With its long and storied history as an entertainment, arts and nightlife district in Dallas, Deep Ellum is on the brink of becoming known as the place to go for great food. With its high point in the 90’s featuring limitless bars and nightclubs where you could dance to the best DJ’s Dallas had to offer or check out the next big band to hit the scene. Anyone remember Nirvana’s infamous appearance at Trees?
The new millennium wasn’t kind for this important area of creativity for arts, music and over-imbibing. An influx of hip hop based nightclubs ushered in a much younger and disrespectful crowd and crime causing many bars and clubs to close their doors. However a few restaurants have survived this roller coaster ride of openings and closings we call Deep Ellum. Monica’s Aca y Alla, Angry Dog, Twisted Root, Deep Sushi, Baker’s Ribs, All Good Cafe, Franzini’s and a few others have been able to keep serving up food with each having its own followers that continued to return regardless of how much of a ghost town Deep Ellum had become over the past few years.
Today Deep Ellum is at that crossroad again today — will it be an entertainment district with 60 thriving bars and clubs or an area of great food spots and unique shops selling their wares? My money would go on becoming a Mecca for foodies of Dallas. The influx of new restaurants breathing new life in the area such as Il Cane Rosso (which if you haven’t seen any reviews it is by far one of the best pizzas in Dallas).
The Anvil Pub, a great little bar with a heart that has a menu of not-so-normal bar food including vegan selections. La Grange, a live music venue with a great food including brunch that has also received its share of accolades. Lemongrass Asian Bistro is a fusion of Asian fare with French influences has made its mark with many dishes that keep people wanting more.
On the horizon are even more places to eat with Serious Pizza opening this week on Elm Street, and a monthly outdoor market on Saturdays featuring gourmet food trucks that will also worth checking out. Only time will tell how this area will take shape but so far I like the direction it is going. It is odd for me to still see businesses closed as I walk around these streets that I called my stomping grounds as both a club patron and DJ in the 90’s and early 00’s. I am sure things are changing for the good with some amazing and affordable rent prices being offered right now.
Don’t worry if you still want to have a good time dancing or seeing a band after you have had some great food, there are some old names in the entertainment side of things that have resurfaced with Tree’s, Club Dada and Elm St Bar reopening in this time of rebirth for this area, and there are the places that taken root for years like Reno’s and July Alley.
If you haven’t ventured into Deep Ellum, or have been away for awhile, make sure you plan a night or a lunch to explore this historic part of Dallas’ nightlife and see what it has to offer. Great burgers, BBQ, pizza, sushi, hot dogs, tacos, Italian and Asian dishes will be waiting for you. I’m willing to bet your belly and taste buds will surely thank you and keep you craving for more.