Dallas Chop House in downtown Dallas won’t reopen — and here’s why

Rather than reopen Dallas Chop House in downtown Dallas after being closed for more than two years during the pandemic, Nafees Alam, the CEO of parent company DRG Concepts, opted to replace it with a fresher steak restaurant which has become popular in Fort Valeur.

Wicked Butcher is scheduled to open in place of Dallas Chop House in July 2022.

The Dallas version will resemble the original, which Alam opened in early 2020 at the Sinclair Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.

Wicked Butcher in Fort Worth serves lunch on the first floor and dinner in the basement, all attached to the Sinclair Hotel. In Dallas, there are no hotels — and that’s a good thing. “We have always tried to present ourselves as a stand-alone restaurant, not a restaurant in a hotel lobby,” says CEO Nafees Alam.(Lawrence Jenkins / Special Contributor)

The sleek art deco restaurant sells surf and turf, lobster mac and cheese, roast bone marrow, and more. Wicked Butcher has thrived for the past two years, Alam says — which is remarkable, as at least 3,000 North Texas restaurants have failed.

Notably, the Alam team had been paying rent at Dallas Chop House for an incredible 26 months while it remained closed. (They also paid for Wild Salsa and Dallas Fish Market, and those are also closed.) Their fourth downtown Dallas restaurant, Chop House Burger, remained open.

“It’s been tough,” says Alam’s business partner, Mike Hoque. “But we are very patient.”

In an expected twist, Alam and Hoque say Dallas Chop House isn’t retiring for good. Hoque owns real estate company Hoque Global and has purchased properties from more than 60 owners on land behind Dallas City Hall. He has proposed a 20-acre development called Newpark which he says will “create another neighborhood in downtown Dallas.”

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Eventually, Hoque and Alam hope to open Dallas Chop House in Newpark, moving this downtown Dallas institution to a new part of the central business district.

And though Dallas Chop House has been out of sight, out of mind for the past couple of years, its place in downtown Dallas was important for the more than 10 years it’s been open.

“I remember sitting down with the mayor, talking to him about how they were going to build this park,” Hoque says, pointing to Main Street Garden. Dallas Chop House opened the same year as the park, in 2009.

At the time, opening a restaurant in this area of ​​downtown Dallas was a risk. “They couldn’t get anyone here,” Hoque said. But he moved in, not only with Dallas Chop House, but also signing three other restaurant leases.

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Wild Salsa will eventually reopen across the street. Patience, they say.

When Wicked Butcher takes over Dallas Chop House, it will be a renovated and refreshed 7,000 square foot restaurant with a new kitchen, new private dining room and redesigned patio. The menu will be similar to Fort Worth’s, which relies heavily on premium cuts of beef priced at $52 to $165.

Roasted marrowbone at Wicked Butcher is served with charred corn and Empire bread...
Roasted bone marrow at Wicked Butcher is served with charred corn and bread from Empire Baking Co.

Wicked Butcher executive chef Richard Triptow also serves seared salmon, ginger miso, Chilean sea bass, steak tartare and hamachi crudo. And “everyone seems to have the lobster mac and cheese” with garlic gruyere cream, says Alam. Warning: it’s $68!

The downtown Dallas restaurant will eventually sell lunch. The Alam team is working on new items, including a pastrami sandwich and a lobster roll. (We hope the Harvest Bowl, featuring porcini couscous, carrots, tomatoes, avocado and pecans, will stick around. It’s hearty and healthy.)

The former Dallas Chop House, now Wicked Butcher, is at 1717 Main St. Opening July 2022.

The original Wicked Butcher, at 512 Main St., Fort Worth, remains open.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

David H. Henry