First Look

Garza Foods Brings Hyperlocal "Mex-Tex" and Booze to the Medical District

Garza Foods is a fiercely local restaurant that opened a few months ago in the Medical District. The owners adapted their hyperlocal ways after living in Seattle, where it wasn’t just important to buy local, but to buy from your own neighborhood. This food is really more Mex-Tex than Tex-Mex — it's authentic Mexican food minus the pork and old-fashioned South Texas fare.

Not far from Love Field in West Dallas, Garza Foods sits in between a Denny’s and a gas station. If you work in the medical district or are staying at one of the nearby hotels, it’s an attractive option. Picking up local craft beer or Texas wine via its drive-thru is a good reason to turn off Mockingbird Lane. Even the fountain sodas come from Oak Cliff and are made with real cane sugar with flavors such as black cherry, mango and Mexican cola.

Joe Garza and his spouse, Margaret, own and operate the place. They serve a steady stream of breakfast burritos out of the drive-thru window until 11 a.m. Inside, the space is cozy and the owners are welcoming and conversational. Right away, you notice a respectable collection of local beer — cheap cans of Santo or bottles of Blood and Honey for a few dollars more. There's also a nice choice of underrated Texas wines, mostly from central locations like Fredericksburg.

The Garzas have lived in Texas for generations, but the restaurant came about because they were missing Texas food while living in Seattle. Joe started making chorizo and country sausage out of turkey because he “had a bad experience with pork about 20 years ago,” he says. But with this flavor, you'd never know you're not eating pork. The turkey chorizo is also in the chili here, making it a Mexican take on the state dish; it even comes with tortilla chips.

After the couple perfected some other recipes, Garza Foods first appeared as a vendor at a Seattle market. Soon after the Garzas returned to Texas, they decided to setup shop at the former Tejas Taco Texas Ice. The goal: to create a micro market and café that would either make everything in-house or stock just about everything else from local supplies.

For food, there are a few simple decisions to make. The brisket here looks like meat for a Sloppy Joe — it's chopped, smoked and surprisingly spicy. Order meat in a taco, breakfast burrito, sandwich or tamale. The tamales are a house specialty with masa prepared with real corn, completely from scratch, in small batches.

A smoked brisket sandwich was nice, simple comfort food — a generous heap of brisket on an old-school bolillo roll with a couple dill spears, a couple rings of purple onion and a scoop of potato salad. The meat is flavorful but spicy enough to make you systematically cut the taste throughout the meal with bites of pickle and potato salad. It’s definitely worth seven bucks.

At the end of the day, Garza Foods probably has something for you. If you want beer that doesn’t suck without even having to get out of the car, this will work. If you want a breakfast burrito you won’t hate yourself for eating, this is the right place. And being locally sourced is nothing to sneeze at.

Garza Foods, 1407 Medical District Dr. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Jeremy Hallock