotas, and BrainDead Brewing, to name a few. Speaking of breweries, taprooms are preparing to return. Vector Brewing, which had plans to debut in March pre-coronavirus, says it’ll officially open on June 1. Peticolas Brewing Company and Four Corners Brewing have likewise flirted with June comebacks.

There is no easy answer. Listen, I love beer. And I love cocktails. (See, we have this handy guide to drinking the good stuff at home.) But I don’t love swapping germs with tipsy strangers who aren’t diligently watching their six-feet-wide bubble. A spacious outdoor bar? Maybe.

Restaurant Closures Around Dallas
Dakota’s Steakhouse, a 36-year-old restaurant that’s housed many a talented chef in its tenure, has closed, according to Dallas Culturemap. Teresa Gubbins pens a history-packed eulogy. Speaking of which, former D Magazine editorial intern Trace Miller wrote an ode to diner institution Highland Park Cafeteria. Jake’s Burgers on Henderson Avenue is closed (others still appear to open and running). In case you missed it: Wolfgang Puck’s Reunion Tower restaurant Five Sixty closed for good.

Shug’s Bagels Is Coming Soon
In happier news, Dallas is inching closer to scoring some legit New York City bagels thanks to SMU grad (and NY native) Justin Shugrue. Shugrue has been rigorously testing and baking bagels as he prepares to open his University Park bagel shop in the coming weeks. Central Track first reported the news back in early March. But stay tuned to SideDish as we cover how in the heck a bagel shop opens amid a pandemic.

The Salty Donut Prepares to Open in Bishop Arts
Everyone’s buzzing about a doughnut shop coming to the Bishop Arts District next Tuesday, on June 2. The Miami-based Salty Donut’s Dallas opening is the shop’s first location outside of its home city in Florida. For now the Salty will be open for delivery and pickup only. What can you pick up, you ask? Doughnuts from a simple brioche with vanilla bean glaze to sweet tea–glazed bourbon brioche to horchata-soaked brioche with Valrhona chocolate and cinnamon-meringue. Our own Eve Hill-Agnus has the details.

Mall Food Courts Can Come Back Now
As of May 26, Gov. Greg Abbott has allowed dining areas in mall food courts to reopen. In a statement from Abbott’s office: “…malls are encouraged to designate one or more individuals who are responsible for ensuring health and safety practices are followed, including: limiting tables to six individuals; maintaining a six-feet distance between individuals sitting at different tables; cleaning and disinfecting tables between uses; and ensuring no condiments or other items are left on tables between customer uses.” Which is similar to guidelines given to restaurants when they reopened at 25 percent capacity.

Blue Apron Stock Booms
For the meal-kit company based in New York, things were looking pretty bleak. In February, CNBC reported that Blue Apron’s stock had been declining for years and the company closed its Arlington facility, laying off some 240 employees. When the coronavirus forced people to cook at home more, the company’s prospects improved: its stock has quadrupled, with over 200,000 new customers, and earnings skyrocketing. No word yet regarding whether the renewed success means the Blue Apron facility in Arlington will return.

Don’t Miss This on SideDish

In case you missed it: We were the first to report that the city of Dallas was launching a temporary parklet program. (Dallas Culturemap thinks they’re “twee” but I just think they’re a smart use of an abundance of parking spaces in an urban environment where outdoor space appears to be much safer these days.)

If you’ve eating a lot of takeout, perhaps a little fresh juice with immunity boosting nutrients is in order. We have just the guide for you.

Rapper Post Malone joins the cadre of celeb-backed wine labels with the release of Maison No. 9, his rosé which will launch this summer.

Microgreens farm Profound Foods, whose product often went directly to restaurants, has launched a spinoff concept: Profound Kitchens. The new project, helmed by Dallas chef Nick Walker, will create uber-local meal kits.

dining critic Eve Hill-Agnus went to Nick Badovinus’s latest restaurant, Desert Racer, in Lowest Greenville. Then a pandemic happened. She penned a restaurant “review” that balances criticism with the restaurant world’s stark reality. Badovinus recently announced that he’s bringing Desert Racer back as Vantina, a pop-up located in the restaurant’s spacious back patio. Town Hearth and Neighborhood Services also returned to service last night, and Montlake Cut is set to return next week.

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