Gone is the pink formica, replaced by hunter green decor and dark wood. There are a few other aesthetic tweaks and changes, but overall, owner Jeff Snoyer is staying true to the longstanding tradition of the Highland Park Cafeteria, which opens tomorrow in what used to be the Casa Linda Cafeteria at Buckner and Garland.

Being a fairly new Dallasite, I didn’t know that Highland Park Cafeteria is actually a return to the restaurant’s original name — it was one of the franchises of the first Highland Park Cafeteria on Knox Street. When the company sold, part of the bargaining included a name change (it was a family business, Snoyer explained to me), but many of the Knox Street employees went over to the Casa Linda location. Councilman Gary Griffith says his phone lit up on the day this past January that patrons found a handwritten note on the door, telling them the restaurant was closed. (It was also one of Back Talk’s most popular blog posts, with Advocate readers bemoaning its demise.) Luckily, Snoyer bought the place updated it, obtained the rights to its original name, and has sworn to take it back to its roots. He even rehired some of the employees who were around before the Casa Linda name change and have been with the cafeteria as long as 40 years.

Snoyer’s first attempt to reach out to our neighborhood was an opening reception today, to which many nearby residents were invited. He was kind enough to include the Advocate on that list, and we greatly enjoyed the squash casserole and muffins we’ve heard so much about. The restaurant officially opens for business tomorrow, and it’s rumored that mayoral candidate Tom Leppert will be dining.

One thing I couldn’t figure out, and didn’t have a chance to ask about: A sign at the front of the line asked "Where are the presidents?" followed with an explanation that the restaurant is "attempting to locate and purchase the original set or a reasonable facsimile thereof." What is that referring to? If you know, post it here, and if you have information, call the restaurant at 214.324.5000.

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