After 19 years of business in Deep Ellum, AllGood Cafe has decided to shake things up with a new menu item: booze.
“I didn’t really want to have liquor and a full bar in the beginning. But here we are, 19, almost 20 years later, and Deep Ellum has changed so much,” owner Mike Snider says, noting development in the neighborhood.
Snider says he aims to start serving a few drinks for brunch, such as a mimosa, bloody mary and French 75. A bar is under construction for more options in the future.
It’s a change that he welcomes now but started thinking about years ago.
“It’s just time that we have to do that, to stay up with the times, to pay the rent really,” he says. “I’m not making any profit here: I pay my bills, my salary, the cooks, waiters. ... Year after year, we’re not making a profit.”
AllGood may see a periodic bump, but it’s just trucking by. Snider hopes the alcohol sales will change the trend.
“My rent has doubled and tripled and quadrupled since I’ve been here 20 years. ... It’s a real struggle, we’re not really happy with that,” he says. “I said, ‘OK, we’ll make the investment.’”
He got the license and started the process for the bar, and he hopes to make that money back — and then some.
Many who live near Deep Ellum know of AllGood — it’s a quirky place with food that doesn’t knock your socks off, but the pancakes have the same flavor and texture every time, the bacon is extra peppery and the chicken-fried steak makes this spot a destination. Plus, the live music makes good use of the stage in the dining room on weekends.
But it’s not a destination like it used to be.
“My clientele has changed. The people that live here have changed: There are people who have moved away, my regulars. Now I have different customers, and some people can’t park here,” he says. “You would think that my sales have gone up, but they’ve gone down because they’re not here.”
So he’s looking for something else to draw a crowd besides the pepper bacon.
“I think a bloody mary will help, for sure,” he says.
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Snider sounds excited about offering the new items, and he feels confident in his staff taking over behind the bar, such as Chris Unruh (who works at Tiny Victories, among other places), but there aren’t many more changes coming, he says.
“Are we going to change our recipes, are we going to change our menu? I don’t think so,” he says. “We’ll tweak here and there, but we’re proud of our food and our quality. We don’t cut corners.
“I have a long history in this neighborhood. This is my baby.”
AllGood Cafe, 2934 Main St. (Deep Ellum)