Campisi’s Under Investigation By The Feds, Plans Shape Up For The Spaghetti Warehouse Trolley & Norwegian Yeast Marks The Latest Brewing Trend. Plus More!
Welcome to The Spread, our weekly feature that aims to share all the area restaurant, food and beverage industry news that’s fit to print. Except, this is the Internet, so space isn’t a concern. Also: Good thing, because this is Dallas and this town always has breaking restaurant news going down like whoa.
It looks as though the rumors about Campisi’s criminal activities are true, as the Feds have launched an investigation of the restaurant’s owner for large bookmaking. Homeland Security Investigations and the criminal division of the IRS searched David Campisi (current owner and great-grandson of the restaurant’s founder) and alleged associate Christoper “Gus” Schraeder for ties to illegal sports gambling and an internet bookmaking site in Costa Rica. The search warrant describes the two as operating in the Dallas and North Texas area since 2005, bringing in at least $2,000 per day. Schraeder admitted to operating as a bookie and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while Campisi has not been charged or arrested.
Speaking of crime-related news, Southlake’s Dragon House was recently raided in connection with an alleged Dallas brothel. The critically-acclaimed restaurant purportedly has direct ties to Jade Spa, a Design District massage parlour that was the site of multiple arrests on charges of engaging in criminal activity and promoting prostitution. The restaurant is currently closed, with no issued statement about the arrests made at the time of publish.
Switching gears a bit, a group is working to bring the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley back to its original East Dallas home. The Junius Heights Historic District is working to return the iconic vehicle to the neighborhood or to a new home where it can be preserved. While the organization wasn’t interested in bidding under the proposed terms of the initial auction (which left the cost of removing the trolley and rebuilding part of a wall to the winning bidder), they are looking for a partnership or collaboration on a public relations initiative to make it happen. Keep an eye out for more updates as the story unfolds.
On to some opening news, La Reunion has debuted in Oak Cliff. The culinary-forward coffee shop meets bar comes courtesy of the mind behind Uptown’s State Street Coffee in The Alcove wine bar. The self-described “third place” features an 8 a.m. to noon menu of items like breakfast tarts and croque madames, followed by charcuterie boards, sandwiches and decadent desserts when the menu switches at noon. Hours run daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or later.
Out in Frisco, a beloved Austin taco spot has made its way to the metroplex. Taco Shack is located at 8333 Preston Road in the former Grandy’s space. The concept focuses on an elevated fast food experience with high standards for fresh ingredients. The menu is stacked with Tex-Mex staples, breakfast tacos, breakfast plates and more, all of which hang out under a $10 price point. Hours run Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Back Downtown, a newcomer called Centennial Cafe is dishing out vegan food from The Hyatt Regency Dallas. Located on the second floor of the hotel, the restaurant offers plant-based options for three meals a day, with items such as harvest bowls and vegan bennies made with a spinach-chickpea patty, just to name a few.
Also in downtown, the neighborhood’s grocery options have expanded thanks to the openings of CiboDivino and Royal Blue Grocery. The two upscale market options provide a variety of grab-and-go offerings in addition to locally and internationally curated goods, coffee and wine options. Both are open daily, with CiboDivino closing at 7 p.m. and Royal Blue Grocery at 10 p.m.
In sweeter news, Oak Cliff’s Kookie Haven now offers take-home cake batter and frosting. The sweet shop located at 337 W. Jefferson Blvd. added the DIY option to the lineup to cater to millennial and Gen-Z needs, allowing you to put together the ready made ingredients at your leisure. Flavor options include red velvet, chocolate, strawberry and wedding cake, with vegan batters available.
Over in Deep Ellum, Will Call offers duck fat chocolate chip cookies. The restaurant, which occupies the former Independent Bar and Kitchen space, offers the decadent treat as a dessert option. The duck fat provides a balance of sweetness with the perfect fattiness level, with a slightly crispy yet soft finish.
In closing news, Steel City Pops has shuttered its Garland and Casa Linda stores. The closures are a part of the company’s attempt to scale back locations, leaving just the Preston Royal and Greenville Avenue stores in the immediate Dallas area. The Alabama-based chain has plans for vending carts and other wholesale endeavors in the meantime.
In some bar-related news, Nickel and Rye is being sued for failing to pay licensing fees for the music played in the bar. The Uptown concept faces paying up to $120,000 in damages, joining a list of 18 other bars and venues nationally that were slapped with lawsuits. Four specific songs that were named in the suit were “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa, “E.I.” by Nelly, “Tipsy” by J-Kwon and “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature.
In craft beer news, newcomer ODD Muse Brewing is bringing a hyperlocal approach to the North Dallas beer scene. Located at 4488 Spring Valley Road in Farmers Branch, the brewery plans to use a 10-barrel brewing system, with a pair of IPAs and a Russian imperial stout for its debut line up. ODD plans to focus on the underserved local community before expanding its distribution. Look out for an opening in December.
And finally, local brewers are experimenting with Norwegian wheat called Kveik. The family of yeast cultures have appeared in brews at Armadillo Ale Works, On Rotation, Bluffview Growler and a bevy of others. Kveik is expected to be a common feature in brews throughout the coming year.
Cover photo by Lorie Shaull via Wikicommons.