Bright and airy with its farmhouse-chic good looks, this new Bishop Arts cafe is a snapshot of North Oak Cliff’s shifting sociological landscape. It’s a place where pageboy-cap-wearing hipsters in skinny jeans sit alongside OC veterans in irony-free cardigans and sensible shoes. As the restaurant’s menu proudly boasts, Oddfellows does serve “food for all.” And tasty food at that. Founded by Matt Spillers (Eno’s Pizza Tavern), Scott Griggs (Fort Worth Avenue Development), Jason Roberts (Go Oak Cliff), and a host of OC community leaders, Oddfellows serves a comfy mix of breakfast and lunch staples. (As of press time, dinner service was scheduled to begin in April.) Though it stumbled out of the gate, the restaurant has found its footing in recent weeks. Breakfast is the cafe’s best meal, serving some of Dallas’ finest pancakes: thick cake-like centers with delightfully crisp edges. Other winners included the tortilla de papas (a Spanish-style omelet, skillet baked with potatoes), an open-faced fried egg sandwich with shaved ham and mozzarella, and a side of fried green tomatoes. Yes, fried green tomatoes for breakfast. What a great idea. Those wonderfully crisp, tart tomatoes can also be found on Oddfellows’ lunch menu in the form of a sandwich layered with avocado, bacon, and sprouts. It makes for a memorable meal, as do the frisée, bacon, and root vegetable salad and the pressed portobella sandwich with tzatziki and olives. That last sandwich is one of several vegetarian and vegan-friendly offerings on the menu, including a Vietnamese-style bánh mi sandwich with tofu and pickled vegetables that disappointed in its blandness. But no critique of Oddfellows can end without mention of its ballyhooed coffee service and its $24,000 Italian-made La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, one of only four such gadgets in the United States. It allows the baristas to customize each shot, extracting different qualities from the beans roasted by Cuvee Coffee in Austin. On one visit, a single-estate espresso was nutty with a thick caramel-colored cream. On another, lemon zest notes dominated the shot. Regular coffee is easily the best in town, void of the bitter tones found in speedier shops. Perhaps that’s all it takes to bring together the disparate voices that populate this currently hip part of Dallas: a superior cup of joe.
For more information about Oddfellows, visit our restaurant guide.