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In relief is a cafe. In front of it is a red sign with black text that reads, “Sorry, we’re closed.”
Saying goodbye is hard, but saying goodbye to these restaurants was heartbreaking.
Eater

The Saddest Dallas Restaurant Closures of 2022

We said goodbye to Khao Noodle Shop, Rapscallion, and Modest Rogers — and we’re still not over it

Eater Dallas polled local chefs, journalists, and food influencers about their thoughts on the local food scene in 2022. Here are their thoughts on the restaurants they’ll miss most, after some tragic closings this year.


Leslie Chatman, Eater Dallas contributor:

“For me, I am sad that Spiral Diner and Bakery in Dallas closed. That was the first place I ever ate vegan food. It was such a delicious, eye opening experience that I went every week, sometimes twice a week. The vegan peanut butter cups, blueberry pie, and cakes were unbelievable. This closure really leaves a huge hole in the vegan food scene.”

Tiffany Derry, chef at Roots Southern Table:

Khao Noodle Shop. It was such a great spot for a delicious bite in our city. I was sad to see it close in 2022.”

Rosin Saez, Thrillist senior editor of food and drink:

Modest Rogers. My first meal there, this was early on in its opening, I had mofongo. Which is a Caribbean dish I haven’t had for years, not since the last time I visited family in Puerto Rico. I teared up. Not a lot of meals do that to me. So this closure hurt for sure. But I know it’s not the last we’ll be seeing of chef Modesto Rodriguez. But also: Darkoo’s Chicken Shack. Donny Sirisavath has done nothing but push Dallas’ culinary boundaries in the last 5 years, and the way he’s had to pivot is dizzying. He’s went from his award-winning Khao Noodle Shop to a casual, but nonetheless delicious, chicken joint, never abandoning Dallas for greener pastures. That we can’t readily eat his food right now is a travesty. He deserves better and so do we.”

Dean Fearing, chef at Fearing’s Restaurant:

Rapscallion off of Lower Greenville Avenue. This is a southern restaurant that will be missed after years in the Dallas restaurant scene.”

Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Dallasites 101:

Great American Hero. I know that it’s coming back in a new location via a new owner, but it just won’t ever be the same. That funky yellow and pink building was a gem and icon on Lemmon Ave and driving by this morning actually and seeing it slowly getting torn down is just heartbreaking.”

Rachel Pinn, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I can’t let myself be sad because I know it’ll be back, but Darkoo’s Chicken Shack closing kicked me hard right in the tastebuds.”

Leslie Brenner, Leslie Brenner Concepts and James Beard Award winning author:

“Two of them: Teppo and Sprezza. Both were singularly wonderful. Teppo was super-important to Dallas’ development as a Japanese dining destination; I look forward to seeing what chef Masayuki Otaka brings us next.”

Steven Doyle, craveDFW:

“Not exactly restaurants but they did feature amazing food, both Atwater Alley and Ten Bells Tavern leave a giant hole in the thread of the Dallas hospitality culture.”

Kevin Gray, Eater Dallas contributor:

Modest Rogers. Damn that place was good. The Latin American menu from chef Modesto Rodriguez turned out great octopus, carne asada, salads and even a burger. And it’s sad to think that high-quality cooking, a cozy Oak Lawn address and friendly staff weren’t enough to keep it going.”

Nataly Keomoungkhoun, D magazine food editor:

“For me, it was Spiral Diner. Spiral Diner was where I got my introduction to vegan food, so it held a special place in my heart. Those vegan nachos blew teenaged Nataly’s mind!”

Amy McCarthy, Eater staff writer and former Eater Dallas editor:

Khao Noodle Shop was a really sad one for me, it was one of the best restaurants in the city without question. I was also bummed to see Darkoo’s close later in the year. I randomly walked by the burned-out Rye space in McKinney a few weeks ago, and that was also a terrible loss.”

Courtney E. Smith, Eater Dallas editor:

“It hurt to see Rapscallion close. It always feels personal when you lose somewhere you’ve gone for birthdays, first dates, weird dates — and the first time you tried Nashville hot chicken in Dallas. Its oyster program, crispy chicken, and adventurous take on Southern food is missed.”

Brian Reinhart, D magazine dining critic:

Modest Rogers was so creative, so interesting, so personal, and so endlessly delicious. It was just the kind of thing we needed in this town, a friendly neighborhood restaurant where the chef felt free to be himself. But not enough people supported it. Between Modest Rogers and Darkoo’s Chicken Shack, it’s easy to get existentially angsty about whether Dallas is ready for personal projects like that, personal visions of great food. People will open their wallets for any chef who serves steak and cheeseburgers. But what about the individualists? Did nobody realize how delicious that food was? There were other closures this year that hurt because they took great food away from us — like Black Cat Pizza and Four Sisters in Fort Worth — but they don’t pose such frustrating questions about whether Dallas will support great food that doesn’t fit our preconceived notions of what great food looks like. I’m going to move on to the next question before I get more sad.”

Michelle Carpenter, chef at Zen Sushi and Restaurant Beatrice:

“This wasn’t in this year, but the most heart-breaking closure was Wa Kubota in 2020 due to the pandemic. This was an immaculately-designed restaurant. Of all the Japanese restaurants in DFW, this was the closest to being in Japan. The service was unparalleled because the servers anticipated your every need before you needed it. The interior was breath-taking and the owner, Kaoru Kabota, designed it himself, sourcing much of the materials from Japan including dishware, historical artifacts, and even chopstick rests and placemats. It was worth the hour-long drive from Oak Cliff to Plano. Thinking about it makes me sad given how much thought and intention went into the dining experience. You could feel the intention. Wa Kabota was mastery in Japanese design, Japanese service, and Japanese cooked foods”

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