Zaytinya, Washington, DC-based chef Jose Andres’s much-anticipated Mediterranean marvel in Frisco, has fallen flat — just shy of two years of service.
The splashy small plates destination opened with high expectations in February 2018 at The Star in Frisco (6655 Winning Drive). The sprawling 250-seat setup, complete with an open kitchen, imported many familiar hits from its inaugural D.C. location that opened in 2002. Think spit-roasted lamb shoulder served with a trio of dips (tzatziki, harissa, and toum) and brussels sprouts Afelia dressed with barberries and garlic-spiked yogurt.
A Zaytinya spokesperson provided the following statement to Eater, vowing a future comeback in Dallas:
“We’re incredibly grateful to our dedicated employees and for our friends and neighbors in Frisco and the Star community, who have been extremely supportive of the introduction of the Zaytinya brand in Texas. We’ve enjoyed being part of such a dynamic and exciting location like The Star and wish them continued success in the future. We’ll share details of a new location in Dallas soon.”
Escape Hatch Dallas reports that employees were notified Monday about the sudden closure.
The James Beard Award winner and D.C. dining icon is also behind well-respected eateries like Oyamel, two Michelin-starred Minibar, and Jaleo. Zaytinya’s D.C. outpost has stuck around on Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list (a.k.a. a restaurant that serves “excellent food at a reasonable price”) since 2016.
In 2017, Andres received Eater’s national Icon award in recognition of his extensive humanitarian work in Puerto Rico, Houston, and more disaster-affected areas following Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Just today, Smithsonian magazine crowned the founder of global nonprofit World Central Kitchen as the winner of the American Ingenuity Award for Social Progress.
At this point, Andres’s Think Food Group seems committed to a comeback in Dallas. “Things moved very quickly once we made the decision to relocate. The Star was a great way to introduce the Zaytinya concept to Dallasites,” a spokesperson said. “We loved being part of this new entertainment development but realized it’s perhaps better suited to a Dallas location.”
Considering the star power of a chef like Andres, it is a little strange that Zaytinya didn’t make it very long. Perhaps it was the far-flung locale — Frisco’s still a pretty long drive for plenty of Dallas diners — or maybe it was exorbitant rent on the space at the Star in Frisco. The company says that it is “well into discussion” to relocate Zaytinya to Dallas proper, and expects details on its new location to be available in the coming weeks.
Either way, here’s hoping Andres makes his way back to DFW sooner rather than later.