What you’re getting: Sandwich combo; pick your favorite sandwich and soup/salad
A bonus at this spot is besides slightly upscale and fresh picks from the restaurant, you are also able to enjoy a spectacular view of the Nasher Sculpture Center while you chow down on your pear and Brie sandwich with French double cream Brie, Asian pear, baby arugula, grain mustard, and local honey. It’s a lesser-known spot, but well worth sneaking away for a tranquil lunch.
What you’re getting: Turkey sandwich
Could anything sound more boring than a turkey sandwich? No. However, Bolsa Mercado doesn’t do anything boring -- its turkey is served on ciabatta with an avocado spread, cheddar cheese, bacon, and a pepper relish. Everything on its lunch menu is, of course, solid, but the turkey sandwich is a must-try.
What you’re getting: Burger and fries
One of the diviest dive bars in all of Dallas also serves up some pretty solid food. If it’s my 10 bucks here, I’m going with a good old-fashioned burger and adding cheese, bacon, a side of fries, maybe onion rings, maybe a half order of each; the sky's the limit! Also, depending on how late you sneak away for lunch, its happy hour starts at 3pm… so maybe you can stretch it out for a two-for.
What you’re getting: Hot spicy beef noodle soup + pork dumplings
Picking a favorite lunch spot in Deep Ellum is like picking a favorite kid, with many terrific spots like Uncle Uber’s, Angry Dog, Pecan Lodge, Cane Rosso and Twisted Root… whew, the list goes on. It is very hard to narrow down to one spot, but with the dinner availability of most of them, the heaviness of some of the meals, and the line at Pecan Lodge, Monkey King Noodle took the cake. While it is open for dinner Thursday-Saturday, lunch is its jam. You can sit up on the roof or watch your noodles being hand stretched in front of the window. The food is always hot and fresh and while it’s very flavorful, it’s also fairly light, so when you’re heading back to work you might not want to take a nap.
What you’re getting: Three-meat plate and sweet potato casserole
Only open for lunch, Slow Bone serves up some of the finest BBQ in all of Dallas. The meats are all phenomenal, however, might we suggest the three-meat plate comprised of brisket, ribs, and fried chicken. The sides are out-of-this-world good, there’s an amazing condiment station, and unlike Monkey King, a nap might be in order afterward.
What you’re getting: Greek salad or crab cakes
Lunch should be quick, simple, really good, and cheap. It’s a no-frills meal that you don’t want to spend a lot of time and energy on. At Metropolitan Café, you get the best of all of these qualities -- clean, fresh, simple food that powers you through the day. The Greek salad has feta, tomato, onion, olives, cucumbers, and Greek dressing and make sure to grab an order of crab cakes on Wednesday. The best part about this place is you can grab some caffeine before you go to power through the last few hours of work.
What you’re getting: Italian Stallion OR Italian beef
Sometimes you need options in life, and depending on your mood, one tends to make different decisions. The Italian Stallion is an iconic Dallas sandwich; it’s bold, salty, has some spice, and is surprisingly refreshing if you want something lighter. Then there’s the Italian beef, where they load up a white bun with thin beef, flavorful gravy, and top it off with provolone and spicy giardiniera; maybe get this one on a Friday to be safe.
What you’re getting: Grilled pork belly bánh mì
A toasted bun with flavorful little bits of pork belly resting underneath pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. If that doesn’t sound like a winning lunch, then…well, what is? It’s a very laid-back spot and each dish is loaded with flavor. If you’re craving Vietnamese food, look no further.
What you’re getting: Build your own bop
What’s a bop?! Glad you asked. It’s a bowl of goodness where you drop in your favorite protein; then either rice, noodles, or greens; then three different vegetables; and then top it with things like egg rolls, extra meat, or a fried egg. You are then able to add a scratch-made sauce. If you don’t feel like making all those decisions, you can roll with other entrees and rice bowls.
What you’re getting: Brisket
It is actually a little bit painful writing this one; Cattleack is somewhat of a hidden BBQ gem, but with all the press it has been getting lately and the fact that it possibly has the best brisket in the state of Texas (which would also mean the world), the secret was bound to get out. While that is a huge claim, it’s one that is founded on years of BBQ research and countless pounds of consumed brisket. It is seriously something special and know we are only sharing this because we love our readers. Selfishly, we would like to keep this under wraps.
What you’re getting: Cheeseburger
Yes it’s obvious. We know you know about Maple and Motor, but for the sake of thoroughness, here it is. You know about it, you have (hopefully) had it, and it’s one of the best honest-to-goodness burgers around.
What you’re getting: Double cheeseburger
After receiving scorn and shame for not including Wingfield’s in the best burger by neighborhood piece, we have learned from our mistake and ask that you humbly accept this as an olive branch. If you work in South Dallas, you definitely need to be there, or if you don’t, it’s worthy of a commute to get this very inexpensive bit of burger greatness into your belly.
What you’re getting: Signature pastrami
One could argue that Off-Site Kitchen deserves this title, but that person might not have had the pastrami sandwich at LUCK. It is a perfectly juicy, Texas brisket style that is house cured and smoked for 15 hours, then served on a crispy sourdough bread with stone-ground mustard, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese. You can wash it down with a local or three and turn it into a “working” lunch.
What you’re getting: Schnitzel sandwich
University Park is sort of like this utopian destination for lunch spots -- there are a few more businesses and shopping areas there than some of the trendier spots that are built more for a dinner crowd, but it has this lunch thing down! It’s actually very hard to pick a spot here because of all the amazing contenders: there’s Rafa’s, Eatzi’s, East Hampton Sandwich Co., Hopdoddy, R+D Kitchen, True Food Kitchen, a Nick and Sam’s Grill... the list truly goes on. However, there can only be one king of lunches in University Park and that honor goes to Kuby’s Sausage House. Its thin, crispy batter wraps like a blanket around the tender pork creating a divine experience. Also, don’t forget to grab a side of applesauce, and after your meal, you can grab some sausage to go for dinner.
What you’re getting: Spicy noodles
Royal Thai is one the go-to spots for many a Thai food fan in DFW. It is known for its spicy noodles and Golden acks appetizer, but honestly you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. It knows Thai food and it does it right; it makes for a quick lunch and you would feel comfortable enough grabbing something by yourself or having a lunch meeting there as well.
What you’re getting: Fried shrimp, a side of gumbo, and oysters of course
S&D is the place to go for casual seafood in Dallas; it has been around forever and, frankly, knows how to do things right. The fried shrimp are crispy, buttery, and have a great consistency; the cocktail sauce is near perfection; and the place has a very cool charm about it. Also, a nice bonus is that it has two parking lots, so getting to lunch on McKinney doesn’t turn into a complete nightmare.
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Jason Moore is a writer and realtor in Dallas/Fort Worth follow him @IAmCalledJason.