Following two years of a pandemic, diners started coming back in 2022. And some restaurants and other local spots stepped up to give back. Eater Dallas polled local chefs, journalists, and food influencers about their thoughts on the local food scene in 2022. Here are their thoughts on which restaurants made an impact.
Was there one restaurant in particular that you felt really stepped up for your local community? How did they do so?
Tiffany Derry, chef at Roots Southern Table:
“One restaurant that stood out to me was Restaurant Beatrice, a Cajun eatery serving more than just delicious food. Their business model focuses on sustainability and minimizing waste as well as giving back to their community. The Beatrice team is working with Restorative Farms, a nonprofit transforming impoverished areas in the city into sources of locally-grown produce while also creating job opportunities. The work they’re doing is impressive and shows their commitment to doing good within the community — something I really admire.”
Rachel Pinn, Eater Dallas contributor:
“I’m constantly in awe of Val of Val’s Cheesecakes because rather than just focus on his challenges as a small business owner juggling locations, supply chain, the pandemic and staffing issues, he always projects his talents outward, bringing in other small businesses to do pop-ups with him, gathering voices for political discourse, and hosting voter registration events.”
John Tesar, chef at Knife:
“I think a lot of restaurants did. I saw it during the pandemic, it seemed like restaurants really banned together to help their community out and it’s just continued. I think Dallas did very well.”
Dean Fearing, chef at Fearing’s Restaurant:
“La La Land Kind Cafe opened 3 years ago in Lower Greenville and continued to expand throughout Texas and into California. Through their non-profit they employ, train, house foster youth and people with special needs in their cafes. In 2019, they opened their first cafe and since 2020 have grown to 9 locations.”
Brian Reinhart, D magazine dining critic:
“Can’t do better here than to link to Eater Dallas’s fantastic report on Restaurant Beatrice. This is not just flattery, by the way. It’s the right answer!”
Courtney E. Smith, Eater Dallas editor:
“Obviously, everything the crew at Restaurant Beatrice have done since it opened in the spring has impressed me and I’m looking forward to hearing how they move forward with composting programs and other initiatives they want to pilot in 2023. I was also moved by the collective of restaurants that raised money for the Ukraine in April and I keep noticing the different ways the team at Alexandre’s uses its menu to make political statements that need to be made about the LGBT+ community and equality.”