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Dean Fearing stands in front of a set of booths and lamps in a restaurant, wearing chef whites.
Dean Fearing, chef at Fearing’s Restaurant in the Ritz Carlton.
The Ritz-Carlton Dallas

This Is What Dallasites Hope for the Restaurant Industry in 2023

Dallas chefs Dean Fearing, Tiffany Derry, Michell Carpenter, John Tesar, and Brendan Frankel weigh in, along with other notable names in food

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.

Eater Dallas polled local chefs, journalists, and food influencers about their thoughts on the local food scene in 2022. We also asked them to look forward to 2023, and here are their hopes for what we’ll see in their industry in 2023.

What is your biggest hope for the restaurant industry in 2023?

Leslie Chatman, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I just hope that Dallas continues to see growth in its local chef-driven concepts and fewer transplants from New York, Florida, and California. We have so many amazing homegrown chefs in this city and I want to see them flourish to heights unknown. That means we as diners have to seek them out, visit their restaurants, and support them to the fullest.”

A woman stands in a short sleeved, black chef’s top, with Beatrice embroidered on it in white.
Michelle Carpenter, chef and owner of Zen Sushi and Restaurant Beatrice.
Restaurant Beatrice

Michelle Carpenter, chef at Zen Sushi and Restaurant Beatrice:

I’m sure that all restaurant owners want normalcy. We’re still having supply chain and distribution issues. We are dealing with inflation. In some cases, packaging materials have gone up 200%. A lot of restaurants are still under-staffed. We are investing a lot in training the staff we do have. Every restaurant owner wants everyone to leave happy, but we don’t have everything we need to deliver that experience consistently. We’re dealing with a brand new workforce. Years of experience cannot be replaced with weeks of training. This makes me especially grateful for the quality of customers who have truly embraced Zen Sushi and Restaurant Beatrice.”

Jon Alexis, Imperial Fizz hospitality group:

“I hope we combat the various obstacles to truly empathetic service. Whether it’s a younger generation who has grown up ‘dining’ from apps and delivery drivers to diners who are so frustrated with life that they come in with a chip on their shoulder, we have to break down those barriers. Breaking bread together is in our DNA. Welcoming a guest and making that hour the best part of their day...we have been doing this amongst humans for thousands of years. It’s not just a business — it’s an essential societal need we serve. Dining isn’t about the Instagram picture or a cooking technique. It’s about the warm exchange of care. Operators can’t give up on that task, and diners can’t get apathetic and believe it is gone forever.”

Brian Reinhart, D magazine dining critic:

“That the next time a restaurant like Modest Rogers or Darkoo’s opens, Dallasites fall in love with it and keep it open. We badly need to set an example to young chefs that they can do cool things and be different and succeed in this town.”

Tiffany Derry, chef at Roots Southern Table:

“I hope that we can continue to build a sustainable system that works for all. I also hope we can identify ways to do this that are not policed by the government, but rather the government is working with us to open doors in order to really create change within our own communities.”

The exterior of Cafe Duro on Dallas’s Greenville Avenue has a light brick facade and a striped awning with Tiffany blue tables and chairs.
Cafe Duro, by Duro Hospitality, is one of several surprising concepts from the company.
Stephen Karlisch

Kevin Gray, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I hope the industry continues to push boundaries and give diners food and experiences that fall outside our collective comfort zone. Big, name-brand openings draw buzz and fill dining rooms, but some of the best cooking happens via pop-ups and backroom tasting menus. I also hope diners will reward those plucky operations with their money.”

Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Dallasites 101:

“I really hope we see more farm to table style, locally driven, sustainable restaurants open. Places like Garden Cafe and Cry Wolf...smaller, hole-in-the-wall spots that support their given community, care a lot about the people they’re serving and food they’re cooking, and that will ultimately help elevate the Dallas food scene in an interesting and gastronomic way.”

Brendan Frankel, chef de cuisine at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek:

“My biggest hope for the restaurant industry is that we continue to focus on supporting local businesses in 2023. Given the changes over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to support both existing and new restaurant concepts, as well as the local farms that work closely with these restaurants. At Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, we work with a multitude of local farms and farmers to ensure we’re offering guests the freshest ingredients while supporting the Dallas community.”

Rachel Pinn, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I hope our local restaurants begin to not just survive, not just recover, but truly thrive in 2023. The support of our community of Eaters is the best way for them to get there!”

Rosin Saez, Thrillist senior editor of food and drink:

“I definitely want to see more bold ideas and experimentation. Be not afraid to shake Dallas diners out of their comfort zones, indeed that’s the only thing that pushes our palates and makes our city into a dining destination. I think I’ve seen chefs and restaurants and cooks — whoever! — really follow their hearts the past two years (because the state of the world will do that to you!). And I want to see more of what’s on people’s hearts so I can see it on my plate.”

Dean Fearing, chef at Fearing’s Restaurant:

“I want everyone to eat out more and support local restaurants. We are still recovering from the residual effects of the pandemic as it pertains to cost and the evolution of staffing. Every little bit of extra business gives operators and owners more drive to keep creating new and exciting things. Additionally, it provides steady hours for the employees we already have and creates new jobs to accompany new business demands. I can’t stress this enough, food is everything.”

Nataly Keomoungkhoun, D magazine food editor:

“I hope chefs feel inspired to take risks. Dallas diners are excited to back in the dining room and trying new foods along with things they know and love. Bring in international flavors and those childhood favorites. Nothing is off the table in 2023 and beyond!”

John Tesar, chef at Knife:

Diners in baseball caps sit in the foreground while chef John Tesar laughs in the kitchen of Knife in the background. Behind him are the restaurant’s green tiled walls and steel kitchen appliances.
John Tesar in the kitchen at Knife in Dallas.

“That we put aside the social civil war that exists in the outside world and we look at the restaurant business solely as the hospitality business, not the inclusion business or empathy business. I need to feed my family and take care of the people that work for me. I look at it like that. I have to take care of them, and I have to make their lives move forward. If you don’t realize that you need to create opportunities and help them be successful, then you are all the terrible things they say about you. I’m fortunate enough to have employees that hold my feet to the fire. They do such great work for me so I always feel the need to be giving back to them. I hope to always offer new inspiration, and show them my appreciation. That’s how you nurture a real restaurant. People want to work for a chef for a reason, and that reason is that we are serving great food, with amazing hospitality, and we are enriching lives at the same time. It’s all amazing.”


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