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Restaurants & Bars

Dallas’ Crown Block Opens Monday in Reunion Tower. It Already Has Ten Thousand Reservations.

In a city known for its excitement over new restaurant openings, the one at the top of the Reunion Tower might be the all-time champion.
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A sampler called the Farmer’s Market Stand, on the menu soon at Crown Block. courtesy Crown Block / Bill Milne

Crown Block, the new restaurant perched atop Reunion Tower, opens April 17. But before it opens—before it has even uploaded a menu to its website—nearly every table for the next two months is already booked.

When I checked OpenTable the morning of the Wednesday before Crown Block’s opening and clicked “Show next available table,” the reservation system whisked me forward to 9:15 p.m. on May 31. The first 44 days of service were already fully reserved.

OpenTable also told me Wednesday morning that Crown Block was “booked 767 times today.” The second-most booked restaurant of the day, Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley, lagged behind at 151 new reservations. Al Biernat’s Oak Lawn had 122.

Dallas is a city that loves a new restaurant, but this is unprecedented. Crown Block is not tiny, like the sushi counter at Tatsu. It seats 220 guests; Tatsu seats 10. Crown Block is not an old favorite like Al Biernat’s. Instead, it might just be the most-anticipated new opening this city has ever seen.

“We have, I think, over 10,000 reservations for the three months,” says managing partner Elizabeth Blau. “The good news is we will release some more. As very experienced restaurateurs, you don’t want to just open the floodgates, especially when you’re married to the chef.” (Her husband is executive chef Kim Canteenwalla.)

With the months of anticipation, built around one irresistible hook—Reunion Tower is getting a new restaurant, and this time it might be good—it’s no surprise that Crown Block is an easy sell. But 10,000 bookings is an extraordinary feat. There’s still no official menu, although menu items have been teased in photo shoots and in various media outlets. And we don’t know how much dinner will cost.

The fully-booked dining room might also come as a surprise because, in many corners of Dallas, Crown Block has received a skeptical welcome. The new restaurant on the 18th floor will not rotate, as the old one did, so diners’ views of the Dallas skyline will be fixed throughout their meal. Some long-timers are upset. One Reddit comment reached scatological extremes.

But the new configuration has significant advantages. Customers and employees can visit without worrying about motion sickness. The bar has a sink now. (You can’t do much plumbing in a building that moves.) And thousands of people are willing to give the stationary dining room a try.

I should say, here, that I was checking OpenTable to make a reservation for a “first bite” column on this website. That column will obviously have to wait. We’ll have a full review later this summer, but several D staffers attended a Wednesday night media preview event that attracted around 150 guests. They got to see the private events space on the 17th floor, which still rotates, dressed for a variety of possible occasions—quinceañeras, rehearsal dinners—and to sample preview nibbles of sushi, ahi tuna, salmon, oysters, crab claws, plenty of steak (including New York strip sliders and wagyu croquettes), and a dessert bar featuring crème brûlée-style doughnuts and hand-spun cotton candy.

Crown Block is at the center of the biggest frenzy in Dallas reservation history. The real test, of course, is whether that continues. Everyone will go once. But will they go twice? We’ll find out in a few months.

“People need to come up and experience it for themselves,” Blau says. “There is not a bad seat in this house.”

If you want to see for yourself, reservations become available on OpenTable 90 days in advance, on a rolling day-by-day basis. And, as Blau says, more reservations may be released at a later date for weeks that appear to be booked up.

Crown Block, 300 Reunion Blvd. E.

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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