The pandemic has seriously pumped the brakes on the arrival of many new restaurants, forced beloved favorites to close, and made the rest of us deeply miss dining out. In the midst of all this chaos, though, a number of creative chefs have used this opportunity to deliver some truly amazing eats, all without taking the risks of renting or buying a permanent brick-and-mortar location.
Otherwise known as a pop-up, these businesses advertise on social media and create a serious stir via word-of-mouth. Use this list as a guide to the city’s most compelling pop-ups slinging everything from homemade mochi to splurge-worthy Japanese sandos and everything in between.
Is your favorite DFW pop-up missing from this list? Let us know about it in the comments.
Ulam Modern Filipino Kitchen
Chef Anna Swann of Ulam Modern Filipino Kitchen is a second-generation Filipino American from San Francisco who recreates her family’s dishes for Dallasites to enjoy. She also demonstrates cooking techniques and recipes on her Instagram, as well as offers up branded tee shirts for sale. Recent Ulam popup locations include Khao Noodle Shop in East Dallas, and Peticolas Brewery in the Design District. Visit ulamdallas.com, or her instagram for her latest preorder opportunities.
Crispy, skinny Filipino egg rolls are trending across DFW, thanks in no small part to this pop-up. Under the umbrella of Bahay, Hella Lumpia has joined forces with fellow Filipino popup BilaoDFW to make treats such as lumpia (currently pork is on offer) available for preorder and pickup at either Lakewood Growler on Fridays at 4:00 pm or Marie’s Kitchen farther north on Saturdays at noon. Visit bahaydallas.com to order.
This pop-up transforms the vibrant purple yam into cookies, cheesecakes, mochi doughnuts, Madeleines and more. Preorder via direct message on Instagram for pickup in Richardson and Garland on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
Leche de Cafe
Fans of iced coffee will want to follow Leche de Cafe around town, where Venezuelan chef Sharon Payot pours flavors like Mexican Chocolate, Samoa, and Mazapan (which is made with peanuts). Her recent popups have been at House of Dirt, Trinity Groves and We The Birds, and her recent offerings have included chocolate milk for the kids, and a spikable espresso martini mix.
From the creators of Frank Underground, Better Half is the combination of chefs Jennie Kelley, Brandon Moore and Madison King. They’ve been popping up since January when the first location was the Lounge Here in East Dallas. After that, they took over the kitchen at Cosmo’s to much praise. Now that we’re quarantining, the popups relocated to Klyde Warren Park and pickup sales. Check for the latest offerings on Instagram, or email email@example.com for details.
Momo Shack Himalayan Dumplings
Himalayan dumplings, or “Momos” from Momo Shack have been spotted all over town, stacked high and dripping with Insta-worthy spicy green and red sauces, or their now-famous black bag. Dumpling lovers can order frozen momos in chicken, pork or vegetarian varieties for heating and eating at home. Pickups have been everywhere from Sandwich hag to Sno Tea to Verbena Parlor. Visit their website to order and “secure the bag.”
Niwa Japanese BBQ in Deep Ellum was not a business built for pandemic times. So chef-owner Jimmy Niwa let his former chef de cuisine Stevie Nguyen get creative with the still-new-to-Dallas Japanese sando trend, offering the fancy sandwiches out of the Deep Ellum spot. The preorder situation on sando.itchi is hot, though, and they sell out rather quickly. Log on at at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evenings to place pickup and delivery orders via sandoitchi.menu.
Popping up at breweries is working out for Roodie’s Shack, which features cheesy, meaty dishes just begging to be washed down with a cold one. In fact, Peticolas, Celestial Beerworks and Pegasus City have all hosted Rudy of Roodies Shack, serving up Rudy’s own version of American staples like the Miami Cuban or the San Diego burrito.
8 Mile Pies
Formerly known as Wycliff Pies, 8 Mile Pies puts out a small but mighty menu of Detroit-style pizzas topped with pepperoni cups, kale and Italian sausage, and spinach and artichokes. Ordering (and they sell out quick) kicks off on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. and take place via Instagram DM.
Vaqueros Texas BBQ
Combining Texas barbecue techniques with Mexican favorites like elotes and birria, Vaqueros Texas BBQ is smoking strong in Grapevine. Posted up at Hop & Sting Brewery, hungry customers can snag their food to-go with a six-pack or hang in the beer garden to eat menu items like bourbon glazed ribs, prime brisket or mom’s turkey. Visit vaquerostxbbq.com or check out their Instagram page for the latest info.
Momma Wong’s Mochis
With traditional flavors like mango and sesame, or not-so-traditional ones like crispy Nutella, Momma Wong knows how to make some seriously beautiful mochi. Head to the pop-up’s Instagram account and send a DM to place an order.
The Pandesal Place
This pop-up focuses on the pandesal, a golden Filipino pastry roll that’s served plain or filled. At The Pandesal Place, find rolls stuffed with ube jam and cream cheese, or coffee and caramel-flavored flan, all available for pickup. Orders are taken via an online form, and pickups happen all over town, depending on the weekend.
Those in the know will pay close attention to Ft. Worth’s Heim BBQ Instagram page to lookout for the Sundays they’ll be parking their truck (also known as Meat Force One) outside 3130 West Mockingbird Lane. That’s the former Mockingbird Diner spot, where Heim announced in January they’ll be opening up their first Dallas location, which has been, understandably, postponed for the time being.
Picadera Latin Street Food
Picadera is a street food popup hopping from brewery to brewery in DFW. Look out for Dominican-Mexican dishes like Chimi Burgers topped with fried cheese, sides of sweet plantains and yuca fries, and creative “DominiTacos” with shells made out of plantains. Visit picaderadfw.com or watch their Instagram page for the latest details.
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