Congratulate yourself on surviving 2018. Throughout the year, news headlines reported one shocking and disheartening thing after another, further fracturing an already divided country. However, one thing Americans can count on to bring us together and cheer us up as much as fill our bellies: great dining and drinking, which Dallas saw plenty of in 2018.
However, no matter how robust Dallas’ local culinary scene, nothing is permanent, and Dallasites also had to say goodbye to some much-loved restaurants. As the year winds down, Eater editors took a look back at the restaurants that bowed out over the past year. Take a few moments to pour one out for these dearly-departed Dallas favorites.
Junction Craft Kitchen
The former Deep Ellum chef incubator shuttered this spring despite new ownership that intended to turn around the “sinking ship.” It couldn’t have helped that months prior the eatery abruptly lost its chef Joshua Harmon who won Eater’s Best Chef of 2017 for his inventive work there. He introduced to Junction’s menu a broad array of fermented foods and foraged ingredients he collected himself.
The Blind Butcher
This former Lowest Greenville spot for quality meats had a rough go of it during the eatery’s final year-and-a-half in business. The owners put diners on notice in January, posting to the restaurant’s Facebook page the reality of what they were facing and some tactics they hoped would help overcome its challenges, not the least of which was nearby construction and an already difficult street. Sadly, the new direction didn’t quite work out. The Blind Butcher closed this summer after four years in business, during the same week another Lowest Greenville eatery Pints & Quarts also shuttered.
Highland Park Soda Fountain
Just because an eatery has lasted an entire century doesn’t guarantee it can weather the changing dining landscape, as evidenced by 106-year-old Highland Park Soda Fountain’s closure this fall. The Park Cities stalwart for milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches (and a favorite of multiple generations of diners), shuttered to make way for a mid-rise development on its block.
Arguably Dallas’ most important restaurant for more than half a decade, FT33 earned its chef-owner Matt McCallister multiple James Beard Award nominations over its six-year run, plus a five-star review from former Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner, alongside tons of other acclaim. The shutter in June came less than a year after McCallister closed his Deep Ellum fine dining establishment Filament, reportedly due to flagging attendance. While McCallister didn’t point to exactly why he closed FT33, it’s clear he was already focused on new projects.
A longtime standby for quick, healthy eats, Cafe Express has all but departed Dallas entirely with four area closures this year alone. Outposts in Uptown, Mockingbird Station, Southlake, and Plano’s Shops at Legacy closed up shop as part of the company’s “rebranding efforts,” with just one Cafe Express remaining at the corner of Inwood Road and Lovers Lane. The eatery seems to be faring better in Houston with six locations still operating there.