Hattie's: The Restaurant That Runs on Moms

Hattie's Dinning Room.JPG
Sara Kerens
If you take Mom here, she will love you more.
"It's not my first choice, but it's my first choice when my mother's in town." My friend issued those words when I asked her about Hattie's, the subject of this week's review.

Hattie's will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this fall. When researching the restaurant I asked tons of people what the Bishop Arts District was like a decade ago and what they thought of the restaurant.

Most described a scene that was fighting for its identity. The streets were quiet and restaurants leaned heavily on local residents' support. Hattie's shifted things, though, drawing on customers from the other side of the river who injected money into the neighborhood. Suddenly on Friday and Saturday nights the streets felt alive.

While the streets outside Hattie's have changed a lot, what's happening inside the restaurant is dated. While interviewing the owners and Lisa Arango, the original chef, I determined that at least half of the original menu remains untouched. I thought people might get bored with such a stale menu, but they obviously do not. Hattie's is consistently packed. That's why I started asking around: to try and understand the appeal.

I heard it four separate times completely unprompted from different friends. "I go to Hattie's when my parents are in town" and "I always take my mother to Hattie's." It's a clean, vibrant space with fresh flowers and good service. Boring or not, Hattie's exudes charm. I bet it's there another 10 years.

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Sara Kerens

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Sara Kerens

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Sara Kerens

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Sara Kerens

Location Info

Hattie's

418 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant


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8 comments
twinwillow
twinwillow

Personally, I love Hattie's AND, their "old and stale" menu. I'm addicted to their shrimp 'n grits and and Caesar salad.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Not entirely my style but they are executing much better than Bolsa and Tillman's,

Jennifer
Jennifer

Let me get this straight. Scott makes the (accurate) observation that the menu is stale because it's hardly changed in 10 years, and that makes him an insufferable snob? Huh. Yes, it's a pretty restaurant serving pretty good food. But it's not my first choice, either. However, I did go there just last week--when my grandmother was in town. She loved it. So did my mother. Will I go back there anytime soon? Probably not. Maybe next year--when my grandmother comes back to town.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Why is it a stale menu?  I was there for the first time ever for a lunch over the Christmas holidays.  We had an excellent meal.  And not being a snobbish food critic we didn't feel the menu was dated.I have to ask, for whom do you write your reviews?  For fellow critics?  For the tiny percentage of people that eat out, as you do, virtually every meal, or for the average reader of the paper/blog for whom eating at a place like this is a treat?

Guest
Guest

Scott, I know being an insufferable snob is your schtick but I really don't understand your problem with Hattie's. The food is good. The decor is nice. The value for money is where it should be. What's the mystery? You think it's dated because the southern food thing has reached saturation, but what do you want them to do?

Mike3647
Mike3647

 Scott must write these reviews for all the hipster douches that are ruining Oak Cliff.

Guest
Guest

If Scott has to struggle "to try and understand the appeal" of a very popular restaurant, perhaps he's in the wrong business?

Beda
Beda

I'd like to know your definition of an insufferable snob. I've never felt, reading Scott's reviews, that he is an insufferable snob. 

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