The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Highland Park Village offers up wide selection

Driving into Highland Park Village at night in January reminds you that it was once the holidays. The soothing yellow lights illuminate the expertly lined trees along the most often used sidewalks in all of Dallas. People are bundled up on the streets in their finest winter wear, making sure that their designer coats and scarves are displayed discretely enough. This is not a condemnation, however.

The clean-cut atmosphere of Highland Park Village gives the place a glow found only in Hallmark cards.

With all the post-Christmas shoppers flouncing around from store to store in the “wintry mix” (“snow” to northerners), it’s only a matter of time before hunger sets in. But worry not, young capitalists; there is food at the ready. There are four restaurants (not counting Starbucks and Jamba Juice) in the center of the shopping plaza, each fulfilling a different need and demographic. In other words, if you are a snotty kid who just got out of “Flushed Away,” you will be as satisfied as the buttoned-up diner who just bought a handbag from Hermès. Most importantly, however, these restaurants cater to the Polo-shirt-buying SMU student.

The first place to refuel has received so much praise from the Dallas community that the fact that it’s in Highland Park Village is secondary to its status. Mi Cocina is known as one of the premier upscale Mexican restaurants in the area – the place to take your folks when they visit.

The food and atmosphere are sure to please whoever you are trying to impress. They also have a wide variety of their justifiably famous margaritas. (I recommend the “Mambo Taxi,” a fruity mix aptly named – you will need a taxi home after not too many of them.) If you have the money and are looking for a good sit-down dinner, Mi Cocina is your place.

The same could be said for its neighbor Patrizio’s. An Italian joint serving all the right dishes, Patrizio’s is another option for those with a fat wallet and some time to spend.

The food is not going to win any blue ribbons, but it is certainly traditional southern Italian food without any complaints (the bruschetta is a phenomenal appetizer that I think rises above the rest of the menu). As with Mi Cocina, appropriate dress is “recommended,” giving it a more refined aura, unlike the other two eateries in the plaza.

After a meal at either Patrizio’s or Mi Cocina, it would be hard to make any profound complaints, but that’s because they are both fairly bland templates that fit easily into the genres of “fancy Italian” and “fancy Mexican.” This is not as much of a criticism as it sounds – the two eateries just lack the character and charisma to raise them from expensive mediocrity to local color.

The flair is not far away, however. It is just around the corner in at Celebrity Bakery. The quaint, half-pint upstairs dining room overlooks an even smaller atrium where one can order both baked goods and lunch. The muffins and cakes are superb for taking out or eating in, and the sandwiches and salads will keep you going on the longest of shopping sprees.

The food is generally health-conscious (hence the abundance of salads and whole-wheat bread), with the exception of the cakes and muffins. Also, the place is lathered in hot pink and frilly fonts, making it look like the bedroom of a middle-school girl. All this combined with the fact that it is right in the center of the plaza makes it a hotspot for SMU women of all ages and with all sorts of credit cards.

Nonetheless, I have eaten there, left, and remained cootie-free, so I would recommend this place to any guy willing to at least wear a pink shirt.

The last place in Highland Park Village is the take-out or sit-down restaurant, Who’s Who burger. There is an interesting dynamic between the low-down burger joint it is trying to be and the upscale clientele that it serves. The result is the bastard child of two separate ideas with some very good, and some not so good, qualities.

The interior sports manufactured tacky wall signs, but this just comes across as dirty. There is a very small dining room upstairs (not unlike Celebrity Bakery) in addition to a few tables downstairs where you can eat your burger – which, by the way, is served to you in an ordinary fast-food paper bag.

The upstairs room is mirrored on one side with an odd-looking American flag light beneath the cylindrical ceiling, giving it the look of a miniature airplane hangar (with not much other decoration). The food, on the other hand, is where the upscale side comes into play. The menu is incredibly short, with options of half- or one-third-pound regular or Kobe beef burgers. Your next choice is French fries or onion rings, and then you are finished.

They successfully recreate great burger-joint food, but fail at providing a great place to eat it. One last touch necessary to induct it into Highland Park is a small wine shelf next to the cashier with a limited selection of Champagne and wines ranging in price from fifteen to one hundred and fifty dollars.

So if you are looking for a place to warm up this season while shopping in Highland Park Village, take the snotty kid to Who’s Who, the SMU student to Celebrity Bakery, and whoever you’d like to Patrizio’s and Mi Cocina.

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