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Wanted: Great Locally Owned Restaurants in Dallas

Since moving to Dallas, my husband and I have had the hardest time finding good Mom and Pop joints - locally owned restaurants that have fantastic food that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. There are a couple we've found - JG's, Abocas, Ali Baba's, Old Monk, Bread Winners - but would love a list of many more to try out. I'm talking good food, ethnic or otherwise, around the price range of $8-12/meal for dinner, that isn't a chain restaurant. Coming from Austin, TX and Fort Collins, CO in the past, there were fantastic locally owned restaurants everywhere you looked, but now in Dallas everywhere you look is the Olive Garden - yuck! Please help.

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  1. High End:
    Lola I go here when I celebrate special events (b-days, anniversary, etc) but it doesn't break the bank like some of the steakhouses and micro plate high end places do. Look for the charcuterie plate which is house cured, great soups, very inexpensive 10 course tasting menu (around $65 to $75 per person), great wine list, and curteous service.

    Low End:
    Nam Hua / Kieng Giang / La Me in Garland for Vietnamese

    Masami for sushi...so it might be out of the price range but worth it...close to Aboca's too!

    Little Sichuan / Sichuanese / Kirin Court / Chef Hsu / First Chinese BBQ / Mr. Shabu Shabu in either Plano ro Richardson for Chinese....all varying styles

    Queen of Sheeba in Addison lots of people like it, I have never been for Ethiopian. I am trying Ennat in Irving for the same cuisine later this month

    Afrah for Lebanese in Richardson....just down a ways from Aboca's

    Jimmy's Food Store in Dallas for Italian specialties...they haev some great sandwiches

    Antones in Dallas (Parkalnd area) has been around for ever for simple po boys

    Avilas / Escondidos (Dallas Parkland), La Palapa Veracruzana (Dallas Oak Cliff), Taqueria El Fuego (richardson), Tipicos (Dallas bachman) Taqueria El Paisano (Dallas Bachman) all of these are locally owned and will please just about anyone.

    If you search through most of my posts I will have links to all of these places or a lengthy review on each.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

      Local, Angry Dog, Cowboy Chow in Deep Ellum. Rise, Bjioux, Margaux's, (haven't yet been to these 3 myself) Hattie's, El Ranchito, Jasmine Thai (Plano), Asian Mint (not my personal favorite), Cafe Istanbul, White Rock Coffee or Drip for Coffee, Kuby's, some other places I haven't been like Suze, Abacus, Fearing's...there's actually a lot of locally owned places.

      1. re: luniz

        Thank luniz for bringing up the slack!

      2. re: LewisvilleHounder

        YES Jimmy's has awesome Buffalo Mozzadell, and I get all my Italian meats there.
        Tipicos, HANDS down best MEX MEX...
        Best TEX MEX..Manny's Uptown, hands down.
        Best Taco Stand..toss up, but Gorditas on NW Hwy and Harry Hines, has the best Chicharron Tacos, and during the day, the most BEAUTIFUL drive through girl in the world...her smile drives me wild. LOL
        Best Chinese - May Dragon in Addison NO DOUBT ABOUT IT
        Best Salvadoran - Gloria's I can tell you for a fact, it is not a "chain" even though there are several locations..and it is locally owned..I used to talk to the owner's daughter..man I do miss her!
        Best BBQ - DAT's GOOD BBQ in Lewisville. BEST IN THE STATE, yes I SAID IN THE STATE..forget Hill Country.THIS is where it's AT. www.datsgoodque.com
        Best Burger - Burger Island..any location LOCALLY OWNED half pound 100% ANGUS burgers a bacon mushroom burger Combo with HANDCUT fries...only 7.50 It can feed two.
        Best Chinese Buffet - New New Buffet in Addison

      3. S & D Oyster Company for fresh gulf coast seafood. Not all menu items will be within the $12 limit, but many will.


        1. Austin and Ft. Collins....you might really like Dream Cafe. Its locally owned, on the healthy side and good, especially the breakfast.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sike101

            That's crazy - that's where my husband and I are planning to go tonight (Dream Cafe)! Thanks everyone for all the input - this is a big help!

          2. Check out Eden Restaurant & Pastries on W. Lovers Lane. It's BYOB and a little neighborhood restaurant located in an old house. Wide variety on the menu, but one of you have to try the Sage Burger.....I promise you will crave it in the future. It's fantastic with a bottle of your favorite red wine. Chef owned and run.


            It's across the street from Celebration which I also recommend you try for home cooking....very popular place.

            5 Replies
            1. re: BluffViewChound

              Aren't Eden's prices a little high for that nabe? $18.00 for meat loaf and mashed potatoes? That's circulating around Neighborhood Services type prices.

              1. re: Scagnetti

                You can eat very well at Eden at decent prices for what you get there. The $16.95 Meatloaf might be a little high, but it is not your ordinary Luby's meatloaf. Entrees range from 13.50 to 25.00, but I suggest you go with some killer appetizers, salads and a wide variety of very good sandwiches (again, I can't stress enough the Sage Burger).

                This place has a very special touch because it is small and hands on. You get extras like a basket of sweet and savory minature muffins and breads to peruse the menu by and before you leave, everyone at the table is treated to a chocolate dipped fresh strawberry. I usually get the composed salad instead of soup with the house artichoke dressing and it's not only tasty but a visual masterpiece.

                The menu is all over the place both in dishes and prices. I've never known anyone who went there that didn't want a return visit. D Magazine named it best BYOB restaurant last year I believe. Que D Mag bashing here? : )

                1. re: BluffViewChound

                  I spoke to someone over the weekend who is a rather picky restaurant person and he gave a thumbs up on this place.

                  I'll have to try it and I REALLY like the BYOB part.

            2. I like Fishmonger's, Big Easy, Fred's Downtown Philly (cheesesteaks), JC's Burger House (it will remind you of JG's) - all in Plano. Also, Pho Pasteur in Richardson is my fav Vietnamese place.


              Mr Bean

              1. Do check out all the (thriving) restaurants in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff. They are all (for the most part) locally owned and offer a large variety of fare. The're only a short drive over the Trinity from downtown Dallas.

                1. Also try Celebration on Lovers Lane. Really good (all you can eat at dinner) home cooked food in charming, rustic surroundings.

                  1. Alfonso's Italian Restaurant in East Dallas near White Rock Lake is in their 27th year and has been owned by the same person. Their website is www.alfonsositalianrestaurant.com.

                    2 Replies
                    1. More uptown recs:

                      Hook, Line, and Sinker - Amazingly greaseless conrmeal fried catfish/shrimp and grilled seafood. Should be a chain, but it isn't.

                      Oishii - For reasonably priced high quality sushi, as well as Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. Best Pho available in this area.

                      Campania Pizza - Great salads too. BYOB is a plus.

                      Manow - Really good Thai and pretty good sushi. A bit more expensive than most mom and pop Thai places, but worth trying. Red Duck curry is amazing here.

                      Gloria's - Local Salvadorian/Tex Mex mini-chain. Food can be hit or miss, but must be more hit because they're always packed. They have one of the best quail dishes in town and a fantastic seafood soup.

                      Margaux's - Only open for lunch except on Friday. Upscale cajun. Good food, but don't go if you're in a hurry. Dinner will be over your price range.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Webra1

                        Campania on McKinney Ave. is now charging a $5 corkage fee, as I discovered on a recent weekend visit.

                        This is perfectly reasonable on busy weekend evenings. But we often visit on low-key weeknights when the place is less than half full. The extra $5 will just discourage us from visiting on those nights. Might as well pop that cork at home and boil some pasta.

                      2. Ok, I might be giving away a good secret, but on the cornor of Audelia and Centenial (Spring Valley) right by the Kroger is a great little Italian place, Venezia. Most dishes in the $8-12 range. BYOB. Perfect for a cold cold night and you don't want to drive too far from home.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: simply_victoria

                          That's no secret. That food is awful.

                        2. The awkwardly-named Sevan G&G Cafe is charming and inexpensive Mediterranean. Family-operated and BYOB. Fits your criteria perfectly. It's on 2221 Greenville Ave.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: interference

                            I highly recommend Sevan G&G for fresh, inexpensive food. George will be in the kitchen while Grace and their daughter handle the tables. The patio is great on a nice evening.

                          2. Really should try Obzeets's in Plano. I love this place. Great food and cool atmosphere. Tropical bar, restaurant, furniture and home decor!

                            On most weekends they have live music.

                            19020 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75252

                            1. Up in Plano... we have our 3 favorite BYOB places... Jasmine for Thai, Covino's for Italian and Zorba's for Greek

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: shelbyg75

                                Tillmans Roadhouse.... Best food in dallas

                              2. Cowboy Chicken(North Dallas locations and also off I-75 near Northpark Mall) has great rotisserie chicken and wonderful chicken enchiladas, this place is more like a diner. The twiced baked potatoes are a must. Also you may want to try Tupinamba's Mexican which in my opinion has the very best frozen margaritas in Dallas. The chicken fajita nachos are to die for. Fish City Grill is small local chain that pours good drinks and has great seafood and many dont know but Fish City has very good lean pot roast.