A Mexican restaurant in Dallas' Southside district is closing down: Monica's Mex-Tex Cantina, from veteran restaurateur Monica Greene, will close in mid-March; Greene says that the restaurant's final night will be Saturday, March 19.
"I'm hoping people will come by to say 'adios' and enjoy some great and unique Mexican food before it goes away," she says.
Monica's opened in 2019 in what was previously restaurant/cocktail bar Cedars Social. It changed hands and personalities a number of times, from the original Cedars Social to a Mexican version of Cedars Social, to its current concept with more prototypical Tex-Mex.
Greene has been running the restaurant since 2018, when she took over the space after a retirement from restaurants. She launched it with a dream team that included acclaimed bartender Leann Berry and chef Anastasia "AQ" Quinones, a rising star who won CultureMap's Tastemaker Award in 2018.
In December, AQ was lured away to head the kitchen at Jose, the modern Mexican restaurant on Lovers Lane, and Greene shifted it to a Mexican/Texas theme.
Entrees are all under $20, such as shrimp diablo risotto, Yucatan-style cochinita pibil, and "Chino poblano" fried rice with mushroom, onions, & red bell peppers. There are street tacos and four varieties of enchiladas; Greene has a soft spot for enchiladas — she once had an entire restaurant dedicated to enchiladas in Oak Cliff.
The location has stunning views of downtown Dallas, and is near residential buildings such as the Southside on Lamar lofts; it's also across the street from the Dallas Police Department headquarters.
Greene has a long history as a restaurateur in Dallas, having opened the original Monica's Aca Y Alla in Deep Ellum, followed by a collaboration with chef Joanne Bondy in an upscale Mexican restaurant in Turtle Creek Village called Ciudad.
For the past decade, she's split her time between Dallas and Aspen, but she maintains a devoted following of old-time Dallasites as well as a knack for drawing a buzz, such as in April 2018 when Cedars Social hosted a quiet yet high-profile wedding reception for the newly married Christiana Wyly, daughter of Texas billionaire Sam Wyly, and Kimbal Musk, brother of Tesla founder Elon Musk.
She did not give a reason for the closure but said she was still considering her "next chapter"; a representative from the restaurant said, "She doesn't really want any publicity right now."