Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Review: Epic Cones is a confusing culinary adventure in Deep Ellum
But you can't beat $5 and a dance floor.
DEEP ELLUM A first visit to Epic Cones in Deep Ellum is undoubtedly confusing. Located in an unsuspecting building covered in murals, patrons are forced to contemplate the likelihood that they've entered nightclub and not a lunch spot.
If the concept seems puzzling, the story of how Epic Cones came about is even more so.
Epic Cones is the fourth incarnation of a family-owned business that is making the best of the cards dealt. When Barbara Martinez and her son Chris acquired 3025 Main Street in 2004, it was in fact a dance club, evident enough from the hanging disco balls above the dance floor that still remains. Paintings from local artists over-decorate the walls, including one interesting mural that takes over a wall of the unisex bathroom.
The dance club changed from bar -- then called
One Bar Club One -- to eXtreme eXcuses Café in 2007 because of zoning. Service shifted from shots and cocktails to sandwiches and paninis. The name of the venue was supposed to symbolize the revitalization of Deep Ellum and give people “an excuse” to come down. Barbara -- who’s known as Mom by the locals -- says the name didn’t last.
“We had two big red X’s above our front door. One day, a man popped his head in to ask if we were a restaurant. Apparently his wife and child wouldn’t come in because it looked like a strip club,” she said with a laugh. “I knew then the X’s had to go.”
From there, the business model changed to a private party and events space, eventually adopting the address 3025 Main as its name. Since the addition of Epic Cones in April 2012, 3025 Main still suffers from an identity crisis. Patrons can find all the former monikers still displayed on the outside of the building.
The food, on the other hand, does not succumb to such insecurities. The concept is to serve everything in a cone. It's strange, but it works.
Chris “The Cone King” Martinez uses a "cone press" to feed homemade bread into the machine and heat the ingredients inside. Lunch-goers choose from a variety of fillings — from pepperoni pizza to breakfast to curry chicken salad. The Feta Herb Chicken Cone plus olives was a flavorful blend of diced white meat and mozzarella. And the Scalloped Potato and Bacon Cone was a gooey, delicious rendition of mashed taters in a flaky shell. Each $5.
The Apple Pie Dessert Cone was also amusing and delicious, though it should have been warmed a little more. Dessert comes in an array of vanilla bean and chocolate cones. Mom even said she can make a side-by-side.
Lunch felt like a personal experience, since only one other hungry duo entered the restaurant when we were there. Mom said most of Epic Cones' business is done via delivery. Epic Cones owns four Meter Maid carts with three wheels and warmers in the back for 75 cones and a cooler. The Martinez’s deliver up to a five-mile radius of their storefront and are pursuing the carts as unique approach to the food truck scene, though they still have paperwork to do.
Epic Cones began operating on a new schedule the first week of January: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays; closed Sunday.
At the very least, stop in and admire the juxtaposition of all things abstract and artistic. Epic Cones’ split personality is memorable.
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