New Family-Owned Mexican Restaurant Takes the Reins from Now-Closed Cedars Favorite

Mago's Cafe sits at 511 N. Gilpin Ave. in Oak Cliff, offering dishes inspired by the former Emilio's in The Cedars.
Mago's Cafe sits at 511 N. Gilpin Ave. in Oak Cliff, offering dishes inspired by the former Emilio's in The Cedars.
Paige Weaver
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Mago’s Cafe is a family-owned Mexican restaurant opened in the spirit of the now-shuttered Emilio’s Cafe, a favorite for residents in The Cedars. Emilio’s, which originated as Tejitas in Oak Cliff, was owned by Emilio Lira and stood at South Ervay and Corinth streets for more than 16 years.

The former Emilio’s was featured on USA’s Queen of the South TV series in 2016. It closed in spring 2018 after Lira sold the property to developers.

A year later, you can once again enjoy your beloved Emilio’s food at Mago’s Cafe. Silvia Luna, a former server at Emilio’s, runs this new restaurant in Oak Cliff, near West Davis Street and South Westmoreland Road.

The guiso de puerco at Mago's CafeEXPAND
The guiso de puerco at Mago's Cafe
Paige Weaver

“Silvia decided to go out on her own and start her own restaurant,” says Nayeli Luna, Silvia Luna’s daughter-in-law. Emilio is not directly involved with this new venture, but “he’s inspiration,” Nayeli Luna says. Many of the recipes at Mago’s come from Emilio’s.

Mago’s Cafe is named after Silvia Luna’s mother, Margarita, who goes by Mago.

After a lot of renovations, Mago’s opened its doors in May.

“It’s been picking up,” Nayeli Luna says. “On weekends, we’re almost always swamped. A lot of families are looking for places to go out to eat after church, and they love the food here.”

Mago’s is in an unassuming building that is easy to miss as you drive past. Inside it is equally modest, with the open kitchen to the left, booths and tables lining the walls and little decoration. What the space lacks in adornment, it makes up with its food and attentive service.

Mago’s is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Breakfast items, served all day, include items such as breakfast tacos ($2.50 each) huevos rancheros ($6.95) nopales and eggs ($6.95) chilaquiles ($6.95) and migas ($6.95).

The lunch menu is extensive and includes nachos, quesadillas, tostadas, tortas, soups, salads and specialty plates.

Try the chicharron torta ($7.95), the beef enchiladas, served with rice and beans ($6.95), the taco salad ($6.95) or the bean tostadas ($6.95). Specialty plates include pork guiso ($8.95), chicken flautas ($7.95), carne asada ($10.95), chile relleno ($8.95) and cheese or chicken enchiladas, verdes or rojos ($8.95).

According to Nayeli Luna, bistec a la Mexicana ($9.95) and menudo ($6.95 for small, $8.95 for large) are two of Mago’s most popular dishes. The barbacoa is also a favorite. They make the beef cheek in-house, and you can get it on a torta, tacos or burrito.

The milanesa de res at Mago's CafeEXPAND
The milanesa de res at Mago's Cafe
Paige Weaver

Nothing on the menu is over $11.

You can also order Mago’s catering, with options such as beef fajitas, bistec a la Mexicana, guiso and various sides.

Mago’s recently started serving desserts, too: pineapple upside-down cake and strawberry shortcake have both been on the menu this month.

Mago's Cafe, 511 N. Gilpin Ave. (Oak Cliff)

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