A living list: Dallas-Fort Worth’s oldest restaurants, aged 50 and up

Help us preserve the legacy of D-FW’s historical restaurants.

The original Sonny Bryan’s opened 64 years ago, in 1958 on Inwood Road in Dallas. For many years, it had just 22 seats — school desks where customers could sit down and eat a quick lunch. It wasn’t until a decade ago that the side room was added.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

Depending on who you ask, the oldest restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth might be the group of barbecue joints owned by the Bryan family. We all know Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, established in 1958 on Inwood Road in Dallas. But before Sonny’s place, his dad Red Bryan opened The Tin Shack in 1930. And before that, Sonny’s grandfather Elias Bryan started Bryan’s Smokehouse in 1910.

Sonny Bryan’s is “only” 64 years old in this list of North Texas restaurants that are 50 years and older. But its history goes back 112 years.

“It’s the joy of my life to be a part of this,” says Brent Harman, whose family bought the barbecue joint from the Bryans in 1989. He recently signed a nearly unheard-of lease — 45 years — to prove he intends to preserve Sonny Bryan’s history.

This Dallas Morning News series was created to share the stories and honor the legacies of Dallas-Fort Worth’s oldest restaurants. Over many months, dozens of interviews and hundreds of phone calls, we’ve pieced together a list of North Texas restaurants that are 50 years or older.

We found more than 80 restaurants that have been alive for a half-century or more in Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s incredible.

In a separate story about D-FW’s very oldest restaurants aged 75 years and up, we dig deeper into the history of these living institutions. We hope this list can serve as a tool for anyone seeking North Texas’ most storied restaurants, and we look forward to updating the story regularly.


In every interview, we asked for nuggets of wisdom from restaurateurs who had been in the business for decades.

“The secret is, you have to evolve a little bit,” Harman says about the 64-year-old Sonny Bryan’s.

“You just always try, you never stop,” says Lanny Lancarte, the CEO and president of 86-year-old Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. “I’d hate to see my grandmother and grandfather’s dream stop some day.”

“And it’s still fun,” he adds.

“It’s still a lot of fun.”

Editor’s note: We’ve combed through historical archives for months, but this list of oldest restaurants may not be complete. Do you know of a restaurant that is 50 years or older? Email sblaskovich@dallasnews.com.

What are the oldest restaurants in Dallas? Here’s the list:

Since 1918

El Fenix in Dallas

Since 1920

Chaf-In (formerly Chaf-Inn) Restaurant in Cleburne

Since 1926

Paris Coffee Shop in Fort Worth

Since 1927

Riscky’s in Fort Worth, first as a grocery store and deli, later as a barbecue joint

Since 1928

Carshon’s Delicatessen in Fort Worth

Since 1930

The Original Mexican Eats in Fort Worth

Since 1931

Bailey’s Bar-B-Que in Fort Worth

Since 1935

Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth

Since 1936

Old Mill Inn in Dallas (temporarily closed)

Since 1940

El Chico in Dallas

Since 1941

Dickey’s Barbecue in Dallas

Since 1943

Roy Pope Grocery in Fort Worth

Since 1945

Sammie’s BBQ in Fort Worth

Since 1946

Circle Grill in Dallas

Kincaid’s Hamburgers in Fort Worth

Since 1947

Cattlemen’s Fort Worth Steak House

Ships Lounge in Dallas

Since 1948

Big State Fountain Grill in Irving

Ranchman’s Cafe in Ponder (temporarily closed)

Since 1948

Arthur’s Steakhouse in Addison

Since 1950

Campisi’s The Egyptian in Dallas

Dallas Tortilla & Tamale Factory

Goff’s Hamburgers in University Park

Keller’s Drive-In in Dallas

The Old Warsaw in Dallas

Since 1951

Burger House in University Park

Since 1952

Frosty Drive N in Denton

Stan’s Blue Note in Dallas

Since 1953

Eddlemon’s in Grand Prairie

Theo’s Drive-In in Grand Prairie

Tupinamba Cafe in Dallas

Margie’s Original Italian Kitchen in Fort Worth

Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus in Dallas

Since 1954

Beef House in Garland

Cindi’s NY Deli; formerly Phil’s Delicatessen & Restaurant in Plano

Since 1955

Dunston’s Steakhouse, formerly Gene’s Wheel In in Dallas

Since 1956

Bill Smith’s Cafe in McKinney

Dairy-Ette in Dallas

Norma’s Cafe in Dallas

Pizza by Marco in Dallas; formerly My Family’s Pizza; presently Pizza Gianna

Since 1957

Al’s Hamburgers in Arlington

Candlelite Inn in Arlington

Del’s Charcoal Burgers in Richardson

Since 1958

Angelo’s BBQ in Fort Worth

The Malt Shop; formerly Spurlock’s Malt Shop in Anna

Pizza Inn in Dallas

Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas

Since 1959

Mesquite BBQ in Mesquite

Since 1960

The Depot Cafe in Frisco — first, a supermarket and later a restaurant

Since 1961

Kuby’s Sausage House and European Market in University Park

Since 1962

Antoine’s Foods in Dallas

Griff’s Hamburgers in Dallas

Ol’ South Pancake House in Fort Worth

Parkit Market in Dallas

Since 1963

Adair’s Saloon in Dallas

Charco Broiler in Dallas’ Oak Cliff

Hong Kong Restaurant in Dallas

Since 1964

Inwood Tavern in Dallas

Metro Diner in Dallas’ Oak Cliff

Since 1965

Hubbard’s Cubbard in Garland

Marshall’s Bar-B-Q in Dallas

Mermaid Bar at Neiman Marcus in Dallas

Since 1966

Angelo’s Spaghetti & Pizza House in Irving

Don Juan’s Romantic Mexican Food in Grand Prairie

Jimmy’s Food Store in Dallas

Pulido’s Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth

Since 1967

Edelweiss in Fort Worth

Since 1968

Bartley’s Bar-B-Q in Grapevine

Mama’s Pizza in Fort Worth

Parton’s Pizza in Fort Worth

Pizza Getti in Dallas

Since 1969

Jesus BBQ in Fort Worth

Jim’s Pizza in McKinney

Joe’s Coffee Shop in Irving

Ojeda’s Restaurant in Dallas

Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont hotel in Dallas

Since 1971

Catfish Smith Foods To Go in Dallas

Celebration in Dallas

Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine y Cantina in Dallas

Zeke’s Fish & Chips in Fort Worth

Since 1972

John’s Cafe in Dallas

Dallas Morning News researcher Spencer Bevis contributed to this story.

Date unknown:

Record Grill in Dallas

Wimpy’s Hamburgers in Dallas

Information provided by Dallas News

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