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Restaurants & Bars

La Casita Is Moving Into Dallas’ Flagship Half Price Books Cafe

La Casita is finally opening a Dallas location in the form of a coffee shop and tiki bar.
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Croissants from La Casita will be on deck at the new Dallas location. Kevin Marple

La Casita Coffee, the coffee shop from James Beard-nominated pastry chef Maricsa Trejo, will join the Half Price Books flagship store on Northwest Highway in early summer as the bookstore’s new cafe. It’ll replace Black Forest Coffee, which moved out of Half Price Books last summer after more than 20 years.

This is a huge step for La Casita, which has locations in Richardson and Rowlett and a garden in Frisco. Trejo has been a fan of Half Price Books for years and knows the cafe location is famous among North Texans.

“This is a wonderland for any kid or any adult who loves to read, and I was like, ‘Man, it would be so cool to be part of that,’” Trejo says. “It’s been a dream come true.”

The new location will serve coffee, matcha, and tea-based drinks like at their Rowlett coffee shop and bakery locations. (Not to fangirl too much, but those Turkish lattes are quite good.) Pastries and bread from the James Beard-nominated bakery in Richardson, of course, will be abundant. The coffee shop will have those sought-after cruffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls, and more lining the displays.

Trejo says La Casita Coffee will serve only coffee and pastries for the first few months. Then, brunch and lunch will be added. The La Casita Bakeshop in Richardson recently launched a new brunch menu, and it’s received impeccable feedback.

Half Price Books’ owners have added a patio for outdoor seating, and renovations to the cafe itself are expected to last two or three more months, Trejo says.

Once permitting allows, the shop will add a tiki bar called La Tiki Paisa, which will serve cocktails and dinner, a first for La Casita concepts. The flagship store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Trejo says she wanted to offer more than just coffee and pastries throughout the day.

“People spend hours there, and they have book signings and author readings,” she says. “So [the Half Price Books owners are] really excited to have a space that will cater and do little cupcakes and things like that.”

Paisa is short for paisano, which means countryman in Spanish. It’s a hint at the tiki bar menu, which has Mexican, Pacific Islander, and Asian flavors. The bar will serve mezcal and tequila cocktails, plus food items such as kimchi carbonara, chicken pibil with pickles and tortillas, beef tongue buns, and sourdough with bone marrow. It’ll be a sit-down restaurant with plated meals and desserts, Trejo says. When it’s up and running, the plan is to close the coffee shop for an hour and transform the place into a Mexican tiki bar. A neon sign inside the shop will let customers know when tiki hours start.

It might seem like a pivot, but Trejo and her husband Alex Henderson come from dinner service worlds. This will be their first project since getting married last fall.

“My husband, he’s been a chef his whole life, and he gave up doing that to be a baker for three years with me. We’re just now starting to do food. All of that success has been both of us, but he’s been coming up with all those menus,” Trejo says. “I’m most excited about doing this with Alex and sharing our love for food with the rest of Dallas.”

La Casita Coffee and La Tiki Paisa, 5803 E. Northwest Hwy.

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…

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