By Nate Storey
December 30, 2014

Chefs preaching the farm-to-table gospel are changing how the city eats.

Dallas has never been considered a destination for food—despite some good Tex-Mex, a few decent chophouses, and a sheen of haute French. But a new identity is taking shape here, based on an enthusiastic embrace of local purveyors. “When I opened my first restaurant in 1983, I had to fly in specialty produce: fresh herbs, bell peppers, baby vegetables,” says chef Stephan Pyles, the culinary dean of the Big D. “Obviously much has changed.”

Pyles’s latest, San Salvaje ($$), may have been inspired by his travels through South America, but the pan-Latin riffs (cabrito tacos, pork-cheek feijoada) are made with livestock from nearby Plano. His protégé Matt McCallister, whose FT33 ($$) is redefining the standard for artful plating, buys his lamb at the same West Texas ranch where he found reclaimed wood for the bar.

High-caliber meat is the main event at nose-to-tail brasserie CBD Provisions ($$$)—where the entire pig is used for everything from carnitas to pork rinds—and at Knife ($$), where John Tesar’s rare cuts include a well-marbled dry-aged rib eye from 44 Farms, a sustainability-focused ranch founded in 1909. And at Gemma ($$$), a pair of Napa Valley transplants showcase their market-driven pedigree with heirloom broccoli, wood-fired chicken, and crispy veal sweetbreads—all sourced from small farms.

Can’t-miss dishes

The crispy pig-head carnitas at CBD Provisions is not for the faint of heart: it arrives on a cutting board with half the head still intact.

At FT33, McCallister uses tweezers to plate morsels of local Wagyu beef with grilled okra and pickled green tomato.

Stock & Barrel ($$) does whimsical takes on American classics; try the Dr Pepper–braised tacos and the blue-cheese potato chips.

Restaurant Pricing Key

$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.