In South Oak Cliff, a Tiny Restaurant With a Big Mission: Cheap, Healthy Vegan Food

Paige Weaver
Recipe Oak Cliff is small, but it's got a big mission.
Recipe Oak Cliff is a food venture aiming to bring fresh options to the food desert neighborhood of South Oak Cliff. Recipe, which opened in early 2017, serves juices, smoothies, and a daily menu of vegan, raw and "live" food. It also offers shared kitchen space rentals, cooking classes and catering services.

“We started with food because everybody eats. We’re able to provide people with healthy food in the middle of this food insecure place." — Tisha Crear

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All the food is served to go — there is only one bench in the 1,000-square foot space.

Tisha Crear developed this concept with the goal of bringing a healthy business hub to the 75216 ZIP code. Born and raised in Dallas, Crear moved to New York at 17 but returned to Dallas with the goal of bettering her hometown.

After working the city's Office of Cultural Affairs for 10 years, Crear decided to zone in on her own neighborhood.

“We started with food because everybody eats," Crear says. "We’re able to provide people with healthy food in the middle of this food insecure place.”

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Tisha Crear behind the juice bar at Recipe Oak Cliff.
Paige Weaver
“We were told we couldn’t do a juice bar in this area,” Crear notes. But the reception has been warm. “The demographic is large. People come from the neighborhood — kids, elderly people, mommas, daddies, police. People who are vegetarians and vegans come from everywhere. I love that. We’re for everybody.”

Crear went vegetarian at 14 and credits her mother, who was determined to use plant-based meat replacements to reinterpret all the food she grew up with, for her cooking skills

Crear’s goal is to give people alternatives to meat and the processed meat substitutes that are a staple of many vegetarian and vegan diets. For example, the “meat” in the taco salad ($8.95) consists of chipotle walnut and sun-dried tomato and is served over a bed of greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, mango, and avocado.

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The jack fruit barbecue plate, $9.95, can be made as a sandwich, salad or pizza.
Paige Weaver
The zoodlez ($9.95) are zucchini noodles with cashew cream, mushrooms, tomato and basil and are so satisfyingly creamy, you wouldn’t know there’s no dairy in the dish at all. The day we visited, four of the menu items were completely raw — the taco salad, fruit nut “chicken” salad, falafel and green pockets.

One of the most popular items is the barbecue jackfruit plate, which you can get three ways: as a slider, on top of a salad or as a pizza. The plate ($9.95) comes with coleslaw, a side of green banana salad (Recipe’s take on potato salad) and a regular side salad. You can get a slider without the sides for $6.95.

All the juices and smoothies have stories; Crear wanted to honor influential people in her life. The kool-aide (beet, pineapple, orange, lemon apple) is a friend’s recipe. The citrus blast (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange) is based off a recipe from superstar Dallasite Erykah Badu and the electric mango (mango, kale, sea moss, lime, coconut water) is a nod to famous herbalist Dr. Sebi’s “electric food” diet. By the Nile (hemp milk, dates, banana, coconut milk) is Crear’s favorite.

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Recipe Oak Cliff's taco salad.
Paige Weaver
Compared with pricing at other Dallas juice bars, these smoothie and juice prices are a steal — $3.95 for a small, $5.95 for a medium and $6.95 for a large.

On this menu, everything is a steal, especially since fresh, healthy, plant-based meals rarely come so cheap.

“Recipe Oak Cliff was created to remind everyone of healthy food options. We can take charge of our health — and it can be delicious,” Crear says.

It can be affordable, too.

Recipe Oak Cliff, 1831 S. Ewing Ave.