via Flickr: Steve Rainwater
By Kristina Rowe, NewsCastic
One of the things that makes DFW special is the blend of old and new — from buildings to businesses to the art and music scene and more. Our food scene is no different. In DFW, you can try the newest cuisines and the freshest concepts right alongside the comfort foods and hometown favorites from restaurants that have stood the test of time.
Whether it’s an old school menu, a familiar place, or a retro ambience you’re looking for, you’ll find it in DFW. When you find yourself craving nostalgia, get a taste at one of these very special establishments.
I Got You Babe
The first location of Babe’s Chicken Dinner House opened in Roanoake in 1993 in a warehouse location that dates back to 1908. That delicious fried chicken and all the fixin’s comes from the same folks that started Bubba’s Cooks Country near SMU in 1981. To recreate home cooked family dinners from any part of your past, head to one of nine Babe’s locations in DFW.
Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbecue
Folks in Cowtown started getting legendary Texas barbecue from the Riscky family in 1927. Now with eight Fort Worth locations, Riscky’s serves burgers, barbecue, steaks, chicken, calf fries, and more. Folks who don’t live nearby can order Riscky’s dust and barbecue sauce as well as that tasty smoked meat online.
Walk Like an Egyptian
The Campisi family started “delivering” pizza pie in Dallas in 1946. In 1950, they moved into the iconic location on Mockingbird that was originally The Egyptian Lounge. Lack of money for a new sign gave Dallas the “Egyptian Restaurant” that served Italian food, and the rest is history. Walk down memory lane, and indulge your love of Italian food at one of 10 DFW Campisi’s locations.
As Time Goes By
Homecoming, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and other romantic occasions call for very special dinners. The Old Warsaw has been serving those romantic dinners with an air of elegance in their formal dining room since 1948. The location moved a few doors down the block on Maple last year, but that old world ambience is still the same. Whether you’re revisiting memories of tableside prepared Chateaubriand for two or making special new memories, you’ll want to savor this Dallas dining experience.
At the Hop
Memories of everyday meals can be just as sweet as those of elegant dinners and special occasions. In Denton, folks can head back to the fifties at Mr. Frosty. While the shop seems frozen in time with its fifties deco, pinball machine, and jukebox, the tasty burgers, milkshakes, and homemade root beer still taste as great as they always did.
Tolbert’s Restaurant got its start in Dallas in 1976 and now resides in a historic building in downtown Grapevine. Their famous Bowl of Red inspired the long running Terlingua chili cook off, so it’s possible that all memories of chili (or Frito Pie) in DFW lead straight back to Tolbert’s. If you haven’t made those memories yet, you might want to get on it.
Play That Funky Music
A restaurant doesn’t have to be decades old to give you that wonderful nostalgic vibe. The oldest Taco Joint location has been open less than a decade, but all four Dallas area locations bring back memories of the 1970s with great music playing, album covers on the ceiling, and old photos lining the walls. We think that seventies style goes great with tacos and Tex Mex.
Booomers and Gen Xers have memories of family meals at cafeterias — maybe a few lucky millennials do too. Most of the cafeteria style restaurants in DFW have gone the way of the dinosaur, but one of the best still stands. Diners at Highland Park Cafeteria can still enjoy live piano music nightly while eating their favorite homestyle comfort food. Everyone has their favorites from chicken and dumplings to stuffed bell peppers, but for a true taste of childhood memories, be sure to start with some green jello.
It’s My Party
Kids of all ages have been making magical memories at The Magic Time Machine in Addison. Its costumed characters, salad bar in a car, potty patrol parades, and Roman Orgy multi-diner dinner still create the perfect backdrop for a party of any kind. If there’s a place in DFW where you’ve celebrated a childhood birthday, rocked a bachelorette party, and returned to celebrate your own kids’ birthdays, this is probably it.
You Better Shop Around
Sometimes it’s the location that makes memory magic in DFW dining. The Woolworth in downtown Dallas has only been open a few years, but its home is in the historic building that housed the iconic Woolworth’s store for decades. With decor right that mixes Mad Men with forties elegance, the retro vibe reverberates, but the clever food and tasty craft cocktails are oh-so modern day.
Memories Are Made of This
Arlington diners remember dinners in days past in The Candlelite Inn with its private booths, red-checkered tablecloths, and wall-installed jukeboxes. Opened in 1957, the restaurant served everything from steaks to spaghetti, sometimes on a single plate. While the location is recently renovated, the memorable experience of the past can be recreated from start to finish.
Thoroughly Modern Millie
This family owned Chinese food restaurant opened in 1974 and reopened in 2008 with a sleek new look and feel and a new menu that still features some old favorites. Royal China’s dumpling bar is divine, and despite its new modern flair, memories of this mainstay will take you back in time.
Bill Smith’s McKinney
Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, Bill Smith’s Cafe is the oldest restaurant in McKinney. Made from scratch meals have been delighting local families and visitors for decades. The breakfast and lunch eatery still serves up Smith family recipes that your grandma would have been proud to claim.
I’ve Got Mexico
Originally opened in 1918 as the Martinez Cafe, this iconic Dallas eatery became the birthplace of Tex-Mex food and was renamed El Fenix. Surely everyone in DFW has eaten at least once at one of its 20 North Texas locations. For great food, great margaritas, and the best and most dippable chips on the planet, visit the location nearest you. For the most nostalgic experience, drop-in to the flagship location in downtown Dallas.
Let the Good Times Roll
In 1989, Dodie’s brought Cajun cuisine and the atmosphere of the New Orleans French Quarter to Greenville Avenue. Times have changed, as have owners and staff along the way, and maybe the name too. We think it’s called Dodie’s Reef now, but one thing is for sure: everybody’s got memories of good times at Dodie’s.