Most pop ups last a day. Or a month. San Antonio restaurant Hot Joy, which has expanded to Uptown Dallas, is expected to last two years. Some regular restaurants don't even last that long.
Explaining the food at Hot Joy is like taking a rollercoaster ride without a harness. There's influences from "China, Texas, Vietnam, Japan, Louisiana, Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia and anything else that lights up our brain," Hot Joy owner Chad Carey said in a statement.
He goes on: "It's meant to be spontaneous, insanely fun, bursting with life and just a bit too loud," Carey continues. "We like our food and drink to be big, spicy and funky. We're not understated, nuanced or predictable."
The restaurant has been quietly open for several days. It's a project created in conjunction with Front Burner Restaurants, the team behind some buzzy Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants: Sixty Vines and Whiskey Cake in Plano, Velvet Taco (with locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and Chicago) and others.
Of note, Hot Joy was named Bon Appetit's No. 7 best new restaurant in 2014. Writer Andrew Knowlton called the food "irreverent and profoundly irresistible."
Some of the menu items at this new Uptown Dallas Hot Joy are Spam fried rice, crab fat caramel wings, and smoked brisket dan dan noodles. On a visit to the restaurant, I found the service speedy, the restaurant festive. It feels like the type of place where you can pop in for a bite without needing to get all dressed up. Main-course dishes range from $8.99 to $17.99.
The interior of the restaurant is bold and bright, with dragons hanging from the ceiling and splashes of red, blue and yellow all over. You'll notice a few spots where the restaurant clearly used to be a Texas Land and Cattle steakhouse.
What'll happen in two years? A press release says the restaurant will move to a permanent location. But anything can happen in two years. Best to enjoy it while it's, y'know. Hot. Which it is.
Open now at 3130 Lemmon Ave., Dallas.