clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saint Valentine Bar Is Open in East Dallas

Plus Matt McCallister’s exec chef role announced, a notable downtown sushi spot is coming, and must-try fast casual from South Africa and England announce openings

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.

A highly anticipated bar from Ryan Payne of Tiny Victories and Gabe Sanchez of Black Swan and Midnight Rambler in the Joule quietly opened just before Thanksgiving — right when the owners promised Eater Dallas when we spoke earlier this month. Saint Valentine Bar slid into that space that used to be Round Top (yes, the roast beef restaurant near Jimmy’s Food Store) after spending some months transforming the space into the cool hangout of their dreams.

“Ryan and I have been buddies for a long time,” Sanchez says. “We’ve bartended and golfed together, and we were talking about it and...[decided] to partner and do something fun and more creative.” The cocktail program is a must-try for those who already know their work. The bar also offers natural wines, which Sanchez credits to the influence of Jennie Kelley at Fond, and locally brewed beers along with a selection of traditional favorites. And the bar menu is full of “not too fancy” bites — Sanchez asked that we not mock the use of tinned fish, so we’ll just point out that Eater thinks not treating that like a luxury item is correct. It’s now open Wednesday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Matt McCallister returns with a new life (er, menu)

Okay, but literally — McCallister is back, having created the menu for a modern Mexican restaurant called UnaVida (that’s one life if you need a translator). It’s backed by Local Favorite Restaurants Group, which already has Meso Maya, Taqueria La Ventana, El Fenix, Del Toro BBQ, Tulum, Jalisco Norte, and some non-Mexican food places. Apparently, McCallister became its executive chef of new concepts in March 2023.

The first location is now open in the West Village, and many buzzy food words like clean, fresh, and quality are in the press release. Some items sound interesting, like Heartcakes made with hearts of palm cakes, avocado, salsa Veracruz, cabbage slaw, and lime aioli. And then there are smothered burritos, a “La Hamburgesa” (yes, it is a fancy hamburger), and an open-faced enchilada verde with the diner’s choice of chicken or steak. It will serve brunch, lunch, and dinner and half-priced bottles of wine daily from 3 to 6 p.m. Find it at 3699 McKinney Avenue, Suite 307, in Dallas.

Need more omakase?

If you answered yes, great news: Sushi | Bar is opening in downtown Dallas (the East Quarter, to be exact) on December 1, and reservations are available now, according to a press release. You’ll need those reservations — the restaurant has two private subterranean dining rooms that hold 12 and will each host 17-course omakase dinners at three seatings available Wednesdays through Sundays. It will also offer a speakeasy bar called Ginger’s to extend whichever kind of evening you’re having.

A taste of South Africa in DFW

Nando’s Peri-Peri plans to open in Addison on December 11. If you don’t know the drill, it is known for its chicken, which is marinated for 24 hours and then flame-grilled. Diners can order it spiced to their specifications. The fast casual chain can be found on five continents and in 24 countries — this will be its first location in the Metroplex.

A UK phenomenon comes to Dallas

Wagamama, which serves up Asian-ish fare and has been a phenomenon since it opened in the UK in the ‘90s, is opening its first Texas spot in Dallas’s Victory Park on December 8. It’s fast casual at communal tables but unhurried and with a bespoke feeling — not quite the Chipotle vibes one might conjure up.

Correction: November 27, 2023, 4:07 p.m.: This article has been updated to correct the name of the bar in Sushi | Bar and that it will not offer regular dining.