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Restaurants & Bars

Homewood Will Close in Oak Lawn on February 19

Sources say the award-winning restaurant from chef Matt McCallister and pastry chef Maggie Huff could not survive a behind-the-scenes disagreement over its culinary direction.
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Homewood PB&J dessert
Former Homewood pastry chef Maggie Huff’s dessert riff on the PB&J, with sorghum and Concord grape. Kevin Marple

Editor’s note: Homewood closed after dinner service on February 14. The original closing date was February 19; the story below has been changed to reflect this.

Homewood, the acclaimed Oak Lawn restaurant, will serve its final dinner on February 14.

Owner Michael Barnett confirmed the closure to D Friday, citing financial problems. “We just couldn’t stay in business,” he said in a text.

“I’m incredibly sad Homewood is closing,” Barnett added. “I’m not sure I have the right words because I didn’t ever picture this happening. I’m incredibly thankful for the people that have worked so hard to make Homewood a great restaurant. I’m grateful for the patrons who came thru [sic] our doors. I wish it was different.”

The closure comes after months in which former employees tell D that Barnett and his wife Jessica privately expressed their desire for a more casual culinary direction at the restaurant. In the fall, the Barnetts fired pastry chef Maggie Huff and chef de cuisine Kerry Moffett, leaving executive chef Matt McCallister to run the kitchen with a depleted staff. McCallister and Huff have a combined six recognitions from the James Beard Awards.

The Barnetts did not respond to questions about their future plans for the building or the claims about the restaurant’s culinary direction. McCallister, who did not have an ownership stake, declined to comment. Huff confirmed her prior departure but declined additional comment.

Last fall, the Barnetts terminated the employment of Huff and Moffett without consulting McCallister, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The two chefs held leadership roles that went beyond their job titles: Moffett prepared all meats, butchered whole animals, and made sausages, while Huff made the restaurant’s desserts, breads, and pastas. Huff also managed payroll and paid suppliers’ bills.

With the reduced staff, Homewood experimented with smaller menu formats and served bread from McKinney-based bakery Bresnan Bread and Pastry instead of making its own. In a since-deleted Instagram post, the restaurant’s account acknowledged difficult changes behind the scenes.

Two former Homewood employees, speaking anonymously to preserve future job prospects, told D that the Barnetts had communicated to them a desire for the restaurant to serve simpler, more affordable fare. Both employees said the Barnetts cited Neighborhood Services, the small Dallas-based chain that recently opened a location two blocks away, as a potential model.

Homewood opened in spring 2019. In its nearly four years, the restaurant earned numerous accolades, including top-two placement in D’s guide to Dallas’ 50 Best Restaurants and the aforementioned James Beard recognitions for McCallister and Huff. Thomas Keller and Dirk Nowitzki stopped in for dinner.

The restaurant seemed to successfully combine features of a cozy neighborhood restaurant—like the stylish and practical interior design—with high-end cooking techniques and a global selection of natural and small-production wines. However, McCallister’s influence meant that meals surpassed the original, casual vision. His insistence on top-quality local meat and produce suppliers meant higher prices—and, of course, better food.

On a personal note as dining critic, Homewood was one of my favorite restaurants. I visited 13 times between May 2019 and October 2022, including for a review, for pandemic takeout packs, and for a wine dinner featuring Division Wines from Oregon. I had memorable meals and good company there.

Even apart from the standard Homewood set in Dallas’ dining scene—especially as one of the very last non-corporate Dallas restaurants to employ a full-time pastry chef—it was just a nice place to be, and one I will miss.

Author

Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.

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