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Underground Downtown Steakhouse Dakota’s Is Making a Comeback

The longstanding restaurant will reopen under new ownership later this year

An underground atrium with a large waterfall descending form the street level
Dakota’s iconic waterfall and subterranean patio.
Kevin Marple

An iconic Downtown Dallas restaurant that closed in the early months of the pandemic last year will reopen under new ownership later this summer.

Dakota’s Steakhouse, the 37-year-old Downtown restaurant known for its 20-foot waterfall and subterranean garden, has been bought by Dallasite Meredith McEneny. After an extensive renovation, McEnemy plans to reopen the steakhouse sometime in July.

Dakota’s, which opened in 1984, had a history worthy of urban legend. According to Culturemap, the building, at 600 N Akard Street, was once occupied by First Dallas Baptist Church, who put a clause in the deed prohibiting future owners from selling alcohol on former church grounds. When Lincoln Property Company bought the location in the ‘80s, they decided to skirt the deed restriction by building the restaurant underground.

Until it closed in May of 2020, Dakota’s was known for its Allen Brothers steaks, aged for 28-days, plus steakhouse classics like wedge salad, fish and chips and fried calamari.

New owner Meredith McEneny already has some Dallas restaurant experience. Her husband, Tim McEneny, is the mind behind restaurants like Jalisco Norte, Cedar Grove, and new spots Sloane’s Corner and virtual pizzeria Pizza Leila. Tim McEneny was also hired by Dakota’s original owners, Lincoln Property Corporation as managing partner in 2009.

While the McEneny’s plan to completely overhall the Dakota’s kitchen before the July opening, they will maintain the restaurant’s photo-worthy patio, waterfall and fire pit. The menu will also take the same classic approach the restaurant was previously known for, including sourcing steaks from Allen Brothers.

Stay tuned to Eater for a more exact opening date later this summer.