Not many restaurants in Dallas have as loyal a following or as long a history as The Grape, the cozy Lower Greenville spot with the ever-rotating chalkboard menu that's been in biz for four decades now. Owner Brian Luscher is undoubtedly one of the city's most beloved chefs, but with several irons in the fire including a menu consulting gig for upcoming Taverna Rossa and a new spot in the works called Luscher's, it's chef de cuisine Danyele McPherson who's churning out that award-winning burger and housemade charcuterie that keeps folks coming back night after night.
Of course, McPherson has gained quite the following herself, thanks in part to an appearance on last season's Top Chef. Originally hailing from North Carolina where she got a degree in anthropology and once considered law school, she came to Dallas to intern at Stephan Pyles after attending the Culinary Institute of America and decided to stick around, joining The Grape as sous in 2011. Eater recently grilled McPherson on where she likes to eat when she's not behind the stove:
Favorite breakfast or brunch place?
I don't go out for brunch or breakfast often, but I love the Mexican Breakfast at All Good Cafe. A couple of eggs, black beans, salsa, tortillas and a cup of coffee. That's all I need.
Where do you go for a quick lunch?
Mot Hai Ba has this crispy pork belly and meatball dish that I dream about and it's only available at lunch.
Go-to late night spot?
Velvet Taco and The Libertine are in the rotation. DaLat on Fitzhugh serves a full menu till 2am and has everything from your standard pho to some Doritos-inspired Vietnamese cuisine.
Favorite date-night destination or place to splurge?
Tei-An is always mind-blowing. I love what Jeff Bekavac at Neighborhood Services is doing. The only problem with eating there is I always eat too much!
Favorite pizza place?
I love Cane Rosso. The new White Rock location is awesome and they have a secret cocktail named after me, Thyme of the Ginger. I can't wait to try Jay Jerrier's latest place, Zoli's in Oak Cliff.
Best burger in the city?
I hate to be a homer, but I still think The Grape rocks the best burger. If I'm not eating our burger, I have to go with Maple & Motor. I like simple when it comes to burgers. I don't need foie gras and truffles.
Favorite ethnic food spots?
Nora down on Lowest Greenville and Vietnam consistently hit the spot.
Any other favorite Dallas places or hidden gems?
Not exactly a hidden gem, but I love Chuy's. HG Sply Co. and Bolsa both have great food and a fun ambiance. Stampede 66 is a beautiful homage to Texas both in cuisine and style.
Any favorite destination restaurants to hit when you're traveling in other cities?
Not exactly the kind of place you just drop in, but Meadowood in Napa was probably the most amazing meal I've had in my life. Frances in San Francisco and Animal in L.A. are two of my favorite restaurants of all time. If for some reason you find yourself in Chapel Hill or Carrboro, NC you have to hit up Carrburritos, Lantern, Mediterranean Deli and pick up a seeded ciabatta from Weaver St. Market and eat it on the lawn.
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