Lima Beans and Ambrosia Salad Await at 90-Year-Old Highland Park Cafeteria

Highland Park Cafeteria
by Amy McCarthy

Dallas has its fair share of time-honored restaurant institutions, be they barbecue, Tex-Mex, or even classic French fare, but the most old-school of them all might be Highland Park Cafeteria. Originally established in 1925, the restaurant enjoys an impressively loyal following of locals who are devoted to the old-school cafeteria feel and food that the restaurant serves up daily for lunch and dinner.

Every day, hordes of diners — including many who have been eating here for decades, and some who literally come in every single day — queue up for twenty minutes or longer during peak hours to make their way down the cafeteria line. While the massive menu features plenty of comfort food with mass appeal like fried chicken, carved bone-in ham, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese, there are also some quirkier artifacts from your grandma’s retro cookbooks:

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Cafeteria’s Name Defies Location

CM_Snoyer 1

Jeff Snoyer reopened the doors of Highland Park Cafeteria as its new owner in 2007, going back to the original name. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

“What’s that doing there?” It’s a question many drivers may ask themselves on their way to White Rock Lake when they see Highland Park Cafeteria sitting in a Casa Linda shopping center.

The answer dates all the way back to 1925, when Carolyn Goodman first opened the original Highland Park Cafeteria on Knox Street, just across the street from the equally historic Highland Park Pharmacy.

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Enjoy a Little Music With Your Meal

HPC piano musicWhen you join us for a meal, you get a little extra acoustic spice, courtesy of the finest pianists in Dallas. We provide live music for your listening pleasure, every day, seven days a week, during dinner and lunch.

We began our current music program about five years, ago, when our owner, Jeff  Snoyer, decided to restore the historic ambiance of Highland Park Cafeteria.

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The Ultimate High-Low Dining Guide

Highland Park Cafeteria best chicken fried steak Zagat 2014

Chicken-Fried Steak

The High: Sissy’s Southern Kitchen ($20)
Why it’s Worth it: For the chicken frying of a flat-iron cut, the retro-bespoke vibe and design of the Henderson Avenue restaurant and all the Southern-inspired cocktails you can enjoy alongside it.

The LowHighland Park Cafeteria (pictured; $6.99)
Perks/Trade-offs: The self-service approach at the East Dallas stalwart may not be for everyone, but the down-home cooking and classic fare usually are.

From Zagat’s Ultimate High-Low Dining Guide, February 2014

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 favorite neighborhood restaurants

Highland Park Cafeteria in Casa Linda. HP Cafeteria comes with a nearly century-old history that included a move from the actual Highland Park to Casa Linda, where it was welcomed as one of its own. That ardency is something to mull as you decide between Waldorf salad, baked tilapia, broccoli casserole, mac and cheese, and pies — beautiful pies.

From CultureMap Dallas. Read original article by Teresa Gubbins here.

An Ode to Iced Tea

Illustration by Mary Woodin

[excerpt from D Magazine, September 2013]

The old Highland Park Cafeteria on Knox Street served the best iced tea in Dallas. This magazine made it official several times. It wasn’t served in bathtubs, but in clear Collins-type glasses with that little bulge near the top. I hear they’ve improved the original product over at HP’s descendant in Casa Linda, and now you can get mint leaves in your tea. But it’s my firm opinion that you couldn’t improve on the original. Just the sight of that sweat-beaded glass, filled with ice and strong creek-brown tea, was as refreshing as you needed it to be. Refills were free.

Read the full article here.

Party Like It’s July 4th at Highland Park Cafeteria

Highland Park Cafeteria at dusk

Looking for an air conditioned place to party and grub on Independence Day? Highland Park Cafeteria in Casa Linda Plaza has your back July 4 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“Fried chicken, barbecued brisket, hot dogs, whole kernel corn, zucchini muffins, apple and cherry pies are all on the menu,” the press release tells us. Plus, diners will enjoy the sounds of “live patriotic piano.”

If you are not in a dining-in, piano-music sort of mood, pick up “deviled eggs, potato salad, fried chicken, barbequed brisket, squash casserole, pinto beans, macaroni and cheese and dozens of freshly baked pies, rolls, cakes and cookies … for a no-fuss holiday picnic. Offerings are available a la carte or can be ordered as individual box lunches. Honoring the occasion, HPC is making and selling 6” fresh baked cherry pies and red, white and blue iced star cookies.”

From Advocate Magazine. Read the article online here.