Mexican Eats

Downtown Tex-Mex starts up spin-off in Dallas’ healthiest neighborhood

Downtown Tex-Mex starts up spin-off in Dallas’ healthiest neighborhood

Jorge's Tex-Mex
Jorge's Tex-Mex has a new thing going on. Photo courtesy of Jorge's

A Preston Center address with some recent turnover will be home to a new Mexican concept with a healthy twist. Called Lala's Mexican Café, it's a new fast-casual restaurant from Michelle Mireles, who also owns Jorge's TexMex Café at Dallas' One Arts Plaza. It'll go into the space in between The Gem and Miss Chi Vietnamese that was most recently occupied by Cedars Xpress but was previously home to Grip Mediterranean.

Lala's will follow a fast-casual format that's designed to serve the needs of the neighborhood, Mireles says — from the Monday-through-Friday office dwellers, to families on-the-go in the surrounding area, to the clients of Soul Cycle and the many gyms and private trainers that happen to be in the area. This is one healthy neighborhood, people, and Lala's will take a health-conscious approach to Mexican food.

"We'll offer fresh salsas made daily, and do a more conscious approach to our sourcing," Mireles says. "That means grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, and organic chicken. The chips and tortillas will be organic. We'll also include vegetarian offerings, and something that not everyone does, which is a healthy menu for kids."

They'll also do gourmet house-made paletas with a healthy bent such as the verde paleta with spinach, kiwi, coconut milk, lime juice, and Mexican vanilla.

Other healthy overtures include a policy of not cooking with vegetable oil, canola oil, or lard, and no flour or sugar added to the sauces. There will also be low-carb options on the menu such as the hot trend of using lettuce leaves or jicama sliced as thin as paper in place of a traditional tortilla.

A typical dish: enchiladas made with zucchini "tortillas," with a filling of spinach and Mexican cheese, topped with a green poblano sauce.

Mireles gathered inspiration from similar concepts she'd seen in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta, as well as Miami, Scottsdale, and Aspen. This girl gets around.

Lala is named for her grandmother Hilaria Galan Valles; "Lala" was her nickname. "She was mother to 13 and a fun-loving grandmother to many," Mireles says. "I have so many fond memories of cooking and dancing around the kitchen with her, and of being in the kitchen of her home. I hope to keep that same energetic spirit alive through this restaurant."