Restaurants / Openings

Dallas’ Bad Boy Chef Gives Anthony Bourdain the Sweetest Middle Finger Ever

The Perfect Homage to a Food Rebel Graces New Knife Plano Steakhouse

BY // 11.01.18

Top chef John Tesar’s acclaimed Knife steakhouse has opened a second location in The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano (6121 W. Park Boulevard). Unlike the Highland Hotel location, Tesar owns the new spot and has incorporated a more personal touch and casual kitchen environment.

Wanting Knife Plano to feel more like home, Tesar chose art that was important to him. He had various chalk portraits created by artist Izumi Okubo resembling actual photos of Johnny Cash, Jack Nicholson, Josh Ozersky, Marco Pierre White and Anthony Bourdain.

They’re all “famous bad boys who made it,” says Tesar, who’s known for being something of a bad boy maverick himself.

The portrait of Jack Nicholson smoking a cigar will aptly be exhibited near a humidor. The drawing of Anthony Bourdain, who is pictured casually giving the middle finger while holding a beer in his other hand, is on display outside of the restrooms.

“It’ll probably end up being the most Instagrammed picture in Plano,” Tesar says.

Tesar knew Bourdain for 40 years, since they started out cooking in New York City together.

“I’ve had a lot of emotions since he passed,” Tesar tells PaperCity. “It’s disturbing to me.” Tesar comments how strange it is to know someone at the beginning of your life and watch them become so incredibly famous.

Although the two had a heated relationship, Tesar notes that that anger shows how much you really care about someone. “I have learned how to be more empathetic,” Tesar says. “We all need to keep our feet on the ground and make the world a better place.”

To achieve this sentiment through his work, John Tesar wants Knife Plano to be about the experience. Of course serving a stellar steak is essential, but how a  diner experiences their meal is equally important to him.

Knife Plano visitors will also be surrounded by artwork from Dallas illustrator William Brown of Culinarian Designs. A former chef himself, Brown specializes in drawings of food and diagrams of hogs and cattle, perfect for Tesar’s new place.

The Shops at Willow Bend now contains a mini Tesar empire. Along with the new restaurant, Knife Burger, a counter service walk up window, is now open. And another Knife concept, a retail butcher shop where you can buy meat to cook yourself, will be opening soon.

It’s Tesar Land — with a more empathetic bad boy running this grown-up empire.

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