When Jeannie Terilli opened this spot in 1985, it was an instant success. The bar was always mobbed, and there were long waits for tables. Live jazz pulled in a mixed bag of customers who spilled out onto the sidewalk. After Terilli’s was destroyed by a fire in March 2010, many industry insiders speculated Terilli would not rebuild. They were wrong. And I’m glad she did. The interior of the rebuilt Terilli’s is spectacular. There are now three levels of seating, including a rooftop with fantastic views of downtown Dallas. The walls are painted black and contrast nicely with the charred, rusty brown exposed brick. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the food. It is still basically middle-of-the-road Italian-American dishes such as antipasti (crab claws soaked in garlic butter); insalata (Caesar salad dosed with lemon); pastas (somewhat elevated cheese tortellini, with Italian sausage and peppers); and seafood (grilled and garlicky jumbo shrimp scampi). But go if only to listen to the jazz and feast your eyes on the sassy sky blue, tan, yellow, and gold cubist murals depicting musicians dancing across the walls. The bartenders are artists as well. Sit back with a cucumber martini (Hendrick’s gin, St- Germain elderflower liqueur, simple sugar, a splash of lime, and muddled cucumber), and enjoy the scene. That’s what Terilli’s is all about.
For more information about Terilli’s, visit our restaurant guide.