After Texas Governor Abbott closed dining rooms in Texas, many Dallas restaurateurs kept their staffs employed and customers happy with efficient take-out service and delivery service. With the easing of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions allowing dining rooms to open at 25% capacity, some patrons still preferred to use take-out service. I asked several restaurant owners and chefs whether their customers had learned to prefer take-out and delivery services to dining inside, even with restrictions on inside dining lifted.
Dallas Hale, President and CEO of Shell Shack, Sushi Marquee and Ebb & Flow, said, “Shell Shack as a company has seen an increase of 500% in take-out and delivery. The response has been incredible but because we are not used to running a business with this model nor were we set up to meet such a demand, we are continuously seeking ways to improve our process. The fact is that no restaurant can survive at 25% or 50% capacity but it’s definitely a start in the right direction and we can only hope that once 100% capacity is allowed, people will feel comfortable enough to dine out again. In the meantime, it has been take-out and delivery that has kept us alive and we feel very fortunate.”
My husband and I decided to stick with take-out service a while longer, since it had proved quite satisfactory every time we tried it. We enjoyed easy curbside pickups from Mudhook Bar:& Kitchen in Duncanville, an Arlington Cracker Barrel, a Duncanville Whataburger, and Kitchen’s Deli in Duncanville.
Bryan Kaeser, the owner of Mudhook in Duncanville, said, “We’re still about 80% delivery and/or takeout now.”
We also had great takeout service from two of our favorite Trinity Grove restaurants, Sum Dang Good Chinese and AvoEatery. Both of these restaurants opened recently, but quickly pivoted to take-out service and delivery when inside dining areas were closed.
David Romano, Concept Creator for Trinity Groves, said, “”Sum Dang Good Chinese opened up to-go and delivery ONLY in the middle of a pandemic to strong sales. Those sales continue to increase alongside our newly established dine-in business. I believe there are two distinctive types of consumers, some that are reluctant to dine out and continue to order delivery, and those that are clamoring at some sort of return to normalcy and chose to frequent restaurants.”
Trinity Groves’ unique new AvoEatery is the first full-service restaurant with its sole focus on fresh avocados. A week before Texas restaurants closed for indoor dining, I attended a media tasting at the beautiful new restaurant. Their décor resembles an avocado grove, and everything on the menu—from appetizers to desserts and craft cocktails—has avocado elements.
Chef Jose Salmaron said he enjoyed having the freedom to create new, tasty dishes using avocados in unexpected ways. He brought us four dishes for sampling. We tried tuna poke (sesame oil, cucumbers, avocado, chives, asabi aioli, and pine nuts, $13) and found it a very tasty appetizer. Waldorf Avo Toast ($8) was delightful with apple butter, bleu cheese, apples, maple walnuts, and avocado.
My favorite, the grilled avocado bowl ($12), with grilled avocado, quinoa, roasted zucchini, baby spinach, avocado citrus vinaigrette, pistachios, feta, avocado crema, and cranberries. An entree of spaghetti squash and zoodles ($13) featured grilled avocado, squash, zucchini, butternut squash, garlic oil, sun-dried tomato, and parmesan. Zoodles are a different take on a pasta dish, but much lower in calories.
Several weeks ago we called AvoEatery for take-out service with curbside pickup at lunchtime. My husband ordered the steak frites ($25), a ribeye with seasoned fries and avocado herbed butter sauce. He still dreams about how tender that steak was, and says it was “maybe the best steak he ever ate.”
I ordered the avocado chicken curry ($16). The entree’ features a chicken breast with turmeric, green avocado curry, asparagus, crimini mushrooms, and basmati rice. The curry was delicious at lunchtime, but reheating my leftovers for dinner made it a little too spicy.
We’ve learned that menu items from AvoEatery and their Trinity Groves neighbor, Sum Dang Good Chinese, are large enough for two to share! AvoEatery is located at 3011 Gulden Lane, #116, in Dallas. Call 469-436-7231 for curbside pick orders, or dine in on their spacious covered patio now at 50% capacity.