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Kent Rathbun Makes His Triumphant Return to the Dallas Restaurant Scene

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The chef is back after a prolonged legal battle with his former business partners

Amy McCarthy is a staff writer at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Restaurateur power duo Kent and Tracy Rathbun will soon open Imoto, an Asian eatery that will join the growing line-up of restaurants at Victory Park.

The forthcoming restaurant will blend Asian cuisines, with a specific emphasis on Thai food based on Kent Rathbun’s travels to the country, and offer a full sushi bar, according to a press release. Chef Jennifer Newbold, who worked for the chef at Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen in the Park Cities, will lead the kitchen, and former Nobu sushi whiz Jimmy Duke will helm the sushi bar.

“Imōto is going to make you feel like you’re somewhere that you’ve never been,” Rathbun said in a statement. “It takes you to a different place. Everything about Imōto is geared to taking you to an exotic, cool locale.”

The restaurant marks Kent Rathbun’s official return to the Dallas restaurant scene after a prolonged legal battle with his former business partners. After leaving his iconic restaurant Abacus in 2016, Rathbun sued its owner, H2R Restaurant Holdings, in order to void an agreement that prohibited the chef from using his own name or likeness in future restaurant projects.

In late 2017, a judge ruled that Rathbun could use his name in business ventures as long as he “doesn’t disparage his former partner,” according to the Southeast Texas Record. That litigation was ultimately dismissed in March 2018, and the judge’s ruling says that “matters in dispute between the parties have been fully and finally compromised and settled.”

Kent Rathbun is joined in the project by his wife and restaurateur Tracy Rathbun, who currently operates beloved sushi restaurant Shinsei and Lovers Seafood and Market. This summer, she’ll bring a second outpost of Shinsei to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal D.

According to GuideLive, Imoto will open its doors on Friday, June 15.

Update, June 15: This post has been updated to reflect the new opening date of Imoto.