Kitchen LTO has been open in Dallas since 2013. A spokeswoman confirms it is closing Sunday, July 17.

Kitchen LTO has been open in Dallas since 2013. A spokeswoman confirms it is closing Sunday, July 17.

Evans Caglage/The Dallas Morning News

Kitchen LTO in West Dallas has closed. A representative from Trinity Groves, the restaurant district that houses Kitchen LTO and a dozen or so other restaurants at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in West Dallas, confirmed the closure, as did Kitchen LTO founder Casie Caldwell.

The very point of Kitchen LTO was to keep Dallasites engaged with an ever-changing dining scene — this, in a city full of fickle eaters. Every few months or so, Kitchen LTO changed its interior design and its chef. LTO stands for "limited time only" and the eatery earned the tagline of a "permanent pop-up" restaurant. 

The latest chef at Kitchen LTO was Nick Amoriello.

The latest chef at Kitchen LTO was Nick Amoriello.

Jerry McClure/Special Contributor

Since Caldwell launched the restaurant in 2013, it has seen six chefs with cuisines as varied as Southern comfort food and modern Mexican. Diners who visited infrequently would find a totally new menu each time. 

Certainly, this "permanent pop-up" sometimes suffered an identity crisis. How couldn't it, given all the purposeful turnover? But many times, those fresh ideas really worked. Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner found skillful cooking from chef Eric Shelton in spring 2014. The latest chef, Nick Amoriello, turned out some interesting wild game dishes, Brenner said in spring 2016.

The kitchen helped launch both new and veteran chefs. Blythe Beck, now the chef at Pink Magnolia in Dallas, ended up staying longer at Kitchen LTO than her allotted four months because of a #keepblythe social media campaign. 

Caldwell hopes Kitchen LTO will live on in a new location someday. In a phone interview Sunday night, she seemed upbeat.

"In the midst of everything that's going on in the world," she said, alluding to the recent attack on Dallas police officers and other world news, "you have to put things in perspective. And this is a restaurant closure."

"I told the staff last night, we did a lot of good for up and coming artists who used this as a platform for their careers," Caldwell says. "We raised a lot of money and we served a lot of good food. There's a lot to be celebrated in this."

Investors behind Trinity Groves have said several times they aren't afraid to close restaurants that don't work. Serial restaurateur Phil Romano, one of three who purchased nearly 100 acres of land to create the Trinity Groves restaurant complex in West Dallas, has even closed his own restaurant (as well as others') when they didn't prove to be the right fit in that West Dallas space.

"We continue to 'launch, listen and learn' with every new concept," Romano says in a statement related to the closure of Kitchen LTO.  Romano has launched major brands such as Macaroni Grill, Eatzi's and Fuddruckers, and has said Trinity Groves is a test site — a place where he wants to find the Next Big Thing. (Or the Next Big Things. There's room at the top for more than one.)

Caldwell called the closure a "financial decision" and was complimentary of Trinity Groves. "I think that neighborhood is really going to flourish," she said. "... It could be the next Uptown." 

"It was really exciting to be a part of that. I leave there very grateful."

Past chefs at Kitchen LTO include (clockwise, from left) Anastacia Quiñones, Eric Shelton and Blythe Beck, pictured with Kitchen LTO founder and owner Casie Caldwell. For some, the restaurant was a launch pad for up and coming chefs.

Past chefs at Kitchen LTO include (clockwise, from left) Anastacia Quiñones, Eric Shelton and Blythe Beck, pictured with Kitchen LTO founder and owner Casie Caldwell. For some, the restaurant was a launch pad for up and coming chefs.

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