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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:
“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.