Bishop Arts District is a popular leisure and dining area in north Oak Cliff, across the Trinity River from downtown Dallas.
The area was at its zenith in the 1920s and 1930s, when the warehouses and shops did a roaring trade and the trolley stop on Davis Street was the busiest in the city. The 1960s and subsequent decades saw Oak Cliff’s decline, brought about by the expansion of the shopping malls, the loss of big tenants and the fact that buses replaced trolleys, making the Davis stop unnecessary. Since the 1990s, Bishop Arts District has undergone a process of renovation and gentrification. The warehouses were converted into swanky boutiques and modern restaurants and murals lend a soft touch to the rough facades.
However, this process of gentrification has a negative side. Some tenants, like my favourite ice cream parlour Neveria La Michoacana, were forced to find new premises elsewhere due to a hike in rent. And gentrification has definitely not reached the surrounding areas yet. It is a study in contrasts.
Bishop Arts District is one of my favourite places in Dallas. I like the neighbourhood feel and the semi-industrial look of the former warehouses’ brick facades. Bishop Avenue is a nice place for a stroll and to window shop. Each store is different and independently owned, none of those national chains here. Artwork, unique jewellery, coffee and pies, barbeque and even cigars (I like the smell of the tobacco leaves) get my attention every time.
Where to eat in Bishop Arts District
Hattie’s (418 N Bishop Ave) is an “American bistro with a Southern low-country influence.” Damn right! I love their fried green tomato sandwich. Actually, every dish I’ve tried has been fresh, delicious and beautifully presented.
Lockhart Smoke House (400 W. Davis St.) serves up great barbeque in an informal atmosphere. Think self-serve counter and was paper in lieu of plates.
Eno’s Pizza Tavern (407 N Bishop Ave) is a fun pizzeria with a wide selection of local craft beers on tap. The thin crust pizza has creative toppings.
Espumoso Caffe (408 N. Bishop Ave #105) is a Latin café. The owner’s mother makes the empanadas herself. The coffee is very good and the pastries look amazing.
Lucia (408 W Eighth St) is a tiny Italian restaurant famous for its homemade pasta. I hear it is very difficult to secure a table. Be patient or book way, way in advance.
Boulevardier (408 N. Bishop Ave #108) serves French inspired fare.
Where to shop in Bishop Arts District
Dr. Cop’s Pop-Up Shop (506 N Bishop Ave) offers a fun selection of art, jewellery and home décor designed by its owner.
Bishop Street Market (419 N. Bishop Ave) offers cheeky cards, candles, art by local artists, body care lines and handbags.
Cigar Art (504 N Bishop Ave) sells artisan and microblend cigars. The have a lounge for customers to sit, relax and smoke cigars and it’s BYOB.
These are but a few options, some new and some of my old favourites. I hope you enjoy Bishop Arts District as much as I do.