El Vecino is a good sized place in a small shopping center in the Casa Linda area. The bare wood tables are well spaced and set with cloth napkins wrapped around the flatware. The colors are bright and the place is too, but there are windows all across the front to the outside free parking lot. They offer a good sized menu with lunch specials for weekdays, special selections for brunch on weekends and some summer specials. They have a second location that has opened in Travis Walk but we were at the original. They have a full bar and you will see it when you first enter. It has stools so you could probably eat there if they were full. There are benches on the covered patio out front, I’m guessing for waiting. The name “El Vecino” translates to neighbor and they want to be a neighborhood place, opening in the fall of 2017. The owners, the McBride family, have Mexican restaurants in their blood with his grandfather starting El Fenix and he working in NYC’s Rosa Mexicano. Service was efficient but did try to ‘upsale’ extra stuff to order several times. Continue reading
Pepes & Mitos is a large place in Deep Ellum. The tables are covered with oilclothes and well spaced and good sized. The restaurant has several rooms and an enclosed outdoor patio with fans. In the entrance room you can see through to the kitchen and a counter houses a large selection of cold drinks. The next room has a large bar where you can also sit and eat or just have drinks. A concrete floor, brick walls and exposed ductwork in the ceiling give it a casual feel. Lots of art is on the walls. Even with all the hard surfaces noise was not a problem. A number of large groups were there at lunch so it seems to be a good place for work people to lunch together. They have a good sized menu and do offer lunch specials for weekdays. Service was helpful and very friendly. Parking is on the street by meter or in a paid lot. Continue reading
Mac’s Bar-B-Que has been a regular spot in my Dallas dining scene and somehow I forgot to take Frankie and photograph. So when we last visited I got some photos to include on this series of Dallas posts. Chef and owner Billy McDonald put Mac’s up for sale (2015) but that’s been a while and based on the crowd it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. The restaurant opened in the mid-50’s and moved to this spot, very near the main Baylor Hospital, in 1982 when his dad and mom still had the place. It’s a plain little place that you’d easily drive by but there is parking on the side and in back. Inside the tables are good sized and spaced nicely. Customers line up at the window and the menu is posted on the wall beside you. While your order is being prepared you can chose from a nice selection of condiments, including pickle relish, onions, lemons, banana peppers, dill pickles and jalapeños.
Herrera’s Café has been around since 1971 and been in many locations. There are now a number of similarly named places but this is the original that started on Maple St. I have eaten there for years but don’t get to this “new” location as often as it’s not real convenient. They were a staple for a long time because they had a really spicy salsa with warm really corny chips. They still have that and some of the original family are around too. At this location there is a fairly good sized parking lot but it naturally leads you to a door that is not the entrance, so go around the building to where it faces Sylvan and you’ll find the proper entrance as well as a large area for outdoor dining. Inside a wall of press about the place greets you and the desk that takes names as well as check you out when you’re through. To the right are the bathrooms and kitchen and to the left is a large dining room. If you go straight ahead you’ll be in another dining room with the bar and a doorway to another smaller dining area. At lunch it was bustling with people but we didn’t have to wait long for a table to become free. Service is friendly and efficient. Continue reading
Instead of enjoying retirement, Anita and Octavio Avila opened a restaurant featuring family favorites in 1986. They have added new items as well as expanding their selection of beers since that time. They are at 4714 Maple Avenue in Dallas, near where “Little Mexico” still holds many locations but neighborhood change has brought a more diverse population to the area. Located in a little house they have 2 main dining rooms, one much small than the other. Along the walls they utilize bench seating to work in the maximum number of tables. There is a mix of 2 and 4 top tables and they seemed to turn over quickly, as lunch sometimes has a short wait. They do have an adjacent parking lot as well as a few spaces in front. They have only had this location but now a sign on the table refers to a second location in the planning for Casa Linda in East Dallas. The menu has lots of options but I generally go here for the tasty Tex-Mex food and the fairly spicy salsa on the table. Service is friendly and efficient and they have lunch specials which are delivered fast enough to be able to fit a meal here on a lunch hour. They do have lunch specials but nothing on the menu is over $20. Continue reading
Jack’s Kitchen opened this year in Lakewood. Scott Jones is chef and provides most of the service but I believe his sister makes the desserts. It is in a medium sized location between a well known Thai restaurant and organic nursery. They are open for dinner, Sunday brunch and lunch as well as offering take out, delivery and catering services. The small menu didn’t change between lunch visits. The walls are decorated with art pieces and the tables are set with a placemats and plants or candles. Windows to the street line one wall and a display cabinet held a collection of enameled cast iron cookware. Both visits the owner was our server and was most cooperative in helping us place our orders. They serve fairly simple but honest food that is nicely seasoned and generously portioned. It won’t make you want to lick the plate but it was plenty good enough that I’ll go again. It helps that the owner is on sight and very nice. Continue reading
Petra and the Beast opened last April and is two restaurants in one. During the week (closed Monday and Tuesday) they have a chalkboard menu where everything is a la carte for lunch and dinner but on Saturday night they produce a tasting menu for 18 lucky people. This menu included things not on the regular menu and changes every week. Seating was communal with 3 tables each seating 6. It is BYOB at all times. We were there for the Saturday evening tasting. The building used to be a service station but chef Misti Norris has transformed the space into a pleasant space decorated with dried herbs and flowers and lots of jars of ingredients. A high tin ceiling was above the exposed ductwork and the bare wood tables, set with metal chairs, were all slightly different. It was a setting full of hard surfaces and so the noise level could be a bit high. Seating was not assigned so it’s a fun opportunity to meet some new people also interested in food. Arrival time was 7:00 but then there was a period for you to look around and enjoy a welcome cocktail, which is given to you after you’d taken care of the evening’s payment. Continue reading
E Bar is a medium sized place that serves Tex-Mex food. There is a small parking lot adjacent to the place as well as 3 spaces in front and otherwise parking is find as you can. Seating inside is in 2 areas divided by a large bar and there is patio dining, where they have optional plastic walls to enclose it. We were there for an early lunch and so had no problems but I have seen lines out the door waiting for a seat in the evening. Tables were nice sized bare wood with fair spacing between. A wood bench provided one side of the seating. Service was friendly, efficient and helpful and they had a large menu that offered the full dinner menu as well as lunch specials. While I wasn’t blown away by the food, I expected to be as they get amazing crowds of people. However it was nicely done and good enough that I’ll go back and try some more dishes. Sometimes you just have to find that option that works for you, and obviously they have for a lot of people. Continue reading
Urban Vines is a large place in East Dallas. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer snacks if you just want a place to drink some wine. You enter through a patio with a large fireplace and plenty of outdoor seating into bar area that adjoins the dining area. Some bench seating, regular tables and high top tables are available. Tables are bare wood but cloth napkins are part of the set up. The walls display art, some of which is for sale. Different days offer specials and Thursday is half price wine by the glass. Two of the walls have large windows letting in some natural light in the daytime but in the evening the lighting is fairly low. The menu offers sandwiches, flatbreads and a few bigger dishes. Frankie and I visited a couple times to try some of the options. It is a casual place with friendly and helpful servers and while the food is not outstanding it is a perfectly adequate place to meet with friends over wine and food.
The flatbreads are thin crust pizzas. The Jalapeno Flatbread is made with jalapeno cream cheese spread, mozzarella, red wine onions, roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto. It had a bit of spice but was not overwhelmingly hot. Good flavors made it a fun choice.
The Steak Flatbread came with chimichurri sauce, mozzarella, skirt steak, onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapenos. The bits of beef were quite chewy and it was okay.
The Italian panini was composed of hard salami, capicola with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, field greens, tomatoes and roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette on a grilled panini bread. All paninis are served with a choice of pasta salad, pita chips or fruit. We tried the pasta salad and it was pretty ordinary, but the sandwich was well stuffed and quite tasty with a nice crispy bread.
On a second visit, this time at lunch, we tried two other panini options – the waitress said they were the 2 top sellers. The Turkey and Brie panini was made with oven roasted turkey, brie, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette served on grilled panini bread. It was well stuffed but the brie flavor dwarfed that of the the turkey.
It didn’t come together as well as the Braised Chicken and Drunken Goat Panini made with roasted tomato pesto aioli, braised chicken and drunken goat on a grilled panini bread. Drunken Goat is a wine infused goat cheese. It was quite good. With the sandwiches we got pita chips which were very crisp and unseasoned. They added a nice crunch but had a fairly dull flavor. All paninis also came with a dill pickle that was very strongly flavored and full of juice – nice.
On the side we had a small Wedge Salad made with blue cheese dressing. It was plenty to split and the lettuce was fresh and crisp but I found the blue cheese flavor wasn’t strong enough for me.
For dessert we had daily special chocolate torte. The crust was made with ground chocolate graham crackers and then that was spread with layers of dulce de leche and chocolate. It was gooey and sweet and apparently sells out every time they make it.
The Mitchell is located in downtown Dallas. It has the feel of a bar with tables rather than the reverse. I had read another person’s glowing write up of this more casual French place that would be a good option to the more formal ones newly ‘opened’ and recently written up here. Unfortunately when we got there the chef in the write up was gone and another had assumed his duties and changes had been made to the menu. Not sure these were good changes. The place has elegant chandeliers and a silent TV boxed in by the giant bar. They are short on wine selections but have about any liquor you’re looking for. Tables are small dark wood and seating is upholstered black chairs and a curving black banquette. There are also a number of seats at the bar. Service was friendly and efficient but I might have preferred if they’d spaced the serving of the dishes due to the size of the tables. Continue reading
La Victoria is a small place that looks like it was once a drive-in burger joint. However when you get inside it’s light and airy with a number of stools at a counter and a half dozen large bare wood tables. Many windows let in lots of natural light, which matters as they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Service is friendly and helpful. For example, when I was there for lunch the waitress suggested we order the half size rather than the whole one because it’d be too much, and she was right. Food is not your standard Tex-Mex and chips are not automatically on the table, but they are on the menu if you want some. The spiciness of the sauce varies but they also have an un-spicy variety that is available upon request. There is a quality to their food that I find appealing, it’s simple but honest and the owner is often in the kitchen cooking when she’s not out on a catering job. Continue reading
Hello Dumpling is in a shopping center near several other casual restaurants. It is a moderate size place with a counter where you place your order, pay and then put a number in the stand on your table. They feature Chinese dumplings and noodles made on site. There is a good selection of stuffings but a similarity to the tastes. The main difference I found was in the method of preparation. They also offer sides that provide a vegetable or texture to your meal. One last option is their bubble tea but I didn’t try it nor did I get the hot bites skewers that sound pretty good. The workers are friendly and helpful and they have souvenirs for sale. Service is quick and so it could make an ideal lunch spot if you are on a time frame. Continue reading
The Parlor on Commerce is a good sized bar in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas with food as well as drinks. They’ve been open 13 months and the wine list is limited but they have a good supply of beers and hard liquors. The kitchen also turns out some pretty tasty food to go for or to snack on while drinking. The folks at the bar, bartender and guests, are super friendly and the place does have lots of counter seats as well as a number of tables. The finish out of the interior has lots of interesting objects around as well as art. The owner, Seth Byars, is a Star Wars buff so watch for some articles from that theme. Also check out the boxcar flooring that was made into the bar counter and the basketball flooring that is now the bar’s flooring. Continue reading
Here is a good sized, very stylish bar and restaurant. The small, closely set tables are in the middle of the lowly lit room. Around the edges are cozy round booths that match the elegant large arc shaped bar. Comfy chairs and bar seats finish out this amazing looking space that is located in a very non-descript strip shopping center. The menu offers a range of small plates and larger ones but the beverage service is mostly liquor. Portions run on the large side, so be prepared to split even the small plates. A good selection of beers is available but the wine list is very small (one thing that would really improve this place). Continue reading
Cock and Bull has been in the Lakewood area for many years and has gone through several owners. It is a neighborhood bar but also serves non-bar food in the evenings and for weekend brunch. Prices on the menu are very reasonable and they also offer a few nightly specials, two of which on the night we were there, were beef tenderloin preparations for $32 – so it could become a more moderately priced option. They have a full bar but limited wines however on Wednesday night wines by the glass are 1/2 price and that makes them quite a deal. Tables are set with nothing but lists of wine and cocktails and the flatware comes wrapped in 2 paper napkins. Music plays in the background but the noise level was not bad however there were also lots of empty tables. Service by the bartender was friendly, efficient and she was also willing to help with choosing menu items. Continue reading
Lakewood Landing has been around a long time – I can’t seem to find out how long – but a while to be sure. The exterior is non-descript with a newish wooden patio facing the street that was added when the smoking ban happened and an iconic sign advertising their contradictory status of being both “upscale” and a “dive”. Inside is a long bar separated from the tables by a wooden railing, a separate room with couch and pool table, and the dining room with a few well used booths and standing tables. Continue reading
Marc Cassel of Green Room fame started 20 Feet a few years ago and it hasn’t changed much since then. In a strip shopping center, next to a beer-burger joint, it serves a limited menu for lunch and dinner. It is a reasonably large dining room and they have added a plastic enclosed patio with additional dining. I spied A/C and heating units to make it usable year-round. The mussels from his Green Room days are on the menu but most talk was about their fried fish so that’s what we tried. It’s a restaurant where you line up at the counter, place your order, pay and then take a number to your table. They bring your food out to you. There is a large supply of condiments for you to use as well a pitchers of water and tea for refills, however they were nice enough to come around and refill our glasses. Continue reading
Barbec’s has been around as long as I can remember. Located in an old Howard Johnson’s building it serves large, cheap portions of southern style food. The service is efficient but sometimes you’ll have to ask for something rather than a waitress noticing and asking. They seem to be best known for their beer biscuits which are better at breakfast than at lunch, when they’ve been out of the oven for awhile. They offer a large menu and well priced specials for breakfast and lunch, but it is a cash only business. With the lunch specials there is a huge choice of sides to go with your entree, of which you’ll see a preponderance of chicken fried steak. Continue reading
John’s Cafe dates back to the early 1970’s when it was further north on Greenville. Various lease and sign issues forced them to move slightly northeast for a couple years but then they found a new location on lower Greenville. It is the same breakfast and lunch place with slightly more seating. There is a lunch special everyday but John Spyropoulos seems to be mostly popular for his breakfast special, $6.99 for your choice of 2 eggs, choice of bacon, ham or sausage and hash browns and toast or biscuits. He makes a number of tasty omelets, the Gyro being a favorite. Continue reading
Dugg Burger is in the Casa Linda shopping center offering a limited menu with a basic concept – the top portion of the burger bun is hollowed out to make room for the many toppings. All of the toppings are included in the price and you pick which you want while your burger is being made to order. Toppings start with your choice of cheese (American, cheddar or pepper jack) and then include mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, sautéed onions, fried onions, pineapple, peppers and various sauces. The topping offerings vary so your only choices are if you want an extra patty on the burger, fries, beverage. Continue reading
House of Gyros is a small family run operation in an eastern suburb of Dallas. They are attempting to open a second location so sometimes the Greek husband, who is the chef, is not there. He has trained some new folks but when he is there the magic is in the food. His wife, who is actually Italian, runs the front of the operation and she is as wonderfully friendly her husband. They do lots of take out orders and can get a good crowd at lunch. The plates are generous and every time I’ve been there they bring out complimentary loukoumades, or Greek honey puffs, for dessert. It’s an unhandy location but worth the drive if you have a craving for Gyros. Continue reading
The Heights in Lakewood has been open about a year and serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. I’ve been for lunch several times and have enjoyed the food and friendly service; during two visits at dinner both had great service but the food was terrific once and flawed the other. I believe the good meal is more indicative of their product but can’t omit it in all honesty. The restaurant offers a full bar but a very limited wine list. Continue reading
Mis Cazuelas is a really small place of about 5 tables and a counter. There is another larger version further down the street but this cozy location is way better food even though it offers a more limited menu (not everything on the large menu is available at this smaller, original location). Their lunch food is fine but it’s the breakfast (served anytime) that’s my favorite there. It is a cash only place and little English is spoken, but you can get by with pointing at the menu. The kitchen is behind the bar seats and the constant patting that is the background sound is the lady making fresh corn and flour tortillas, as well as the thicker ones for gorditas. It feels a lot like eating in your grandmother’s kitchen. Continue reading
El Taquito is located in a run down strip shopping center in East Dallas. It is old style Tex-Mex and is cash only. They have a nice crispy chip and a good heat to their hot sauce, which is green rather than the usual red. It is a taste that really grows on you and is good on most of the food. While they offer a large menu throughout the day, my favorite is to go for their lunch specials that are only &6.50, including iced tea. It’s a great deal for a good flavor punch at a very reasonable price. Continue reading
Gonzalez has 2 locations, this is from the one on Jefferson in Oak Cliff. It is a good sized place but not big enough to avoid lines on prime times. They also do a healthy take out business. It is made up of 2 rooms with a small waiting area in the entry room. There are TVs going of past or current sporting events but the sound is down so the Mexican music can be heard. It is a lively buzz. It’s one of my favorite spots in Dallas and we go often. Continue reading
Kirin Court is a large Chinese restaurant that serves cart style dim sum on weekends. They also have it during the week but it is made to order. On weekends you best get there before 11:00 or you will have an hour wait and a hard time finding a parking spot. Once you get your number you can try and find a space to wait in the crowded waiting room full of families and large groups of friends as well as groups of two. The restaurant has a lot of tables for large groups so it is one place where a wait for a party of 2 can be about the same as a table for 10. Continue reading
Jeng Chi started in a smaller location in the same strip shopping center. It has now moved to a much larger place and therein lost some of its vibe. When I first visited the new location the food seemed to have lost its soul, but now giving them more than a year in their new space and the prices being raised, the food is back to its former greatness. I visit this place pretty much just for dumplings and the onion pancake. They offer a large menu but dumplings were their original claim to fame and I think that’s what they do best. Continue reading
Louie’s is a bar with a restaurant that almost seems more like a restaurant than a bar sometimes. It is often the site of post game parties and families, probably because it’s known for its thin crust pizza. However, Louie’s has a long history of being a good bar with fine bartenders that originally attracted a lot of media people. Times have changed but the martinis haven’t and they’re still as cold and wonderful as ever.
Goldrush Cafe is a small neighborhood spot for breakfast and lunch. It has a large supply of repeat customers who tend to pull chairs together and discuss anything from sports to politics and do this on a regular basis. It’s that kind of place, where most don’t need a menu and many have a customized way their food is made. It’s not fancy, just plain food well done in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.It’s not a chain and is family run with a friendly and happy staff who make you feel glad to be there. Continue reading
Dairy-ette has been in business since the 1950s and is still run by the Prikryl family. It is a flash back in time with small booths, counter stools and car hop service. They are famous for their house made root beer which is dispensed from a keg into an ice cold mug and is thick and sweet. They also make fresh lemonade and limeade drinks and an assortment of malts and shakes with their soft serve ice cream. If you want less sweet try their iced tea, you can also get this sweet, but the nice refreshing tea in a cold mug actually has tea taste and is a winner. Continue reading