Chef Tom Fleming, who was the chef at Central 214 at Hotel Palomar in East Dallas for many years, has opened his own place, Crossroads Diner at 8121 Walnut Hill near Greenville, not far from our neighborhood. Lake Highlands blogger Carol Toler visited the restaurant last week. Here’s what she had to say about it:

When I visited Crossroads Diner for a taste test, I brought along 20 friends from Lake Highlands Women’s League to give me their opinions (plus I got to eat off their plates – my momma didn’t raise no dummy).

Crossroads opened about two months ago in the old Cantina Laredo space, with Chef Tom Fleming and his wife Karen partnering with restaurateur Carl Strelecki. Tom has worked in Dallas for 13 years at places like Central 214, Hotel Palomar and Riviera and was a chef in Chicago 12 years before that. When Karen came over to greet our group and chat us up, Jane Stadelmann was impressed. “Hats off to her for working with her husband in the restaurant business,” Jane praised, “it’s a challenge.” The rest of us chuckled. Jane isn’t often seen behind the counter of her husband’s restaurant, Café Max.

Crossroads serves up diner-style favorites like meat loaf, fried chicken and mac & cheese with flair. They also offer delicious breakfast foods, served all day.

We started by sharing a cinnamon sticky bun, a swirly mound of caramely goodness. But eat ‘em when they get to your table, don’t wait until they’re cool and crusty.

I enjoyed my spinach, bacon and goat cheese quiche, more custard than egg with a crispy crust. I kept reaching across the table for Pam Brown’s buttermilk pancakes, which were flavorful and moist. Donna Mason, who’d eaten there before, said their healthy whole wheat pancakes were just as tasty.

Jane was happy with her Applewood bacon and white cheddar frittata, served with hash browns and toast. Beth Hanks had praise for her roasted beet and blue cheese salad, with oven-roasted beets and toasted walnuts (she paid a little extra for the added salmon on top).

Jana Boswell raved about the “great blend of tastes” on her curry chicken salad sandwich, but said she’ll opt for the white bread next time instead of the denser, nutty wheat bread which competed with the flavors in the curry. Paula Davis savored her “delicious” clam chowder and appreciated the friendliness of the attentive waitstaff. Jackie Counts nearly cleaned her plate, enjoying her “quite tasty” hot ham and cheddar on croissant, served with homemade chips.

Crossroads is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7am to 2pm, serving breakfast and lunch. Plans to serve dinner Thursday through Saturday are “on hold,” Karen said, until they can hire just the right staff and solidify a loyal following. When they do, I’m likely to sample their delicious-sounding desserts, including apple crisp and chocolate cake, and choose from their wine and beer selections. —Carol Toler

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