One of The Mermaid Bar’s most requested entrees, the Mermaid Sampler, features a half-sandwich with tuna, bacon and pecans, along with chicken salad, tomato soup, fruit salad and chips. Photo by Rasy Ran

In 1965 NorthPark Center hosted its grand opening — as did Neiman Marcus, the upscale clothing store in its southwest corner. Inside Neiman Marcus was a small coffee bar, The Mermaid Bar, where daytime shoppers could grab a bite to eat. The Mermaid Bar was surprisingly popular, and a few years later it expanded to accommodate larger crowds. Fifty years later, Neiman Marcus and The Mermaid Bar are the only originals left at NorthPark. The café has survived on excellent service and reliably good food, says Chad Boyle, the general manager of restaurants at Neiman Marcus. The nostalgia effect doesn’t hurt, either. “This is the destination of ladies’ lunches in Dallas,” Boyle says. “The grandmothers brought the mothers, and the mothers brought the daughters, and that’s how it’s been for 50 years. It’s not well publicized. You have to know that it’s here, but everyone just knows that The Mermaid is here.” Boyle looks across the room and points out a diner who has been eating at the café for upward of 42 years. Staff member Paul Arenas boasts that he’s been working at The Mermaid since ’85, and that’s not unusual. Several of the kitchen staff have been there at least that long. Customers are treated like family, and some of the regulars bring the staff Christmas presents during the holidays. The menu is made up of “simple American recipes,” Boyle says. The Mermaid Sampler, which includes a cup of soup, a cup of fruit and half a chicken salad sandwich, is by far the most popular dish. “There’s nothing fabulous or fancy about what we serve,” Boyle says. “It’s the consistency that brings them back.” But if you have a chance to order the fried calamari, you won’t regret it.

The Mermaid Bar
NorthPark Center
8687 N. Central
Suite 400

Hours:  10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Fri
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat
Noon-6 p.m. Sun

Ambiance: Nostalgic

Price:  $6-$20

Did you know?
The Mermaid Bar features whimsical murals by Danish artist Bjorn Wiinblad commissioned by Stanley Marcus in the 1960s.