Long-awaited dining district opens at North Dallas center

Jennifer Setteducato
The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas, has just completed another phase of its $125 million renovation with the opening of The District, a chef-driven restaurant area offering a variety of creative dining experiences.

Knife, a steakhouse by celebrity chef John Tesar features two patio areas, a retail butcher shop, and a walk-up window that faces into the mall where shoppers can order a quick burger. Terra Mediterranean, run by brothers Jalal and Adam Shanaa, has a lunch buffet that is a crowd favorite. Chef Omar Flores' Whistle Britches is “all about chicken” and southern comfort food. At Mexican Bar Company, chef Patricio Sandoval keeps the cuisine and cocktails authentic and the ingredients fresh.

A textbook example of food and beverage tenants overtaking department stores, The District inhabits the site of a former Saks 5th Avenue location.

“As it is one of the most flourishing cities in the U.S., Plano has been starved for more unique dining options,” said Bryant Siragusa, VP, national restaurant and entertainment leasing at Starwood Retail.

The Shops at Willow Bend is shaping up to be the multi-use urban core of Plano with a variety of experiential concepts. The Crayola Experience opened earlier this year, and the Plano Children’s Theater opened in 2017. Equinox is set to open in 2019 and an office building is in the planning stages.

Other highlights of the renovation include a new grand entrance facing the Dallas North Tollway with valet drop-off and pickup; exterior upgrades, like enhanced lighting, fountains, comfortable seating and fire pits; and a full interior remodel that reflects a more contemporary aesthetic.

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