A few months ago, when it was relentlessly sunny and conference room confabs were held outside among cardinals and feral cats, I sat in on an editorial meeting with my D Magazine colleagues in Kathy Wise’s backyard. It was time to talk December.
The last issue of the year is usually the Best New Restaurants feature. But 2020 isn’t usual. While we’d normally recount the most exciting restaurant openings of the year, we wanted to—needed to, really—reimagine our approach because we weren’t dining the same way. Yet, in a year rife with challenges for businesses, so many brave souls were bringing Dallas new, thrilling things to eat, from vegetable “charcuterie” (you’d see that at Graham Dodd’s Elm & Good) to the slew of spots selling Nashville hot chicken. We weren’t going to let them go unnoticed.
Oh, we noticed.
We noticed pop-ups thriving, taquerias beckoning with birria de res, bagels getting their fair due, Detroit finally getting some pizza representation. That’s what the Best New Bites of Dallas is about: nodding to the true grit and fiery determination it takes to do something new in 2020. The cover story is online today.
We also noticed that we wouldn’t be able to shoot a huge restaurant feature in the same way—hopping from place to place amid a pandemic. So we circled back to Kathy’s backyard (the real MVP of 2020, by the way) for our photo shoot. There, with Texas cheese and sunchoke pâté in tow, I met D photographer Elizabeth Lavin, Kathy, and a small crew. The folks from Encina were putting finishing touches on dishes, while co-owner Javier Garcia del Moral and chef Iñaki Beltrán, masked up, passed off the paella and pinchos. Our menagerie of eats was almost complete.
Between pickups and chef-delivered bites, there was one last thing left for the pizza portion of the shoot: 8 Mile Pies. While Lavin was snapping pics of bao from Krio, I drove to Plano where 8 Mile Pies was camped for its weekly popup at Neighborhood Goods. I sped up Central, flew into NG and watched two square pizzas bake—nothing but the freshest for our readers!—and zoomed it back to Oak Cliff. If I were a pizza delivery dude, I would’ve expect a fat tip. I’ll settle for your eyeballs on a beautifully done Best New Bites feature realized during an incredibly challenging year.
Read it, then go eat something new. There is plenty out there.