17 Casual Lunch & Dinner Spots In Dallas-Fort Worth

Where to grab a quick and easy bite throughout the Metroplex.
A two-meat plate of BBQ with a side of mac and cheese, beans, and pickles

photo credit: Nancy Farrar

Dallas-Fort Worth is huge. Sprawling. Daunting, even. It could be a state if it were located anywhere outside of Texas. Whichever side of the Metroplex you live in, you need some recommendations for great food when you venture west or east along the venerable I-30. And in this economy, a fast, casual, and solid meal sounds pretty good. 

Despite its size, DFW’s various neighborhoods are filled with great options for easy lunches and dinners. Whether you’re looking for classic BBQ, Tex-Mex, Cajun crawfish, or Thai, we’ve got you covered in this guide.

This guide was written in partnership with Chase for Business.


photo credit: Nancy Farrar


Oak Cliff

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerBig Groups


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Keep El Ranchito in your back pocket for when out-of-town visitors arrive and admit their knowledge of Tex-Mex starts and stops with sour cream chicken enchiladas. And while those are delicious favorites, encourage your dining companions to split the fried tripe and cabrito al horno. El Ranchito’s flan is as traditional as it gets, and even better enjoyed while the mariachis play.

Crushcraft has been a popular Uptown establishment for nearly ten years, and the Bangkok-born, Dallas-raised owners make good on their promise to offer quality Thai food in an elevated fast-casual environment. Come by for lunch or dinner and get the red curry with tangy pickled jicama or the phat ke mao with a side of tofu fries.

After catching a movie and enjoying the AC inside the Texas Theatre, meander over to Veracruz Cafe just a few blocks away. The menu is a mix of Aztec, Mayan, Mesoamerican, and Huasteco cuisine—both the Xalapa-style chile relleno and the blue corn enchiladas are solid bets, especially when paired with the cactus salad and a spicy piña cocktail. In addition to the Bishop Arts spot, they have locations in Cedar Hill and Midlothian.

This food truck provides a twist on the traditional Texas BBQ experience. The owners are from the South, and their menu incorporates their Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Caribbean roots. The smoked pulled pork, brisket, and catfish steak are three of their best options, so rustle up a group and try a few bites of each. They don’t have a permanent spot and travel around the DFW area, so keep an eye on their Instagram for the truck’s weekly locations.

Located in the heart of Old East Dallas, Jimmy’s Food Store has been serving Italian sandwiches and salads for decades, plus a market stocked with fresh produce, pasta, olive oils, and wine. Their legendary Italian sub piled with mortadella makes for a perfect lunch outside under their awning, but you can also grab a few pies or some lasagna for a movie night at home.

Historical Oak Cliff is a community that’s been underserved for decades, with large fast food chains as the primary dining options. This storied past is exactly why South Polk Pizzeria’s owner chose the neighborhood for his newest endeavor: a high-caliber pizza joint that does wood-fired, fermented Neapolitan-style pies, plus wings and salads.

While the pizzas are the main draw, the desserts are a close second: the menu includes more than a dozen cake bowls, from carrot to caramel and everything in between. They’ve recently added an awning and outdoor seating if you want to stay a minute, or you can take any order to go. 

It’s hard to find great crawfish in Dallas outside of a backyard boil, but Shells & Tails has nailed it. This creole and cajun food truck has a small menu that includes boiled crawfish, snow crabs, and shrimp, plus a few other things like seafood nachos, rum cake, and pralines. They’re based in DeSoto but don’t have a permanent spot, so make sure to check their Instagram for their daily location.

Salsa Limón is a newer, family-run chain serving up Mexico City-style street food, with locations in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin. Order a few of their carne asada tacos with one of their homemade salsas—the mild tomatillo is packed with flavor, and the habanero will have smoke coming out of your ears like a cartoon cat. If you stop by from 2-6pm during the week, you can add on a margarita during Happy Hour. 

Yes, the historic Fort Worth Stockyards smell like cattle, sweat, and dust, but thanks to The Biscuit Bar, you’ll also pick up more pleasant notes of butter, bacon, and gravy. With gingham-papered walls and high-top tables, this place is like a southern cafeteria that serves up perfectly savory sandwiches. Try the El Jefe with slow-roasted pulled pork, smoked ham, and monterey jack cheese served between two biscuits. If you’re looking for something sweet, there’s a plate of biscuit french toast that’s dipped in vanilla custard and topped with homemade whipped cream.

Spiral Diner is a vegan spot located in Near Southside. And while Magnolia Ave. has no shortage of great restaurants, Spiral is a quirky destination that works for a casual lunch or dinner no matter where you fall on the vegan-to-carnivore spectrum. Their pickle-and-mayo sandwich on two buttered slices of Texas Toast is their most famous menu item. It comes with the option to add on peanut butter, which is a choice that you—and only you—can make. Beyond that, they also do vegan burgers, hearty wraps, and desserts.

While it’s a new face to Fort Worth’s Near Southside scene, this charming vegan donut shop with vintage vibes is incredibly popular (as in: they often sell out). But Dreamboat is more than just donuts—they’re an offshoot of Spiral Diner, so they also do vegan wraps, too. Stop by and pick up a key lime pie or maple donut and a tortilla filled with creamy hummus and fresh vegetables, then eat them in whichever order your heart desires.

This classic Grapevine restaurant was born in 1976, almost ten years after Frank Tolbert founded the Terlingua Championship Chili Cook-Off. The current location in downtown Grapevine, which opened back in 2006, is great for a casual evening out after an afternoon at the nearby wineries. We’d argue it’s never too hot for a bowl of chili, but if you need a break from the heat, sub in the brisket tacos.

The Rustic is a chain with locations in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio co-owned by local legend and country star Pat Green, with a huge outdoor patio and a calendar packed with live music. Head here with a group and plan to graze on some hot chicken and smoked ribs smothered in a homemade BBQ sauce. Their margaritas, which are also offered to go, are an easy way to keep the party going all night.

Blue Goose Cantina is a Tex-Mex spot with locations all over the Metroplex. Go with an order of the fish tacos and an avocado tostada, plus a hibiscus margarita and some churros for good measure. We’re partial to the South University location in Fort Worth, but wherever you are, the chances of finding a Blue Goose near you are pretty high.

Ol’ South is a Fort Worth staple—you might have ended a few nights here with a big group of friends after a Friday night football game, when you could eat stacks of pancakes, chicken fried steaks, and fries smothered with chili and cheese without worrying about the acid reflux in the morning. It’s still open 24 hours, so drop in for their comfort food classics the next time you’re feeling nostalgic. We’re confident the dutch baby tastes exactly how you remember it. 

Parlor’s Handcrafted Ice Creams is a perfect pit-stop after walking around the lake or shopping at Mockingbird Station. All of their organic ice creams are made in-house, and while you can order them in a cup and call it a day, be the architect of your own life and build an ice cream sandwich with their homemade cookies. The brown sugar ice cream and oatmeal cookie are a fantastic pair.

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