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West 7th surprise: No. 1 restaurant, Saint-Émilion, plans new location

Saint-Emilion, a holiday tradition and often the region’s No. 1 retsaurant, is moving three blocks east.
Saint-Emilion, a holiday tradition and often the region’s No. 1 retsaurant, is moving three blocks east. Star-Telegram archives

Saint-Émilion Restaurant is moving, but not far.

The 33-year French dining favorite, often Dallas-Fort Worth’s No. 1 restaurant in Zagat Survey ratings, will move three blocks to the space that was recently home to Le Cep Restaurant.

The current Saint-Émilion will undergo remodeling after New Year’s Eve and reopen as a bistro concept, owner Bernard Tronche wrote Sunday in the weekly email to regular diners. He has not decided which restaurant will keep the Saint-Émilion name, he said Monday.

Saint-Émilion’s French fine-dining menu will move in January, Tronche said. The sleek-contemporary Le Cep space will be redesigned as a Parisian restaurant, he said.

“The idea of a bigger kitchen is a thrill to me and to our chef and staff,” Tronehe wrote in the email, adding that the new restaurant will have room for a bar and lounge.

“It’s a dream come true and still on West 7th Street,” he wrote.

Saint-Émilion celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015 with a three-day tent party at the current small bistro at 3617 W. Seventh St. near the University of North Texas medical school.

It’s known for its honey-roasted duck and traditional French favorites served in a cozy French country atmosphere.

Le Cep aimed for a higher level of haute cuisine at higher prices, but closed Sept. 8 after a three-year run.

In 2014, it was listed by “Texas Monthly” as one of the state’s 10 best new restaurants. The writer expressed shock at finding such an artful restaurant in the middle of “barbecue, beefsteaks and country club fare.”

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @EatsBeat.

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