15 Essential Black-Owned Restaurants You Should Know in Dallas

From refined vegan eats to saucy smoked meats.

To say that Dallas has grown over the past few years is an understatement. With major companies setting up shop and constant development in and around the Metroplex, there are plenty of people needing to be entertained—and fed. During the pandemic, a strong shift of awareness for Black-owned restaurants created a movement for support that still stands. For many, it was not only a teachable moment about the plethora of local eateries that have been in business for years, it was also testament to the longevity and determination of the business owners that have been fueling Dallas’ dining landscape for decades. From plant-based eats and barbecue staples to cheesecake and everything in between, here’s a look at 15 Black-owned restaurants you should know in Dallas.

Since popping up on the scene in 2019, Avery’s Savory Popcorn has been shaking up the way Dallas enjoys this ever-popular snack. For the Avery family, getting into the gourmet popcorn business was a decision based on passion and a pure love for popcorn. Co-owner Sherry Avery, along with her husband and son, are dishing out an assortment of flavors from classic, to spicy, to sweet. Fan favorites include strawberry, dill pickle, spicy cheddar, and the Dallas Mix—a butter, cheddar, and caramel combo.
How to book: Stop by for counter service, order delivery via Grubhub, and get nationwide shipping online.

Blackjack Pizza

South Dallas

Surviving in the restaurant industry is no easy feat. So when you come across a neighborhood spot that’s been serving customers for over 30 years, attention must be paid. Blackjack Pizza, located on South Dallas’ MLK Boulevard, is an area fixture delivering classic, quality pies and slices at comparable costs. However, Italian specialties aren't the only showstoppers here—the joint also attracts burger lovers longing for meaty handhelds that rival this city’s best, starting at just $5 each. Pro-tip: Leaving without a slice of cake should be a crime.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating and take-out.

When you’re looking for a taste of the Caribbean without stamping your passport, venturing inside the Dallas Farmers Market and paying a visit to Caribbean Cabana is your best bet. The owners—husband and wife duo Robert and Yolande Plaza—hail from Trinidad and Tobago, and they’re representing their homeland in honorable fashion with island favorites like roti, outstanding jerk chicken sandwiches served with rice and peas, macaroni pie, and apple slaw. To top it off, they offer an assortment of housemade drinks including soursop and sorel. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Grubhub.

Tracking down catfish that resembles your mother’s can be a tiresome task, but Catfish Floyd’s is on hand to bring that search to a screeching halt. Located inside the Glendale Shopping Center, the Oak Cliff standby serves hot and crispy fried filets, nuggets, and ‘whole cat’ (AKA the entire catfish) while shrimp is also a must if you're in the mood for shellfish. Comfort sides like fries and hush puppies come standard with most meals, and adding an order of fried okra to the mix is never a wrong move.
How to book: Stop by for counter service and drive-thru.

Invasion

Old East Dallas

There’s no real way to pinpoint the exact type of cuisine Invasion offers, as their menu truly runs the gamut, but suffice it to say chef Airric Heidelberg is focused on dishing up healthy fare with a crave-worthy twist. Case in point: Gourmet Tender Babies, marinated Buffalo-style halal chicken tenders served with your choice of sauce and seasoning, and the one and only Berry Good Burger, marinated halal beef stuffed with homemade strawberry jam and goat cheese. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Grubhub, DoorDash, Seamless, Caviar, and Postmates.

Soirée Coffee Bar

Trinity Groves

Quality coffee shops are a dime a dozen in Dallas, but Soiree ramps it up a notch with great vibes and an even greater menu. Despite opening during the pandemic, the business has been able to sustain a healthy customer base thanks to regular live music plus jazz-themed creations like the Ella Fitzgerald, a salted brown sugar latte, and the Lena Horne, a honey lavender latte, alongside fruity smoothies and other specialty coffee drinks.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Gone are the days where we had to wait for the county fair to touch down to get our funnel cake fix. From classic to over-the-top and everything in between, Funnel Cake Paradise is keeping folks in a state of fried dough-induced bliss all year round. Choose from toppings like strawberry-banana, cinnamon-apple, and blueberry, or explore specialty funnel cakes like red velvet, strawberry cheesecake, and brownie surprise. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating and take-out.

Kessler Baking Studio has been servicing Bishop Arts since 2014, and just as its customer base has grown, so has the menu. Owner and 2020 James Beard Award-winner Clyde Greenhouse—AKA #TheBowtieBaker—uses quality ingredients to ensure satisfaction. Fan favorites include decadent round brownies and blondies, so shaped to allow patrons crispy-edged crust in every bite alongside shortbread cookies spanning flavors like almond-cherry, lemon-berry, oatmeal-chocolate-toffee, and orange-thyme. Weekend breakfast treats like cinnamon rolls and the recently added bacon egg and cheese biscuit make it hard to stay away.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or get nationwide delivery via Goldbelly.

Kookie Haven

West Jefferson

This celebrated West Jefferson bakery has elements of family sprinkled all throughout the business from the ownership team—sisters Darla, Shinita, and Kim—to the name Kookie, which pays tribute to their late mother. Despite the moniker, Kookie Haven is most known for their square bites, specifically a large, endlessly moist, square-cut cupcake. Not only are they wooing with enticing flavors like wedding cake, strawberry, and carrot cake, they’re also serving vegan options like banana-nut and chocolate. The brownie is also a solid—not to mention sweet—choice. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating and take-out or order delivery online and via Grubhub.

Opening a plant-based restaurant in a food desert may seem risky, but for Recipe Oak Cliff owner Tisha Crear it was absolutely necessary. The hub for fresh-pressed juices and an assortment of inventive meals—including the standout jackfruit barbecue sandwich plate—has brought in diners from all walks of life. Crear also allows other plant-based chefs to utilize the space for dinners and pop-ups, so there’s always something new around the bend. 
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Rudy's Chicken

South Dallas

When asked who has the best fried chicken in Dallas, a handful of names inevitably come to the fore—and one you’ll hear more often than not is Rudy’s Chicken. This no-frills outpost’s crispy, beautifully seasoned fried bird spurs lines wrapping around the drive-thru on any given day. And if you don’t mind hopping out of the driver's seat, the walk-up window gets you in and out a little quicker. Either way, it’s well worth the wait. 
How to book: Stop by for counter service and drive-thru or order delivery via Grubhub.

Shoal’s Sound and Service is fusing top notch cocktails with Latin American-influenced plant-based cuisine in the heart of Deep Ellum. Owner Omar Yeefoon pulled meat and dairy from his menu back in 2020 and hasn’t looked back, ultimately attracting a slew of new customers. Expect thoughtful dishes like shitake ceviche, arepas filled with applewood-smoked jackfruit and pineapple, and sandwiches like the Chop Cheez, a juicy Beyond burger patty layered with vegan provolone, kale, tomato-onion jam, and a dollop of tangy Peruvian aji crema.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via DoorDashPostmates, Toast, and UberEats.

On the verge of celebrating their 45th anniversary, Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que and Home Cooking owes its steadfast staying power to its deep and impenetrable family roots. Despite several setbacks—including a fire that temporarily shut down service—owners Brent and Juan Reaves continue to proudly honor their late father’s founding legacy with every tasty dish. Alongside stellar ribs, brisket, and sausage, daily specials like fried chicken, turkey and dressing, and fried catfish top the bill,complemented by superior sides like greens and mac and cheese. Craving something sweet? Try the butter bomb cake or peach cobbler.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via ChowNow.

Val's Cheesecakes

Lower Greenville

Valery Jean Bart started Val's Cheesecakes in homage to his late mother, Marie Jose Labossiere. Throughout the four years he took care of Ms. Labossiere after her cancer diagnosis, the pair would bake cheesecakes together every Sunday until her passing—and now, he’s sharing those same cheesecakes with the community. Try classics like strawberry and blueberry or mix it up with more intricate flavors like the Lemmon Ave, a lemon cheesecake with lemon curd and lemon poppy seed crumble. 
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out online.

Think you’ve seen a big burger? Well, think again. If size matters to you, turn your attention to Wingfield’s, home to one of—if not THE—largest burgers in Dallas. And they’re doing something right, having been in business for over 30 years. No matter how hungry you think you are, starting small is your best bet—single patty burgers start at $7 while the triple comes in at $15 (toss in a couple more bucks for bacon and thank us later).
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out and delivery online or via Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub.

Dalila Thomas Brent is a contributor for Thrillist.