Toko V and Village Kitchen Are Closing, and That's a Good Sign for Dallas' Dining Scene

village-kitchen-burger.jpg
This thing is ridiculous.
By now you've perhaps heard the news: Village Kitchen and Toko V are done at the end of the week. The closure, paired with the recent demise of The Greek and Cafe des Artistes in One Arts Plaza, has local restaurant cognoscenti debating the state of Dallas' dining scene. Each of these restaurants tended to cling to clichéd, uninventive menus that have historically pulled in big profits, so does that fact that they're not working now suggest Dallas' dining palate is evolving?

It certainly could. Restaurants like FT33, Tei-An and Lucia are demonstrating that a growing number of Dallasites are ready for more than wedge salads and overcooked steaks, and they're doing strong business. And it's not just fine dining that's taking a turn. Ten Bells Tavern, Blind Butcher and other bars shun everyday bar food for handcrafted pub fare and hand-cranked sausages, while casual places like Mot Hai Ba are expanding our expectations for neighborhood restaurants.

Big-picture wise, these closures are a good thing. They show a city ready to move forward, and they incentivize new restaurants to innovate when they design their menus or potentially end up in the grease trap. You only wish the process would proceed more quickly.

Except with regards to Village Kitchen's burger. I reviewed the restaurant last year and coined chef Andre Natera's creation the slumpy burger because of its short stature and floppy, condiment-saturated bun that made it an enjoyable mess to eat. With Village Kitchen gone, that hot mess of a burger might be gone forever. It's a bummer.

There's a glimmer of hope, though. Twomey Concepts, the company that owns Village Kitchen and The Common Table, among others, says they're hanging onto Natera after the closure. With any luck, a similar burger will show up somewhere else in Dallas soon, and maybe this time with an upgrade from those crappy freezer-bag fries.

If Natera and Twomey Concepts don't pull it off, we'll all still be OK. There's a solid chance the next awesome burger riff is right around the corner, and if legacy restaurants don't want to build it for us, one of these new innovative and passionate restaurateurs surely will.

Location Info

Village Kitchen

33 Highland Park Village, Highland Park, TX

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

That slawburger.  Actually, the slaw looks good, but I'd scrape it off the burger and eat it as a side dish.

Captaincrunch015
Captaincrunch015

And let me guess you drive trucks for a living....ha! Shoemaker.

notallofeastdallasislakewood
notallofeastdallasislakewood

shocker.  all of the successful restaurants you named are also based on a single concept.  never understood the more concepts under one roof is better mentality.  now i'm off to lunch at chaucer's for sushi with medieval armored knights.

Captaincrunch015
Captaincrunch015

Yay! With village kitchen closing now we can have more bistro 31, Patrizio, cafe pacific, and my favorite of course mi cocina! They have really talented kitchen managers errr "chefs" there. And also thank god all those people are losing their jobs for the sake of FT 33 and Lucia's success sweet! Bring on more sarcasm shoemaker hack!

Greg820
Greg820

For some strange reason people want to go to restaurants they actually like instead of those that developers tell them they are supposed to like.  Go figure. 

Oxtail
Oxtail

No yin and yang. The problem is these restaurant groups think they need to give Dallasites what they (think locals) want, rather than what they need. When they put too many high end things in one area without balancing out to a more moderate level, they create these "flash in the pan" (pun intended) restaurants that lasts maybe 6 months or so.  You put a Goodfriend beer garden at Highland Park Village and it would kill!

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

I have often wondered who eats that crap ...I guess the answer is not enough people to keep them open.

gabe48
gabe48

@Captaincrunch015Displaced server alert.  One who hates his/her job - and life - and thinks everyone who doesn't tip at least 20% is an a**hole.  Isn't the entitlement attitude great?  Before I forget, Mac's Barbecue is "da bomb", on Main St. in Dallas. Great ribs and jalapeño sausage, fresh fries not frozen.  Also, a better concept than Village Kitchen and Toko V!

MikeD
MikeD

@Greg820 Spot on.  Developers are used to running this city but fortunately that doesn't carry over to restaurants.

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