The Dearly Departed Restaurants of Dallas
Lori Bandi The burger at since-closed Tried and True, one of three Henderson Avenue places we miss.
Two years, one month and 23 days, to be specific. That's how long it's been since my favorite neighborhood restaurant closed. Oh, sure; others have stepped in to capably fill the void. But nothing will ever quite measure up to the restaurant that's dearly departed.
It happens to everyone, eventually: You find a restaurant or bar that feels like yours. It may not even be the menu that keeps you coming back for more. Maybe it's the only joint you've found that serves Scotch eggs. Or the bar within stumbling distance from your apartment with the killer patio.
But one day, without warning you or even consulting you on the matter, it shuts its doors. And there you are, you poor sap, having to DRIVE to a bar with a mediocre patio. They don't even keep your favorite beer on tap. Bastards.
For me, the place was CHIC Barcelona. Formerly nestled in a strip center on the northwest corner of Preston and Forest, it was my everything. Date night? CHIC. Friends in town? CHIC. Carry-out? CHIC. We made a great team, CHIC and I.
Not everyone shared my enthusiasm. When my husband pronounced the rotisserie chicken "good, but not great," I took the insult personally, and decided that his palate just wasn't as refined as mine. If he'd only try the shot glass of gazpacho, he'd be converted. I was sure of it.
I had noticed that not only was there never a wait for a table, the dining room was never even full. That didn't detract from my shock and grief when CHIC's owners announced that the restaurant would close its doors. This was impossible. Where else could I sit outside on a cool Dallas night with pitchers of sangria and tapas?
Your dearly departed love is no doubt different. It's probably not on this list. That doesn't mean we don't feel your pain, and that we don't want to hear all about it over a glass of wine and a profane comment below. We do. We really do.
Two years later, I still haven't found a suitable replacement. I still sneer at the restaurant that moved in after tearing down CHIC's brightly tiled facade before replacing it with a more sedate entrance. I still carry a torch for the beef carpaccio. -- Amy Franklin
Before the management at Baylor Medical Center got greedy and decided to turn everything in the area into a parking lot, the city's best dumpy diner sat at the intersection of Gaston and Hall. The burgers were greasy, the tater tots were to die for, and every drunk person in East Dallas had a story to tell about something crazy happening in one of those torn vinyl booths.
The best part of Metro Diner, though, was the wait staff. These ladies were fast, hospitable, and always had something hilarious to say to one of the cooks who was taking too damn long to get those eggs up. I went with my boyfriend to the Gaston Metro Diner a few days before they closed, and the waitress who served us coffee and tots damn near made us cry. She'd worked in the location for 14 years, and said that she'd practically raised her son inside the wood-paneled walls. She didn't really get sad about the joint closing until she had to tell her son, who was devastated.
You can still go to the Metro Diner in Southeast Dallas, but it just isn't the same. RIP. -- Amy McCarthy
Tried and True
How can you not miss the extensive whiskey list and vinyl collection at Tried and True? Formerly part of Nick Badovinus' Neighborhood Services group, he turned the tavern into a down home bar, complete with a pool table and shuffle board, sandwiched between Capitol Pub and J. Black's on Henderson Avenue. Without straying far from the previous food menu, he provided a spot to kick back, sip on a bourbon (neat, of course), and dream of the 70s while a record spun on the player. There's surely not another bathroom I'll miss more than theirs. -- Cody Neathery
BD's Mongolian BBQ
For years after my friend Chris moved to California, he and I ate at BD's every time he came into town. The first thing we noticed about BD's Mongolian BBQ was that nobody was ever there. For some reason, that was something we loved. It became a tradition: Maybe it was the man who used huge metal cutting blades to chop up your order on a giant, ring-shaped flat top. Or that there was a line of sauces and raw meats to pour into a bowl, and then Edward Scissor Hands cooked the whole bowl for you. Really, it was a weird, out-of-character-for-a-Plano shopping center spot that I'm pretty sure Chris and I provided the sole revenue. It was weird and awesome, and we always, always had a good time and a laugh. -- Nick Rallo
Urban Bistro, I miss you. Yes, I can eat at another Avner Samuel's establishment, I suppose, but Urban Bistro I could afford, mostly because my then-boss was one of the owners so I could eat free. I could've easily made a meal of the Moroccan Beef Cigars if I could grow up and not giggle like a third grade boy while ordering them. I once ordered the red snapper for two and realized its face was still attached, necessitating a makeshift hood before it's beheading at the table. (I'm squeamish). But mostly I miss the casual vibe that meant my Payless shoes and my Lous Vitton (thanks, lazy counterfeit bag maker) purse didn't stand out when I wanted to grab a drink and a quick nosh. -- Bethany Anderson