Restaurants

Urbano Café Lives On, An Iron Chef Debuts a New Vietnamese Spot in Oak Lawn, and More Dallas Restaurant News to Know

Your Weekly Need-To-Know Dish

BY // 02.09.24

The Dallas dining scene is forever evolving. To help you stay in the know, we’ve gathered the buzziest openings, the unfortunate closures, and any other food news we might find fitting. The Dallas Dish is your weekly helping of need-to-know North Texas restaurant news — and will hopefully point you in the direction of your next great reservation.

The Latest Dallas Restaurant News to Know

Urbano Cafe Dallas
Urbano Cafe opened in 2009 in Old East Dallas. (Courtesy of Urbano Cafe)

After announcing its closure last month, an Old East Dallas Italian cafe lives on.

Originally supposed to close its doors for good on January 27, 15-year-old Urbano Cafe has been purchased by new owners and will remain open, according to the Dallas Morning News. The underrated Italian restaurant was founded by Mitch and Kristen Kauffman in 2009 in the century-old building that also houses Jimmy’s Food Store. The Kauffmans announced the closure on the restaurant’s Facebook page — stating that it was just time for them to move on to their next chapter.

But thanks to brothers (and owners of Las Palmas, Bowen House, and Mike’s Gemini Twin Lounge) Pasha Heidari and Sina Heidari, the favorite spot will continue. According to the DMN, the Heidaris are reopening their family restaurant this year as well, St. Martin’s Wine Bistro. They say that ownership of Urbano is changing hands on February 18, but they will be keeping the staff on and not much else will change.

Indochine Bistro Dallas
Indochine Bistro is open in the former Green Papaya space on Oak Lawn Avenue. (Courtesy)

A new Vietnamese restaurant led by an Iron Chef quietly opens on Oak Lawn Avenue.

The other day, I was driving on Oak Lawn Avenue when I looked over and the Green Papaya (the plant-based spot that closed in September) sign was gone. A new one, reading Indochine Bistro, was up along with a neon “Open” sign. Several diners were inside seemingly enjoying themselves. As first reported by CultureMap, Indochine comes from chef Michael Bao Huynh, who has appeared on Iron Chef and MasterChef Vietnam. They say that the chef was connected to the former Green Papaya team — owner Dylan Lee (who took over the original spot in 2019 and made it plant-based) and Jessica Vo — and Indochine was born. There’s even a salad on the menu called the Green Papaya Salad.

The East Asian menu also features spring and summer rolls, curry, fish, noodles, rice dishes, barbecue Thai chicken, and more.

Isla & Co Dallas
A must-try starter at Isla & Co. is the crispy halloumi. (Photo by Alexandro Loayza)

An Australian café shutters in Bishop Arts District after less than two years in business.

On February 11, Isla & Co. is closing for good in Bishop Arts. I received an email along with the rest of their customers. The Australian cafe from Parched Hospitality Group debuted its first Texas location in Dallas in 2022. The kitchen was led by chef Matt Foley and offered brunch, lunch, and dinner options throughout the day. We particularly loved the crispy halloumi and braised lamb shoulder.

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The email states that the owners were unable to make the economics of the location work. It’s in the former Lucia space — an intimate indoor space with a tiny outdoor patio. It was the only outpost of the cafe in Texas and it’s only in four other cities in the U.S. Last March, they started serving kangaroo skewers, which you probably can’t find on any other local menu. Get in before Sunday for one last lamb shoulder dish or favorite cocktail.

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