The Year in Review: Dallas Dining Scene 2012

Tully Lewis in TuLu’s Gluten-Free Bakery

In a couple hours, it’ll be 2013. Scary, scary thought. At least 2012 was a pretty good year, right? I mean, we came pretty close to the end of the world (thanks, Mayans), but we’re still alive. Amazing how that worked out.

So here’s what happened on SideDish this year. Take a walk through Nostalgia Park with me as I review what’s happened during the last 365 days. We can even hold hands and skip past the trees together.

You ready?

Everybody wanted a piece of Preston Center. That area was h-o-t. Within the last nine months of 2012, a slew of places decided to nest in that little piece of land between the tollway, Preston Road, and Northwest Highway. TuLu’s, Ocho, Hopdoddy, Spoon, and Katherine Clapner’s Dude, Sweet Chocolate are making the Park Cities even more of a traffic hazard, and we already know that Wicked Po’ Boys is opening its second location three doors down from Hopdoddy in 2013. Lots to look forward to.

Trader Joe’s in Plano (photo by Melisa Oporto)

The California-zation of Texas has made everybody freak out over every single Trader Joe’s opening, and Austin is trying its best to hipsterize Dallas. Shops like Houndstooth Coffee (coming 2013) and Coolhaus’ ice cream truck have joined our scene. Though we still can’t decide which neighborhood is hipper: East Dallas or Oak Cliff?

Casual is in; fine dining is out. Sadly, less than five months after Nancy reviewed Nana, it turned into a steakhouse. Yuck. And then we said goodbye to Craft Dallas and CampO, which used to serve foods we couldn’t even pronounce. Now it serves grilled cheese sandwiches.

Hoffman hot dogs (photo by Carol Shih)

It’s been a great year for hot dogs (Nancy says they’re the new hamburger), but it hasn’t been such a good year for Ed Bailey. He got into a tussle with Eddie “Lucky” Campbell in The Battle over The Chesterfield. Bailey’s restaurant empire is dying slowly, too, piece by piece.

This reminds me: Nancy assures us all that food writing will not die a slow death at D, despite what everyone else says. (I believe it. She’d never go down without a fight.) The future of food writing is scary, and Dallas restaurateurs need to be wary of food bloggers who expect only freebies. They’re changing the world of food journalism, and not in a good way, either.

Tres leches cake (photo by Carol Shih)

Bruno Davaillon almost nabs the James Beard award for Best Southwestern Chef, but he loses to skinny-pants-wearing Paul Qui. The State Fair of Texas loses Big Tex to a fire, and the fried Samoas disappoint. Thankfully, the fried tres leches cake didn’t. Everyone who attended the State Fair left Fair Park 2,340,394,808 calories heavier.

Oak wins 2012 Restaurant of the Year. Andddddd, that’s all, folks.  [Cue music, close curtain, everybody claps.]

Artist Renderings: Sylvan | Thirty and Trinity Groves.

Well. There’s still 2013. Once  Trinity Groves and Sylvan | Thirty open, West Dallas is about to be the culinary epicenter of Dallas. And it’s looking like John Tesar may have a shot at winning Top Chef Season 10. We’ll just wait and see. 2013 could be the Year of the Tesar.