With countless restaurants opening or announcing plans to launch in 2022, the second half of 2021 has been great for the Collin County food scene. Celina is rapidly expanding, and McKinney keeps getting cooler. Plano restaurants continue to be a significant reason why it is one of the best cities in the country, and Allen has a world class steakhouse opening soon. Here are our picks for essential Collin County restaurants that debuted this year.
Just a few years ago, Ashley Johnson and Thaddeus Bell were selling meals out of a car. From there they operated a wildly successful food truck and catering business with celebrity clients. This year they opened a brick-and-mortar location for their Cajun food concept, Bells Sweet Factory. This is authentic New Orleans food with an addictive Cajun Alfredo sauce, a must-try in Collin County.
In September, Chef Brian Luscher, formerly of The Grape, opened Suburban Yacht Club in Plano. The SoCal-themed restaurant has imaginative cocktails, seafood and tacos.
With 14 acres of land connected to McKinney trails, a huge patio, a very welcoming atmosphere, and a mission to embrace simpler times, The Stix Icehouse has been drawing large crowds and maintaining a significant amount of buzz since opening in October.
Also in McKinney, Hutchins BBQ might not be new, but close enough. After closing last year due to a fire, the spot reopened in August with a new pitmaster, John Mueller, the grandson of famed barbecue king Louie Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. Mueller died in early December 2021, just months after joining the barbecue spot, but Hutchins is still offering essential Texas barbecue at a modest price.
The fried chicken wars are continuing, and even a list of principal belligerents would be quite long, but the Dave’s Hot Chicken hype is real, just ask Drake. There are seven different levels of spice, the sliders are impressive, even by North Texas standards, and Plano scored a location in October, with a second spot in Plano coming soon.
Italian Village also opened in Plano in October, at the Shops at Legacy. With a huge fountain, streetlights, and floors modeled after cobblestone streets, the dining room was built to resemble a village in Venice or Milan. The Italian restaurant and bar also has a huge stage with live music from big bands and crooners on weekends.
One of Dallas’ most popular sushi restaurants, Oishii also expanded into Plano this year with a new location. Along with sushi, sashimi, and pan-Asian cuisine, Oishii has 25 signature rolls like 42 (spicy shrimp topped with crab meat), Tribeca (fresh salmon and truffle oil), and On the Border (shrimp tempura wrapped with salmon and topped with pico de gallo.)
Salad and Go only has a drive-through and walk-up window, but this Arizona concept has amazing salads for under six bucks, beverages for a dollar, and breakfast burritos for $2.99. Salad and Go now has several locations in North Texas, and Plano is lucky enough to have one of them. And Fairview is getting a location next year too.
From the Chicago area, Beerhead Bar & Eatery opened its first Texas location in Plano back in November. With hundreds of craft and local beer options and a menu that includes pizza, sandwiches and an enormous “Barbarian” pretzel, the popular concept is equal parts beer geek heaven and family restaurant.
In Allen, MUTTS Canine Cantina opened at Watters Creek Shopping Center in October. The pet eatertainment concept is a hybrid dog park and outdoor bar and grill. For people, there are lounge chairs, burgers, and booze. For dogs, there are two private dog parks, PUPcicles made with frozen beef broth and peanut butter, and mini franks called “doggie dogs.”