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A Look at Kessler Park Eating House in North Oak Cliff

The neighborhood restaurant offers a menu of family recipes and comfort food.
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Jonathon Erdeljac had his eye on the rundown space (previously Mamma Connie’s Diner) at 1619 N Beckley Ave for years. “I would drive by every day on my way to Jonathon’s and be like ‘I want that building,'” he explains to me Friday evening. We’re sitting in the side dining room of his newly-opened homestyle restaurant Kessler Park Eating House. It’s 5 p.m., just an hour after officially opening for business.

The dining room.
The dining room.

The restaurant embodies a diner vibe, but has been completely revamped. Black booths and tables extend across the space (each adorned with purple cloth napkins), framed historic Dallas photographs hang from the freshly-painted beige walls, and purple leather barstools line the bar. Purple is the predominate accent color of the space as it’s Jonathon’s wife and business partner Christine’s favorite color.

The two opened Jonathon’s Oak Cliff in May 2011, and after participating on Food Network’s Food Court Wars in 2014 decided that they wanted to open another restaurant. “We didn’t win,” Jon explains, “but [Vista Ridge Mall] called us and offered us a full-service restaurant space, it gave us motivation… we thought, ‘oh, we can do something else.'”

Borsch.
Borscht.

After juggling several different concepts, Jonathon and Christine decided on Kessler Park Eating House. The neighborhood restaurant offers a menu of family recipes and comfort food. Standouts include the vegetarian borscht, vegetable lasagna (Jon’s dad’s original recipe), roasted pork sandwich, and pepperoni rolls. Jon takes pride in his authentic pepperoni rolls, “they’re the kolaches of West Virginia,” he explains of the sweet dough wrapped around greasy sticks of pepperoni. They come served with a side of house-made marinara sauce. Everything at Kessler Park Eating House (with the exception of the bread, which is from La Spiga Bakery in Addison) is made in-house, from the pasta, to the dough. Jon also grinds all of his own meat.

Roasted pork sandwich. Photography by Catherine Downes.
Roasted pork sandwich. Photography by Catherine Downes.

The dessert menu offers sweets such as peanut butter pie, fruit cobbler, Texas sheet cake, and Jon bars. And the bar offers a selection of draft beer, wines by the bottle and glass, fountain sodas, specialty coffees, cocktails, and alcoholic milkshakes.

Jon bars: chocolate, nougat, caramel, and toasted peanuts.
Jon bars: chocolate, nougat, caramel, and toasted peanuts.

Temporary hours are Wednesday through Monday from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m., and closed on Tuesdays. They’ll soon serve lunch and brunch.

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