Dining in the Deep: Counting Down the Best Restaurants in Deep Ellum, Dallas
We’re analyzing the Deep Ellum culinary scene right down to category of cuisine.
Deep Ellum is the neighborhood of Dallas best known for its artistic appeal. A simple stroll down the road can turn into a walk through an art gallery. Street art can be found all around the buildings of Deep Ellum. An influential music scene and young population can account for most of the creativity pulsating through these streets, but we think there might be some bit of magic in the water. In one of the more innovative neighborhoods in Dallas, you can count on the culinary scene to be just as progressive. An art in and of itself, food is not something taken lightly around these parts. We’ve taken a look at some of our most loved Texan specialties and rounded up our favorite restaurants for each category.
New York has their pizza, Paris has macaroons, Italy has pasta, and Texas has barbecue. The holy mecca for smoked meats, braised briskets, and fall-off-the-bone ribs, there’s nowhere else you should want to be if you are a barbecue fan. Unique in their own right, each one of the these barbecue joints has earned its place on this list. Here’s a look at where to score some of the best barbecue in the neighborhood of Deep Ellum, Dallas.
1. Pecan Lodge
One of the best barbecue restaurants in all of Texas, the Pecan Lodge had quite a humble beginning. This husband and wife-owned joint began as a stall at the Dallas farmers market. After great popularity, and a lot of hard work, came success as they moved their humble little stall into their first official restaurant space. On any given day you can guarantee a line down the block to get into Pecan Lodge, sometimes patrons can wait as long as two hours to get their fix. We think that kind of demand speaks for itself. Since then, the couple has moved the Lodge to a larger space with less lines. They’ve now been open for six years and are thriving. It isn’t hard to see why Pecan Lodge does so well for itself, just have a bite of any menu item and you will quickly understand their rise to fame. All their meats are slowly smoked and hand rubbed, the salsa is homemade, and every recipe calls for a dash of love cooked in to the mix.
Address: 2702 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 748-8900
Hours: Sunday 11:00am – 3:00pm
Tuesday – Thursday 11:00am – 3:00pm
Friday – Saturday 11:00am – 10:00pm
2. Mama Faye’s BBQ
Owner Ernest Williams was minding his own business and enjoying his natural talent as he smoked some barbecue meats in the back of his truck. A curious foodie smelt the mouth-watering scent and followed it to find Ernest going about his lunch break. After trying out his work, she recognized his talent and encouraged him to open up a restaurant in her space located in Deep Ellum. The rest is sort of history after that, Ernest and his wife opened up Mama Faye’s. The restaurant has since moved in the past year to Sulphur Springs, but don’t fret, the couple will be making an appearance at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival in April where you can get your fix of Texas-style barbecue.
3. Mac’s Bar-B-Que
A common theme we’ve found in the Texas barbecue spots is a certain humbleness amongst it all. The wait staff is friendly and warm, and the space is usually a no frills, paper napkin kind of feel. And though for some this may be viewed as a negative thing, we like to see it as charming. The food is the true luxury here, not the table cloth (or lack there of). Mac’s is one of these kinds of places. The barbecue is fall-off-the-bone, and cooked to perfection with your choice of sauces. The real fan favorite here though? The side dishes. Patrons continue to return time and time again for the incredibly creamy mac and cheese and Frito pie.
Address: 3933 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 823-0731
4. Sonny Bryan’s
Open since 1910, Sonny Bryan’s has solidified itself into the Dallas barbecue scene. A chain restaurant, Sonny Bryan’s has acquired fans from all over that travel to enjoy their classic family recipes. The menu is basic, usually a choice of two meats and a side. Everything is prepared fresh daily so you are ensured a great hot meal. Each location offers daily lunch specials for some variety, and take-out options are made easy with call ahead and online ordering options. Sonny Bryan’s even offers a catering option for any of your get together needs. Though this restaurant is hardly a secret, you never have to wait too long to get seated at any of their locations due to the efficiency of the kitchen and staff. After over 100 years in business, it’s safe to say they’ve got it down to a science.
Address: 325 North Saint Paul Street C4, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
As the state with the largest border to Mexico, Texans have embraced their next-door neighbor's culture and created the culinary love child that is Tex-Mex. The perfect fusion of spicy, cheesy, peppery goodness from Mexico pairs with the sweet barbecue flavors of Texas. There have been few culinary fusions to rival this marriage of the flavors. Food lovers and chefs of all types recognized the value in this trend long ago and jumped right on board. This means that Deep Ellum is literally littered with Tex-Mex and though they’re all great places, some certainly stand above the rest. Here’s our take on the Tex-Mex scene in Deep Ellum.
1. Pepe’s & Mito’s Mexican Café
This 21-year old operation dubs themselves ‘Mex-Tex’ rather than ‘Tex-Mex’. Focusing more heavily on flavors of Mexico, the owners have originated many of their menu items right from their own family recipes. The offerings range from pork tacos to the classic fajita, Pepe’s also opens up for a brunch experience a little different than your simple eggs and bacon. In a humble, cantina style setting of a restaurant, Pepe and Mito have continued to fuse the flavors of their heritage and the results are delicious.
Address: 2911 Elm Street Dallas, Texas 75226
Phone: (214) 741-1901
Hours: Sundays 11:00am – 5:00pm
Monday - Tuesday 11:00am – 3:00pm
Wednesday - Thursday 11:00am - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday 11:00am – 11:00pm
2. Wild Salsa
Unless you’re willing to take a drive to the border, you won’t get any closer to an authentic Mexican experience. Wild Salsa is such a fun restaurant to visit, not only is the food authentic and bursting with flavor, the décor is vibrant with color. The restaurant is heavily influenced by Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican celebration. The common décor for such a festivity is a brightly-colored sugar skull. So the moment you enter the restaurant you find yourself in a sea of turquoise much like you would if you were in the Gulf of Mexico. The menu ranges from casual street tacos to an array of homemade salsas. The drinks are pretty inventive as well; just ask about the jalapeño infused tequila.
Address: 1800 Main St. Suite 100 Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: (214) 741-9453
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:00am - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday 11:00am - 12:00am
3. Tacos La Banqueta
With a similar sophistication to that of a street cart in Mexico, Tacos La Banqueta is a very simple, to the point place. But it is far more than what meets the eye. What they lack in aesthetics they make up for in exquisite flavor. The offerings are simple, a soft shell taco, with chicken, pork, or beef. But the time and effort put into the marinades, sauces, fresh tomatoes picked, and the smile it is served with transform the seemingly simple dish into a galaxy of flavors. They recently changed locations to a larger spot with far more seating than before to accommodate more guests. Our favorite part, aside from the tacos, of course, is the open concept kitchen where patrons can watch as their tacos are cooked up right before their eyes.
It may come as a surprise that Texas is not made up of only beef brisket, corn bread, and tacos. That tends to be what most people peg the Lone Star State for serving up on their streets. And though there are plenty of restaurants that fit that category, we were kind of shocked at how many kick-ass burger spots there were as well. A true American classic, you can never go wrong with a great hamburger. Over the years the burger scene has grown to be far more than a beef patty and two pieces of bread. Things have gotten much more sophisticated in the hamburger business. As Texans do, these guys are doing big things with an old classic.
1. Proof + Pantry
Proof + Pantry captures the essence of the cool art district it is located in. With a clean, minimalist design and chic interior, Proof + Pantry is a hipster's dream restaurant. The menu is approachable and simple, yet delicious and innovative in its ingredients. The burger is our favorite on this menu. Made with Kobe beef, caramelized onions, and bacon, it has all of the fixings for a great meal. Pair it with a house lemonade or craft beer to really finish off a perfect dish.
Address: 1722 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
Phone: (214) 880-9940
2. Angry Dog
Beware of Angry Dog: it’s a sign we often see with intentions of keeping us out of a place. But here in Dallas, the Angry Dog is quite the opposite. This local bar and burger spot is one of the most inviting in Dallas, with great food and friendly faces all around. For over a decade the Angry Dog has been serving up burgers and great beer to locals and tourists alike. They aren’t here to be a fancy, craft brew, and innovative burger joint. No, Angry Dog’s mission is a clear one: to serve up really good beer and food that pairs well with that beer. No cloth napkins or live music, your server will not be donning a necktie, but your experience will be a luxurious one. The burgers are cooked with a high quality beef and the beers are both domestic and foreign. If you want to feel like a local, then head over to Angry Dog for a beer and burger with your friends for a taste of the Dallas life.
Address: 2726 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 741-4406
3. Braindead Brewing
This place comes with a warning: “Don’t lose your head,” but you just might once you experience the burger situation at this Dallas staple. Though Braindead Brewing is mainly a brewery over a burger restaurant, that fact is kind of irrelevant. When you think about it, there are few unions sweeter than a burger and a beer. Especially when that beer is brewed in-house and handled with great care rather than mass produced. The same amount of care goes into the pub fare offered here at Braindead Brewing. The Coma Burger is the Everest of burgers. As the name indicates, you may leave in a comatose-like state but we swear it’s totally worth it.
Address: 2625 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 749-0600
4. Uncle Uber’s
If you are in search for a burger joint with some character, look no further than Uncle Uber’s. Many Dallas natives will boast to you about the nostalgia that Uncle Uber’s holds with in the community. The restaurant is technically a sandwich shop with a wide array of great options but we are particular fans of the burger. You might think to yourself, what can make one burger that much better than any other burger? Our first answer would be that there are a million ways a burger can outshine its competition. Uncle Uber’s in particular? Well its claim to fame is the secret Uber sauce. Sitting atop a quarter pound of premium beef cooked to perfection, nestled between two griddled buns of quality bread, lies a sauce so divine that there are no words to describe its delectability. I guess you’ll just have to try it out yourself.
Address: 2713 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 653-8237
Dallas may not be the most coastal of towns, but it does know its seafood. Sitting not too far from the Mexican Gulf, some of the freshest fish can be found around Dallas. Not only is the fish fresh and delicious, it has an added Southern flare that makes it totally unique to getting seafood anywhere else such as Maine or California. Here are a few of our favorite spots to get some seafood in the Deep Ellum.
Tanoshii is technically a Ramen bar rather than a seafood spot, but that’s neither here nor there. Among the options of noodles and rice lies a plethora of incredible Japanese style fish and crab that should not be looked over in any way. Chef and owner of Tanoshii, Lan Chi Le knows that no ingredient should be overlooked when it comes to cooking any sort of food. Especially a protein as delicate as seafood, he certainly understands it is one to be handled with great care and an eye for detail. When visiting Tanoshii you will undoubtedly be greeted with a smile and with a little patience on your part, an amazing meal.
Address: 2724 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 651-6800
2. Deep Sushi
With a clientele made up of equal parts long time regulars and highly-impressed newcomers, Deep Sushi has no trouble drawing in a crowd. Open since 1996, Deep Sushi was one of the first of its kind in Dallas. The owners are old friends who have a shared love for sushi. After one of the owners visited Japan for some time, they decided to embark on a journey that proved to be a fruitful one. After 20 years of business, Deep Sushi continues to impress diners from all over with their execution and quality of product. Aside from the incredibly fresh and well-prepared sushi found here at Deep Sushi, there is much more to be discovered. Many of the great performers of our time have graced the doorways of this Dallas restaurant. From the late Chris Farley to Harrison Ford, Deep Sushi has gained itself some high profile fans. We recommend you respect their space, but if you grab dinner at Deep Sushi you may just find yourself brushing shoulders with some big talent.
Address: 2624 Elm Street Dallas, TX 75226
Phone: (214) 651-1177
3. Dallas Fish Market
Not only is the Dallas Fish Market a great place to find some quality seafood, it’s also a great dining experience if you are in the mood for some luxury. Each day the freshest catch is made into the daily special, so you never really know what to expect until you arrive. But you can always count on quality ingredients and friendly, professional service. Gaining many awards and accolades throughout their time in business, Dallas Fish Market certainly knows what it’s doing when it comes to seafood.
Address: 1501 Main St. Suite 100 Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: (214) 744-3474
Sushiya is a humble small-town Texas Japanese spot that has so much to offer. The menu serves up all your basic sushi favorites, tempura rolls and maki, but there is something beyond the ordinary that should be cherished from Sushiya. Each roll is handled with such care and a keen eye for detail. This is to say that nothing leaves the kitchen without being handled with great care and overlooked before it reaches your table. Some of the rolls even replace the traditional seaweed wrapping with cucumber; anyone who has rolled sushi can see that this is not an easy feat. It’s just one of the many reasons we are loving Sushiya in Deep Ellum for our Japanese fix.
Address: 1306 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States
Phone: (214) 744-9600
You’ve probably heard of Nobu through one of the dozens of rap songs that mention it’s name, if not from that, then surely through a celebrity you keep up with. This restaurant is no secret to anyone, unless you’re living under a rock, of course. It is no bold statement to say that Nobu earned its place among the elite of the restaurant world. It’s certainly not something that this luxury sushi spot stumbled into. Opening back in 2005, Nobu solidified its place in the ranking of quality seafood joints early in its life. The original flagship is located in New York City and originated in 1994, for the past 22 years, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has been paving the way for Japanese cuisine. He sets the bar high for his competition, constantly creating the most luxurious experience. The seafood is some of the freshest and finest hand-selected fish, the cooking methods are ever-evolving, and the ambiance is upscale and glamorous. It’s hard to find things not to like about Nobu in Deep Ellum.
Address: 400 Crescent Ct, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
Phone: (214) 252-7000
There is a comfort that comes from your mother's cooking that is inexpressible. Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, and many other dishes incite a feeling of comfort and home inside of us. Among the many cuisines specialized upon in Texas, comfort food is high up on the list. Texas is one of those states that just innately knows how to pull off all of the best comfort foods. A vice for some, an enjoyment for all, check out these spots if you’re craving some home-style cooking.
1. All Good Café
To choose one quality that we love in All Good Café would be a taxing decision, because we happen to love every last little thing about this place. First of all, they absolutely reject the idea of anything even remotely boring on their menu. The offerings are not your typical burger and fries, there are no TVs on the walls, and the music will never leave you wondering if you are in an elevator. All Good Café is committed to working with local suppliers in the area to not only help support local business but ensure that they are getting only the finest of products. Serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are plenty of dishes to choose from. If we had to choose just one, we’d definitely recommend the biscuits and house-made gravy for a real true comfort food feel.
Address: 2934 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 742-5362
2. Chicken House Plus
No bright flashing signs or loud music will draw you to this hole in the wall. There’s no website, or glassware, just good simple southern-style Texas chicken. Similar to the rule in Asia: the less nice the restaurant looks, the better the food, this sentiment certainly applies to Chicken House Plus. There isn’t a lot of variety on the menu but that means one thing. Chicken House knows how to make a seriously insane fried chicken basket, and they chose to stick to it and excel in any way possible. We’re happy to report that they have succeeded in their endeavor. If you are in the mood for the simple yet soul-soothing dish, check out Chicken House Plus for some real satisfaction.
Address: 909 N Fitzhugh Ave, Dallas, TX 75204, United States
Phone: (214) 370-0800
Coffee Shops & Cafes
Ok, we’ve walked you through all of the best foods in Deep Ellum, its time to check out the sweeter side of things. Coffee has become a new art form in the culinary world recently. Specialty cafes come up left and right, all offering something unique to set them apart. A great place to use some free Wifi, have a coffee, and maybe you can even treat yourself to something sweet while you’re at it.
1. Murray St. Coffee
Imagine spending the day in your spacious light-filled loft, the rich aroma of brewing coffee fills the air, and your personal barista is in the kitchen making sure you have everything you need. Welcome to Murray St. Coffee, where you will instantly feel like you’ve made it to your home away from home. The interior is spacious with high ceilings and an upper loft space; there are plenty of comfortable couches to sit on while you catch up with an old friend over a cup of Joe. For those that like to get a cup of coffee and set up shop to get some work done remotely, Murray St. is literally an oasis of productivity. There are countless electrical outlets and table space for you to get comfortable. The coffee is fresh and rich; the baristas are experienced and well-educated in their craft. The café also offers light fare such as pastries and sandwiches, all hand-made in house.
Address: 103 Murray St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States
Phone: (214) 655-2808
2. Serj Books
We’ve talked about the holy unions of food and drink, and there are plenty that Deep Ellum offers. One of our other favorite combinations fit for the gods is a cup of coffee and a good book. Book lovers and coffee lovers can agree that there is nothing quite like the smell of a library or a coffee shop. Now take those two sacred scents and imagine them infused into one establishment. Serj Books has successfully taken the best of both worlds and infused the best parts. A modern day book shop plays light music and serves up quality coffee, it’s a no-brainer that the young millennials of Deep Ellum are going crazy for Serj. The café serves up an amazing espresso, and some sweets from local vendors. You can take a seat at one of the many bar stools lining the coffee counter, or take a seat overlooking the outdoors for some natural light. Instead, we say take the cup of coffee and stroll through the book selection. Each and every novel found on the shelves of Serj has been hand-picked, ensuring that you will have a hell of a time deciding which one to read. The goal was to create a personal library that the owners of Serj would want in their own collection. They aim to offer only the greatest of titles and in varying genres. Not that they could get much cooler, but 10% of every book purchase made is donated to LIFT, a non-profit organization to help promote adult literacy.
Address: 400 North St. Paul Street, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
Phone: (469) 759-3585
3. Stupid Good Coffee
We think that the name might speak for itself, but to be concise, the coffee and light fare served at this spot are stupid good. They open well and early for those of you looking to get your hands on some java during your morning commute. The coffee is freshly roasted for each cup so you know it’s the good stuff each and every time. Only the finest of coffee beans are selected to get through their filters. They also offer a house-made root beer if you’re looking for something a little different. With a minimalist-style space, this is a great spot to make yourself a regular at. The baristas are friendly and the coffee is strong, you really can’t go wrong.
Address: 1910 Pacific Ave #2060, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
Phone: (214) 382-3020
There you have it, we've walked you through all of our favorite cuisines to be found in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas. Spend your time enjoying any of these Deep Ellum restaurants and we guarantee you and your palate will have a great time.
This article was written by: