Inspired by D Magazines discussion this summer of great breakfast in Dallas, I grabbed the wife one fair Saturday and headed for The Mecca. By “The Mecca” I don’t necessarily mean the “best” breakfast in Dallas, but some will call this place home to a certain religious experience. For me the trip was a love affair with being a kid where, like on this Saturday, I would travel to The Mecca with my father and brother in tow for a good..simple breakfast on the weekend. I had forgotten about The Mecca until I saw the Dallas episode of Chefs vs. City on Food Network where suddenly a wave of memories rushed to my head and thoughts of the giant cinnamon roll created a call to action for a visit.
The Mecca is simple and that’s why Dallasites have visited since 1938. The quaint joint off of Harry Hines in North Dallas shows its age when you arrive. The parking lot in the back is small and usually packed on weekends. Parking may take a creative step or two. But it has to be good when its packed right? Walking in the front door shoots you back to yesteryear where things were simple and not as flashy. The staff sat us at a booth in the back corner giving us a glimpse of the old place where many a pancake are served. For me the first thing I noticed was the bold green letters of “The Mecca” over a dark black table top. The dark table top lined with business cards of local businesses offering their services to diners. “Must be regulars,” I thought as the cards look as though they have been there for years.
It came time to order and this is where classic diner fare is exemplified. Value is the name of the game at The Mecca. Turning to the Breakfast side of the menu proves that a decent meal doesn’t have to be expensive. The wife immediately orders the “Mecca’s Famous Homemade Cinnamon Rolls” that come in at $3.50. I opt for the Two Egg Breakfast with sausage and hash browns. Throw in biscuits and gravy to the meal and the total comes to $5.75. There aren’t many places in town that offer this much food for this little price. Other options include Migas, Breakfast Tacos, Steaks, Chicken Fried Steak, French Toast, and Ham Steaks. Typical diner food reigns on the lunch menu as well with Sandwiches, Burgers, Fried Chicken and Chicken Fried Steak.
The food arrives and immediately we see the size of the Cinnamon Roll. Ginormous immediately blurts out of the wife’s mouth. The making of the Cinnamon Roll was featured on Chefs vs. City. Layers of homemade dough are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and held together by margarine. No not butter, but margarine. Finished with a glaze, the Cinnamon Roll is complete and comes served warm to the table. One bite into the roll and the sugary taste hits your mouth. The soft inside of the Cinnamon Roll has it true to its contemporaries. The margarine soaks the cinnamon sugar into the dough and captivates the mouth with each chomp. It’s truly a great experience and one that all Cinnamon Roll fans should try. The outside is a bit crunchy and tough. We chalk it up to being baked and then re-heated to order. Although I don’t typically like a crunchy outer crust, it did not deflect my opinion of the Cinnamon Roll. Outside of a bakery, where can you get a good Cinnamon Roll in DFW?
The Two Egg Breakfast lacked the glitz and punch of the Cinnamon Roll, but fared well on its own. The hash browns were scattered and grilled on the flat top. They had the distinctive crunch of the outside pieces that gave way to the soft inner potatoes that melted in the mouth. The sausage was nothing to write about. A bit overcooked and charred, repeat visits may require special instruction. The biscuit was decent. Its fist sized bread with creamy gravy made up for the overcooked sausage. The plate’s star was the hash browns where the biscuit and gravy were the perfect carb load. The Two Egg Breakfast was average overall. The Mecca is not out of the box with this one.
The Mecca is a treat for any Dallasite. It’s the experience of eating an established diner that your treated too. The familiarity of the menu coupled with its value will need a repeat trip. The short stack was viewed on the way out and immediately buyers remorse hit. That alone is worth the repeat performance, however the Cinnamon Roll is a godly nay religious experience. For us, it may become our Mecca.
Note: The Mecca relocated to 5815 Live Oak, Dallas, TX 75214 on September 7, 2012. Same owners and employees, just a better neighborhood for late night visits.
F – 2.5
V – 3