Dallas saw its share of restaurant controversy in 2018, along with a bunch of exciting openings and some rather sad closures. Being that Dallas is part of an ever-evolving dining landscape, you can bet that 2019 will be just as lively.
As we wrap up the year, here’s a look back at the stories that Dallasites went wild for in 2018.
A Food Truck Feeds Stranded Drivers on the Freeway
Good samaritan or business opportunist? Either way, thanks to this unidentified food truck that set up shop on the Freeway, stranded motorists had full bellies during their hours-long wait after an overturned 18-wheeler caused a massive traffic jam at the High Five interchange this summer.
The NRA Tried to Take Down a Dallas Restaurant
Seems like forever ago that the NRA was in Dallas for its annual convention (it was May). Ellen’s in the West End was caught in the pro-gun group’s crosshairs when its owner posted a very political message at the bottom of diners’ receipts after allegedly hearing racist hate speech from NRA members directed toward his staffers of color.
The NRA tweeted its 700,000 members urging a boycott of Ellen’s, which propelled the Dallas restaurant into the national spotlight and gave it a larger platform to address gun violence and racism.
Snooze’s Gluten-Free Pancake Flights Make Waves in Dallas
It doesn’t quite qualify as a full-blown takeover, but Denver’s boozy brunch chain Snooze made major moves into Texas with three locations that opened in Dallas this year alone, joining six locations in Houston and a couple more in Austin and San Antonio. We expect more will be on the horizon.
It seems that Dallas diners are as crazy about Snooze as the rest of the country, the story announcing the three impending locations got a ton of reads on Eater Dallas.
Racist Pizzeria Owner Is Called Out in Viral Video
Apparently Dallas does care about racism. Carlos Pinto (owner of Carmine’s Pizzeria on Campbell Road) incited significant backlash after a customer posted a video of him verbally assaulting her and her aunt. Handfuls of complaints of Pinto’s alleged racism and abuse surfaced from other former customers after the incident.
After Tamika Sanders went public with the video, protestors posted up in front Carmine’s on Campbell and mistakenly posted negative reviews for other Carmine’s locations unaffiliated with Pinto’s restaurant.
Guy Fieri Picks Six Dallas Eateries for Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives
Local eateries always seen a boon in business when Guy Fieri comes to town, and this year was no different. The spiky-haired host chose six area eateries for the 2018 season of DDD, one of which was a favorite West Dallas taqueria Tacos Mariachi, which saw lines out the door every time its episode aired. The boost in business was enough to spur the taqueria to expand to a second location on Lowest Greenville earlier this month.
The Dallas Morning News Chooses Its New Restaurant Critic
It took the DMN nearly a year to fill the role vacated by longtime food critic Leslie Brenner, but this summer it announced her successor, Michalene Busico, who incidentally has a similar work history as Brenner (LA Times) and also calls Brenner a friend.
Paul Qui’s Restaurant Shutters After Six Months
Controversial restaurateur Paul Qui opened a Richardson taqueria this spring while still awaiting trial for domestic violence charges that dated back to a 2016 incident in which Qui beat his girlfriend in front of her child. Charges were dropped days after Tacqui debuted in late April, but the restaurant fared poorly, closing less than six months later. It’s not known whether the restaurant failed due to Qui’s infamous past or because of other factors, but Qui did say in May that the domestic violence charges were affecting his ability to do business.
Correction: December 30, 2018. This article was corrected to accurately represent Leslie Brenner’s work experience.