RIP to the ribs at Lakewood Smokehouse, which served its last barbecue on July 22. Courtesy Lakewood Smokehouse

News Bites

News Bites: Former Vandelay Employee Sues and Barbecue Closure Blues

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—and back to coronavirus updates!

Former Employee Files a Lawsuit Against Vandelay Hospitality

A few local outlets received a press release and reported on a recent lawsuit filed July 19. (See coverage from Dallas CultureMap, Eater Dallas, and sister publication People Newspapers.) The gist: A former employee, Glenn Govias, is suing the Dallas restaurant group Vandelay Hospitality and alleging it operates with a culture that is “shot through with racism, sexism, homophobia, and outright disdain for its employees.” A long-time hospitality veteran, Govias was terminated from his position as general manager in November 2020 for, the lawsuit states, “refusing to carry out his bosses’ discriminatory orders and in retaliation for filing a Worker’s Compensation claim after a serious workplace injury.” In a statement to Eater, Vandelay Hospitality (Drake’s Hollywood, East Hampton Sandwich Company, Hudson House, Lucky’s Hot Chicken, Brentwood, and D.L. Mack’s) said it “vigorously disputes” Govias’ allegations.

Barbecue Blues

Two Dallas barbecue joints have shuttered this month. Pour two out for Mac’s Bar-B-Que, which closed on July 27 after 66 years of brisket. For more than six decades, Mac’s has been slinging a style of old-school ‘cue we’re beginning to less of these days, reports DMN. The DMN article chronicles Mac’s history and speaks with owner Billy McDonald, who has carried the torch of his family’s barbecue legacy since the late ’70s. 

Meanwhile, Lakewood Smokehouse has likewise called it quits after five years on July 22. “The last year and a half has been extremely difficult for the restaurant industry, and like many restaurants, between sales having not returned to pre-COVID levels and the cost of everything we buy increasing by 20 to 50 percent we have been just hanging on and hoping things would improve but unfortunately, that has not been the case,” read the announcement on Facebook.

Strap That Mask Back On, Folks!

We knew we weren’t out of the woods yet, but with the delta variant’s spread and stagnating vaccination rates, we’re back to masking up. As Peter wrote in today’s Leading Off: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that vaccinated individuals should begin wearing masks indoors again in areas with high community spread. North Texas meets that description as Dallas County reported 1,453 new cases in its latest three-day totals. Indoors being many places, obviously, but we know restaurants and bars are indoor spaces where people congregate, linger, and dine maskless (for obvious reasons), so please protect each other out there! The Dallas Morning News has more details about updated guidelines.

Get Ready for Double D’s (Not That Kind) 

A new Design District bar, hence the name, is in the works by a group of industry vets, per Dallas CultureMap. It comes from This and That Hospitality whose portfolio includes High Fives, The Whip, Tiny Victories, Alice, Dibs on Victory, and Ferris Wheelers. Dallas bar pro Jeremy Elliott (formerly of Parliament) will helm the project at 1404 Riverfront Boulevard (the old Dolphin Lounge that closed in 2020 after a decade), where a ’70s aesthetic and well-made cocktail classics will prevail.

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