Monday, April 8, 2013
4 Lower Greenville eateries that shape the neighborhood’s personality
If you haven't tried them yet, we suggest you give it a go.
DALLAS Many decades ago, when Mockingbird Lane marked Dallas’ Northern Border and Central Expressway was still a gleam in the eye of city engineers, Greenville Avenue served as the major thoroughfare from Dallas to such far reaches as Plano, McKinney, and even Oklahoma. Often referred to then as the ‘Richardson Road,’ as that was one of its destinations, Greenville Avenue became an important thoroughfare for travelers and businesses alike – and just inside Dallas’ then-northernmost border – what became known as ‘Lower Greenville’ began to flourish.
Highways and major thoroughfares may have rendered the use of Greenville avenue as a major northbound roadway less important, but the culture that the street grew over its decades as Dallas’ favorite North/South route continues to thrive. This week we take a look at some of the area’s culinary destinations – and while they weren’t around during the 1920s, they perpetuate the eclectic and vibrant culture that Lower Greenville has cultivated over the past century.
Nora, the sister restaurant of Matt and Rosalind Pikar’s Afghan Grill, is a modern, hip reflection of its counterpart in the ‘burbs. Located on the corner of Greenville and Oram, Nora is the younger, trendier sibling restaurant, shedding its more traditional Afghan decor and ambiance for a sharper, streamlined decor nearer to the heart of Dallas. Along with the new look came a full bar with a specialty cocktail list and a menu designed for multiple tastings.
“It was a time for us to introduce the Afghani food to different people – to the younger people down here,” says Matt. “The food is the same as The Afghan Grill – we use the same spices and everything. The only thing we changed is the size of some dishes so people could try more things; a small-plates approach.”
It’s a different take on Afghan food than they’ve taken before, but Matt and Rosalind Pikar have taken it upon themselves to introduce their specialty to an area of Dallas known for its restaurants, bars, diners and drinkers alike. Between the food and the drinks, it’s a unique experience to Lower Greenville – and, for that matter, Dallas as a whole.
Sundown at Granada
Patrick Stark, the Chef at Sundown at Granada since its opening last January, is the musically inclined, culinarily adventurous mind behind the menu at The Granada’s restaurant brother, and while the musical aspect of the venue may appeal to his auditory sensibilities, it’s his work in the kitchen that has gotten the new concept off the ground with both the music lovers and the neighborhood crowd alike.
The menu at Sundown is – inadvertently or not – a reflection of the diversity of cultures and personalities that can adorn Greenville through the week and weekend nights. There’s Southwestern chili right next to the Mediterranean Plate on the menu, and those looking for a vegetarian wrap will be as accommodated as someone seeking a more protein-intensive surf and turf (Grass-fed sirloin with Gulf shrimp). It’s a menu that Stark believes can appeal to everyone.
Society Bakery has grown into is a nationally recognized sweets destination. Yes, the cupcakes are still there, as large, moist and pillowy as ever, but they sit alongside petite fours, pecan and fig empanadas, multicolored cakes of all shapes and sizes, and cookies and confections innumerable. It’s grown to two retail locations and a loyal customer base. But despite the success, this bakery that started on Greenville Avenue is still striving to create products that are as creative and whimsical as ever.
“We love eating,” Muns says with a laugh. “And so we love experimenting. I’ve got people all over the map – we have young people, older people, we have college degrees, we have culinary degrees, we have high school degrees. There’s so much talent here with different backgrounds.”
Which leads to so many different offerings. Deciding which way to go may prove to be no easy task.
The Think Coffee-inspired concept at Mudsmith integrates coffee, alcohol and food—a combination that comes naturally for co-owner Brooke Humphries, who owns five bars in Dallas. A Revolver stout with a double shot of espresso poured on top is the embodiment of the shop’s edgy attitude. Icy eyes from the menagerie of taxidermies stare out onto the dining area offering disapproving glances to those who take themselves too seriously.
In the same vein as other independently-owned coffee shops in Dallas, though, Mudsmith aims to take coffee seriously. At Mudsmith, “everything is weighed, everything is timed, everything has a specific scientific equation” according to barista Bri Morris. “We dose every shot depending on how many days off roast it is. Each day off roast it is there’s a different sweet spot, a different weight that we pull them at.”
It’s a coffee shop that reflects the character and culture of the avenue on which it lives – and to be honest, sometimes a cup of coffee doesn’t quite have the restorative power that a Revolver Stout/espresso combination has to offer.
Pegasus News Content partner - Entree Dallas
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