In 2015, Deep Ellum Cooked Up A New Identity.
How could we tell you, with a straight face, that any other neighborhood in Dallas besides Deep Ellum deserved this honor? We couldn’t. Nope. No way.
Deep Ellum is the runaway champion in the contest for being Dallas’ top neighborhood of 2015 — and it wasn’t even close as far as our editorial department was concerned. Like, imagine watching a professional football team suit up and play the local middle school’s junior varsity squad. That’s exactly what it’s like comparing Deep Ellum’s year to the years every other Dallas neighborhood had in 2015.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Bishop Arts, The Cedars, the Design District and Lower Greenville had weak years — they didn’t. Dallas was pretty great in 2015, actually. But Deep Ellum blew the competition out of the water.
One of the biggest developments of 2015 in Deep Ellum was, of course, the resurrection of the Bomb Factory. Clint and Whitney Barlow, owners of Trees, reopened the once-shuttered venue, just as they did Trees. Since its March debut, The Bomb Factory has hosted everything from marquee concerts to boxing matches to weird-ass vaping competitions. The 4,300-capacity venue was a much-needed addition to Deep Ellum. Really: Any place that opens up the possibility of steering you away from attending shows at the House of Blues is, in fact, quite a good thing.
On the surface, that’s perhaps the biggest story when it came to Deep Ellum this year. But, please, pay attention. Luscher’s Red Hots, one of the country’s best new restaurants according to Bon Appetit, opened up on Commerce this year, too. And a couple blocks over, Armoury D.E., a spot with a late-night kitchen and one of the best damn burgers you can find in town opened up on Elm — right across the street from Brick & Bones, which serves up some of the most delicious chicken known to man, woman, alien or any organism in the Milky Way that you choose. Meanwhile, Cafe Salsera also opened on Elm, giving Dallasites some authentic Latin and Caribbean cuisine. And back on Main, Brain Dead Brewery, Deep Ellum’s first brewpub, walked onto the scene with some great beer and food in tow, too. And, just recently, Filament, chef Matt McCallister‘s bougie take on southern comfort food, opened across the street from Braindead.
It wasn’t all food, of course. Over behind the Double Wide, That That threw some of the coolest late-night parties around in 2015. On that same end of the neighborhood, Wildly, a nice hidden vintage shop located on Murray Street, also opened up shop. Soon enough, so too will Deep Vellum’s upcoming indie bookstore, which had a soft opening and mixer earlier this month. A little closer to the fray, the speakeasy/barber shop High & Tight, which stands as Dallas’ answer to places like New York City’s Blind Barber, is an extremely exciting addition, as well.
All of this is very cool, and there’s plenty more coming, we’re sure.
But the true story of Deep Ellum this year is still all that food news, and the fact that this neighborhood is quickly turning into an honest-to-goodness dining destination beyond its earlier existence as just a solid place to find a decent lunch. No longer is this neighborhood first-and-foremost the part of town where cultures converge and party while listening to rock ‘n’ roll and swilling cold Lone Stars into the night.
This transformation might suit Deep Ellum well in the end as a high-rise apartment complex and massive hotel make their way to Deep Ellum in the coming years. It won’t matter if Deep Ellum eventually loses its cool factor or if a handful of venues and independent, locally owned shops get bogarted out thanks to rents climbing to an unreasonable price.
No, Deep Ellum cooked up a new attitude in 2015. This is the new Deep Ellum, everyone.
Hope you’re hungry.