SMU students have come to frequent a number of restaurants near campus, depending on mood, time of day, and amount of alcohol consumed. For all those times you know what you want but not where to get it, this guide to popular restaurants for SMU students can help.
When You Need Caffeine: Sip Stir Cafe
Sometimes (always?) the Starbucks on campus has long lines, no tables, and you're sick of sitting in a space that vaguely resembles a hospital waiting room. When this happens, a short drive down 75 brings you to the mecca of steaming hot lattes, fresh pastries (and breakfast brought in from different bakeries/restaurants on weekends), and the right aesthetic to pump out a few hours worth of homework.
What to get: One of their weekly specials. Or, if you're me, a hot chai tea latte.
Before a Night Out: The Standard Pour
This classic comfort food spot is a hit among SMU students for two very important reasons: the giant moscow mule and the mac n' cheese. The mule is so large that you can't order it for less than 4 people. If that seems strict, keep in mind that it's rumored to have an entire bottle of titos inside. The mac n' cheese is a big, gooey skillet of cheese and pasta, and that's something I could always use. The Standard Pour is a mouthwatering choice on weekends before a night out, so head over there to fill all of your cravings.
What to get: The "big-ass mule."
Late Night Munchies: Cafe Brazil
Time seems to stop at this all-night diner across 75. They have anything you could possibly crave, at any hour of the day. Step in at noon or 2 am and the atmosphere will seem almost identical. The unlimited coffee bar with unusual flavors (I've seen marshmallow) make Cafe Brazil a popular study spot for SMU students who know they'll be up late. The staff, ready for creative 3 am recipes, create a welcoming atmosphere for students just coming back from a night out.
What to get: Literally anything you want—the menu never ends.
Your Parents Are Visiting: Mi Cocina
Mi Cocina serves stellar Tex-Mex and is slightly more upscale than Gloria's. MiCo is owned by the Mcrowd restaurant group, which also operates Taco Diner and the Mercury. Their sunset sauce, which is named for the mouth-watering color of cheese used in it, is something you won't see anywhere else, and they can put it on almost anything on their menu (see photo above). MiCo is also not a limitation only for when your parents come, but know that it can hurt your bank account after a few too many margaritas.
What to get: The queso blanco and many, many mambo taxis.
Greasy Breakfast/Lunch: Bubba's Country Cafe
Bubba's is and has been a staple of SMU food for decades. My roommate's grandparents take her here because they used to go to weekend lunches together here when they were students. Bubba's fried chicken is the definition of comfort food, and the rolls they serve with your meal are pillowy and addictive. They also serve breakfast until 11 am, so if you wake up earlyish after a night out, they hold the cure to all of your hangovers in the form of eggs and pancakes. Moral of the story: go to Bubba's, thank me later.
What to get: Fried chicken and an extra roll.
Sushi: Sushi Axiom
Sushi Axiom has unusual appetizers and a fun drink menu (hello, fruity concoctions) that keep SMU students coming back. The restaurant is very open inside and has super quick service, allowing for group dinners with no reservation needed. Sushi Axiom is great for those times when you're sick of Tex-Mex and need lighter fare before a night out.
What to get: The tuna tower and a green appletini.
Cheap and Suitable for Every Meal: Velvet Taco
Let's face it, Dallas wouldn't be Dallas without Velvet. This restaurant works for any occasion, whether for lunch or for late nights. They have casual indoor seating and patio space, as well as innovative tacos (shrimp and grits!) and spicy corn. Be sure to save room for their signature red velvet cake dessert.
What to get: The tater tots with goat cheese and bacon. And tacos. Always tacos.
Brunch and Live Music: The Rustic
This indoor and outdoor bar filled with Texas-themed decorations and food is definitely a scene, but in a good way. On most weekends, you'll find the long tables outside occupied entirely by SMU students enjoying jam and toast brunches and drinks that come in goblets. Their bar is always formulating new concoctions, so check their Instagram for off-the-menu drinks to order (seriously, the frosé). Live music happens almost every night as well, with rotating bands from around the area. The Rustic is genuinely not a place to be missed.
What to get: The jam and toast brunch and a strawberry daquerita (yes, the one with the popsicle).
Dallas has so many popular restaurants with food that appeals to everyone that it's hard to choose where to eat. I never run out of places to show my parents when they visit (though my dad always insists on a visit to Velvet Taco). It's always fun to find new restaurants that are undiscovered by the students of SMU, but at the same time, the classics are stellar options that I never seem to get tired of.