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Komodo Dallas 2 - Credit Ashley Estave.jpg Ashley Estave

Groot Hospitality opens first restaurant outside of South Florida in Dallas

The prolific Miami-based hospitality group has big plans: setting its sights on national and international expansion

Groot Hospitality is one of the restaurant industry’s biggest success stories. Its roots began in 2008, when founder David Grutman opened LIV nightclub inside the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami. He followed that up with Story, another Miami Beach nightlife concept that opened in 2013, and then Komodo in 2015, which marked the group’s first restaurant. Komodo has been a runaway success since opening and reportedly grossed $41 million last year.

Komodo recently spread its wings, opening a new location on April 7 in Dallas’ Epic Development, which sits between downtown Dallas and the popular Deep Ellum dining and nightlife district. This location marks Groot Hospitality’s first concept located outside of South Florida.

“We’d been thinking about locations outside of South Florida for a number of years, and there are plans in the pipeline for both national and international expansion,” David Grutman said. “Dallas, to me, felt like a natural first step for Groot. It’s a big, energetic city with a cosmopolitan and fun crowd. For a good portion of the year, you can have outdoor dining alongside the indoor component. And like Miami, Dallas is an entertainment, sports, shopping, and cultural hub. We were drawn to the lifestyle.”

Dallas has been the site of several out-of-town openings lately, with outposts from Major Food Group and STK (both based in New York) opening recently, and Las Vegas concept La Neta Cocina, opening in early March next door to Komodo.

“We care about the community and not just being some outside brand that just happens to be a transplant,” Grutman stressed. “We really embrace the fact that we’re in Dallas, and this is our new home.”

The spacious two-story restaurant can accommodate up to 270 diners across tables, booths, and bar seats. It was designed by the New York-based firm ICRAVE and takes visual cues from its Miami home base, with holdovers like the illuminated faux bamboo cutout columns and duck display windows. Bright red wallpaper is accented with white florals.

Komodo serves Southeast Asian-inspired dishes, including Peking duck, salmon tacos, miso Chilean seabass skewers, and plant-based kung pao chicken. Nirigi, rolls and sashimi are served at a sushi bar. But Dallas differs from its Miami sister location with its exclusive lineup of Texas beef, including select wagyu cuts, from tomahawks to filets, and a dish of Szechuan Texas quail made using locally-sourced quail, Szechuan peppercorns, chili, and white sesame. The bar serves a variety of beers, wines and craft cocktails, like the Pikachu made with reposado tequila, yuzu, ginger, wasabi and honey.

Groot Hospitality remains busy in Miami, with recent debuts including the Japanese-inspired steakhouse, Gekkō, which Grutman opened in partnership with recording artist Bad Bunny in 2022. And the group is currently working on an Italian concept called Cosadonna, which is a partnership with Las Vegas-based Tao Hospitality.

Grutman shared that he’s interested in bringing more concepts to Texas and is always looking at new sites, new cities, and new opportunities. Further afield, Groot Hospitality will launch a new Bahamas resort next year called Somewhere Else in partnership with Pharrell Williams and Atlantis Bahamas.

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