Where To Eat Before a Show in Dallas-Fort Worth
Dinner theater might not be as popular as it once was, but we’ve all still got to eat. Fuel up for a big night out at the theater by dropping by these Dallas and Fort Worth restaurants, each of which is right near by a major theater or performance space.
One of the originals behind the famous Dallas chain El Fenix opened this colorful Tex-Mex restaurant in 2017, just one street away from the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake. Several independent theaters rotate in and out of the historical performance space (it even hosts the Festival of Independent Theatres in the summer), so this is a solid spot to hit up for street tacos, conchinita pibil, or some homemade sangria (which they will happily swirl into a frozen margarita).
Another vegan-friendly spot, this funky diner has made a reputation out of convincing carnivores that cashews make an excellent base for non-dairy cheese. It’s close to Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth’s Near Southside, and serves up everything from quesadillas to pasta primavera, though perhaps its most infamous menu item is the Triple Double: two not-beef patties (you have four different options) stacked with grilled “cheese” sandwiches instead of buns. As a bonus, you can grab a themed cocktail from Amphibian’s bar on your way into the show — Scott Zenreich continually masterminds sophisticated libations that cleverly tie into what’s currently on the boards.
Uptown’s Quadrangle, where Theatre Three is located, certainly doesn’t lack for dining options. Toss your program at the theater’s door and you’ll hit at least five restaurants. But CrushCraft, a casual eatery designed around traditional Thai street food, is a relaxed and quick option before a show. The streamlined menu contains 11 main options such as curries and wok-fried noodles and rice, plus a handful of shareable sides, and you can wash it all down with Thai iced tea or imported Thai or local craft beer.
Stage West Café
The Fort Worth theater wasn’t content to simply produce top-notch plays — it decided to open a delicious café, too. Patrons regularly book a table when they book their tickets, then arrive early to indulge in the rotating chef’s special and salads named after famous playwrights. Truly savvy theatergoers know to save the dessert for intermission and make those who didn’t order ahead jealous.
Jorge’s Tex-Mex Café
Restaurants have come and gone in One Arts Plaza, which is right next to the Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theatre, Meyerson Symphony Center, and Moody Performance Hall. But one constant has been Jorge’s Tex-Mex Café, which has been serving up taquitos, queso, and killer margaritas in the Dallas Arts District since 2008. The staff is accustomed to diners on the clock to make curtain, and its cozy bar can get really crowded before big-name shows. Make a reservation just to be safe.
Deep Ellum, where Undermain Theatre is located, is a foodie paradise, and you truly can’t go wrong anywhere you walk in and pull up a chair. But this tavern has street cred, plenty of cold beer, and what many claim is the best burger in Dallas. It’s nothing fancy, just a half-pound beef patty served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and your choice of raw or grilled red onions on the side, but the cooks have been perfecting it for close to 30 years.
Circle Theatre is smack in the middle of Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, which means you could close your eyes and point and you’d still end up at a great restaurant. But Bird Café wins extra points for its elegant Southern charm and crowd-pleasing menu, which spans smoked pimento cheese dip and deviled eggs to steak frites and maple-glazed pork belly. If the weather’s nice, try to snag a table on the covered patio and while away the minutes with some truly entertaining people-watching.
Step inside this classic American dining room and you might think you’ve stepped back in time. Sputnik chandeliers and a vintage-inspired menu give the place a distinctly ‘60s feel, which is enhanced by a bar that serves up retro cocktails like the Pink Squirrel and the Rusty Nail. You can really splash out on entrees such as Steak Diane and Salmon Meuniere, or simply down a few martinis while listening to the crooners who perform Monday through Saturday.