Get to Mot Hai Ba on the early side of 5 p.m. to score some suckling roast pig for a good cause on January 28. (Image from 2018, pre-pandemic.) Matthew Shelley

News Bites

News Bites: Ebb & Flow Heads to Plano and Mot Hai Ba Hosts a Pig Roast

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between, including coronavirus-related intel.

The Booze Brothers

Deep Ellum bar Ebb & Flow is in expansion mode. A sibling location is slated for The Shops at Legacy in Plano. Ebb & Flow, owned and operated by Dallas Hale (Shell Shack, Sushi Marquee) and his brother Eric Bradford, will open in the space formerly occupied by pizzeria Coal Vines, taking over its roomy restaurant and viney, garden-like patio. Expect the same selection of cocktails and vast assortment of food—akaushi beef burgers and patty melts, cubano egg rolls, grilled mahi mahi, ratatouille—that made its Deep Ellum location so popular. Its target opening is March.

After These Messages

Several corporate brands that typically spend big bucks on ad slots during the Super Bowl are benching themselves this year. The biggest names include Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser, which is donating its ad dollars to raising COVID vaccine awareness. Ford is another big name among many others. Irving’s Avocados From Mexico will likewise sit this game out. It was the first to to pull out from Super Bowl LV, making the announcement back in October, which ends its six-year advertising streak. The Irving company says it plans to return in 2022. Some speculate it’s bad optics keeping companies from rolling expensive, tone-deaf commercials during a pandemic. Others note that, with layoffs and dips in revenue, it’s just bad business sense.

Consume Food With Alcohol

Restaurant group One Esca took over the former City Council Bar in Uptown back in December 2019. After a long renovation it’s nearly ready to debut, Anju, a “elevated street food concept.” Expect dishes from various Asian cuisines—kaarage, drunken noodle, beef dumplings, and pork belly bao. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant sports an equally spacious patio and will heavily feature drinks; after all, “anju” means “food consumed with alcohol” in Korean dining culture.

No Reservations

Despite a pandemic which brought Dallas County its deadliest week so far, a report from the Dallas Morning News says restaurants are booked up. Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott forced Dallas County restaurants to reduce their capacity, again, from 75 to 50 percent. It was an automatic reduction baked into the governor’s COVID reopening order. When 15 percent of a region’s hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients, indoor capacity goes down. So, yes, available reservations are going to be fewer if restaurants are playing by the rules—and most seem to be. The short of it is, Dallas’ most popular restaurants—pre-pandemic and now—are still busy, plus reservations are increasingly required so that restaurants can operate within the state’s capacity requirements. 

Roasting Pig for a Good Cause

On Thursday January 28, Mot Hai Ba in Lakewood is going whole hog. Chef-owner Peja Krstic will host a pig roast using Chubby Dog Farm suckling pig, served with lettuce and herbs for wrapping, garlic noodles, and imperial rolls. It also includes a can of Slow & Low rye old fashioned (which hits the spot when poured over a big ice cube in a rocks glass with an orange peel). Everything is to-go only and the meal is $25; all proceeds benefit Bryan’s House, a local organization dedicated to helping children with special needs. Krstic will be there carving the pig beginning at 5 p.m. until sold out. First come, first serve. 

Heard It Through the Grapevine

…That Harvest Hall, the multi-restaurant food hall coming to Grapevine, has delayed its January 30 opening due to construction hiccups. Instead it hopes to finally debut next month nearly two years after the project began. When it does arrive, find DFW favorites like Easy Slider, Monkey King Noodle Co., and Arepa TX alongside newcomers Main Line coffee and Sputino.

Clubs Are Still a Thing Right Now

Two big clubs, The Sporting Club and BLÜM at the Sporting Club, are set to open next month in Deep Ellum. They are operated by SoClutch, which brought Concrete Cowboy and Clutch to Dallas. They’re billed as high-energy restaurant and bars with an open floor plan, which means room for ping pong, foosball, and pool. The menu is a vague combo of Italian (with an emphasis on pizza) and Southern comfort food. (The group also has Vice Park, a “lively Latin-influenced night club,” in the works—and I don’t think they mean the dead language. It’s slated to open at 2601 Gaston Ave. at the end of 2021. Vice Park’s name came up in federal court documents recently; one of its investors is accused of using the club to launder money from his alleged marijuana trafficking operation.)

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