With breakfast looming as one of the hottest trends in dining, make room for Real Nice Place, a new breakfast-and-lunch restaurant in downtown Dallas, located at 400 N. St. Paul St., aka the Hartford building.
Real Nice Place is in the space previously occupied by Mad Hatters Cafe, which closed in October after seven years. The Hartford building is right off the St. Paul DART Rail line, and is also home to a restaurant called Trolley Stop Cafe; and Cakettes, the small cake bakery.
Real Nice comes from Joel Roland, who co-founded Toasted, the toast-themed restaurant at Ross and Greenville Avenue in 2016 (under the name Joel Roldan). He left Toasted in 2017 and launched a taco truck which he uses to cater events.
Real Nice, a name that is a bit of a challenge to search for on the worldwide web, reflects Roland's interest in making food that's both healthy and good.
"I had some health issues and wanted to improve my diet, but I don't really like healthy food," he says. "I wanted to come up with good old American food that's healthy and won't kill you."
He says he's using good fats to provide a robust flavor that doesn't make you feel deprived.
"We have salads and bowls with proteins that are cooked in good oils," he says. "We have plates for vegans, paleo, but also pancakes, waffles, and dishes for those who seek diner-style comfort food. It's wholesome food you could eat during the week, but if you want to cheat here, you can do that, too."
One signature is the tamale bowl, with two tamales from Tamale Co., in choice of cheese, pork, bean, or chicken, plus cilantro rice, power greens, cherry tomatoes, and avocado aioli.
They do eggs benedict in the traditional format or the "Sal & Benny," with salmon and an "aerated" poached egg. "It's fluffy, and when you cut it in half, the yolk spreads," he says.
There are breakfast tacos; an egg white omelet with spinach; and hash with sweet potato, sausage, and eggs. There's fried chicken on a biscuit with poached egg, collard greens salsa, and gravy; and a chicken-fried portobello with jalapeno gravy and hash browns.
Roland is such a fan of breakfast, he serves it all day. His hours are 7:30 am-2 pm.
"We're here for the 9-to-5'ers who work downtown and want to eat right," he says.