Casual new Flora Cantina to open outside Winspear in Dallas Arts District
A new quick-serve restaurant that vows to be open longer hours is coming to the Dallas Arts District: Called Flora Cantina, it will open in the former Center Cafe space at 2353 Flora St. #2413, in Sammons Park on the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus, where it hopes to service patrons of the arts with pre-event tapas and apres-show fare.
The cafe will be operated by G Texas Catering, the company from entrepreneur John Gilbert which has in recent years become a Arts District favorite, starting in 2018 with a casual-eats option called The Artisan. Then in 2022, G Texas took over concessionaire and bar management at AT&T Performing Arts Center, officially replacing Wolfgang Puck Catering.
Gilbert says they hope to open in mid-November — "barring any setbacks in construction," he says.
The cafe space initially debuted in 2013 as combination box office/ticket center with an in-house location of the local Pearl Cup coffee chain (now defunct). In 2016, Wolfgang Puck Catering came onboard with a concept called the Center Cafe, positioned as a casual place to grab a bite before a show, although they also made efforts to broaden the appeal with open mic and trivia nights.
The cuisine will combine regional Texas and Mexican with fancy cocktails served from an open kitchen/chef’s counter.
At a preview event in the district on August 24 (covered here by the unsinkable Tammany Stern), menu details included:
- Tacos in options that include carne asada, picadillo beef, brisket with corn, chicken Tinga, Korean BBQ chicken, green chili pork carnitas, blackened shrimp, Diablo shrimp, spicy tempura mushroom, and mushroom & black bean
- Bowls in four varieties: flank steak over Spanish rice with peppers, corn, black beans; chicken Tinga with cilantro-basmati rice and corn; Korean BBQ chicken with cilantro basmati rice; and veggie bowl with charred mushroom & black beans over cilantro-basmati rice
There are also nachos, a Southwest Caesar salad, and a signature house ice cream, prepared on site, in seasonal flavors such as dulce de leech and strawberry mojito, for $2.
An abbreviated tapas menu served from 3 pm includes chips & queso, six mini tacos (in picadillo beef, chicken Tinga, and mushroom-black bean), shrimp skewers with chips & white queso, shrimp ceviche, calamari, and tempura mushrooms.
It’ll have a new patio with shade structures, a fire pit, and a live stage.
AT&T Performing Arts Center president and CEO Warren Tranquada told the preview crowd that the goal was to create "urban vitality."
"We feel there is a gap in the neighborhood for a moderately priced option for quick service," he said. "The more we can have people thinking about the district as a vibrant place to walk around, the more they're going to want to engage with the district and think about entertainment in this area."