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The Most Important Dallas Dining Stories of 2019

Major openings, shocking shutters, and so much more

The interior of the Eataly market in Downtown New York City, featuring baskets of fruit and vegetables
Get ready to buy all the things at Eataly
Nick Solares/Eater NY

In 2019, Dallas dining news moved at a truly lightning-fast pace. Over the past several months, the city was rocked by major closures, surprise shutters, and wild news stories that are just too bizarre to be fiction.

Missed out on some of the year’s biggest stories? Take a look back at Dallas’s most important dining stories of 2019 below.

Italian market Eataly announces Dallas location

Dallasites were seriously stoked when Eataly, the famed market and restaurant that hails from Turin, Italy, announced that it would open a location at NorthPark Mall. No official timeline for Eataly’s arrival has been announced just yet, but we’re eagerly expecting for Dallas to be showered in fancy olive oils and top-notch salumi sometime in 2020.

Video of a violent Deep Ellum assault goes viral, inspires protests

In March, a video of a former brutally beating a woman while brandishing a gun in Deep Ellum went viral on social media, and backlash ensued. Former High & Tight Barbershop bartender Austin Shuffield was later charged on four felony charges related to the incident, but not before protests in the neighborhood forced the bar to temporarily close down. In the heat of the protests, critics of the bar claimed that it had knowingly hired a “racist, violent misogynist.” In November, a Dallas grand jury indicted Shuffield on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault causing bodily injury, unlawful carrying of a weapon, and obstruction.

Matt McCallister returns to Dallas dining

Eater Dallas’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year, the arrival of chef Matt McCallister’s Homewood was major news when it debuted in April. Arguably the biggest opening of the year, Homewood has continued to attract crowds thanks to its gorgeous space, laid-back vibe, and detail-obsessed dishes.

Southlake dumpling favorite raided by police

Just days after the Dallas Morning News raved about its dumplings, Southlake restaurant Dragon House closed after it was raided by police in connection with an illegal prostitution operation in Dallas. The restaurant has since reopened under new ownership, but surrendered its license to serve alcohol after the raid.

Michalene Busico departs the Dallas Morning News

In a shocking turn of events, Dallas Morning News dining critic Michalene Busico resigned her post after little more than a year in mid-December. Busico, who took over in 2018 after former critic Leslie Brenner’s departure, is headed to a new gig at PaperCity, where she’ll serve as editor-in-chief, and the paper will soon launch an official hunt for its latest dining critic. Which means that for the second time in two years, the city’s only daily paper is looking for a new restaurant critic.

Circo flames out in dramatic fashion

After prolonged delays and a short time as Dallas’s only restaurant with a high-rise beach, Circo flamed out dramatically and closed its doors in June of this year. In the wake of its shutter, the restaurant left “unending chaos,” bounced paychecks, and liens behind despite an insanely glitzy debut in late 2018.

A corny dog dispute inspires a lawsuit

In March, a new pop-up called Fletch from a member of famed corn dog family Fletcher’s kicked off a corny dog dispute that culminated in a lawsuit in late 2019. Fletch co-founder Jace Fletcher Christensen, great-granddaughter of Fletcher’s founder Neil Fletcher, announced in March that she would launch Fletch, members of the family associated with Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dogs distanced itself from Christensen and her new venture in a series of social media posts that were later deleted. It was a giant mess, and eventually resulted in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed against Christensen and Fletch by Fletcher’s in September.

Cult-favorite Filipino fried chicken chain Jollibee heads to Dallas

In what may be the most exciting fried chicken news of the year, Filipino chain Jollibee is currently working on its first DFW location in Plano. If you’re not looking forward to 2020, the prospect of crispy fried “Chickenjoy” served with steamed rice and rich brown gravy is enough to make the new year seem bearable.

The Grape closes after 47 years

Dallas lost a real one back in October, when French bistro The Grape called it quits after 47 years. The restaurant’s burger, once lauded as the best in Texas, was a Dallas legend, and so was the intimate, always-cozy dining room on Greenville Avenue.

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