In an emotional post on Facebook Tuesday, Dallas chef and restaurateur Matthew McCallister said he plans to close his acclaimed restaurant FT33 in June after six years in operation.
McCallister said he’s not leaving the business after the restaurant’s last day of service on June 23. In fact, he said he “has something fun in the works,” to be revealed soon.
But he never planned for FT33, his first solo venture, to be around forever, he said.
“I look at the food we are doing now, and it makes me proud to know that, for now, it has a place and a story to tell,” he wrote. “I feel that the food we are cooking now is what FT always aspired to be, but it took a while to find its true voice. I’ve also grown up a bit … maybe I’ve grown beyond what FT once fulfilled for me. That isn’t a bad thing … it just is.”
McCallister said he opened FT33 in 2012 with “big dreams of turning Dallas upside down by focusing on creative food without the pretention”— noting the pretention in that very statement.
“My ego (insecurity) was huge and my knowledge of running a great restaurant was negligible. In the beginning, I set aside most things in my life to go after my dream of running an ambitious restaurant and had no clue what I was doing,” he wrote. “I had no real defined set of standards or even a philosophy of my own personal cooking style.”
Yet he continued on, describing himself as a maniac.
“I was driven to prove something, and I have come to realize that what I really do enjoy is the company of people, hospitality and enjoying your passion,” he wrote.
McCallister, who was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, Southwest, three years in a row, from 2014 through 2016, added that the last day of service will also mark his second year of sobriety, which he said was not intentional, but “feels serendipitous. While part of me feels a sense of relief to finally get to this moment, it is still bittersweet and full of emotion.”
McCallister has been working on the menu of the growing Malibu Poke concept in Dallas.
His restaurant Filament in Dallas closed last year, triggering a lawsuit filed by a former landlord who alleged nonpayment of rent. McCallister also filed personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year, which concluded in late April, according to court documents. The voluntary petition cited primarily business debts.
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