Mario Batali was in Dallas a few months ago. SideDish asked him if he planned to open a restaurant in Dallas. I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but his message was clear. He said Dallas has a reputation for “spanking” out-of-town restaurants that open locations in Big D. He intimated that Dallas was a mean restaurant town and we didn’t like big dogs coming in from larger markets and doing business here.
I’m sure the folks at N9NE, Bice, Il Mulino, Nove, and countless others agree with him.
The downside of our bravado is that the whole Dallas dining scene gets a bad rap. Our super star chefs have a tough time winning national awards. Why? Because the judging panels are filled with folks from New York, L.A., and Las Vegas.
The death of N9NE brings up a lot of emotion. It hurts to see any restaurant fail, but N9NE, in particular, was doomed from the start. Rumors of its closing started the day it opened. I spent most of my time yesterday on the phone talking with restaurant folks. Most were saddened and scared by the high-profile loss. The comments below yesterday’s post on N9NE’s demise ranged from happy to helpful. One wrote:
The solution is so easy: beer. People want to drink and hang out down there. Screw these restaurants and stores. I don’t want a $60 steak dinner or a new pair of jeans before a Mavs game. I want beer. And lots of it. Put in bars. Fun bars. Sports bars. Casual bars.
That remark reminded me of this article that ran last spring in the Dallas Business Journal. Nobody deep in the corporate hills and woods will go on the record, but I understand that there are “perhaps five” less expensive, locally owned restaurants either under or readying for construction at the south end of Victory Park. Perhaps there will be plenty of beer, and bars, and cheeseburgers. And pedestrians. I see a little light.Â I just can’t tell if it’s Millers or Coors.