Well, we have our first big restaurant closing(s) of the year. Chef Stephan Pyles is closing Flora Street Cafe and its tasting menu restaurant Fauna on Jan. 2.
A press release stated that Pyles is transitioning from “restaurant ownership and operations to focus on hospitality consulting.” His publicist, Lisa Endicott, says he is retiring from ownership but “not from creating.”
“He’s not retiring from the business, not from the industry,” she says.
He will continue consulting and is still involved with Benchmark Global Hospitality (which operates Stampede 66 in Allen), as well as with license agreements with Gina Puente Enterprises, and culinary travel tours with David Morris International and longtime friend Paula Lambert.
“I have had an incredible four-decade run in this beautiful city and have seen many dynamic changes over that time,” Pyles said in the news release. Pyles was not immediately available to comment further.
Flora Street Cafe opened in the Dallas Arts District in 2016 after Pyles closed his namesake Stephan Pyles restaurant in downtown Dallas. But a few years later, Pyles admitted he “misjudged” the Dallas dining scene, reported Sarah Blaskovich, and attempted to “casualize” Flora Street in early 2019 by bringing on Dallas chef Tim Byres.
And in June 2019, Pyles decided to carve Flora Street into two restaurants and launch Fauna, an exclusive restaurant-within-a-restaurant tasting room, and brought on chef Diego Fernandez, formerly of the famed Chicago restaurant Alinea. Both Flora and Fauna encountered a staff shake-up soon after, with Byres departing in July 2019. Fernandez left around the same time, and eventually took a head position at the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel. Pyles then named Peter David Barlow as chef at Fauna and Ross Demers as executive chef at Flora Street.
“It’s actually very good change,” Pyles told The Dallas Morning News at the time. “It’s the restaurant business, changes happen, and I’m probably less concerned than most. It’s more raucous than typical, but it feels pretty natural to me.”
Pyles has definitely had a wild ride in the Dallas restaurant scene. He’s a multiple James Beard Award winner widely known as a co-founder of Southwestern cuisine and Modern Texas cuisine, and launched his first famed restaurant, Routh Street Café, in 1983. He has since owned 17 restaurants, including Star Canyon and Samar, and created another eight through license agreements in six cities. He has mentored many other Dallas chefs, including Matt McCallister of Homewood, Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Byres, Danyele McPherson and Graham Dodds.
Flora Street Cafe garnered 5 stars in The Dallas Morning News in 2017. It later garnered 2 1/2 stars in November 2019 on a new star system, with Fauna getting 3 stars out of a possible 4.
“It’s a bittersweet moment to be exiting the business I have always been so passionate about, but the time has come to let the next generation of Dallas chefs and restaurateurs follow in my footsteps,” Pyles stated in the news release. “I would like to thank the city and my longtime loyal patrons for such an incredible gastronomic ride. I also would like to thank the thousands of staff members I have employed, many of whom have become family, for their dedication and respect. I have certainly left the restaurant world in a better place than I found it 36 years ago.”
Endicott says Pyles will also continue his philanthropy and involvement in organizations such as No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength and Shatterproof.
This story will be updated as we receive more information.
Want more restaurant news?
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter @dmnfood.
Source: Thanks https://www.dallasnews.com/food/restaurant-news/2020/01/02/chef-stephan-pyles-is-closing-flora-street-cafe-and-retiring-from-restaurant-ownership/?fbclid=IwAR2-mvjLsH5HAM82kQ4HeSvaA1DX4HADAcjuSD6i8chwiOxejApq-2XNxnU/