Restaurants / Openings

Dakota’s Steakhouse Will Come Back to Life This Summer

Meredith McEneny Revives The Iconic Downtown Subterranean Restaurant

BY // 04.13.21

Last May, at the peak of the pandemic, we were sad to report that iconic downtown Dallas restaurant Dakota’s Steakhouse had shuttered. The underground spot had been a staple for over 36 years with its glass elevator that transported guests 18 feet down to the subterranean dining room and a 20-foot waterfall. We wondered what would become of the space that was so unique to Dakota’s. Now, about a year later, we know.

Dakota’s Steakhouse is coming back. The iconic spot will open under new ownership — Meredith McEneny, wife of local restaurateur Tim McEneny (Sloane’s Corner) is bringing the restaurant back to life.

“I remember celebrating special occasions at Dakota’s when I attended SMU, and so many of us have made fond memories in the underground restaurant dating back decades,” says Meredith in a release“Tim put a lot of time and effort into Dakota’s when he was involved prior to 2020, and I hope to not let all of that go to waste.  I’m excited to bring back a treasured place where we can return to lots of laughter, good times and great food.”

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Dakota’s Steakhouse was built underground for a reason. The courtyard features a fire pit, waterfall, and greenery. (Courtesy of Dakota’s Steakhouse and Kevin Marple)

The backstory of Dakota’s has always been an interesting one. Once occupied by the First Dallas Baptist Church, the property had a clause in its deed that prohibited any future owners from selling alcohol on former church grounds. When owners came in with ambitions of opening a restaurant, the below-ground concept was born.

That subterranean nature created a dining experience unlike any other in Dallas, particularly with the restaurant’s sprawling, New Orleans-inspired courtyard. Besides the eye-catching, five-tiered waterfall, the space also features a lava rock fire pit and black granite bar. McEneny’s plan is to keep all of the highlights Dakota’s diners have loved for decades, while giving the kitchen an overhaul.

Steaks will remain the main event on the menu. Allen Brothers will provide dry-aged USDA Prime steaks and the restaurant will offer filet mignon, New York strip, and a 32-ounce Dry-Aged Tomahawk. Dakota’s 2.0 will also have East and West coast-sourced seafood towers, oysters, and lobster tails.

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Dakota’s Steakhouse is set to reopen this July.

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