Chef Kashawn Cruell, who helped Major Food Group open Italian restaurant Carbone and others in New York, will run a new restaurant planned for the new building in the southeast corner of Snider Plaza near where Peggy Sue BBQ used to be.
Cruell calls Montecito’s, the restaurant he’s planning to open, “a California-style Italian concept, trading heavy meat sauces for a light and fresh focus on pastas, pizzas, seafood, and salads.”
Montecito’s is a partnership between Cruell and Vandelay Hospitality Group, which operates Hudson House, Drake’s, Slider & Blues near SMU, and more.
“The restaurant scene in Dallas is evolving and expanding at a very exciting rate. The opportunity to enjoy such a wide variety of cuisines from different cultures reminds me of NYC,” Cruell said. “I’m so happy to call Dallas home and to bring my experience from New York to Texas. I love the Dallas community and the group of people at Vandelay. I feel very blessed.”
Cruell was most recently chef de cuisine for Carbone Vino, which opened in the Design District in 2022. Before that, he had a 10-year career with Major Food Group, which operates Carbone, Carbone Vino, Sadelle’s, and more. After he moved to Dallas in 2021, Cruell started work at Carbone Vino, and helped Major Food Group open Sadelle’s, Carbone, and Carbone Vino, all of which have opened in Dallas since 2022.
“I love how Italian food brings people together,” Cruell said. “The idea of sharing; trying a little bit of everything. I also really enjoy making pasta from scratch and find it super therapeutic. I look forward to infusing both a New York and California-Italian influence into the Dallas scene.”
The two-story building that will house Montecito’s is still under construction, with restaurant space planned for the lower level and office space above. The 1940s-era buildings that used to be in the southeast corner that housed Peggy Sue BBQ and Lane Florist, Logos Bookstore, Arman Jewelry, and a tailor before they moved to new locations in the plaza were demolished in 2022.
Montecito’s is the first restaurant announced for the building, but Vandelay has announced plans to open more restaurants in Snider Plaza. Vandelay is involved in a lawsuit over claims from former employees.
Montecito’s is expected to open in 2024.