If you’re going to a cafeteria for Thanksgiving, make it the best.
If the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team, The New York Times wrote years ago, then Highland Park Cafeteria is America’s Cafeteria.
Dallas might remove Civil War statues, but the city’s Southern roots still show unmistakably in the East Texas fried chicken, black-eyed peas, casseroles and salads dished up daily on one of America’s great classic cafeteria serving lines.
For 92 years, it has been a refuge for diners seeking Waldorf salad, ambrosia, tomato aspic or old-timey entrees such as smothered steak or beef liver.
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Thanksgiving Day, the line for turkey and dressing ($14.99 including sides) will begin forming about 10 a.m. and the doors will open at 10:30. Closing time is 3 p.m. — in time for the Cowboys game.
If you’re ordering to serve at home, that deadline is 3 p.m. Monday. Lunch starts at $69.99 for two pounds of roast turkey breast, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce.
For $199, you can order a complete family dinner for 10 to 12 people with green bean and squash casseroles and pumpkin and pecan pies.
Or stop in another day during the holidays. The regular plates cost $10-$18, or order a la carte. Daily specials include prime rib, turkey or chicken-and-dumplings Sundays, pot roast on Wednesdays and meatloaf on Saturdays, plus the regular plates of brisket, chicken-fried steak or chicken, catfish, cod, salmon and tilapia.
Yes, it’s east of downtown Dallas in the Casa Linda shopping center. But this is one of America’s comfort-food landmarks, a cafeteria praised nationwide for food served in Dallas’ finest homes (and copied in many).
Highland Park Cafeteria opens at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner daily; 1200 N. Buckner Blvd. (Loop 12) at Garland Road (Texas 78), less than an hour’s drive east of downtown Fort Worth; 214-324-5000, highlandparkcafeteria.com
More turkey day choices, and a breakfast
If you’re looking for something just as inexpensive but a shorter drive, the Ol’ South Pancake House and the Heaven’s Gate Restaurant family buffet in Fort Worth both will be serving Thanksgiving along with many chain restaurants and cafeterias.
▪ Among more expensive or upscale restaurants with space available: Buttons Restaurant, Del Frisco’s Grille or Eddie V’s, For other choices, see dfw.com.
▪ One addition to the list of Thanksgiving morning breakfast cafes: Daybreak Cafe & Grill, a bargain-priced, working-class plate-lunch American and Tex-Mex cafe at 2720 White Settlement Road, will be open and serving breakfast all day.
At Neiman’s in Dallas, 35 days of turkey buffets
If it’s holiday time, it’s also time for the The Zodiac holiday buffet at Neiman Marcus in Dallas.
Neiman’s old-timey downtown store serves a turkey holiday lunch buffet through year’s end.
Not just one day — every day.
The buffet begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 22) and continues for 35 days through Dec. 30, skipping three days when the store is closed (Thanksgiving Day; Sunday, Nov. 26; and Christmas Day).
Clearfork update: No B&B after all, but Cru is open
The new, high-end B&B Butchers and Restaurant in the Shops at Clearfork will be open by mid-December, but it has canceled plans to serve Thanksgiving dinner.