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Texas Hunger Relief Organizations Urge Legislators to Make It Easier for Seniors to Sign Up for Food Assistance

Plus, a new location for Dream Cafe and more DFW dining intel

Two masked men in orange safety vests load boxes of food into the bed of a white pickup truck at a food bank.
The North Texas Food Bank will lobby to Texas legislature tomorrow to pass a bill making SNAP benefits easier to apply for.
North Texas Food Bank/Facebook

Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.

North Texas Food Bank to join statewide Day Of Action addressing senior hunger

The North Texas Food Bank will join a statewide coalition of food insecurity advocates tomorrow to ask the Texas government to simplify the application process for senior citizens to get SNAP benefits. SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a federal program that helps low-income Americans buy food. In Texas, only 50 percent of the senior citizens eligible for SNAP benefits are enrolled in a program — a number advocates attribute to the complicated online application process.

The North Texas Food Bank and other groups are asking the Texas lege to pass a bill that would dramatically simplify the process. The bill was filed in part by Senator Royce West of Dallas. Other states that have passed similar bills have seen increased participation in SNAP, better senior nutritional health, and lower state administrative and healthcare costs.

Frozen winter weather may be bad news for crawfish season

Just as crawfish season truly begins, crawfish farmers who supply mudbugs to Dallas-area restaurants are nervously waiting to see how this year’s catch will be affected by winter storms Uri and Viola. This year’s crawfish season was already off to a slow start thanks to the coronavirus and weather issues from 2020, and crawfish farmers who supply the food to restaurants like Fish City Grill and Shell Shack won’t know for about two weeks if the massive freeze disrupted the life cycle of the crustaceans.

It’s been a hard year for crawfish growers. According to the Dallas Observer, COVID-19 restrictions and restaurant closures meant farmers were only able to sell about one-fifth of the crawfish they caught in 2020. Hurricanes like Laura, which hit the Texas-Louisiana border in late August 2020, also disrupted the animals’ life cycle. For now, farmers won’t know until March if the season is a bust, or just delayed for a few weeks.

Dream Cafe will get new digs

Dream Cafe, the long-running vegetarian-friendly restaurant located in Uptown, is getting a new address. The cafe will move to 2811 McKinney Avenue by early summer, CultureMap reports. That’s the former address of longtime sports bar Christie’s, which closed due to the coronavirus shutdown in July but is reopening on Greenville Avenue. Dream Cafe first opened on Knox Street in 1986. before moving to its current address in the Quadrangle in 1988. It was one of the first restaurants in Dallas to serve vegan and vegetarian fare, and is known for its brunches and artsy clientele. The new location will include a courtyard perfect for al fresco dining.

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