More than 20 restaurants and bars have opened -- or are opening -- in Deep Ellum. Consider it a very important time to be a food-lover in one of Dallas' most homegrown neighborhoods.

More than 20 restaurants and bars have opened -- or are opening -- in Deep Ellum. Consider it a very important time to be a food-lover in one of Dallas' most homegrown neighborhoods.

Mona Reeder

You can't tell a story about Deep Ellum without talking about music. Deep Ellum has nearly 100 years of music history pulsing down its alleyways. Jazz, blues, punk-rock, rock 'n' roll: It's all been there. Some of it still is.

Yet between spring 2015 and spring 2016, Deep Ellum will see its second-most important businesses boom: restaurants and bars. They have played an important supporting role in Deep Ellum's ups and downs over the decades. People come to Deep Ellum for concerts, sure. Those people also need to eat.

In just one year, Deep Ellum will have opened more than 20 restaurants and bars, which means even more buzz for the neighborhood.

Hot spots such as Dallas barbecue joint Pecan Lodge, which opened in Deep Ellum in 2014, helped convince food-lovers Deep Ellum could become a dining destination. Choosing Deep Ellum was a slight risk, Pecan Lodge's owners admit. "When we started construction down there, Main Street was a ghost town," says Diane Fourton. "We were just were just hoping if we came, other people would come." 

And they did.

Of course, some restaurants stuck with Deep Ellum through years of vacancies. When Pete Zotos opened St. Pete's Dancing Marlin in Deep Ellum back in 1994, he felt like he was "trailblazing," he says. Over more than 20 years, operating a restaurant in Deep Ellum didn't necessarily get easier. Other additions such as pizza place Cane Rosso, ramen shop Tanoshii and burger place Twisted Root have helped encourage more dinner traffic in Deep Ellum.

Today, newcomers are headed to Deep Ellum by the dozen. Chef Matt McCallister, owner of fine dining restaurant FT33, is opening a restaurant this fall. So are the women behind popular Dallas food truck Easy Slider. Even longtime custard shop Wild About Harry's is headed to the neighborhood. 

See the restaurants and bars open now or coming soon, including an exclusive look at several Deep Ellum spots that haven't been announced yet.

Falafel is made from deep-fried chick peas or fava beans. Falafel will be served inside a sandwich, like the one above, at Amsterdam Falafelshop.

Falafel is made from deep-fried chick peas or fava beans. Falafel will be served inside a sandwich, like the one above, at Amsterdam Falafelshop.

Amsterdam Falafelshop

Simple is the buzzword at Amsterdam Falafelshop. Options are: falafel sandwich or salad bowl. And that's it. Then you walk down the line and for choose-your-own toppings such as hummus, yogurt dill and pickles. The Deep Ellum outpost will be Amsterdam Falafelshop's first Texas restaurant -- and in fact it's the first that's not on the East Coast. It'll be operated by Dallas native and Army veteran Chris Kline, who is described as "a hippie who just happens to be really good at making spreadsheets." And in Deep Ellum, he might be the perfect person to run a falafel shop.

Atomic Nutrition

[UPDATE: Atomic Nutrition has closed. Here's information about what it was: Atomic Nutrition sells energy tea and aloe shots and organizes group workouts in Deep Ellum. Its grab 'n go setup makes it easy to pop in for a nutritious bite.]

  • Now closed

Big Guys Chicken and Rice

Inspired by the Halal Guys, who sell gyros from street carts all over New York City, two restaurateurs are opening their own chicken and rice shop in Deep Ellum. This one won't be a cart; it will be a fast-casual restaurant where diners can get lamb and rice or chicken and rice in a wrap or on top of a salad. A quick, simple lunch or dinner will cost between $7 and $8, says co-owner Hanif Islam.

  • Details: 2616 Elm St,. Suite 130, Dallas.
  • Open now
BrainDead Brewing sells many things, but here's Step One: beer.

BrainDead Brewing sells many things, but here's Step One: beer.

Alexandra Olivia

BrainDead Brewing

BrainDead Brewing opened in March and has helped draw crowds to the neighborhood long before the sun goes down. And why not? On that beautiful patio, with beer in hand, you could spend your happiest hours. Inside, the retro-fresh bar serves its own beer as well as suds from lauded breweries. Many patrons end up downing a Coma Burger -- a ground beef, brisket and bacon patty -- in between beers. We recommend it. 

Brick and Bones

Chicken and cocktails are the things here. In fact, chicken's the only option, aside from sides such as avocado-lime coleslaw, borracho beans and deviled eggs, for example. Diners can also order chicken chicharrones (fried chicken skins) to start the meal. Cocktails are made with house-mixed spirits such as passion fruit gin and pineapple mescal. The cocktails and food are mostly Southern, with Mexican influences.

Cafe Salsera

Pick a time of day and Cafe Salsera will reinvent itself. In the mornings, it's a walk-up and sit-down cafe with breakfast empanadas, churros and hot and cold coffee drinks. For dinner, it's a Latin/Caribbean restaurant with dishes such as jerk shrimp tacos and roasted chicken with plantains. Then at 10:30 p.m. Saturday nights, it transforms into a salsa dancing club. Even your server knows how to dance.

Armoury D.E.

Armoury D.E.

In the space formerly known as the Kettle Art Gallery, four friends have opened a rustic-chic tavern called Armoury D.E. It's a restaurant, it's a bar, it's a place to hang out before or after a show. The kitchen serves until 2 a.m., which will certainly entice passersby in a neighborhood that doesn't seem to sleep. The menu has some curious and alluring items such as cactus fries, pork belly fritters and octopus in white wine and spices. There's also a full bar.

Dot's Hop House and Cocktail Courtyard

The owners of this coming-soon bar are taking over the space formerly known as Dallas Comedy House on Commerce Street plus an extra 10,000 square feet for a patio. (It's big.) They'll only have 99 draft beer taps because "100 seems a little excessive," co-owner Jeff Brightwell told GuideLive.com's Tiney Ricciardi. They hope the backyard will be an outdoor oasis, with a stage for live music and lots of greenery. The owners behind Dot's also operate Lucky Lou's, East Side Denton and Oak St. Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor in Denton -- so they've done this before.

  • Details: 2645 Commerce St., Dallas.
  • Expected opening date: 2016

Drugstore Cowboy, formerly Lead Belly Coffee

The name was deceiving; Lead Belly Coffee wasn't only a coffee place: It was also slated to be a breakfast, lunch and dinner spot serving cocktails, both coffee infused and not. The idea behind the place is still the same, but the name has changed to Drugstore Cowboy. Find details on it here. Patrons will be encouraged to hang there and work during the day, then hang there and drink at night.

Easy Slider, a food truck, is opening a shop that doesn't roll. But the truck will stay on the streets, the co-owners confirm.

Easy Slider, a food truck, is opening a shop that doesn't roll. But the truck will stay on the streets, the co-owners confirm.

Alexandra Olivia

Easy Slider

Air conditioning. That's one of the biggest reasons Miley Holmes and Caroline Perini, co-owners of Easy Slider, are opening a brick and mortar store to sell their burgers. But don't worry: The women give a resounding "heck yes" when asked if Easy Slider food truck will still be on the streets, too. Easy Slider's restaurant will serve about two dozen slider varieties - twice the size of the food truck's menu. The Deep Ellum restaurant will also have soft-serve ice cream, bar snacks and a full bar. 

Filament

What does chef Matt McCallister eat when he's not on the clock? That's what he'll be making at Filament, his second restaurant in Dallas. Chef McCallister is best known as chef-owner of fine-dining restaurant FT33 in the Dallas Design District. It's a pricey place, and McCallister says his new Filament will be more casual -- and thus, easier on the wallet. Two of the dishes on his menu will be beef cheek tamales and spicy pork sausage.

High and Tight

You get at twofer at High and Tight: The front of the shop will be a throwback barbershop doing men's hair cuts and straight razor shaves. The back will be a speakeasy with a heavy selection of whiskeys, gins and specialty cocktails, plus occasional live tunes from folk, blues and swing musicians. Patrons can enter the speakeasy through the barbershop bathroom, or they can enter from the back entrance. Just look for a light near the back door; that'll indicate High and Tight is slinging drinks. Though the bar will be designed like a swanky "gentleman's lounge," everyone's welcome, says co-owner/operator Corey Good.

Brian Luscher, the man behind Luscher's Red Hots, also owns the Grape on Greenville Avenue in Dallas.

Brian Luscher, the man behind Luscher's Red Hots, also owns the Grape on Greenville Avenue in Dallas.

Kye R. Lee

Luscher's Red Hots

Chef Brian Luscher remembers eating hot dogs as a kid in Chicago, then doing the "Chicago lean" as he stopped, briefly, to scarf an Italian beef sandwich in his later years. Luscher's Red Hots is a nod to those Chicago flavors, with the chef's Texas twist. The Uncle Herky burger is a standout among the non-sausage dishes. If it's Wednesday and your heart's feeling healthy, get the daily special, the Francheezie: a red hot stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and served inside half of a grilled cheese. Luscher's is far from fancy, and that's on purpose.

On Premise

On Premise

The owners call it "elegant steampunk." On Premise is a bar and restaurant next-door to Trees that serves up global food in a funky setting. There's some star power in the kitchen, with corporate chef Brian Zenner (formerly of Oak, Belly and Trumpet, the Mansion on Turtle Creek) overseeing the food and executive chef Ann Marie Romero (Pakpao, Oak, the Mansion) running the show. Some nights it's loungey, with a DJ, and other nights it's more of a happy hour spot. It overtook the old Lemongrass Asian Bistro, but you wouldn't know it, save for some Asian flair on Romero's menu.

On the Lamb

You could consider On the Lamb a charcuterie place. It's also a "high-end jerky emporium," says co-owner Anton Uys. (At least that's how Uys, who cooks South African food, explains the neighborhood brasserie to Americans.) Visitors can buy cuts of cured beef from a walk-up counter or sit down for dinner featuring alternative meats, dried sausages and the like. Trevor Ball, whose grandfather owns Kuby's Sausage House in Dallas, will be the chef.

  • Details: 2614 Elm St., Suite 110, Dallas.
  • Open now

Planet Sub

Call it P-Sub if you want to feel hip. Planet Sub is a sandwich shop that makes bread in-house two to six times each day. The menu has a large list of specialty subs, including nine vegetarian ones. Calories are listed next to each item. The Deep Ellum shop will have a greater emphasis on nightlife than other locations, so that means 12 beers on tap and a high-top bar area. P-Sub also has a catering menu with boxed lunches and trays for larger groups.

Revolver Taco Lounge and its adjoining Purépecha

Some of Dallas-Fort Worth's most interesting Mexican food comes from Revolver Taco Lounge in Fort Worth, says Dallas Morning News Restaurant Critic Leslie Brenner. But Revolver Taco Lounge is closing in Fort Worth in December, and owner Regino "Gino" Rojas is moving into Deep Ellum instead. Rojas wants "to open the best Mexican restaurant in Texas," he says. He's got his mom Juanita Rojas' help, and she will be running a separate, 20-seat restaurant in the back called Purépecha. (Say it: "poo-RHEH-puh-chuh.") It will be reservations only, and Juanita Rojas will be preparing, delivering and explaining each Michoacan dish as if you were dining in her kitchen. Meanwhile, in the front of the shop, passersby can stop in for a quick taco fix. The menu will be similar to the existing Revolver in Fort Worth -- so that might mean tacos filled with arrachera (skirt steak), lengua (beef tongue) or huitlacoche (corn smut).

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop

The novelty at Rocket Fizz is, well, novelty. The shop sells 400 flavors of soda, including odd ones such as ranch dressing and bacon, and candies from all over the world. They bring in green tea Kit Kat bars from Asia and Mars Bars from Europe. The shops already exist in more than a dozen states and became nationally known after the co-founder and president appeared on Undercover Boss. Deep Ellum Rocket Fizz owner Jacob Cox says the shop isn't just a "kid in a candy store" place: Older folks might like it, too, because Rocket Fizz sells "stuff you just don't see anymore," he says.

Texas Tapas calls this creation 'the American Dream.'

Texas Tapas calls this creation 'the American Dream.'

Texas Tapas

Hungry concertgoers can take fewer steps for an evening snack if they visit new restaurant Texas Tapas, attached to Deep Ellum music venues the Door and the Prophet Bar. Owner Russell Hobbs helped design a menu that's literally all over the map: There's tacos, sashimi, hummus and burgers. Most surprising is the American Dream, a hot dog sticking through the center of a hot, glazed doughnut. For real.

The Parlor on Commerce

A 50-foot-long bar will be the focal point at the Parlor on Commerce. But first: Building the bar is where co-owners Seth Byars and Chris Young are focused. They hope it becomes an everyman's bar/restaurant in an everyman's neighborhood. When completed, Byars says it will have an "old-school, '40s-modern look to it." He hopes it's the type of place where patrons know their bartenders by name. The Parlor will also eventually have food and a consulting chef; that's a focus for another day.

Twenty Seven and XXVII Antique

Chef David Anthony Temple ("Chef DAT" to many) operates his new Deep Ellum restaurant just three nights a week. But it's the neighborhood's most important nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at its most important times, dinner and late-night. Twenty Seven is a reservations-only restaurant where diners pick their menu of choice in advance. That sets the table for high expectations, and Brenner says the menus are ambitious but she wasn't overly impressed. On Saturday nights, the restaurant opens as a late-night lounge from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and takes on the name XXVII Antique. No reservation is needed for late-night cocktails. 

Wild About Harry's

Expect the "same friendly people, being friendly" and the same custard and hot dogs menu, says employee Austin Rucker, at Dallas' new Wild About Harry's. (The existing shop, you might know, is near Knox-Henderson.) In Deep Ellum, the shop will scoop favorite flavors such vanilla, peppermint and coconut custard, plus occasional specialties like Thin Mint Blitz and black cherry. A stop at Wild About Harry's isn't complete without a 'dog, each one designed by the late Harry Coley, who Rucker says was "a professional hot dog researcher." The Texas -- a Vienna hot dog with mustard, chili, onions and cheese -- is the most popular.

Tiney Ricciardi contributed to this story.

Hungry? Find more news about restaurants and bars in Dallas.

Follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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