Open Now! Historic Dakota’s Steakhouse

Meredith McEneny Revives Downtown’s Subterranean Steakhouse

Dakota’s Steakhouse is excited to announce it is now open! After closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic after 37 years, the iconic subterranean restaurant is reopening under new ownership and chef at the helm. In anticipation of the restaurant’s second debut, Dallasites can now reserve a table on OpenTable.

Dakota’s Steakhouse, the storied underground staple of Downtown dining, is revived by Meredith McEneny, the new sole owner who assumed controlling interest in January 2021, and Chef Ji Kang.

Many Dallasites are familiar with the McEneny name due to her husband, Tim McEneny, a local restauranteur with years of hospitality experience under his belt. After 10 years of supporting her husband’s companies, McEneny is thrilled to channel her talents and expertise toward re-launch the historic restaurant.

“The closing of Dakota’s hit especially hard for me as I spent many nights celebrating special occasions there,” explains owner Meredith McEneny. “After a refresh, we are excited to open these doors again and continue Dakota’s legacy for another 37 years.”

McEneny invested substantially in a complete overhaul of the kitchen to maximize function and increase the production of food items. Additionally, the female restauranteur saved the restaurant’s historic dining room and patio to display its original black and white photographs, hand-cut Italian Carrera marble, dark-wood paneling and New Orleans-inspired gas lamps.

The new owner has elected Chef Ji Kang of Sloane’s Corner and Pizza Leila, to craft the iconic restaurant’s menu, while honoring its original cuisine and delectable menu offerings. Kang has enhanced Dakota’s beloved steak and seafood menu by introducing new entrées and adding twice as many side dishes than those typically offered at steakhouses, like broccolini, roasted parsnip and Yukon potato puree. Customers can expect Dakota’s same classic culinary approach, as their steaks are the best cut and quality from renowned beef purveyors, Allen Brothers.

“We really wanted to keep the timeless feel of Dakota’s that people know and love but expand and add new and fresh items to appeal to many different tastes,” says Chef Ji Kang.  

Also headlining the new menu is Lobster & King Crab Rigatoni, served with ‘nduja, PEI mussels, cherry tomatoes, English peas, basil and toasted breadcrumbs, as well as traditional Beef Wellington with puff pastry, mushroom duxelles, prosciutto and bordelaise and Roasted Bone Marrow, served with a braised oxtail and beet marmalade. As a nod to the restaurant’s rich history, the lunch menu features specialty Steak Frites priced at $19.84, to symbolize the year the iconic restaurant made its debut in Dallas, alongside sandwiches like a Shaved Ribeye with arugula, gruyere cheese and horseradish, Buttermilk Fried Chicken with honey mustard aioli and B&B pickles and a traditional Turkey Club with house made smoked turkey breast, bacon, bibb lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, and dijonnaise.

Dakota’s Steakhouse has been a downtown Dallas dining icon for over 37 years. Its unique underground location has a fascinating backstory that lent to its unique history—once occupied by the First Dallas Baptist Church, a clause in the deed prohibited any future owner from selling alcohol on former church grounds. When the property company bought the space, they were determined to have a restaurant anchor their international headquarters. A loophole was discovered – “on the grounds” does not include “below ground,” so the land was excavated, and the restaurant was born.

When visiting the restaurant, patrons descend 18 feet underground in a canopied glass elevator, accessed from street level, for a culinary experience unlike any other. The American steakhouse offers an expansive 1,800 square foot subterranean courtyard allowing patrons to dine al fresco and enjoy a New Orleans-inspired exterior space. This cool oasis is complete with a 20 foot, 5-tiered granite water wall, multi-tiered landscaping, lava rock fire pit, and black granite bar. Dakota’s below-ground patio has long been considered one of the city’s most romantic dining spots.

Dakota’s Steakhouse is located at 600 North Akard St., Dallas, Texas 75201. Dakota’s Steakhouse will open for lunch and dinner on September 13. Reservations are now available on OpenTable. Dakota’s will be open Monday through Saturday with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Happy hour is available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday.

About Dakota’s Steakhouse

A subterranean American steakhouse in downtown Dallas established in 1984. To learn more, visit Located at 600 North Akard St., Dallas, Texas 75201. Beginning September 13, hours are Monday through Saturday with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Happy hour available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday. Stay up to date on the latest Dakota’s news on Facebook and Instagram.

Images courtesy of Dakota’s Steakhouse and Kevin Marple

(This CharityLifestyles eBuzz courtesy Dakota’s Steakhouse.)


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.