These were the 10 most-read Dallas restaurant and bar stories of 2020
Editor’s note: At the end of the year we look back on the 10 most-read restaurant and bar stories of 2020. This list highlights the unprecedented challenges and utter devastation the hospitality industry has faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The famous restaurants in Dallas sadly closed, bars reconfigured business models and readers tried to keep up with the fast-moving news – especially at the start of the pandemic. These are the food stories Dallasites read the most, all by CultureMap editor Teresa Gubbins.
1. Dallas ‘Gas Monkey Live ahead of Fast N’ Loud’s Richard Rawlings closes. Gas Monkey Live, a live music spot in northwest Dallas, confirmed in May that it had closed, but the live music – and the scheduled shows – would go on. The venue, which was originally closed in late March due to COVID-19, would merge with the nearby Gas Monkey Bar N ‘Grill sibling, staff said at the time. It is not open now. A December 9 message posted on Gas Monkey’s website said there was “hibernation for the winter”.
2. The steakhouse in North Dallas is locked out and moves to Frisco. The Dallas Forks Steakhouse in Dallas closed on September 9 after being locked out by the landlord, but opened a store in a sister restaurant in Frisco. The steakhouse is located at 17776 N. Dallas Pkwy. And was closed at that location after nearly 23 years, citing the effects of COVID-19 as the cause. It moved to 1303 Legacy Dr. and took over the space occupied by its sibling steakhouse Silver Fox.
3. The Texas Governor Eventually Closes Restaurants and Bars Nationwide. After avoiding the inevitable for more than a week after the early coronavirus outbreak in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott finally stopped eating in restaurants and bars across the state on March 19. Restaurants could still offer takeout and delivery, and Abbott specifically allowed them to sell beer, wine, and mixed drinks to take away. They reopened later in the spring, but crowd capacity restrictions and other strict COVID-19 protocols (see # 6 below) continued throughout the year.
4. The Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the Reunion Tower in Dallas has disappeared for good. In one of the most famous concepts of the coronavirus, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s downtown Dallas restaurant closed in the spring. Five Sixty von Wolfgang Puck, the upscale Asian restaurant on the Reunion Tower, announced at the end of April that it would not only be closed for the duration of the pandemic, but permanently. It opened in early 2009 in the city’s most distinctive dining room in the landmark of flickering light.
5. The magical underground restaurant in downtown Dallas is closing after 36 years. One of the oldest and best-known restaurants in Dallas became another coronavirus death: Dakota’s steakhouse, the downtown seafood and steakhouse tucked away in a cool underground room, officially closed in May. Established in 1984, Dakota’s has been open for 36 years – a longevity few other restaurants match. And with its underground location, it had one of the most distinctive and romantic settings in the city.
6. Master List of Dallas Restaurants Open for Dinner May 1st. Good or bad idea, dozens of restaurants in the Dallas area were planning to reopen for dine-in on May 1st. Given the largest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases in Dallas County (at that time), the state of Texas allowed restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to reopen, provided that occupancy was capped at 25 percent. The restaurants had to follow a set of regulations that included no larger groups than six people at least two meters apart, no valet parking, no salt shakers, contactless payment and more.
7. Main list of all Dallas restaurants and bars that have closed in 2020. It’s a gritty CultureMap tradition of compiling an annual list of restaurant closings, although this is usually more of a tribute to what came and went. However, the 2020 version was more brutal than usual as so many restaurants and bars were closed due to COVID-19. Here was this year-end list published on December 28th.
8. Texas restaurants and small businesses get COVID-19 credit slot. In April, a federal aid package to restaurants and other small businesses ran out of money – but not before some large businesses received checks while small businesses were completely excluded. As part of the CARES Act stimulus program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a $ 350 billion package designed to help businesses with 500 employees or fewer. According to the Texas Restaurant Association, hundreds of small operators across Texas not only failed to get loans, they also couldn’t get a response.
9. Coronavirus hits employees at two high-profile restaurants in Dallas. In mid-March, two early cases of coronavirus surfaced at a well-known Dallas restaurant and upscale grocery store. An employee at a Dallas location in Central Market tested positive for the virus, as did a server in Town Hearth, chef Nick Badovinus’ Design District restaurant. The supermarket reiterated its commitment to disinfection and social distancing, while the restaurant contacted those who may have come into contact with the server and reported that she is recovering.
10. Colleyville defies government orders and reopens restaurants and churches. The city of Colleyville defied the Texas lockdown and the most basic common sense in April, allowing churches, restaurants and other businesses to reopen with certain restrictions despite an unsolved end to the coronavirus pandemic. Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton issued a proclamation to reopen the city on April 20, three days after Governor Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen Texas – incrementally.