Khao Noodle Shop Closes (For Now), Arlington’s Only Gay Club Closes, An Allen Man Is Determined To Open North Texas’ First Black-Owned Brewery And 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.

We’re nearly two weeks into 2021 — and there’s already a hefty amount of news on the food front to catch up on. Guess we better dive straight into it!

On January 9, East Dallas’ beloved Laotian eatery Khao Noodle Shop served its last meal — for now, anyway. According to owner Donny Sirisavath‘s Facebook post on the matter, Khao will be closing temporarily to take a little break from the food scene after a difficult year. In the meantime, he says new food concept will be introduced to his concept’s space for two weeks — although it’s still unclear what exactly that will be.

Speaking of changes: After decades of service, Arlington’s only gay bar is closing. The 1851 Club announced on its Facebook page on Monday that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would no longer be able to weather the storm and keep the business afloat after having “exhausted any and every route to try to save [its] home.”

While closures continue to plague the service industry across the Metroplex, there are some new changes to look forward to.

For starters, after renowned bartender Gabe Sanchez announced the closure of his Deep Ellum concept Black Swan Saloon this past November, he this week revealed that he’ll be taking over the beverage program at the swanky Midnight Rambler inside of The Joule in Downtown Dallas. Midnight Rambler was initially launched by Cuffs & Buttons duo Chad Solomon and Christy Pope, whose ambitious contributions to Dallas’ cocktail scene by way of molecular gastronomy — all while slipping music and visual arts into the mix — helped solidify downtown as a premier cocktail destination, both locally and nationally. Under Sanchez’s watch, the new incarnation Midnight Rambler is set to arrive in the spring of 2021.

Speaking of cool new concepts and revisions, Henderson Avenue watering hole The Whippersnapper will reopen as a Breaking Bad pop-up bar from Thursday, January 14, all the way to Saturday, March 6. The temporary themed pop-up will feature Breaking Bad-themed murals, cocktails and photo opportunities. In compliance with the COVID-19 protocols in place, the spot will also feature a temporary fried chicken menu referencing the show’s fictional Los Pollos Hermanos chain.

Up north, a man from Allen is determined to open the first Black-owned brewery in North Texas. Kuumba “Smitty” Smith told the Dallas Morning News this week that he has his eyes set on opening his Smittox Brewing Co. brand in Plano by 2022. The New Orleans native began entering and winning competitions awards at various beer festivals for his imperial stouts and porters starting in 2015. Now, Smith hopes that his new brewery will encourage and inspire other POC to experiment with craft beer production.

Meanwhile, the ultra-bright, so-kind-you-can’t-possibly-hate-it coffee shop La La Land Kind Cafe is expanding by opening its third location — this one near Love Field Airport. La La Land received national praise for its mission to employ young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Founded by a young entrepreneur and first-generation American, Francois Reihani, the coffee shop has plans to expand the company’s presence in Dallas even further. It also hopes to take its concept to other major cities nationwide.

Back on Knox Street, CultureMap notes how artisanal bakery Village Baking Co. is moving into the building next to the 7-Eleven that was once home to the upscale bedding company Parachute. Founded by husband-and-wife duo Clint and Kim Cooper, Village Bakery’s opened its first location in 2004 on University Boulevard. The latest location is expected to open any day now.

Kinda down the street-ish, Marugame Udon will open its second location on January 19 at 5500 Greenville Avenue, also per CultureMap. The chic noodle concept from Tokyo will feature an exhibition kitchen where you can see noodles prepared behind glass — a concept first popularized by Pei Wei Asian Diner, a company co-founded by one Mark Brezinski, who is also one of the parties responsible for bringing Marugame Udon to Dallas.

Lastly, in beer news, Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing — known for its ambitious and creative beer flavors — has unveiled a new brew called Space Pizza that tastes like pizza. Yes, really.

Photo courtesy of Khao Noodle Shop.

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