Jonathan Thompson to lead the kitchen at Jose Andres’ new Zaytinya at The Star in Frisco

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Dallas chef Jonathan Thompson has been tapped to lead the kitchen at chef José Andrés’ Zaytinya restaurant, slated to open in early February at The Star in Frisco, a company spokesperson told EscapeHatch this morning. (I shot the images of Zaytinya Frisco (above) on an early December visit.)

Zaytinya Frisco will be Andrés’ first restaurant in Texas and the second location of Zaytinya, which garners praise from both critics and customers at its original Washington,  D.C. mothership. Zaytinya debuted there in 2002.

The menu zigzags across Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines, which means Thompson will be putting out a lot of meze plates and aggressively seasoned dishes (yay for us).

Thompson says he’s been working at the D.C. Zaytinya for the last three months, getting a feel for Andres’ style and cooking. He’s now back in Dallas, readying Zaytinya for its February debut. He’ll no doubt draw on his experience cooking at Samar, Stephen Pyles’ now-closed Med restaurant whose dishes had a similar flair.

“I’m so excited to be opening Zaytinya in Frisco at this amazing location at The Star – an incredible development by the Jones family!” says Andrés in a press release. “I can’t think of a better home for this second location of my mezze restaurant.”

I wouldn’t expect to see Andres working the floor at Zaytinya Frisco, but if you do catch him there, don’t hesitate to engage with him. When I had dinner with him on opening night of his Bazaar Meats at the SLS Las Vegas, our conversation ricocheted from Americans’ love for dry-aged beef (in Spain, Andres told me, an aged steak means beef from an old dairy cow, not from a dry-aging box) to the array of wood-fired grills he had installed at the restaurant to his favorite restaurants in the world.

Great guy. Great chef. And Thompson seems like a great choice to lead Zaytinya Frisco.

Cover photo: Zaytinya Facebook,