For years, Victory Park was home to the American Airlines Center and not much else. Visitors to the area could see a Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Stars game, or catch a superstar musician in concert. But other than a few nearby restaurants, Victory Park had not been victorious in bringing foot traffic to the area, despite its location near Uptown and downtown Dallas.
Get a new vision of Victory Park in your head, folks. Restaurateurs engaged in an extensive overhaul of Victory Park say that as many as a dozen new restaurants are coming to the neighborhood, with eight expected to open by summer 2018.
Perhaps it wasn't set up for success from the start. A few years ago, the city of Dallas moved Victory Park in a new direction when it converted Houston Street from a one-way road to two-way. "Now, the idea is that people want to stay there," says Leslie Brenner, the former Dallas Morning News restaurant critic who is now on the Rebees team, helping curate the restaurants in Victory Park.
"It's just going to feel a lot more vibrant," Brenner says. "With the caliber of restaurants coming in, I think it'll be really fun and creative and expressive of Dallas."
The 75-acre neighborhood will also soon have a Cinepolis movie theater among its reimagined restaurants and high-rise residential buildings.
Within the restaurant redevelopment, developers are leaning heavily on local talent. "The first go-around of Victory Park didn't work out the way they wanted it to," says restaurateur Brandon Hays. "Now, they're going with the local narrative, and I think it has a lot more authenticity to what the area's trying to bring."
Here's a look at the restaurants and bars that are expected to open in Victory Park in 2018:
A modern Texas saloon. Brenner wouldn't share the name yet, but we do know that chef Matthew Ford (formerly of downtown Dallas restaurant Americano) is heading up the culinary operations. Since it's being described as a "saloon," this place is going to be "very bar forward," Brenner explains, with a stout tequila and whiskey selection. But it'll have a full menu, too, serving modern Texas cuisine. It's bound to be interesting since it's from longtime Dallas restaurateur Tristan Simon, of Rebees.
Dibs on Victory. This bar and restaurant from Hays and Phil Schanbaum (Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ, High Fives and more) is going to show off a favorite bar trick: a giant patio. ("Everyone knows Dallas loves a patio," Hays says.) The second floor of Dibs will be a 2,600-square-foot patio. Hays hopes to capture the interest of diners at nearly all hours: brunch, happy hour, during game-day events and more.
A bar inside a parking garage. Interesting, right? Brooke Humphries (Barcadia, Mudsmith and more) is going to share more information on this project very soon. The bar will be located inside the existing parking structure on Victory Park Lane. You'll enter the parking garage and then hang out in paved paradise.
Imoto. Where Kenichi once was, restaurateurs Kent and Tracy Rathbun plan to open an Asian restaurant and bar called Imoto. You know Tracy's name from Shinsei, the Asian restaurant at Lovers Lane and Inwood Road in Dallas, and the nearby Lovers Seafood and Market. And you know Kent as the longtime (and former) executive chef at Abacus. Imoto will have a private event space and a DJ later at night, according to a press release.
Mesero. This popular Mexican restaurant in the Dallas area will launch a new iteration in Victory Park. Expect mostly the same menu as existing locations, company president Trey Dyer says.
Burgundy Swine. This traditional wine bar will have a dog-friendly patio outside and a private tasting room inside. It'll also be a retail shop for anyone who wants to pop in and take a bottle home, says a press release.
A giant "restaurant entertainment concept." We don't know much yet about this spot, other than Humphries is partnering with Elias Pope (HG Sply Co.) on a 24,000 square-foot place.
A coworking spot with a cafe. They're mum on the name of this two-story place, and Brenner and her crew are not ready to talk about the cuisine. Here's what we know: A 4,000-square-foot cafe will serve breakfast, lunch, snacks and grab 'n go items at dinnertime. A much bigger part will be a coworking area. And God bless, there'll be coffee.