Beloved Dream Cafe scores prominent new relocation in Uptown Dallas
One of the longest running and most cherished restaurants in Dallas is moving: Dream cafeThe company, which has served healthy food in the Quadrangle for 33 years, will relocate to a more prominent location on McKinney Avenue, the main drag of Uptown Dallas.
The restaurant is moving to 2811 McKinney Ave., IE, which used to be the Christie’s Sports Bar. Mary O’Brien, owner of the dream cafe, says the move will take place in early summer.
The cafe’s days are numbered as Stream Realty Partners, the developer who bought the center in 2019, plans a major renovation that will include a 12-story office and new retail space.
Christie’s was perfect because it’s still uptown and has some amazing amenities including a quiet oasis in the courtyard.
“We have a deck off McKinney Avenue and a fantastic courtyard for people who want to be outside but not in the hustle and bustle,” says O’Brien.
The Dream Cafe opened on Knox Street in 1986 and started out as a “wholesome” place with a casual, quirky, hippie-esque, effortlessly hip vibe in California and Austin. Quite a few types of artists and photographers have worked – and eaten there over the years.
The café moved to the Viereck in 1988, where its combination of high quality food at an affordable price was a long-runner. It attracts customers from all walks of life and creates a sense of community and urbanity that is unique and can be summed up in its informal slogan “We filter coffee, not people”.
The dream was also a forerunner: it was ahead of the curve on the vegetarian front and one of the first places in Dallas a vegan could eat, especially the “square meal” of black beans, brown rice and an unbeatable tahini-miso dressing .
It was also one of the first restaurants in Dallas to make brunch a tradition, specifically adding an outdoor terrace.
You could almost guarantee a wait on Sunday, but an adjacent grass pasture along Laclede Street made the wait bearable and offered a sweet oasis of nature in the middle of the city as well as a place for the guests’ children to play. Unfortunately, this room was expanded in 2008 to become the Amli Quadrangle apartment complex.
At the new location, O’Brien will take the opportunity to try a few things, including a dinner reintroduction.
“We used to be open for dinner until I stopped a few years ago, but customers are still asking for it,” she says. “I’m starting to work on the menu and it was fun. First we start with a small weekday lunch and a weekend brunch. When the dust settles, we add dinner Wednesday through Saturday evening.”
Over the years, Dream Cafe expansions have been made, including a location in Oak Cliff at 1131 N. Zang Blvd. Mid-1990s and Addison, which opened in 2003 and thrived for 15 years before closing in 2018. There is currently a franchisee location on Mockingbird Lane which opened in 2017.
“I’m nostalgic about the square, I’ve been there a long time and it put me on the map, so I’ll always be grateful,” says O’Brien. “But I’m looking forward to the move. Uptown has changed so much and continues to change, and I see this as an opportunity to do some new things.”