Norma Manis of Norma’s Cafe Passes Away at 80

Lemon meringue pie from Norma's Cafe
Lemon meringue pie from Norma’s Cafe

Rick Lopez over on on Oak Cliff People is the bearer of bad news:

Friends and family have confirmed today that restaurateur Norma Manis died Saturday afternoon.

A memorial service is still in the works for the pie-making darling who opened Norma’s Cafe with her daughters — including the Davis Street location that celebrated its 55th anniversary two years ago.

In an interview with Oak Cliff People two years ago, Manis told reporter Georgia Fisher that she wanted to be remembered for her last venture, Mama’s Daughter’s Diner, which she opened after selling Norma’s Cafe in 1986. ”Norma quit her job,” she said. “I’m not Norma anymore. I’m Mama. I sold my name when I sold that business.”

Acquaintances say Manis, who is survived by three daughters, had been in a coma after suffering a stroke recently.

I can’t find a photo of Norma anywhere on Google. If somebody has one and would like to share, feel free to email it to me. For now, though, I’m going to use this pretty picture of mile-high lemon meringue pie to represent the wonderful woman who brought these to Dallas. Teresa Gubbins once called Norma Cafe’s lemon meringue “a towering construction with a tall, firm hood of meringue and a lemon custard base that brings a happy little pucker to your lips.”

Thanks for all the happy puckering, Norma. We owe you a big one up there.

Norma 1
Norma Manis


(DALLAS) – “I have discovered, like most of the Dallas area that loved and respected her that Norma Manis has passed away. She established Norma’s Cafe, the cafe that I have been proud to own for the past 26 years. I believe Dallas would be without a comfort food institution if it weren’t for Norma’s love here that so many people appreciated for years.

“What I remember most about Norma is her love for her customers, which clearly came from the love she cherished with her own family. When we would talk about how to establish a place people would feel welcome, we agreed that it had to begin with service that feels like family.

“Her spirit will always be at the Oak Cliff location. On behalf of our guests who remember Norma’s warm smile and great laugh welcoming them to the cafe on Davis Street, my family and staff will always appreciate what she started. My heart goes out to Norma’s family during this trying time of loss and grief. May the Lord continue to bless her family as He blessed Norma for so many years.”

Ed Murph


Norma’s Cafe


  • Marie

    Funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. this Wednesday at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. The viewing is scheduled for tomorrow 2-4 p.m. at Mulkey’s in Lewisville.

  • Paula Cole

    I can’t tell you how many times I have passed by there, gone in, and remember her telling me about a house fire due to a Christmas tree. I can’t remember exactly what Family member or members were Involved, but It was sad to hear the story, and she was a very nice a pleasant lady, and down to earth. She will truely be missed. R I P Norma……My Prayers go out to you’re Family.

  • Bill Barnes

    Most Folks don’ t remember that the present cafe on Davis was not the original location of Norma’s Home Folks Cafe. The original site was 2 or 3 blocks East of the present location on the same side of the street. It was a little “hole in wall” cafe and she absolutely served the best food in the “World”! The stove where she baked the pies was in full view of the counter where I always sat. The cook would take a “Blazing Hot” Peach Pie out of the oven, the waitress would cut me a piece and put a dip of Vanilla Ice Cream on top, and I was in “In Heaven”, where Norma is now! The taste of that wonderful pie was “Out Of This World”! Oh, how i miss that little cafe, the beginning of a “Legend”!
    I am now 82 years old and was one of the original customers of Norma’s. I can’t get food like that anymore! Now everything’s raw, crispy, healthy and tasteless! I will always have fond memories of Norma until Alzheimers rears it’s ugly head!
    Thank you, Norma!
    Bill Barnes

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  • Adteacher

    I love Norma’s and Mama’s Daughters. They take care of me because I’m not a good cook and I can’t go to my mom for food like this anymore.