Pop Diner Has Closed, Thank God

Catherine Downes
Pop, popped.
Pop Diner opened to significant fanfare a little more than two years ago. The space was filled with Lichtenstein-esque prints and head shots of pop stars. The walls were bright red, the music was loud and the place was open 24 hours. It was just the sort of diner Uptown needed to keep late night drunks from digesting their own stomachs. We wanted to love it!

There was just one problem: the food was awful. I waded my way through dry, greasy burgers with meat of questionable provenance, terrible hot dogs and sandwiches that looked like they were assembled by a mitten-wearing walrus.

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Patrizio Is Leaving Highland Park Village after 25 Years

Patrizio's patio
There are only a few days left to get your Patrizio fix at the popular Highland Park Village location. After 25 years of meatball plates on an impressive patio, its last day of business will be February 28.

The landlord declined to renew the lease, opting instead to rent to new restaurant and retail businesses in the spaces surrounding the Highland Park Theater. Village Kitchen, Toko V and Tom Thumb are among the other casualties at the shopping plaza.

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Dish Is Taking its Brunch to North Dallas, but Leaving the Drag Queens Behind

Kevin Marple
Chicken and mushroom meatball grinder at Dish
Dish has been serving as a Jack-of-all-trades restaurant on Cedar Springs Road in Oak Lawn since it opened in 2011. After work, the cocktail set comes in to throw back high octane drinks and obliterate bad memories from the workday. Some of them stay for dinner, one of the better served in the neighborhood, and later in the evening, Dish might as well be spelled Club.

The restaurant also does a brunch service that has gained a reputation of a different sort. Anchored by a team of singing, dancing, raunchy-joke-telling drag queens, the drag brunch is one of a kind here in Dallas. It's a lot of fun if you don't have your 7-year-old sister in tow.

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Cucina Neighborhood Italian, a Bad Restaurant in a Bad Space, Has Already Closed

Kathy Tran
These meatballs shall bounce no more.
Cucina Neighborhood Italian, the Preston Center red-sauce restaurant that operated in the former Mi Piaci space, has closed. The restaurant opened in early 2014 after the months-long tenure of its predecessor, but was unable to capture the heart of neighborhood locals. Probably because it was bad.

The cavernous restaurant, which I reviewed just last month, spanned two levels and two dining rooms, with a sizable patio that faced Preston Road. The large dining room made the place feel hopelessly empty, and the sprawling menu didn't help.

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Taqueria La Ventana Is Expanding to the Farmers Market and Beyond, for Better or Worse

La Ventana Tacos.jpg
Catherine Downes
Tacos for days
La Ventana, the downtown taqueria that's piggybacked off the popular Mexican restaurant Meso Maya, is growing, with plans to open two additional locations in the Dallas area.

The first will be located at the Farmers Market, where La Ventana, along with three other yet-to-be-announced restaurants, will do their best to replace long-gone Pecan Lodge as an anchor for the market. That location is expected to open sometime this summer.

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Late-Night Pho Spot Dalat Has Spawned a Pizzeria, and It's Just as Weird

Thumbnail image for Dalat Beef Pho.jpg
Catherine Downes
Like this, but with pepperoni.
If Khanh Nguyen is known for anything at his pho restaurant DaLat, it's his rampant and sometimes unconventional creativity. This is the person who decided to serve ceviche on Doritos, turn egg rolls inside out and serve mimosas made with Tang. Bowls of soup can be doctored with something called Transcendental sauce at DaLat. The sauce is so hot it is administered a milliliter at time, and when the eyedropper comes out every set of chopsticks the restaurant remain still.

But recently, employees at this popular late-night spot have shifted their focus away from orange-colored foods and scalded palates to the action next door, where Nguyen is cooking up his next round of crazy dishes. Pastazio's, the former occupant, closed recently, after the owner was charged with some very unsavory pizza making, and Nguyen jumped on the space. He's since been testing pizza recipes in preparation of opening his own pizzeria he's named ZaLat.

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Top Pot Doughnuts Is Coming to Lower Greenville

Scot Reitz
The Top Pot case is calling.
Back in May, Top Pot Doughnuts, a popular doughnut chain out of Seattle, planted its frosted-and-fried flag in Texas, opening a shop on Hillcrest Road, just north of Northwest Highway. It's a funky location, apparently designed to entrap freeway-averse commuters, Preston Hollow families and, well, me.

The shop sits directly across Hillcrest from the entrance to my son's preschool, where I drop him off every morning. After I drop him off, I pull my car out of the parking lot and am faced with a daunting choice: Go straight and drive more or less directly into the doughnut case, or turn left and drive to work. The fine dusting of cinnamon and sugar on my driver's seat seems to indicate my tendency to just drive, man.

See also: Top Pot Doughtnuts Opens in Dallas

The only saving grace: I don't go anywhere near that place on the weekends. Now, though, grace is dead: They're opening a second one on Lower Greenville.

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Finally, Some Sushi in Trinity Groves

Sushi Bayashi is now ready for your uni cravings.
The foreseeable forecast frequently climbs past 70 degrees, with bright and sunny skies. That means it's time for extended patio drinking, in the middle of February, just the way God and Phil Romano intended.

At Romano's Trinity Groves restaurant utopia, the massive continuous patio that spans the front of the main building is likely the largest collection of outdoor drinking perches in all of Dallas. To further entice you, Romano and his gang have added a new sushi restaurant, slated to open today at happy hour.

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Primo's Will Open in a Design District Apartment Building, Taunt Residents with Salsa

The salsa man cometh.
Central Standard was one of the several restaurants owned by a company called Restaurants-America to open in Dallas and close not long after. Primebar, Park Tavern, Townhouse Bar + Grill, Boca Chica, Mockingbird Taproom -- they all went down. Apparently they're not doing so well in Chicago, either.

Central Standard closed last summer, after a very brief tenure in the 1400 Hi Line building in the Design District. Not long after, it was announced that Primo's Bar and Grill would open in the shuttered space, and after some light renovation work it looks like they'll finally be open soon.

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Café Salsera Will Bring Chips, Salsa and That Other Kind of Salsa to Deep Ellum

Soon this will be your gateway to Salsa. (And coffee, too.)
My one and only experience with salsa was a traumatic one: I was on a date with a woman who wanted to take lessons at a bar in Washington D.C. They got us drunk and guided us through a progressively difficult set of dance maneuvers. I could handle the basic step, but when I added any spins, turns or even arm movements, my feet revolted. The adventure ended with a Latin dude as tall as Dirk doing things to my date I didn't know were possible.

I fucking hate salsa. Unless it's on a chip.

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