While this year has been tough, it's the little things – like great food and exploring our own backyards (for some of us, literally) – that keep us sane. In the spirit of exploring new places, trying new things and supporting locally, we've rounded up a list of restaurants that have opened this year in Dallas. Some have openings that date back to February (we were in quarantine, too) so if you missed them, here's your chance!
BISHOP ARTS/OAK CLIFF
Blue Cenote Sports Cantina
Baseball is (kind of) back, and Blue Cenote is offering up plenty of space and televisions to watch the games. Its menu is a mix of Tex-Mex staples and some bar food favorites, with brunch options available on Sundays. Check Blue Cenote's Facebook feed for food and happy hour specials – we saw several!
Donuts, coffee and vibes indeed. The warm and inviting space is big enough to do some serious social distancing while you enjoy your treats, and the outdoor patio is also great for groups, so consider it for a meet up with your much-missed besties.
Craft coffee and Oak Cliff go together so well, and this particular shop adds in a guest roaster element. Each month, the coffee shop will feature a coffee company dedicated to sustainability, on top of their standard coffee offerings. Find them along Davis Street near Norma's Café.
Sketches of Spain
Playing great attention to social distancing measures, this small restaurant has limited indoor seating to five tables and reservations are required. Outdoor seating is also available – as is happy hour Monday-Saturday – so you can enjoy your tapas and bottle of wine safely no matter where you sit.
White Rhino Coffee
No matter what time of day you stop by, something on the menu at White Rhino is bound to catch your eye. Go for breakfast options like loaded sweet potato hash or a mid-day chicken caprese sandwich. And if you're more comfortable grabbing coffee to go, just park in a designated spot and a barista will bring it out to you.
Get a taste of Nashville at Chirps. The signature dish, the Nashville hot chicken strips, are a must-try, as are the various sides: mac and cheese, crinkle cut fries and waffle fries. The chicken dishes come in three heat levels (country, Nashville and fire) – report back if you try the fire level; we weren't that brave.
Primo's MX Kitchen & Lounge
Once an Uptown staple, Primo's left the Dallas dining scene in 2013 and came back to us in early 2020 in the same spot they once occupied for more than three decades. Expect the best of Tex-Mex here in the form of family-style fajitas, tacos and enchiladas, which are all available to-go as well! Bonus: they're adding a third location at the Statler Hotel in Downtown Dallas (no opening date yet.)
If the name sounds familiar, it's because of the ham: The restaurant is named after the well-known jamón ibérico that originates from Spain. This is the brand's first U.S. outpost, with offerings across lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The tapas-based menu also offers some heartier meals, including several variations of paella.
Barcelona Wine Bar
Rounding out our list of Spanish-inspired restaurants on this list is Barcelona Wine Bar. This lively addition to the Knox/Henderson neighborhood is the first of its kind in Texas (there are other locations across the U.S.) and brings with it a late-night kitchen and plenty of cocktails.
Love Field/Northwest Dallas
State 28 Grill
Don't board a flight hungry! On your way to Love Field airport, stop by State 28 Grill. The restaurant opened its Texas flag-adorned doors in March and has been serving up great burgers ever since. You'll also find some Louisiana-inspired dishes on the menu, like red beans and rice and shrimp and grits.
Another high-quality option from the folks that brought us HG SPLY CO and Hero, Standard Service is a new addition to the Lower Greenville line up of restaurants. The food won't disappoint, so we'll point you to their selection of The Usual Cocktails, a list of eight rotating cocktails that are featured quarterly, with the three most popular remaining on the menu after the quarter is up; the rest will be replaced with new creations.
Haystack Burgers & Barley
The Lakewood neighborhood added the new burger spot in May after months of delays. If you're not in East Dallas, check out their other Dallas location near Oak Lawn!
Tucked into a side street off Haskell Avenue in Old East Dallas, Invasion is worth all the hype. Its menu features several standouts: The Cardi B, a massive spicy chicken sandwich with spicy mayo and coleslaw; elote and chicken wing flights; and some healthier options including veggie bowls, all at reasonable prices. Grabbing a seat inside might be difficult (it's a small space!) so grab it to go and enjoy it at Exall Park just a few minutes away.
The small craft brewpub and garden will hit the spot when a standard domestic beer just won't do. And with dedicated space for brewing wild and sour beers, you're bound to try something new! Order curbside to-go beers online, or stop by on the weekend for a patio brunch.
We love a travel theme and this cute coffee shop does it justice. Find the shop in a quieter strip along Greenville Avenue (it's near the former San Francisco Rose space) as you explore East Dallas. Grab an iced chai and sit in one of the small booths, staring out the "window" and reminisce about your next travel adventure.
XOXO Dining Room
Go for pink at this East Dallas spot: the colorful walls, booths and murals are impossible to miss. The restaurant's menu features shareables, salads and hearty entrees, but what really caught our eye was the desserts. Grab some friends and order the XOXO cupcake wheel.
We needed a ramen option along Cedar Springs! Its menu offers both broth-based and dry ramen dishes, along with wings and burgers. The best part? They're open until 2 a.m. (with carry-out orders available until 1:45 a.m.!)
The rainbow-themed bar (get the name now?) keeps it casual: think burgers and fried foods, sandwiches and easy-to-order house cocktails. Consider it for the nights where heels and makeup don't make the cut, but a few hours out of the house are needed.
Located on the ground-floor level of the The Statler Hotel, the lunch-and-dinner spot offers Italian-inspired fare in the form of build your own pasta bowls, pizza and sandwiches. Grab it to go and enjoy it in Main Street Garden, the park directly across the street from the hotel.
Find JAXON in the new AT&T Discovery District Downtown. The trendy restaurant includes a beautiful patio (perfect for people watching) and reinvented bar food – savory salads, hearty sandwiches and vegan-friendly options await.
Soul 2 Soul Southern Kitchen
Made from scratch soul food? Yes please. Soul 2 Soul Southern Kitchen, near Red Bird Mall in South Dallas, offers recipes from the Williams family that have been passed down for generations, including homemade mac and cheese and fried porkchops. Leave room for something sweet because the banana pudding is A+.
The Market at Bonton Farms coffee shop
The South Dallas restaurant and garden added a coffee shop and farmers market to its lineup. Find an assortment of pastries, along with offerings from its restaurant, alongside coffee offerings from local roasters Full City Rooster, on the menu.
Legit bagels without a trip to the east coast, and they even come with a Texas twist. The team at Shug's prides themselves in a Texas-milled flour bagel and they come in every flavor you'd expect, while also bringing in meats and cheeses from a longtime Dallas favorite, Jimmy's Food Store.
Trova Wine + Market
Treat yourself to wine, charcuterie boards and coffee all in one place with a trip to Trova. Don't know what to pick? Ask for Sophie's Choice, a collection of the chef's top picks, to get you started.