About Highland Park Cafeteria

HPC staff c1960
Cafeteria staff circa 1960.

What makes us “America’s Cafeteria?”

Highland Park Cafeteria MomA Texas institution since 1925, Highland Park Cafeteria has been “America’s Cafeteria” ever since the New York Times gave us the name in 1981. Why do we deserve that honor? We think it’s because Highland Park Cafeteria has:

A respect for history

Ernest "Mister B" Bowens
Ernest “Mister B” Bowens, dedicated cook… since 1956 on Knox Street

When something is good, you don’t let it go. That’s why we still use favorite recipes from decades past, like our famous Squash Casserole. That’s why we hold on tight to the best cooks, like Mr. Ernest Bowens, who’s been cooking for us since 1956. And that’s why owner Jeff Snoyer saved the Highland Park Cafeteria after it had fallen on hard times.

We’ve not only kept the recipes and the cooks, but another piece of history: the wall of U.S. presidents. After a long search for new portraits (the original ones were donated to Highland Park High School), we commissioned a set that includes more information about each president as well as all of the first ladies. The set also includes a typo—if you can spot it, we’ll give you a free dessert!

Fresh local food, prepared from scratch

HPC Sliced CucumbersWe believe that simple food is best, made from scratch with top-quality ingredients. You can taste the proof in the 100-plus menu items we prepare by hand every day, in the home-baked goodness of our desserts, and in the fresh local produce. We’re proud to work with vendors so exacting that they choose our produce row by row from the fields where it grows.

Live music during lunch and dinner

We know that a dining experience isn’t just about food, so we’ve created a serene environment for you to enjoy. No blaring canned music, but a place where you can talk over your meal or be entertained by some of the area’s finest professional pianists, who play during lunch and dinner, seven days a week.

And our special ingredient…

Our food tastes so good that people often ask us if we have a special ingredient. According to our longtime cook Ernest “Mister B” Bowens, it’s “come-back.” That’s right, we put a little “come-back” into everything we make, so you’ll want to come back again and again. And we’ll be happy to see you.

Highland Park Cafeteria at duskWhat The Dallas Eater Is Saying

“The atmosphere of Highland Park Cafeteria is also decidedly old-fashioned: Portraits of every U.S. President (and First Lady, thank you very much) line the walls of the buffet line and dining room. Notes from familiar show tunes and classical hits, played by 22-time Grammy nominee Larry Petty, ring out from the dining room’s grand piano.”

“Other Dallas restaurants may be focused on innovation, but the key to Highland Park Cafeteria’s success has been keeping it old-school.”

Read the rest of the article here >>