Brinker had East Dallas ties

Norman Brinker, who died Tuesday at age 78, was internationally known for his conglomerate of chain restaurants. But long before that, he was a big fish in East Dallas. Brinker opened his first Dallas restaurant, Brink’s Coffee Shop, at Gaston and North Carroll avenues. It’s a Laundromat now. The picture at the right is how the old restaurant looks today, but I can imagine it in all of its Kip’s Big Boy-ish glory.

Back Talk reader Kyle Rains remembers that the first Steak and Ale was on Lemon Avenue, but that East Dallasites went to the one on Northwest Highway, where the big Half Price Books store is now. The company, of course,

closed the first Chili’s on Greenville

almost two years ago.

Brinker got his start in the restaurant business in California. When he moved to Dallas in the early 1960s with his wife, professional tennis star Maureen Connolly Brinker, they settled in a big white colonial revival at 3727 Frontier Lane. Their daughters Brenda and Cindy attended Lakewood Elementary, and they lived in the house until Maureen died in 1969. Joy and Russell Miller live there now. The stables where Brinker started raising polo ponies was still there when the Millers moved in about 12 years ago, but they burned down shortly after that, Joy Miller said.

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