Thursday, June 20, 2024 Jun 20, 2024
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Restaurants & Bars

8 Dallas Classics We’d Like to See Stick Around for Many Decades to Come

Dear Dallas, please go to your favorite restaurants. Like, right now.
Photography by Leah Clausen

Dallas is never not opening a new restaurant. We’ve likely opened one new restaurant this year for every piece of regular trash your kid has put in the damn recycling bin.

Listen, we love a great restaurant opening. They’re so exciting. There’s the not-quite-ready interior teaser. And then, the selection of plates and glassware. Oooooh. Please say they’re locally sourced plates. When the restaurant finally opens, the newness is so wonderful. Everything is perfect and exclamatory. You think to yourself, Could this be my new favorite restaurant?

Admittedly, you’ve been looking for a new favorite restaurant. All of your old favorites have closed. First, The Grape. You cried. Now, Hattie’s? You’re broken.

With every closing announcement, the pattern of restaurant mourning repeats itself.

You recount your restaurant memories fondly: “I’ll never forget when I celebrated my anniversary there a decade ago,” and “How could it close? We were just there for brunch! #myfave” (Brunch was cancelled years ago.)

Your obsession with these closing restaurants pours out of your social media soul—but not until it’s too late. What if you could post about your favorites before they’re struggling? What if—and stay with us here—there was a way to share your positive feedback about these restaurants, even after they’ve been open for three whole years?

We’re here to tell you that you can, Dallas, you absolutely can.

Here’s an easy trick to help a restaurant keep its doors open: Go there. This may sound obvious, but the next time you’re shocked when your go-to local date night spot closes, ask yourself, “When was the last time I was there?”

Sure, many factors can lead to the downfall of a great restaurant (the rent is too damn high, staffing is an angry minotaur, fried turmeric enchilada foam just didn’t turn out to be as important to Dallas diners as your investors led you to believe). But, when there’s always something newer and shinier to try, the classics can suffer. It’s the danger of a saturated market.

So, pop into the local sweets shop you haven’t visited in a while, inhale a burger at your favorite booth, sit on a creaky patio with a bowl of chips and salsa—listen to the birds argue over the proper pronunciation of “February.” Go revisit your old stand-by. It misses you.

Without further ado, a list of eight memory-maker restaurants that have been in Dallas for at least 10 years (and hopefully many more).

Jimmy’s Food Store

Open since 1966
Hear the bell jingle as you walk in the door, and make a beeline all the way to the back to order an Italian Stallion sandwich. Snag a pound of pasta, a bottle of red wine and a few cannolis for dinner while you’re at it.

Royal China

Open since 1974
How long has it been since you’ve had the steamy soup dumplings? Whatever you just said is too long ago, and you know it.

Keller’s Drive-In

Open since 1965
They want your cash, not your weird, plastic future-money. Don’t worry about why there’s a No. 1 combo, a No. 3 combo, and a No. 8 combo, but no 2, 4 or 6. Just drive in (do NOT leave your vehicle, if you’re uninitiated) and sip a shake on your tailgate while the weather’s pretty.


Open since 1983
Vegetarians, assemble! Drink tamarind tea, eat your weight in pappadam and vegetable curry, and lose your ever-plant-loving mind as you bask in the glory of Kalachandji’s buffet.

TJ’s Seafood

Open since 1989
We like our seafood markets with a side of lobster roll. If you go early in the week, you can catch lobster night on Monday and  ½ price bottles of wine on Tuesdays.

Pepe and Mito’s

Open since 1994
Sometimes, you just want some tacos al carbon and a margarita before you see a show in Deep Ellum. Go eavesdrop on a bunch of emo band dudes rehashing their set over fajitas back-to-back with tortilla-pounding high-chaired toddlers.

Cindi’s NY Deli

Open since 1989
The only thing better than a New York deli is a New York deli next to a casket store called The Casket Store. Go get a bagel, already. You want the Nova Lox.


Open since 2010
David and Jennifer Uygur have been serving up good-as-hell pasta and wine for a decade at this spot in Oak Cliff. Historically, it has been difficult (but rewarding) to secure a reservation, as this small Dallas restaurant MVP fills up extremely quickly. But now that they’ve added Resy, you’re one step closer to gnocchi than you thought. (Update: Read up on Lucia’s next chapter after its move from Eighth Street to Bishop Ave.)

Don’t see your favorite on this list? Great. Remind us all of your favorite in the comments. And then, go there. That’s the key. The only way we actually keep our favorites present tense is to support them regularly.