What if your search for the best food in Dallas could also further the greater good of humanity? Here are the best spots in the city for great food with even better karma.
1. Howdy Homemade
This quaint University Park ice cream parlor was founded on a desire to “change the way the world looks at people with special needs, one scoop at a time.” Owner Tom Landis has poured his heart into this labor of love, working with school districts and non-profits to provide training and jobs to individuals with autism and Down syndrome. He’s done a heck of a job; the service is outstanding and the ice cream — especially their marquee flavor, Dr Pepper chocolate chip — will make you a repeat customer.
Howdy Homemade, 4333 Lovers Lane, Dallas, 469-930-8494, www.howdyicecream.com
2. Hugs Café
McKinney's historic downtown is home to Hugs, where special-needs employees execute a menu designed by local chefs. The brainchild of Ruth Thompson, whose experience working with this population inspired her to create the cafe, Hugs has charm in spades. It's the perfect atmosphere for cozying up to a bowl of soup and the Peach Gobbler, a warm turkey sandwich with fresh peach chutney.
Hugs Cafe, 224 E. Virginia St., McKinney, 469-301-6900, www.hugscafe.org
3. Café Momentum
“Eat. Drink. Change Lives” is the motto at Café Momentum. With fresh, elegant, locally sourced dishes, it holds its own as a world-class dining destination — just so happens it’s also staffed by non-violent juvenile offenders who receive job and life-skills training through the nonprofit restaurant’s program. Even if you didn’t know you were supporting a good cause, you would want to go for the smoked fried chicken alone.
Cafe Momentum, 1510 Pacific St., Dallas, 214-303-1234, www.cafemomentum.org
4. State & Allen
In all of Dallas restaurantland, it's surprising that only two are officially "Certified Green" by the Green Restaurant Association. State & Allen is one of them. One cool way S & A puts an emphasis on re-useables is by encouraging customers to bring their own coffee mugs to Sunday brunch. BYOM and get a cup of free coffee.
State & Allen, 2400 Allen St., Dallas, 214-239-1990, www. stateandallen.com
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5. Texas Spice
Also Certified Green, Texas Spice is an innovator in using sustainable food practices, reducing waste and improving water efficiency. To boot, their dining room is designed largely with repurposed wood. They also use compostable Ecotainers for to-go orders, as if you needed more reasons to indulge in "redneck" cheddar pimento cheese.
Texas Spice, 555 S. Lamar St., Dallas, 214-652-4810, www.omnihotels.com
6. Restaurants Partnered with TangoTab
To get a little more "feel-good" mileage out of every dining experience, download the TangoTab app. Sign up for free and you'll automatically feed two local people in need. How does this sorcery work? Restaurants pay to advertise through TangoTab, which is paired with the North Texas Food Bank. When you use the app to check in at restaurants, some of that ad revenue is donated to a local food charity. Participating restaurants include Knife, Bread Winners, The Grape, La Duni, Blind Butcher, Abacus and Henry’s Majestic.