Does Dallas Want Healthy Restaurants?

Healthy, local, sustainable, veg-forward, grass-fed, organic. These popular buzzwords are strewn across Dallas menus, but is it really what people want when they go out to eat? Polls say yes, but dollars sometimes say no.

I sat down with longtime Dallas restauranteur and Park Cities resident Shannon Wynne to discuss. We met at his newest place, Mudhen Meat and Greens, next to the downtown Farmers Market.

Among the 28 restaurants he owns, several focus on beer offerings (Meddlesome Moth and Flying Saucers) and one successful spot, which opened in 2015, centers entirely on beef burgers (Rodeo Goat). Guess what? The guy doesn’t drink alcohol or eat ground red meat.

At his recent restaurants Lark on the Park, and now Mudhen, Wynne worked with his nutritionist and chefs to offer food more in tune with how he eats. That means clean meats, fish, and veggies; no sodas and almost no bread. The bread isn’t a gluten thing, but a sugar thing, according to Wynne.

Most of the food at Mudhen isn’t cooked above 350 Fahrenheit (above that temp, carcinogens get involved with a char, broil, or grill). Both places offer something for everyone but focus on more nutritious fare.

Will Wynne’s newest menus prove popular long-term in Dallas, a town where red meat, dripping cheese, and fried everything is glorified? I really hope so. Wynne has been in the restaurant business for 35 plus years and claims to have no interest in shaking things up at this point. He’s a business man. So why Mudhen?

“Oh, it’s stupid. So stupid. I can’t even believe I went off the grid so bad,” he said.

According to Wynne, he’s gotten requests to open up other Mudhen locations, but will only do it if this one proves sustainable.

I hope it is. I hope to see more variety in Dallas food. It seems like local places which start out with such ideals end up dropping them pretty quickly or close for lack of business.

I travel around checking out what other cities have to offer in this realm and we can definitely do better here. But only if people want it. Do you want it?

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