The Dearly Departed Restaurants of Dallas

tried_and_true_brand.jpg
Lori Bandi
The burger at since-closed Tried and True, one of three Henderson Avenue places we miss.
Two years.

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

MetroClosing3-thumb-560x373.jpg
Dylan Hollingsworth
Metro Diner
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.

See also: The Final Day at the Metro Diner

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
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


My Voice Nation Help
61 comments
JenniferC6
JenniferC6

I dearly miss Cuba Libre and their amazing nachos and half price mojito pitchers. The Tried and True came along and had nachos that were ALMOST as good, and alas they have left me as well. Mesero Miguel is pretty good, but it's no Cuba Libre.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

Hey! Anyone here remember Oz? The best disco in Dallas downstairs with a fabulous French restaurant upstairs. Presided over by the late, great French chef, Jean Lafont. 

digital3130
digital3130

Oh, also Jaci's. I miss Jaci's on Davis. Salsa so good it was like seeing the face of God. PLUS the greatest chile relleno known to man or beast.

digital3130
digital3130

I know it was vile ya'll, but I really miss Dan's Lakewood Cafe AKA Dirty Dan's.  Many evenings/nights/mornings/weekends of my misspent youth were wiled away in that sh+thole. I am (not really) ashamed to say that I once saw a rat run through the little side "dining room" (y'know the one with the bad foundation and super low ceiling...) and kept right on eating my eggs. Ahhhhh, youth...To live once again without the fear of disease and pestilence.


I also miss Austins Barbeque in Oak Cliff so bad that it makes me tear up a little. You just can't find a joint with surly bee-hived waitresses these days. 

There's just no place to go really slumming these days, well except for Tradewinds Social Club...if the hipsters don't find it. And don't anyone answer back and say Lee Harveys...I dig it...but it's a faux dive.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

ok, this is where I trump ALL you f+ckers..........


-La Tosca ( my old friend Victor Mari Alonzo!)

-and then in his old space...........The Riviera!  I worked with Gerry (?) at the Infomart back in the day; she was an angel.


Honorable mention:

-Judge Roy Beams; one time the train fell on my head, and I got a free margarita!

-Figiro's in Plano

-Sub Villa in Plano



Extra Honorable Mention:

-The Fare on Greenville; I have no idea if they even had food. 


Extra XTRA MENTION:

-Bluebonnet Brewery in The West End, in the 80's...... next to the Stark, and Newports.

-TR2


ps- Does anyone remember the European Crossroads complex at Harry Hines and Northwest Highway?  Anyone remember RJ's at Bachman Lake?  Beats be thumpin' til 4. 



Twinwillow
Twinwillow

I can't believe no one has mentioned Strictly Tabu on Lomo Alto.

The best place to be on a Sunday night for live music, great pizza, drinks, and girl watching during the mid 70's-early 80's.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Cunze's on Greenville.  After hours live blues and Jazz and "tea" in a coffee cup until 4 in the morning...

RIPRandee
RIPRandee

Spankee's on Greenville - If you didn't know of it or been there, you missed a great ride.

Sixlexxa
Sixlexxa

OH! La Casita on Lower Greenville! I loved it! Rena would keep it open late/early morning after the bars closed and everything was cooked fresh by her. Her son helped her wait tables and she treated you like family. You would make friends with the other tables and just pig out! I miss her so much!

Greg820
Greg820

Don't worry, Pietro's is still going strong!  :-P


ClamBasket
ClamBasket

I miss Captain Cooks (both the Greenville and Bachman Lake locations) and Don the Beachcomber. Who doesn't like lounging by a Lazy River inside a restaurant while scarfing Polynesian food and Mai Tais enveloped in a fog of Pall Mall smoke? Or a two story seafood restaurant built around scotch, leather, and fine wooden beams? No one - that's who. Suck it 1985 and beyond!

Skeeterskier
Skeeterskier

I miss dining with the raccoons at El Arroyo.

plumkrazyboo
plumkrazyboo

I miss Rosita's Mexican Restaurant that was located on Maple Avenue for 38 years or so. It was family owned and operated. Laid back casual atmosphere, with homestyle Tex-Mex, that was fantastic. So sad to see it go.

AtoZ
AtoZ

Nero's on Greenville.  Loved that place.  Perennially great, doomed swiftly by a change in ownership.  Special award to those who mentioned the Pig Stand.  Now *that's* old school.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

Among others, I miss the ORIGINAL Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill. The best burgers in town back in the late seventies thru the late eighties.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

I miss Cup O' Pizza.  It was the best pizza ever.

G_David
G_David

I can't say that I miss Crystal's, given that I hadn't been there since high school in the 80's.  But the amount of money I dumped into video games there over the years is probably more than the GDP of most Central America countries.  By the way, I shared your post with the "you know you're from Irving" group on FB. 

Markus
Markus

Jiminy Christ, Hacienda? That place was awful. How about what occupied it before; the greatness that was Cuquita's?

Metro Diner - that makes me want to rage and start the revolution. It's a parking lot now for the Baylor Industrial Medical Complex.

Lastly, what was that minimalist-hip, Asian-South American dumpling-empanada joint on McKinney? That was a nice change of place, great flavors, reasonably priced, good for people-watching.

anteeezy
anteeezy

Elevation Burger should be included in this list. It's time in DFW was way too short lived. :(

emwiant
emwiant

West End Pub is mourned every day. The regulars were a great group. So glad it made the list. Wish I could find a new bar.


penisvanlesbian
penisvanlesbian

The Olympic Pizza that was on way-the-fuck-upper Greenville at Meadow. (Before it moved to the Northwest Highway building that looks like a former strip club that became Club Stratos.) 

Daniel
Daniel

Anyone remember Dolce Vita in Lakewood? Closed about 10 years ago. I loved that place. Choose your pasta, choose your sauce, $10 (in 10-years-ago dollars); the food had MUCH more finesse than Angelo's (although damn if I don't miss Angelo's, too).

I also miss Gachet, mainly because you could go up on the roof. Mudsmith is able-bodied & admirable, but if they'd invest in a rooftop space, their awesomeness quotient would increase by 10.  If Gachet hadn't made the stupid decision to relocate to Victory Park, Pearl Cup likely would never have happened and a butterfly would have started a hurricane.


Also, before the Goat, there was The Office. The Goat is a real-people place, but The Office was an even REALER people place. Like probably you were the only male in the place who had not served a substantial prison sentence (see also Starlight Lounge, still very much extant).


Also, it wasn't a restaurant, but I miss World Foods on Lower Greenville. I mostly just bought olives & sardines, but it made me feel like I was in a real city. Ali Baba was attached to it -- they've upped their game since they moved to their new digs, but the old space was funkier and homier.

Daniel
Daniel

It's possible that Hacienda on Henderson provided just about the only truly authentic Iowa-Mex in this city, and I didn't even know it. But it's much more likely that it simply blew chunks and didn't deserve to survive in this market.

dc005
dc005

White Swan on lower Abrams in Lakewood,  early 90's.  Incredibly original and great Cuban food,  cooked by Nester Macho,  retired from the DPD Vice Squad.  Was packed every night,  a quick expansion to a N Central location doomed both.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

I miss The Point After.  Lakewood 1st & 10 and the Northwest Point are good, but not the same.  Also Quinn in Oak Cliff (where Zoli's is now).

Sixlexxa
Sixlexxa

There used to be a Greek restaurant on Henderson, exactly where Beauty Bar is now, that was called Z Cafe. The owner was Nick Z-something and his own mother made the baklava.

I was smitten, took everyone I knew there for gyros and pizza. Myself, I have never found the equivalent of his brilliant dolmas. Oh, how I miss and yearn!

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@RIPRandee  I went to Spankee's once. I thought it should be renamed Fatties or Nasties.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@AtoZ  I loved Nero's and their delicious tableside made Caesar Salad. 

digital3130
digital3130

@Twinwillow Remember Greenville Avenue Country Club? The bar/pool? And speaking of Greenvile in the old days...Fast and Cool, and Red Jacket?

erin.finegold
erin.finegold

@Markus  Lumi on McKinney... I miss that one too.

And for me, brunch at Horne and Decker... RIP.

Sixlexxa
Sixlexxa

@Markus Metro. Where we all went after clubbing in Deep Ellum. Sigh...

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Give City Tavern a shot. Good prices and great food. Not that far away.

Daniel
Daniel

@penisvanlesbian  At one time, they had two locations, I believe -- the one at G'ville/Meadow AND the one by Bachman Lake. 

Sixlexxa
Sixlexxa

@Daniel Gachet! What a memory! It was so cozy.

And Dolce Vita was so romantic for dates.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

The beauty of The Goat is you can smoke pot on the patio openly and they simply don't care. And the Winedale was a fine bar. Between those two you had about the only bars that would open at 7am. Rarely did I need a bar at 7am but the people watching was amazing when I did.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Yes I do. And anything was better than Angelos.

Daniel
Daniel

Also the Winedale. Who hasn't been plastered at the Winedale? None. None have not been plastered at the Winedale. 

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@MaxNoDifference  The Point After restaurants served the biggest, thickest, most delicious burgers Dallas had ever seen

Daniel
Daniel

@Sixlexxa  Yes! Loved it. Every time I went, I had escargot. They had great escargot. And affordable!

Daniel
Daniel

@P1Gunter  I agree, Angelo's sucked. Don't know why I said I miss it. But if you got something with sausage, it was Jimmy's. So there was that., 

Daniel
Daniel

@Sixlexxa  Wait a minute. Before Z Cafe, it was an Italian place that had great escargot. Then it was Z Cafe, which I loved, too. I don't think I could bear to set foot in the Beauty Bar.

G_David
G_David

@Daniel @SixlexxaThe Italian place, Alfredo's, was awesome.  They moved north up Henderson to around where Sissy's is now, and it was never the same and didn't last long.  Went to the one on Henderson and McMillan many times - always got treated like royalty by the owner.  Whom I"m guessing was named Alfredo.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...