A new vegan Tex Mex restaurant, Casa Del Vegano, quietly landed on Jefferson Street in Oak Cliff this past February. Whether it’s flautas, tacos, or queso, every item offered is vegan-friendly.
It's the latest addition to a nascent vegan Mexican food scene in Dallas. It’s also the second entirely plant-based restaurant started by the husband and wife team behind Vegan Food House, Anthony and Elizabeth Bookman.
The menu was inspired by the Tex-Mex dishes the Bookmans enjoyed over a decade ago when they still ate meat and cheese. “Before we jumped into veganism, we spent a lot of time at Pappasito’s, Julio’s, you know, Gloria’s,” Anthony says.
It doesn’t take a Tex-Mex expert to know that the cuisine is not exactly vegan-friendly. Most dishes involve meat, cheese or both.
But that’s begun to change over the past half-decade as a handful of vegan Mexican joints like El Palote, Nuno’s and Tiki Loco have emerged on the scene and found success.
Over the same period of time, the percentage of Americans who have adopted vegan and vegetarian diets has grown sharply, as has the number who choose to skip meat one day a week.
Anthony believes the market has grown to sustain more restaurants like Casa Del Vegano. He says customers are a diverse crowd, and plenty of non-vegans are enjoying their food too. “We serve people from all walks of life,” Anthony says.
Elizabeth, the culinary brains behind Casa Del Vegano, designed a menu that masterfully manipulates mushrooms and various meat substitutes to take the place of beef, chicken, pork and seafood.
Her first foray into the vegan restaurant space was Da Munchies in West Dallas, which she left to start Vegan Food House with Anthony, a career financial services professional.
Fans of Vegan Food House will find similar ingredients at Casa Del Vegano, like trumpet mushrooms. The overlap in ingredients has allowed the Bookmans to continue to rely on their existing food sourcing relationships while expanding into new culinary territory.
This also allowed the Bookmans to act quickly when an opportunity was presented to them to take over space formerly occupied by Small Brew Pub. While the bar remains, the picnic table-style seating has been replaced with more traditional two-top and four-top tables. Floor-to-ceiling windows on the front wall illuminate the tastefully minimalistic space. Outdoor patio seating is also available.
The food is comforting and rich, far from vegan food stereotypes like salads, smoothies and grain bowls. The portions are sized to satisfy.
We tried multiple items over several visits. It’s just that good.
The black bean flautas have a flaky crust and are paired with spicy salsas and a side of vegan queso. The birria “beef” tacos are delicious both ways — either with Beyond beef or jackfruit — and are paired with a side of beans and rice. The queso is perhaps creamy enough to fool a cheese lover, paired with classic tortilla chips to dip.
Deep-fried mushrooms play the starring role in the “soft-shell crab” tacos with guacamole and the classic casamiento. Both paired well with a side of elote.
In addition to the food menu, Casa Del Vegano boasts a full bar and cocktail menu.
Despite only being open for a little over two months, they’ve already found success. “We’re already breaking even,” Anthony says.
Casa Del Vegano, 333 W Jefferson Blvd (Oak Cliff). Open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday
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