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Restaurant offers serenity alongside good food

DALLAS – Perhaps not Chicago or Detroit.  Minneapolis or Seattle and certainly not New York City—would you likely find a place like Bubba’s on the edge of an exclusive neighborhood like Highland Park in Dallas.

Even with all the ranching, western and hispanic influence, Texas remains imbued with a traditional southern culture, and nowhere will you find it in greater abundance than a place called Bubba’s on Hillcrest Ave.

The menu proudly proclaims: “Imagine a good ‘ol country boy who moved to the Big City, but never could shake the hankerin’ for ‘down-home food like his Mama cooked for him.  That’s the inspiration for Bubba’s.  You’re gonna like our real good food.  It’s not fancy and we serve a lot of it.”

The architecture smacks of a designer who grew up in a lean-to. Nonetheless, it is becoming for those who take good food seriously, but not themselves.

Outside, there is a patio, which attracts the hearty in the dead of winter and Big D’s debilitating humidity in summer.

During the week, you see business professionals in coat and ties, SMU students, a drifter or two.      When it comes to food at Bubba’s, nobody is checking ID’s, bank statements or net worth.

Arriving early on a recent Saturday, I found a table outside on a sun-kissed morning. The pace was benign and the view offered a shimmering reflection off the downtown Dallas skyscrapers, which had the illusion of being within arms-length.

An ederly gentleman approached with an Irish Setter on a short leash.  “Could you allow some space,” he asked as he pulled up a chair before an answer was forthcoming.

Soon the setter and his master took leave, with a nod and a wave of a thumbs-up.   I wanted Big Red to stay.   My disappointment was ameliorated as a mocking bird symphony, which had caught my ear upon arrival, sounded forth with lift and stimulation.     They never stop singing, but what’s there not to like about that?  Especially at breakfast.

Oh yeah, the food at Bubba’s.   That’s what we came for.  Bubba’s “cooks country” seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. till 10:00 pm. specializing in breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, grits, hash browns and muffins.   At lunch you have a choice of mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, baked beans, yellow squash, green beans, pinto beans, lima beans, corn-on-the-cob, candied yams, okra and tomatoes, yellow squash, black-eyed peas and fruit salad.   Many of those dishes accompany the dinner menu, which is headlined by fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, chicken livers, catfish and chicken fried steak.

There is football talk year round and you can find a leading conversationalist in Mark Vincent, a savvy local lawyer who started his football career at SMU.  Then came the notorious death penalty in 1987.   He subsequently distinguished himself at Georgia.  “If SMU and Georgia ever played in a bowl game,” Mark grinned, “I would wear my Georgia cap.”

Big Red would have been disappointed with me if I didn’t buy breakfast for my Dawg pal.  Not to worry — Bubba’s offers economic incentive and they don’t charge extra for the mockingbird symphony.