Photo: the face of Old East Dallas at Jimmy's
Here are notes on various places in Old East Dallas and Garland. Nearly all are inexpensive. (MN = marginal neighborhood, which is not the same as a bad neighborhood - just keep your eyes open). Check external sites DallasFood.org for discussions, ratings; DFWmenu for listings by multiple categories; Craigslist for discussion; chowhound.com for discussion of restaurants (thanks, John). To find a restaurant listed here, copy address and click http://maps.yahoo.com/. Send info on places I've left out or comments to chaskemp at gmail.com. *New* means new to this page, not necessarily a new place. Since I started this page Yelp has changed the whole way of looking for and at places to eat. I'll keep this up for another year or so.
Sorry I can't figure out how to do in-page links - Sections this page: Best | Asian | International | Mexican | Other | Student section
CK home page
Best in Old East Dallas
Mexican: New! It's a tie, with something for everyone - Ostioneria 7 Mares, La Victoria, Taco Joint, and for the OGs and poleece, there's El Taquito.
Coffee: Pearl Cup.
Thai: Tie between Thai-Thai and Bangkok City (Royal Thai in Old Town is definitely better, and close, so why not?)
Vietnamese: Vietnam Restaurant, which has good Vietnamese food and a good semi-Vietnamese buffet (but see Garland - below - where Vietnamese gets really good!)
Photo: my favorite pork & rice cafe in Saigon. That's the owner, sitting at the table.
Italian: Jimmy's now has tables in front and there is a mighty nice back room for larger groups and the frequent wine tasting events. Alas, La Dolce Vita.
Pizza: Cigarz Bona Pizza
Gourmet: York Street
Cajun: Alligator Cafe
Chinese: Jade Garden or New Dallas? New Dallas gone. I don't know if there is a "best" in the neighborhood. See 1st Chinese BBQ below
Groceries: Jimmy's is specialty Italian, but serves the 'hood as well (photo: See above) - after Jimmy's, you have to go all the way past Mockingbird to Central Market. Tom Thumb at Mockingbird & Abrams best of others close in - but Kroger at Mockingbird and Greenville is giving Tom a run for the money (serious sampling - always appreciated). And then Eatzis and Central Market ...
A note on pho. Pho tai is the one served with raw beef put into the hot broth to cook at the table. Too often, the meat comes to the table fully done. Leslie & I like to order the beef on the side and put it into the broth ourselves so it's not well done. Don't delay or it won't cook. Many Vietnamese add a lot of black pepper to pho. Extra lemon is good, too. Best place we've found for pho, including in Saigon, Hue, Hoi An, Boston, and San Francisco: Pho Bang in Garland. Vietnam in Old East Dallas, Bistro B at walnut & Audelia, and Pho Que Hong in Richardson are also good.
The Garden - A garden, not a restaurant - on Fitzhugh between Bryan and Ross. Fresh vegetables and small-market Cambodian atmosphere - just like in a small ville anywhere in Southeast Asia. Good prices. This place is a labor of love. Buy from the people who grow the vegetables. Best time to go is in the morning. Last time I was there I bought a huge bag of Asian basil for $1. MN
Binh-Minh Market - 4823 Bryan (at Fitzhugh) - Closed
Photo: dac biet (special) bun mam at Duy Tan - this is a 7 on the 1-10 ethnic scale (8 goes to a soup with big squares of "poached" or congealed blood and 9 to fresh blood, if that gives you a clue), with prawn paste (mam tom) the secret ingredient in bun mam.
New Dallas Chinese BBQ - 1309 N. Carroll - Closed, but review left up in honor of Kao Sai. Much like inexpensive Chinese restaurants found throughout Southeast Asia. The owner is Chinese from Cambodia and there are some Cambodian/Chinese dishes, e.g., Phnom Penh noodles. Chicken with ginger (dry) is a standout - a whole chicken chopped into pieces Southeast Asia style and stir-fried with lots of fresh ginger. MN
Photo: The People's Dim Sum at Fa Yuen Market in Mong Kok. What you see cost $24 HKD or ~ $3 USD
Viet Nam Restaurant - 4302 Bryan at Peak - Great and fairly large lunch buffet - and it seems to get better and better ($6.99). Mixed clientele. Back room hipper than front (but smoky - hey, no more - thanks, Laura Miller!). Noodles, rice plates and other menu items good too. Pho (tai and ga) gets the nod from Sharon L & David K. Bun bo Hue (noodle soup) had good flavor and very fatty meat. Sandwiches good and cheap. Bun thit nuong good. Banh xeo (thin, crepe-like pancake with shrimp & beansprouts folded in + lettuce, peppers, herbs, lemon) is medium-sized, excellent. Bun cha Ha-Noi not up to par. Good, strong coffee. Overall, I'd say Viet Nam Restaurant has good food and good integrity - Xuan and her husband do a nice job.
New Big Wong - 2121 Greenville - New Big Wong used to be on Fitzhugh at Capital and was a place to get exactly the same Chinese food one would find in Vietnam or Cambodia. Seriously hip. Now its an average inexpensive Chinese restaurant with nothing in particular to recommend or not recommend. Photo below: pad see yew (40 baht or ~ $1.20 USD) in Bangkok around the corner from our 2nd hotel
Thai-Thai - 1731 Greenville - New owner. Good news so far from other people.
(the new) Thai Lanna - near corner of Bryan & Peak. Owner claims connection to Tom (the best Thai Lanna owner), but if so, where is the coconut chicken soup? So far, variable. We'll see. Nope. Now in August 05 someone else trying! We'll see. Gone
Jade Garden - 4800 Bryan - Just a little more than the basic inexpensive Chinese restaurant. Jade Garden has the usual specials and entrees ranging from Cantonese to Sichuan. Note that many Asian customers get a hot pot (seafood or mixed) + several entrees. A medium hot pot + two entrees and rice will serve four moderate eaters. Beef flat noodles with black bean sauce usually excellent. Forget the egg rolls. MN (drugs and prostitutes sold around the corner - pretty rough trade).
Photo below: char sui and shrimp wonton soup at First Chinese BBQ - it really doesn't get any better than this.
Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant - 4812 Bryan #100 - The first Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas was a back room in a grocery store on Carroll. Nevermind about inspectors - it wasn't on the books. Definitely a cool place. The second was the original Mai's (where Ba Le is/gone now, but much smaller), operated by the redoubtable Mai Pham. Mai sold the place years ago, but it still carries her name. In 2002 I wrote, "the food is still pretty good, but no more magic." Went back 10/2004 & food definitely deteriorated. 3rd rate bun (noodles). Rice plate with pork chop was boring & meat with off-taste. Went back in 2006 and found bun thit nuong was, how should I say this - poorly Americanized. People keep going, though. Number 10 - MN
Gone Ba Le French Sandwich - 4812 Bryan behind Mai's
Bangkok City - 4301 Bryan @ Peak. Across the street from Vietnam Restaurant. Better food and ambiance than Thai Noodle. 10 or 15 years on and everything is still good - until I went last week, that is. Service was like you they were doing us a favor and the food was mostly second-rate. Pad Thai way too sweet, flat noodles with basil dry, curry okay. Big Bronx cheer for Bangkok City. Photo on right: bun cha at home.
(Now we're out of Old East Dallas)
First Chinese B-B-Q - 111 S. Greenville in Richardson; also corner Walnut & Jupiter. I know its a long haul from East Dallas, but this is THE place in Dallas for Chinese BBQ; and everything else is great, too. BBQ duck, shrimp wonton soup, Chinese brocolli, & beef flat noodles with black beans is my favorite. Bud & Nikki got fish ball soup and liked it, but I can't get past the duck and pork. Well worth the drive from anywhere in a 100 mile radius of Dallas. Compared to about 12 places in Hong Kong 2005, 2006, 2007 and 1st Chinese BBQ stands with t best. A writer for the Dallas Observer tried to make the point that "real Chinese food" is difficult to find in the Dallas area - hahahahaha
Indo-Pak Market (behind First Chinese BBQ - just walk back through the covered walkway). Okay, here is your cheap Indian food in the Dallas area. Big serving of chicken biryani is $2.99 weekend special, curry $4.99, vegetable samosa $.99, naan $1.00. This is solid inexpensive Indian/Pakistani food. The achar chicken curry is my favorite. Korma, butter chicken, chole - it's all good. Is the atmosphere just like a cheap Indian place in Hong Kong (except that customers are friendly and staff helpful at Indo-Pak)? Yes! A happening place. We'll go back. Photo: David, Leslie, me inside Duy Tan.
Walnut & Jupiter in Garland - Not in Old East Dallas, but worth the ride, wherever you live. Great Vietnamese & Chinese food, stores, & Major Scene.
Arc-en-Ciel is my favorite place for dim sum and Cambodian weddings - Closed - OH NO!
My buddy, Chuck just tried Pho Saigon in the same strip & said that cool noodles & vegetables with charcoaled chicken (bun ga nuong xa) very good. Some day, I hope to start @ one end of the shopping center & eat & hang out all the way to the other end. The Morning News liked the Salvadoran place across the parking lot from Hiep Thai Grocery. We tried to get a price on airfare DFW to Bangkok from one of the travel agencies in the complex - no flights to BK they said - hahahaha - sure.
Photo below: Pho Bang 8/09
Re-Reviewed Pho Bang (still at Walnut & Jupiter) - we were at Arc-en-Ciel a few years ago and noticed the line coming out of Pho Bang, a few doors from Arc-en-Ciel. We went back and put Pho Bang to the ultimate tests: Pho tai & bun cha Ha-Noi. Pho Bang passed with flying colors. Pho is first-rate (none better in Dallas, actually, I've never had better in VN, either) & bun cha is excellent - the pork patty not the greatest, but the pork brilliant and the soup, AAHHHH - Perfect! Number 1 in the bun cha Ha-Noi race to greatness. Com tam suon (broken rice with pork chop and fried egg) is great. The Best Charcoaled Pork Award! We noticed that pho tai came to people with the meat not well-done, so maybe not necessary to order with meat on the side. This is the best & most authentic VN restaurant in the Dallas area. Photo: com tam thit nuong at Pho Bang, 8/09 - Doh! We forgot the egg, but was still the best!
Qoun Chi - Homestyle Cooking to go. On Walnut, west of Jupiter. I really hope this place makes it. Nope
Saigon to Hue, a pho odyssey. That's right, David and I sampled pho in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue in summer 05 (also Boston & San Francisco & Berkeley) - and guess what? Pho Bang is the best.
The Ultimate Vietnamese food website (out of Saigon) is Noodle Pie. Go to VN food section, and even though the Great Man is no longer "flogging gutter food" in Saigon, the site remains a great journey through a wonderful and infinitely varied cuisine.
Corner of Walnut & Audelia - also not in Old East Dallas, but worth the drive
Hong Kong Market - 9780 Walnut at Audelia (972 437 9888). HK Market is a large Chinese/Vietnamese market with good prices on just about everything. Seafood is outstanding. Best price on mangoes (when the best yellow are in season). Very international clientele (Asian, African, Middle Eastern). There is a small arcade/food court on the west side of the market with a variety of food, some of which may be a little ethnic for some delicate tastes. BBQ duck and pork at Golden Crown BBQ is okay and comes in a generous serving on rice for $5.50. The last two times we've been it has been a perfect Hong Kong (across the sea) flashback. Wonderful smells. Chinese man sitting on a low stool behind the counter. You can come or go - he doesn't care. Another man serves - also with little apparent interest in the transaction. Bakery (as you enter food court) has the same baked goods as any Chinese bakery in HK. Coconut macaroons at $1/3 are good. At the end of the arcade is a new NV restaurant where Nam Viet (formerly Khan's) was. Photo below: Nam Viet at end of HK Market arcade. Tables in arcade for Chinese BBQ, very ethnic VN food, desserts, bakery.
Nam Viet at end of Hong Kong Market arcade/food court - 9780 Walnut at Audelia. The arcade is open, but Nam Viet is closed, alas, couldn't compete with BistroB.
Lá Me - 9780 Walnut between Audelia and Abrams in the same shopping center as Hong Kong Market (http://la-me.net/). Lá Me passes the critical bun cha Ha Noi test. The meat (grilled pork and pork patties) is served in an outstanding sweet, piquant, soupy nuoc mam mixture and accompanied by a large salad plate. Noodles are a little thick and ¿warm? what's up with that - but still good ($6.50). Right now, Lá Me is in a tie with Duy Tan for second place in the bun cha sweepstakes (Pho Bang is a respectable third place). We also had bo la lot (grilled beef in Hawaiian lot leaf) cuon and goi (the usual shrimp) cuon, i.e., spring or garden rolls in uncooked rice paper. The bo la lot is recommended and the goi cuon is pretty much the same as elsewhere and so, very good. They are happy to mix garden roll orders (2 for $3). Incredibly they use their own coffee for café sua da! I'll try it (and pho) next time and let you know. Comfortable patio area for you smokers. A nice quiet place with helpful staff (the owners, no doubt) - we had a good time.
Bisto B - 9780 Walnut, next to Hong Kong Market (214 575 9885 - http://www.bistrobusa.com/) - Vietnam meets western business plan. This is an enormously popular restaurant - big, wonderfully noisy, many families, children everywhere, and most of all, good food at good prices. Everything has been good - whole fried fish in tamarind sauce, bun bo nuong xa (beef & cool vermicelli in an unusual presentation - actually this is a brilliant dish), chicken salad (grilled chicken on lettuce with other vegetables), beef marinated in lime salad (big serving) and of course, bun cha Ha-Noi - all good. Take-out business is brisk and lots of people getting smoothies. Good sandwiches - buy two, get one free. Several computer stations for email or the children. Photo: Tet, 2008 - what a party! Tet is great at the whole shopping center.
International (Frequent your person-owned & oriented establishments lest they be run out of business by chains/corporations such as what happened to La Dolce Vita)
Cigarz Bona Pizza - 7238 Gaston near Garland. Great pizza in variety of styles, e.g., mozzarela, chicken, calamata olives, tomatoes, red onion, pepperoncinis, & feta (that's all one pizza), good kabobs wrapped in pita, tabouli with much more parsley than usual, calzones (smaller, but better than Divino's). Salads are okay. Good place - hip. To go, only.
Scalini's Pizza - 2021 Abram's next to Legal Grounds Coffee in the Lakewood shopping center. Has the thinnest pizza in town, and they deliver. They'll also deliver a six pack or a bottle of wine. Thanks, Rob. Is it better than the Egyptian? Probably not, but nicer/pleasant, for sure. Better, but more expensive than Divino's. Different than Cigarz.
La Dolce Vita - Lakewood Shopping Center - Oh no, it's gone - driven away (I guess) by a chain Italian of dubious quality - which is now out of business. Describing La Dolce Vita, I wrote "more like a San Francisco bistro than the usual I-talian found in Big D." There you have it. Too bad.
Divino's Pizzeria - 4130 Gaston (now moved directly across the street in the new shopping center) - A really good deal on okay Pizza and related. "Small calzone" for $4.00 is huge - filled with ricotta, mozarella, and ham, sausage, or pepperoni. Stromboli for $4.25 is as big. You can get a large slice of pizza with two toppings + soft drink for $2.00. Salad is iceberg with "Italian" dressing. Coupons are on the back of the take-out menu (but "no coupon required"). Discovered by Amy & Christy - Thanks ya'll. Family owned and operated. Nice people. Divino's is highly recommended for pretty good food. MN
A place where the owner is always right - I don't think so. The Z-Kid is gone - drove himself right out of business. Now it's Alfredo's, a place that has always been pretty good - kind of lurking around Old East Dallas. Now that's gone, too.
Ali Baba Cafe - 1905 Greenville - Gone! Back! Moved to back side of Lakewood Shopping Center on Abrams. And STILL as good as ever! The lunch buffet is excellent and a good deal at $10.
World Wide Foods - 1907 Greenville - Gone!
Jimmy's Food Store - 4901 Bryan - burned 11/2004 - reopened 12/2005 after being in temporary space in Sigel's liquor store in Quadrangle. Jimmy's is bigger now and has a few tables in the front. Jimmy's is the oldest establishment on Bryan. Wonderful selection of Italian foods + Jamaican & African & probably others. Quality olive oil, cheese, olives, sausage, etc. Meatballs legendary. Sandwiches to go are great and inexpensive. Cubanos pretty good. Owners have done some very nice things for the scouts and others in the neighborhood. These are seriously good guys. Email is pauTEX@aol.com. Phone 214-823-6180 MN Photo above: Jimmy's (this is the way it really is)
Campisi's Egyptian - 5610 East Mockingbird - Italian, not Egyptian. Great pizza - a very long way from Pizza Inn, etc.! Odd salads with iceberg lettuce, salty dressing. Other Italian dishes good, but not great.
Kalachandji's (Krishna temple on Beacon-near Grand-I-30) - Another suggestion by a visitor to web site: Vegetarian Indian food (buffet). The reader likes the atmosphere & food. For me, the physical atmosphere is OK (but the vibes a little off) and the food rates about a C-. Many better Indian restaurants in Dallas, e.g. Kebab & Curry @ 401 N. Central ($10 entree, $7 buffet, very nice owner), India Palace (expensive), & Taj Mahal @ Meadow & Central (best buffet).
Taco Joint - 911 N Peak St at Gaston, 214.826.8226. Website here. Good guys from THE University of Texas (Austin, of course) serving up good, mid-priced tacos and plates with everything but the grease. Breakfast is a deal, with classic migas + beans + weird little potato cubes & tortillas for $4.99. Salsa is pretty good (red, green, spicy ranch). Open until ~2pm. As a completely unrelated side note, I used to spend time with Eliana S, the woman who owned the rehab place next to the strip mini-mall where the Taco Joint is. Good things happened in Eliana's place. Photo below: Taco Joint
La Victoria - In the old drive-in at 1605 N. Haskell a half block south of Ross, 214-827-0101. Young women from the neighborhood running a mighty nice little place. Best down-home Mexican food in Old East Dallas. The gorditas rock (as one of my young colleagues said) and are a deal at $1.75 each (chicken & cheese, cheese & jalepeños, beans and peppers, chicharrones, etc., etc.); burritos are tasty, substantial (chicken fajita burrito comes with beans and avocado) and already well-known around the community; chiliquillas served with (surprise) some fajita meat on top; salsa is good. Service is friendly and fast - you'll probably be waited on by La Victoria (Vicky) herself. Open Monday - Saturday 7am-2pm. Sometimes closed without notice when they have a big catering job. MN
Fiesta - Corner of Ross and Henderson - Great produce at great prices; everything Mexican - also Asian, Caribbean, and other foods. People's restaurant (excellent tomatilla salsa), bakery with great deals on small french loaves; tres leches from $3 to party-size for $50. Little tacos - a type, what you'll get in Mexico - inside by the front door; other food outside - especially the 4,000+ calorie elotas. Major scene Friday afternoon through Sunday night. Most nights from about 8-10pm it's a scene. Photo below: nursing students at El Taquito, mariachi band behind them (music Wednesdays & Saturdays)
Quatro Hermanas (name keeps changing - I can't keep up) - 4500 Bryan ("Suite B") @ Carroll. Also tortas & other food. Dine in (5 chairs, 2 tables) or al fresco (3 tables + music). Homeless guys not far away - something about looking up in the middle of a meal and seeing some guy urinating. Still, not bad. MN.
Photo: this woman makes great tamales for Mexican laborers and for our clinic
Cuquita's - 2326 North Henderson across from Jerry's. Closed and so is Jerry's. Cuquita's had the best beans in Dallas.
Mis Casuelas - 4202 Main Street. Another recommendation from John Clark. This is the "new" location (anything newer than 10 years old to certain old-timers). John enjoys gorditas, pozole, & albondigas. The old Mis Casuelas on Columbia near Fitzhugh/next to theatre that's now a pawn shop has good food & is a good place to hang out. Gorditas good. Salsa is great. A steady stream of customers carrying buckets out on weekends says the menudo is good.
La Acapulquena - 5522 Columbia near Beacon (another on East Grand). Uh-oh, new owners. We'll see - we did & it is pretty much the same. Great Lunch specials - especially fajitas @ $4.95. Salsa good; meals served with queso. Neat waitresses. Game room in back. Band on weekends. Mexican-American scene.
El Taquito - 5427 East Grand. Another old favorite. Carolyn B. reminded me of this one & then David O said, "Let's go." Hottest Hot Sauce Award - really tasty, too. Good breakfasts & lunches. Good scene. Band Wednesdays (enchilada night). One of my favorites. At night, outside, keep your eyes open. MN. Photo above: some of my students (what an outstanding group this was)
The East Grand Taco Search - East Grand & Beacon. Kathryn M. brought a 10-pack of tacos to clinic a few weeks ago. Everyone said, "Oh Yeah!" Leslie & I went to find the taqueria today & decided to try all three taquerias on the block: Loco Taco (next to La Acapulquena), Foodland Taqueria (connected to Foodland - which is now mostly gone), & Tacos y Mas (other side of Foodland). And here are the results: All are good & so was the journey & the date. Prices ranged from $1.25 - 1.50. At Loco Taco you know they are open when they raise the blinds. Customers sit on stools on the sidewalk or at a picnic table. Foodland has inside sitting with AC & you serve your own salsa, cokes, etc. Tacos y Mas has picnic tables. Been back 3 or 4 times. Leslie says Loco Taco gets the nod, but agrees that it's all good. More about having a good time than great food. Definitely not for late nights. MN
Photo: Loco Taco - I Love East Dallas
Tacos Y Mas - Corner of Ross and Greenville - Several years ago a number of corner taco stands sprang up in East Dallas. The tacos weren't great, but, you know, in Dallas, almost anything not in a chain is an improvement. Of course the city closed them down to protect our health - not to mention to protect restaurant owners. The stands morphed into one big stand where the tacos are better. Now there also are Tacos Y Mas stands elsewhere. Fajita tacos, pork stew tacos, and other delights are exactly the same as what you'll find on corners in Mexico: a little heavy on the grease, but substantial, cheap, and tasty. MN
Taco Loco - on Main Street in Deep Ellum. Another suggestion by a visitor to web site: Great Tacos--Get the "El Diablo" for $6.66.
Matt's Ranchero - 6332 LaVista in Lakewood shopping center by the big liquor store at Gaston and LaVista - the liquor store with the gross signs. Everybody likes it and I do too - as does Mike McGlynn. Good salsa, good everything. Mike likes their Cowboy Steak Fried Chicken - "very different and good" - and I'm sure, good for you.
Coffee in Old East Dallas - Legal Grounds - 2015 Abrams near Gaston. Has Greek food at night (Papou's). Starbucks - 6312 LaVista @ Gaston; 5331 Mockingbird @ Abrams; 5500 Greenville; Henderson at Cole (a good one). Whole Foods - 2118 Abrams. Central Market - Corner of Greenville and Lover's Lane. Whole Foods and Central Market don't know how to make espresso - too weak.
Alligator Cafe at 4416 Live Oak near Carroll. Opened 2004 & is a big hit in the neighborhood. Excellent Cajun food & greetings by the ever-gracious Laquitha (now gone, and missed). Fried crawdads for $8 are light & tasty, with first rate fries & hush puppies. Fried shrimp for same price great. "Cajun fettuccine" has Cajun spice, onion, sweet red pepper, & andouille in generous serving of sauce over noodles with blackened chicken on top $4.75 - good Wednesday lunch special - other lunch specials (2-3/day) same or similar price. Sorry, lunch specials changed - more fried stuff. The usual cast of stars looks great: etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo (shrimp-oyster, alligator-crawfish and chicken-andouille). Homemade root beer & cream soda - we'll see how that goes (root beer good)! I don't think I'll be going to very many other places to eat for the next whatever. Thanks Xavier. http://www.eatgator.com/
York Street - 6047 Lewis. Long ago, this was Mel's Diner. Every day, a shopping bag lady would come in to sit at the counter. Mel would say to her, "Would you try the (whatever the lunch special was) & see if it needs any salt?" And he would serve her a nice free lunch. We lived on Oram (lotta rock&roll bands living in those four blocks for the last 40 years) at the time & later LaVista. A great neighborhood. York Street is too expensive for me, but it is mighty good - and it is the dream of a person. Check it out for a special occasion. This is for gourmets - a national-type place. Menu changes daily.
Mac's Barbecue - 3933 Main. Best BBQ in East Dallas until you get to Baker's Rib (way up Greenville near University) & even then, one is not better than the other - just different. Mac's much better than place on Gaston or Peggy Sue's in Snyder Plaza, except, of course, for the O-rings at Peggy Sue's. Beef, ribs (go early for ribs, as he runs out most days - no day-old ribs at Mac's!), fries - all good. Those ribs are getting expensive. Close to zero decor.
Gold Rush Cafe - 1913 Skillman. East Dallas breakfast scene, kind of like Little Gus (alas). Mixed clientele - rock & roll bands, clubbers still at it, long-time East Dallasites, families. Breakfast is pretty good. John Wayne (eggs, chili, etc.) a favorite. Lunch is your basic burgers, etc.
Charbar (Melios Bros) - 2026 Greenville. Pretty good burgers (order medium rare for medium well), inexpensive steaks, basic breakfasts, & of course, the bros: "Scramble kem." One of the oldest businesses on Lower Greenville.
John's Cafe - 1733 Greenville 1/2 block from Ross - It's back! Same-same, but different. Pretty good burgers, good chicken-fried steaks, good basic breakfasts. The long middle tables are good places to meet people. Welcome back to East Dallas, John. "Number 23!" (You'll see what I mean.) Photo: John's, 8/6/09
Nick's - 1733 Greenville - Gone, replaced by John's.
Garden Cafe - 5310 Junius (the coolest location award - in the tiny strip and across from the littlest park [where our son, David played when he was little] on Junius). Breakfast & lunch. Pretty good lunches in a kitchen/cafeteria format (odd little salads made of iceberg lettuce, of all things). Good breakfast - pancakes & omeletes - available all hours. Nice place to take it easy - semi-upscale Old East Dallas all the way. - this is what you do when you make it (or not) in Old East Dallas.
Cafe Brazil - moved next to Stan's Blue Note on Greenville - I think its overrated, but a lot of people seem to like it. Breakfasts, sandwiches, etc. Too many of the people who work there have a cooler-than-thou attitude. As Snake (from the Simpsons) would say, "Yeah, right." Greenville location is really noisy - get some acoustic tiles, please!
Central Market - Corner of Greenville and Lover's Lane. A little out of the Old East Dallas area, but they have just about everything imaginable: vegetables and fruits you've never heard of before; great fish and meat market, OK bakery and good desserts, excellent hot sauce collection, an assortment of the ever-elusive Taste-of-Thai curry pastes, unusual frozen foods, and so on & on & on. Bulk foods THE BEST - everything, so many spices, nuts, cereals, candies (my interests revealed!). At the end of the trek through the store is a to-go area with a , cerealsvast selection of entrees, sauces, ice cream, etc. Good salad bar. There is a little inside area and larger outside for eating there. Microwaves, drinks, etc. Upstairs is quieter area for eating, relaxing - also balcony. Follow arrows to "community rooms." Nice employees. Photo: part of bulk foods CM
New! Whole Foods - 2118 Abrams Road, 214.824.1744. Website here. Started well, then started going downhill, at least as far as prepared foods are concerned. The last 2 times we've been the salad bar has reflected the same sloppy lack of pride so evident at the Greenville Avenue location: slimy black kale (really, and actually it was served from the deli case - ewww), scattered leaves of brown and even black-tinged lettuce, dried out entrees (and do they ever love a legume!). So the question would be, if what we see on the cursory look shows a lack of quality, what about what we cannot see? Sketchy quality + high prices and anemic specials are the reasons why we drive right on past to go to Central Market or New Flower or Eatzis.
Whole Foods history: first there was a market with wood floors in ~2000 block of Greenville, run by two Greek men for forever. We were living on Oram at the time - one of the hippest streets in Dallas, what a scene. A kind of intense, kind of hippie man bought the Greek store and named it Harthomp & Moran (natural foods of course). (Meanwhile we moved to Austin and shopped in the white house WF.) Then (back to Dallas) it was H&M, then Whole Foods and it moved into the old Safeway at 2218 Greenville. Kind of went down over time, then WF moved again and at last, it was looking good again. No mas.
New! Newflower Farmer's Market - 1800 North Henderson Avenue, 214.826.2937. It looks like a direct challenge to Whole Foods. Definitely less expensive and less upscale (and employees less impressed with themselves) than WF. No salad bar and a small to-go area. But the prices are good and they're getting good business.
Eatzi's - Corner of Oak Lawn and Lemmon. Not in East Dallas, but the best to-go food in Dallas. Great bakery and desserts OOOHHhhhh MAMA!!! Entrees, etc. very good. Great sandwiches, excellent deli. Crowded and not so comfortable sitting area. Better food than Central Market; but smaller selection - but then, how much can a person eat?
$.99 Only Store - Corner of Live Oak and Carroll. There's always something great at great price. Where immigrants and refugees and homeless and Lakewood and Highland Park meet - we all love a deal and deals are what they have at $.99 Only.
Dixie House Restaurant - 6400 Gaston - Big servings of "home cooking" - chicken fried steaks and the like. So Mike McGlynn writes and says "I don't know why I love to go there for lunch and BS. Everytime I go there the conversation is great." That's a pretty good recommendation.
Cafe Express - 5307 East Mockingbird @ Central - very good food for price. Uptown kind of shopping around. McKinney Cafe Express is prettier, a little quieter, better parking.
Barbec's - 8949 Garland Road - Famous for breakfast, but why I don't know. Biscuits are often underdone, hash browns (for $1.70 extra - what!) come in a small serving (may or may not be hot), & last time I was there, the sausage was barely warm. Otherwise, it is basic and average "home cooking."
Brady Center - 4009 Elm - Community center operated by Catholic Charities. Some real magic in this place (Christ's love manifest). Seniors lunch program. I know its unlikely you'll eat there, but these are good friends.
Burger King, Taco Bell, etc. - they're all here - you know what they have. But while I'm on the subject, let me compliment Burger King (Carroll & Live Oak) for some of the nicest landscaping around (it's relative, of course) - and for a long time.
IHOP - corner of Abrams & Mockingbird - you wanted it included, so here it is.
Other Places in East Dallas - Baylor Student-Oriented (lot of work to do here)
Baylor Library - in Dental College. Decent journal and book collections. Not as good as library at UTSW Medical School, which is an amazing & exciting place. Cafeteria, bookstore, etc. downstairs. TWU has OK library with some different journals. Interesting to visit.
Landry Center - health, exercise, rehab, much more @ 411 N. Washington close to Worth. http://www.baylortomlandryfitnesscenter.com/landry/default.htm
Dallas Theological Seminary - Good neighbors. http://www.dts.edu/
Groceries close to Baylor - New Flower on Henderson near Ross; Whole Foods at Abrams & Gaston; Tom Thumb (pharmacy) & Albertson's at Mockingbird & Abrams; Kroger at Greenville & Mockingbird; Tom Thumb (pharmacy) & Central Market (WooHoo! see above) at Greenville & Lover's Lane; Jimmy's at Bryan & Fitzhugh.
Coffee in Old East Dallas - Legal Grounds - 2015 Abrams near Gaston (best); Starbucks - 6312 LaVista @ Gaston; 5331 Mockingbird @ Abrams; 5500 Greenville; Henderson at Cole (a good one); Old Town; Whole Foods - 2218 Greenville; Central Market - Corner of Greenville and Lover's Lane. Several new places, like at Henderson and McMillan.
Target at City Place (Haskell near Central)
Office Max at City Place