Eleven years after Tristan Simon and Nick Badovinus opened Hibiscus, the ever-buzzy Henderson Avenue restaurant will close its doors — following dinner service on Saturday.
Tom Johnson, managing director for restaurants at Headington Cos., which owns the restaurant (it also owns the Joule hotel), said in a press release, "Though purely a business decision based on the lease expiring in the near term, closing Hibiscus is also a poignant one. The restaurant has been a favorite for many years, but we knew it was the right time to close, particularly as we look ahead to opening several restaurants over the next few months." The release states that Hibiscus employees will have been or will be considered for positions at other Headington Cos. restaurant locations, "in addition to those opening in the near term."
The restaurant, which then-critic Dotty Griffith described as "basically a steakhouse" in a four-star review soon after it opened, has evolved over the years into a forward-looking modern Texas showplace. In 2013, when Jason Ferraro was running the kitchen, I described Hibiscus in an enthusiastic four-star review as a "sophisticated steakhouse in farm-to-table clothing." The cooking there reached new heights when Graham Dodds took over as executive chef ; it earned another four-star review and a spot on my 2015 list of Best in DFW Top 10 Restaurants. Head bartender Grant Parker was on the leading edge of the craft cocktail movement, mixing some of suavest drinks in town.
The restaurant has not been reviewed since Dodds left last year to open Wayward Sons, with Nick Ocando taking his place as executive chef. Adam Rzeczkowski took charge of the kitchen when Ocando left in July.
Hibiscus' closure represents a significant loss for Dallas food lovers; it's the latest manifestation of a dining scene that's suffering something like an existential crisis, with an unusual number of chef defections and closures.