Esquire Names Stampede 66 and Spoon among America's Best New Restaurants

Categories: Food News

Dallas' restaurant scene has managed to shove its way into the national conversation this year: First, FT-33 and Smyth got attention in multiple national magazines, and now Esquire is giving Dallas a one-two punch of feel-good. Stephan Pyle's Stampede 66, and John Tesar's Spoon have been recognized in a list of this year's best new restaurants. Los Angeles and New York are the only other cities to get multiple mentions.

Crunchy honey-fried chicken and barbecued beef brisket, along with a slew of desserts, are listed among dishes that make the "hugely entertaining" Stampede 66 worth a visit. It's hard to imagine Stephan Pyles doing a back flip. He's so used to years of national accolades that he probably yawned before tipping his cowboy hat back to Esquire and firing up another chicken-fried steak.

Spoon's mention, on the other hand, must feel like a significant validation for Tesar. After tough times at The Mansion, and the subsequent closure of The Commissary, Tesar was looking to prove he was still a relevant chef. He signed a long-term lease in a quirky location filled with shoe stores and chain restaurants before he hunkered down and cooked his heart out.

Now, after a slew of local positive local reviews, national glossy magazines are raining praise. Bon Appetit, and multiple Conde Nast publications have mentioned Tesar, and now Esquire is endorsing Spoon as the most exciting new seafood restaurant in America since New York's Marea (Best New Restaurants 2009) opened four years ago.

Suddenly a long-term lease in a shopping center is looking like a successful value play. And Singapore-style chile lobster on Texas toast is looking like what you'll have for dinner.

Location Info



Spoon Bar & Kitchen

8220 Westchester Drive, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Stampede 66

1717 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help

its good to see Dallas being mentioned in some of these magazines. its rare these days. And we have so much good stuff going on around here nowadays, food, entertainment and business.  I hope we see more of it. 


That beans and cornbread looks awesome.


@Nictacular Gimmicky the the rest of the theme restaurant known as is more suited for tourists in Orlando than serious minded diners Dallas....think Western Wally World


@CitizenKane - I'm really curious what your obsession is with slamming Stampede 66 at its recognition on any blog, at any time, over and over. Your feelings were apparent as soon as it opened. I am very pleased that Dallas has placed two restaurants on this list this year. That's never happened.

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@CitizenKane Sorry, but sign me up with CitizenKane.  The food is way overrated, and the cutsey presentation does not make up for it.


@dsmithy3211 @CitizenKane Yeah, it's gimmicky,  beans in a pot, gimmicky. .............and the gimmicks don't make up for the weakness in the food.....

I am not an expense account diner;  when I drop $125 pp for a meal, I want to enjoy a great meal......

If someone asks you to choose between a great meal in a mediocre restaurant environment, or a mediocre meal in a glitzy space with lots of aesthetic bells and whistles, which would you choose ?

I know my answer.


@CitizenKane Wait, I thought your complaint was the "Gimmicky the rest of the theme restaurant known as S-66." Now the complaint is "the mediocrity of the food"? But "the space is spectacular"? 

So, it's a gimmicky, yet spectacular theme restaurant? 

And serving beans and cornbread as in the picture above is somehow gimmicky?

My only gripe with this place is that the chicken-n-dumplings were removed from the menu. Not that you would care. It was served in a bowl, and the chicken was *gasp* smoked; it'd probably be too gimmicky for your ilk, methinks.


@stephanpyles @CitizenKane I don't have an obsession with slamming S-66.....But I do have a strong opinion about the food.  Some will agree others will disagree.

Dallas has a great dining scene happening right now;  better than it has ever been IMO. S-66 doesn't represent the best of Dallas IMO; if it had to stand alone on it's food, it would be a fail - not because the food is awful, but because of the mediocrity of the food. True the space is spectacular; the service stellar (as I have written); but that only get's this diner so far.  Strip it away and what do you have ?  The restaurant's obsession with having a "cowboy wow" factor to every thing is a turn off.  It isn't necessary to having a great meal.  But it certainly can make up for deficiencies in the menu (with some). I am sure your model is a success and I am in the minority.  I wish you nothing but good fortune.

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