Next month, a Dallas bus tour will be rebranding in time for Black History Month. The Soul of Dallas Food and Black History Bus Tour will now be the Soul of DFW Food and Black History Bus Tour, expanding to include Fort Worth within the tour.
The bus tour was first conceived by local author Deah Berry Mitchell in 2017. During her travels, Mitchell was often forced to choose between going on food tours and going on history tours.
“I thought, ‘Hey, what if I come back to Dallas and do a tour that merges food and history?’ And I knew I couldn’t do it alone,” Mitchell says. “In the Dallas food scene, there’s always some sort of event going on. They’re all really great, but at the time, there weren’t really a lot of events that had a cultural element to them. I really wanted to do something that was different and unique.”
Mitchell later reached out to Dalila Thomas, who was working as a producer on CW33 at the time (Thomas also writes for the Dallas Observer). At first, Thomas declined, as she felt she had too much on her plate. She later decided to partner with Mitchell and help her bring her vision to life.
“I thought about it, and I was like, ‘You know what? This is awesome, mixing food and history,’” Thomas says. “And especially for hiding black-owned restaurants. No one was really doing this anywhere. It’s usually either a food tour or a history tour, and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to merge both.”
The first tours began in 2018. Since its launch, Soul of Dallas has brought in hundreds of tour participants, both local and from out of state.
While Mitchell and Thomas don’t disclose which restaurants will be participating in each upcoming tour, previous restaurants include Hall’s Honey-Fried Chicken, Val’s Cheesecakes and Kessler Baking Studio. As more black chefs and restaurateurs step onto the scene, Mitchell and Thomas plan to add more stops.
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“We’re always looking to expand, because we have a lot of repeat customers for this tour,” Thomas says. “This year is actually special because we started as Soul of Dallas, and now we're expanding and rebranding to Soul of DFW. We’re bringing Fort Worth into the mix now.”
Beginning in February, Soul of DFW will have two tours each month, with one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth. Tickets and schedules are available online.
“We just love having the opportunity to be able to educate the community,” Mitchell says, “about black culture, our food and our history.”