- Teresa Gubbins, CultureMap

A long-awaited restaurant with roots in New York’s most glamorous circles has finally opened its doors in Uptown Dallas.

The restaurant is Circo Dallas — pronounced “CHEER-koh,” and not like sir-koh which the rest of us have been doing all this time — and it’s at 2619 McKinney Ave., on the corner of Routh and McKinney in the One Uptown high rise.

Circo is the Italian word for “circus” (which is NOT pronounced CHEER-kuss). The Circo restaurant concept was originally founded in New York by Sirio Maccioni in 1996. It encapsulates his view of the restaurant experience as a show similar to a European circus where unexpected things are happening all around.

These legendary Italian restaurants by the Maccioni family, including Circo and Le Cirque, have been a fixture of the New York society and fine-dining scene for over 40 years, drawing many awards and and famous guests.

In olden times, it was Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Andy Warhol, and Jackie Onassis Kennedy. In more recent years, it’s names like Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Ripa, Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern, Barbara Walters, Martha Stewart, and Robert DeNiro.

The restaurants have anchored New York’s Mayfair and Palace Hotels, and the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

This Circo is the first in Texas, and represents a collaboration between the Maccioni family and White Roc Hospitality Group, led by Lauren Santagati.

The Italian coastal menu includes signature dishes from Le Cirque and Circo including lobster salad, creme brulee, and Mama Egi’s ravioli, named after Sirio’s wife Egidiana. Cool name. Several dishes will be prepared table-side, including tartare and tiramisu.

A release says that some menu items will be exclusive to Circo Dallas, and that diners can anticipate many culinary surprises.

The restaurant has two stories and spans 25,000 square feet. The decor uses neutral undertones adorned with metallic accents, a scheme that will be the model for future locations.

The main dining room displays handwritten letters to Sirio Maccioni collected over the past 40 years from heads of states and countries, dignitaries, celebrities, and royalty.

Signature Le Cirque and Circo accoutrements include original tableware, custom-painted chocolate truffles, bottled estate-grown olive oil, Circo-branded wines, and a maître d’ to welcome guests upon their arrival.

The 9,800 square-foot interior includes a spiral chandelier staircase, and a 180-seat dining room with a glass-enclosed garde manger station for live-action cold dish preparations and seafood display. A fresh selection is flown in daily.

There’s an exhibition wine cellar, and a private, social members lounge complete with full bar.

The second-story exterior features a spacious terrace complete with two glass-bottom pools, which can be encased with three custom platforms for events.

Circo also has a membership club where the social and business set can enjoy personalized service and preferred access to private events, cocktail tastings, wine pairings, and entertainment options such as art, fashion shows, or live music.

An individual or corporate membership grants exclusive access to “Circo Beach,” an outdoor space with two pools, soothing mini-spa services, cabanas with daybeds, savory bites and sips; and the 70-seat Members Lounge, which sits atop the main dining room with a dazzling view of McKinney Avenue.

The dining room will debut with limited hours: Monday-Saturday 5-8 pm. Beginning October 1, they’ll expand to Monday-Thursday 5-10 pm, and Friday- Saturday 5-11 pm.  Circo Beach and the Members Lounge’s opening is slated to follow.

Circo Dallas joins the One Uptown development, and is part of a family of global locations in Las Vegas, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Dominican Republic, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

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