Neighbors started a GoFundMe to help the respected cook

A numbered shirt representing the year Mr. B started working at Highland Park Cafeteria. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Highland Park Cafeteria was known not just for home cooking made from decades-old recipes, but faithful employees who knew your name and order when you walked in the door. The most well known was Ernest Bowens, better known as Mr. B.

Mr. B started working at Highland Park Cafeteria in 1956 and was still cooking decades later. In a 2016 feature, the Advocate wrote:

If you’ve lived in East Dallas for any meaningful amount of time, you have most likely eaten his food. Mr. B has been working the kitchen at Highland Park Cafeteria since 1956 and today, at 84 years old, he is still cooking as the head of the popular restaurant’s kitchen. He’s seen the business through multiple locations, owners and dozens of employees over the years, but he doesn’t have any plans to hang up his apron — retirement is not for Mr. B.

It took a global pandemic to close Highland Park Cafeteria. On May 11, owner Jeff Snoyer announced that the restaurant was closing after 95 years in business. Neighbors were eager to share on social media what made the eatery so special.

Although we don’t know what will happen to the cooks and staff members who faithfully served generations of diners, we know they became more like family.

Neighbors started a GoFundMe that has accumulated nearly $700 to help the 89-year-old cook after losing his job.

“Mr. B’s work ethic is truly inspirational,” neighbor Porsla Duszynski said on the fundraiser. “Please help me  inspire him with our respect, gratitude and admiration. I want Mr. B to have a proper retirement sendoff! Help me lift his spirits.”

Read the full story on Mr. B’s life and career here.

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