First Look

La Bodega in Oak Cliff Serves Up Mediterranean-Influenced, Grab-and-Go Fare

La Bodega is selling rotisserie chickens, salads and sandwiches.
La Bodega is selling rotisserie chickens, salads and sandwiches. Lauren Drewes Daniels
Chef and owner Skye McDaniel is an Oak Cliff native and Dallas restaurant veteran who recently turned an old house on the edge of Bishop Arts District into one of the neighborhood's most popular spots to pick up lunch or dinner.

Deciding to open a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic was scary for McDaniel. But like so many others during that time, reflection on what matters most pushed her to act on her passion.

“One of the main reasons I decided to take the risk and open a place was because over the pandemic I did a lot of learning and reevaluating what I wanted out of life,” says McDaniel.

She adds, “I decided I wanted to create. I wanted to create jobs, and an environment in which people enjoy working. Since I live and work in Oak Cliff, it was easy to detect the hole I filled in the dining scene. But it took more to figure out how to build a supportive work environment, and get out of the rut that so much of my industry has been stuck in, which pits people against each other and drives unhealthy competition and stress.”
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A pulled chicken sandwich.
Leslie Chatman
McDaniel opened La Bodega in early July to offer the neighborhood a wholesome option for weekday meals. The featured protein, organic rotisserie chicken, is sold as a whole or half bird ($25 or $15) and is sourced from a 128-year-old family-owned and -operated business in Pennsylvania Dutch country. From the counter, guests can see the slow roasting birds inside a glass-walled rotisserie.

The grab-and-go menu, influenced by McDaniel’s Italian heritage and travels through Spain and Greece, emphasizes fresh, uncomplicated food.

“Exploring the Mediterranean region and my food cultural heritage inspires my interest in the simplicity of seasonal freshness,” explains McDaniel. “Bringing those flavors back to my community is a source of comfort.”

The community has responded, showing up at the tiny, colorful house to try something from the simple yet intriguing menu.

Customers can order freshly made chicken, tuna, sardine, or vegetable sandwiches on crusty artisan bread, all of which are $15. Salads include a chicken panzanella, white bean, Mediterranean chicken and a sardine and herb salad, all of which come in either large or small sizes for $12 or $6, respectively.

The pulled chicken is the most popular sandwich at La Bodega, with goat cheese, roasted garlic, mustard, arugula and lightly caramelized onions with seasoned fries ($15). Order this, then take your box and grab a seat outside at one of the three small tables on the lawn. There is no dine-in option at La Bodega. If you're coming from a distance to sample the food, prepare accordingly to devour it at peak freshness.

In addition to selling food, McDaniel uses one wall of the shop as a gallery of sorts for local artists, offering works for purchase and giving customers some interesting items to peruse while waiting for their meal.
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Leslie Chatman
“We host friends and artists whose work moves us, and we look for ways to collaborate and fill needs for each other and the community as a whole,” says McDaniel. “We're building a healthy community. That's the dream, and the goal.”

Hopes for what La Bodega can become to the community and for her and her team remain top of mind for McDaniel.

“I want it [La Bodega] to grow and change to support the community it serves better and better, and I also want that growth to support my staff — emotionally and financially, and eventually me — financially,” says McDaniel.

Since the opening, updates have included the announcement of seasonal menu items, the addition of frozen yogurt and news that on Oct. 7 La Bodega will begin serving lunch on Fridays.

The La Bodega website is still under development. Keep a watchful eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

La Bodega Rotisserie and Goods, 208 W. Eighth St.  11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday; closed on Saturday.
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