The Big D is about to get a splash of fish sauce by way of Hot Joy, which is collaborating with the Front Burner restaurant group to open a location inside an old Texas Land & Cattle Co. at 3130 Lemmon Ave.
Announced via press release to Dallas media on Tuesday afternoon, Hot Joy 2.0 is slated to open mid-July in Uptown Dallas with a similar menu made up of all the HJ hits, along with a few Big-D exclusives. The Empty Stomach Restaurant Group teamed up with Front Burner, known for Velvet Taco, Sixty Vines, Whiskey Cake, Ida Claire, Mexican Sugar and Legacy Hall. Randy DeWitt, CEO of Front Burner shared why he was so charmed with the eatery in the first place.
"...as soon as I walked in, I understood why. The vibe was wild, they had the music turned up to 11 and the food was really different, but not in a pretentious, over-the-top way. I must’ve ordered everything on the menu because I was so intrigued by what I was tasting," DeWitt said in the release.
The new location will feature a similar opening team to HJ's opening with John Philpot at the helm of the menu instead of former executive chef Quealy Watson.
"It's a crazy great part of Dallas to be in, and we'll be there for two years at a minimum. It might go longer," said Hot Joy co-owner Chad Carey. Artist and interior designer Gregorio Mannino will also be part of the opening team.
The Dallas Hot Joy will be almost two and a half times bigger than the original location.
Described as both buzzy and quirky by Dallas media, Hot Joy first opened as a pan-Asian pop-up inside The Monterey in October 2012. It later opened inside the former China Latina in 2014 and quickly received nods from local and national media. It was named one of 2014's Best New Restaurants by Bon Appétit.
"It'll be very similar, but we're going to have a few one-off Dallas things on the menu," Carey said. "We're kind of allergic to chains and reproducing restaurants that way."
That being said, if the restaurant does well in Uptown, Empty Stomach could very well look for a more permanent location, and maybe even beyond.
"If it works in Dallas, and this is definitely putting the cart before the horse, there is a high likelihood we would expand to other cities," Carey said.
Regardless of how HJ performs immediately after opening, they'll have a few loyal customers to start. Carey, a Dallas native who has made San Antonio home for the past 17 years, still has some family members there.