Lists

The Awesome Independent Restaurants That Prove Arlington Isn’t a Chain Food Wasteland

Tom’s Burgers is one of DFW’s best diners, as evidenced by their commitment to above-average breading.
Tom’s Burgers is one of DFW’s best diners, as evidenced by their commitment to above-average breading. Dallas Observer file photo

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click to enlarge Moni’s is a BYOB Italian spot where you’re guaranteed not to leave hungry. - COURTESY OF MONI’S PASTA AND PIZZA
Moni’s is a BYOB Italian spot where you’re guaranteed not to leave hungry.
Courtesy of Moni’s Pasta and Pizza
Moni’s Pasta and Pizza
1730 W. Randol Mill Road
Prior to opening this North Arlington hideaway, Moni operated two restaurants in Dallas during the ’80s and catered to Lorimar Productions and the TV show “Dallas.”

Moni’s brings “a little bit of the East Coast to the South,” serving everything from stuffed manicotti to cannoli. The flavors here are authentically Italian, and the portions are generous. Did we mention it’s BYOB?

click to enlarge Jay Jay Cafe is known for its scratch-made fruit pies. - COURTESY OF  JAY JAY CAFE
Jay Jay Cafe is known for its scratch-made fruit pies.
Courtesy of Jay Jay Cafe
Jay Jay Cafe
1001 S. Bowen Road
4401 Little Road
Jay Jay Cafe’s two Arlington locations serve up home-style cooking, but they’re perhaps best known for their fresh fruit pies made in-house. Load up on pancakes at this happy diner, or order a pie for your next family get-together.

Jambo’s Barbeque Shack is all about barbecue excess. - MATTHEW MARTINEZ
Jambo’s Barbeque Shack is all about barbecue excess.
Matthew Martinez
Jambo’s Barbeque Shack
1724 W. Division St.
This roadside barbecue joint’s signature sandwich, the Jambo Texan, is an eight-inch stack of six smoked meats between Texas toast. Texas Monthly called it one of the best barbecue sandwiches in the state, and Jambo’s was also paid a visit recently by the Travel Channel. Besides barbecue, the pit masters also serve up the Sadie, a fully-loaded baked potato topped with meat and smothered in beans.

click to enlarge Candlelite Inn is where romance and carbs converge. - COURTESY OF CANDLELITE INN
Candlelite Inn is where romance and carbs converge.
Courtesy of Candlelite Inn
Candlelite Inn
1202 E. Division Street
The Candlelite Inn, with its classic red and white checkered tablecloths, dim lights and private booths, has long been a romantic dinner destination. The restaurant first opened in 1957 and got an overhaul in 2014. The flickering flames gave way to LEDs, but the retro neon candle sign outside was salvaged, along with a few other items, to create a mix of nostalgia and something fresh.

Along with its lunch and dinner plates, the menu offers a wide selection including steaks, burgers, spaghetti, tacos, burritos and more.

click to enlarge Tu Tacos’ Mexican fare is filling and comforting. - COURTESY OF GABRIEL D.
Tu Tacos’ Mexican fare is filling and comforting.
Courtesy of Gabriel D.
Tu Tacos
419 W. Randol Mill Road
This unassuming Mexican restaurant serves up clouds of Spanish rice and chicken enchiladas that taste almost impossibly fresh. The thick, creamy sauces, lively wall art and homey atmosphere will warm you up on the inside.
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