Friday, May 24, 2024 May 24, 2024
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Restaurant Review: The Mecca

How's the Dallas institution doing in its new digs?
photography by Kevin Marple

The Mecca is like Big Tex. Everybody loves it, and if it burned down, people would get on Twitter and say, “OMG! The Mecca is toast! #RIPcinnamonroll.” But, really, if you look closely, neither deserves all the adulation. Big Tex was misshapen, and his face was ugly. He looked like he was built by high school students with no understanding of human form. But nostalgia is a powerful force, so we loved him. Thus it is with The Mecca. The restaurant has been “Waking up Dallas since 1938,” and in its former Harry Hines location, an old house that was falling in on itself, it had a charming patina. The setting has changed. In September, the restaurant moved into the old Molly Maguire’s spot. Some of the old Mecca decor made the move (e.g., the taxidermied jackalope), but the tile floor and wood paneling left behind by the previous tenants give The Mecca a cozier, slightly more upscale feel. The food doesn’t always live up to its surroundings. On one visit, the chicken-fried steak was just passable; on another, it was flavorless and dry. And that famous cinnamon roll, the one that’s the size of a catcher’s mitt and covered with sugar? Its outer edge was dry and crispy, almost as if it had been reheated. Still, we were eating the cinnamon roll at The Mecca! The coffee mugs and tabletops are emblazoned with all those ads for blue-collar businesses! It’s an honest, unfussy restaurant where you can order fried chicken livers and eat them next to a table of cops. So we will return, just like Big Tex will return, because some things, no matter their shortcomings, endure.