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Carbones Dallas

The Trends We Loved (and Hated) in Dallas Dining in 2022

From the beauty of small plates to the glut of Italian places, there was a lot to love — and plenty to hate

Courtney E. Smith is the editor of Eater Dallas. She's a journalist of 20 years who was born and raised in Texas, with bylines in Pitchfork, Wired, Esquire, Yahoo!, Salon, Refinery29, and more. When she's not writing about food, she co-hosts the podcast Songs My Ex Ruined.

For every great thing about dining in DFW, there is an equal and opposite annoying thing. 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 trends they loved and the ones they hated in 2022.

What was the most exciting Dallas restaurant trend of 2022?

Dean Fearing, chef at Fearing’s Restaurant:

“Sharables. Every restaurant is trending to this. It makes sense; faster food service to tables and more options for everyone to try. It’s great that you can go to a restaurant and almost create your own tasting menu for yourself and your group.”

DeQuilla Gennay, Da Foodie Baddie:

“I loved the seafood boil and ramen trend. I visited King Crab House located in Arlington. Got a big fat bag of seafood swimming in a really delicious House Special seasoning with a medium heat level. I swiftly packed my big Small Special Lovin’s bag in the car and arrived home to boil a pack of Maruchan Ramen Noodle Shrimp Flavor. Without the seasoning pack, if you’re wondering. It was fantastic in every way. A soup spoon is strongly suggested!”

Allie Adamek, The Real Slim Foodie:

“A combo of both in my opinion, but Italian food - there really was a surge this year. Whether it was reopenings (Sassetta and Dolce Riviera); new concepts (Dea and Cafc Duro); transplants coming in (Carbone and Vino); and maybe every restaurant in town putting spicy rigatoni on their menu, Italian influence has been popping-up all over.”

Courtney E. Smith, Eater Dallas editor:

“This year, many chefs and restaurateurs talked to me about adapting the new expectations of their workforce. Gen Z is entering the hospitality and service industries and insisting it be reshaped into the kind of place they want to be. Plus, the shifts for the better, and in favor of workers, that happened during Covid have been embraced by veteran workers and are becoming the new normal. It’s great to see the industry evolve and to hear so many people start to reconsider the value of their front of house, kitchen staff, and chefs. I hope it goes on and gets better.”

Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Dallasites 101:

“Mexican restaurants — we gained some beautiful new restaurants so I don’t like to be negative about this but I would love to see maturity in the Dallas restaurant scene around introducing other cuisines than only Mexican. We are always getting DMs asking about where to find South American, Central American and Spanish cuisine and yet, those options continue to remain limited.”

What was the most infuriating Dallas restaurant trend of 2022?

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

“The rise of super high-end dining at the expense of affordable, interesting, creative neighborhood places.”

John Tesar, chef at Knife:

“As many great tacos there are in the Southwest, and what a great culinary experience and amazing tacos can be, I’m just tired of everybody using the taco as an excuse for attention. I just think there’s more to life than tacos. There’s more in the culinary landscape than tacos. When I look for a restaurant I look for authenticity. That’s what I love about Teiichi [Sakurai at Tei-An] — he brings Japan to Dallas, and Junior [Borges at Meridian] brings Brazil to Dallas. And now with what Chas [Martin at Duro Hospitality] is doing. He’s bringing authentic Mexican cuisine to Dallas. It’s a real dining experience.”

Rosin Saez, Thrillist senior editor of food and drink:

“This isn’t a new trend by any means: outsiders coming to Dallas and opening the most extravagantly mundane restaurants for no other reason than $$$ (there are exceptions, sure, but this is so boring).”

Jon Alexis, Imperial Fizz hospitality group:

“A lack of effort when it comes to hospitality. It seems many restaurants have just given up and seem content with ‘transactional; experiences v. old school sense of taking care of the guest.”

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

“Everyone was pouring Aperol spritzes and negroni sbagliatos — an extremely exciting development considering Dallas’s obsession with syrupy sweet cocktails — but often with the worst prosecco imaginable. My kingdom for great spritzes made with good bubbly!”

Leslie Chatman, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I would say the most infuriating (or annoying) local restaurant trend of 2022 was the influx of Italian (including pizza) spots opening. It became a bit exhausting.”

Rachel Pinn, Eater Dallas contributor:

“Most infuriating, obvi: style over substance. Sure, we eat with our eyes, but we also eat with our mouths. Please focus on food before flash.”

Tiffany Derry, chef at Roots Southern Table:

“The most infuriating food trend for me that wasn’t necessarily in restaurants, was butter boards. When you’re mixing all of the butters together, you’re not tasting them each on their own. Focusing less on how your food looks for social media, and more on the individual flavor and quality is what matters.”

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Scene Report

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