Cedars Social: Eat Light and Drink Heavy

Chef John Tesar's menu takes second place to the cocktails.

Then I had a blindsiding lunch. The catfish sloppy Joe was astonishing. It had a smoky paprika-jalapeño combo that two-stepped from cheek to cheek, a tremendous contrast from my pre-lunch Social Market cocktail, a catchall term for the drink of the week. Here was the excitement. The buttermilk pie slice was just shy of the wrong side of rich, even if the crust suffered the same fate as the pecan pie did after dinner. But the food was only a smidge of the midday experience at The Cedars Social. It is an ideal place to recharge when you need a break from applying a grindstone to your nose. There is breezy conversation with a carefree atmosphere and quick service. It was brilliant. What a shame my other visits weren't as ideal.

Overall, though, service was irregular. One server praised everything without distinction. On another visit, a waitress, flitting about the restaurant, made sure we didn't feel ignored, walked us through drink options and made suggestions, even if some, like the mac and cheese, were misguided. She was great. Toward the end of our meal, the waitress asked, "Did you say you wanted another drink?" It was nicely played. "I'm sorry. I didn't. However, the drink you helped me order was wonderful."

The decor is odd, the plates
small and the drinks sublime
at Cedars Social.
Sara Kerens
The decor is odd, the plates small and the drinks sublime at Cedars Social.

Location Info


The Cedars Social

1326 S. Lamar St.
Dallas, TX 75215

Category: Restaurant > Comfort Foods

Region: Oak Cliff & South Dallas


Cedars Social 1326 South Lamar St., 214-928-7700, thecedarssocial.com. Open 11-2 p.m and 4 p.m.-2 a.m. daily; Sunday brunch served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $$
Deviled eggs $4 Catfish sloppy Joe $9 Sausage and peppers $12 Oysters (New Orleans style) 18 Beef tongue sliders $12 Cedarsí Mac and Cheese $8 Tempura onion rings $4 Pecan pie $5 Buttermilk pie $5

Indeed, throughout each meal at The Cedars Social the greatest compliments were reserved for the drinks. From the aforementioned Tranny Love with a mixed-in-house berry liqueur to the tequila-based Vaya Con Dios made with can't-restock-fast-enough passion fruit as well as the classic repertoire of dear drinking buddies like the Moscow mule, the old fashioned and Tom Collins, the superb sippers run the spirits gamut. The staff also offers libations from far-flung venues in the resurgent cocktail culture: They pull off stunning reproductions like the dainty Juliet and Romeo, a gin-based cocktail from Violet Hour in Chicago. It's not for nothing that Imbibe, a beverage glossy, named The Cedars Social among the best cocktail bars in the South. The beer list, which offers an impressive craft selection, gives the place a one-two punch of quaff. It is there that the joint succeeds. It's a fine place for pre-dinner or pre-concert drinks (the Palladium and Southside Music Hall are nearby) and a carefully selected bite to tide one over. Especially for lunch. The Cedars Social is a way station.

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