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I’m at UNT Dallas, where should I eat lunch?

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By Shawn Williams

The whole “Southern Sector” issue makes for good campaign promises and campaign fodder.  But for those of us who live in Southern Dallas, these are real concerns that persist everyday and pop up when you least expect them to.  Since our newsroom is at South Side on Lamar (75215 – South Dallas-ish baby), there are multiple options at lunchtime within walking distance.  But yesterday I had a meeting at the University of North Texas at Dallas, and after it was done I was rather famished.

I thought about what I had a taste for and it took about 2 seconds to come up with Chipotle.  Last year I made a request via Twitter to Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) asking them to consider opening a Southern Dallas location.  While I did get a kind response as of yet, no burritos on the south side.  So unless I wanted to hit the West End,  that was out.

View UNT Dallas Dining Options in a full screen map

So then I thought about other more realistic options (besides the new eating spot on campus)?  Well about 3/4 miles north on Houston School….er….University Hills Drive, the Glenview Market serves Krispy Krunchy Chicken.   Don’t expect me to hate on Krispy Krunchy.  Since my barber turned me on to the cajun recipe 6 months ago, I’m a fan.  But yesterday wasn’t the day.

Another quarter mile north was Williams Chicken.  Um….no, or corn fritters that day.  Heading west on Camp Wisdom about a mile down were Jack in the Box and McDonald’s.  Both of those locations are relatively new and admittedly welcome compared to say, nothing.  But I started to ask myself what would one do for lunch if they work at UNT Dallas.  Where do you go for a decent bite?

There are many diverse dining options if you are on faculty or staff at SMU or the University of Texas at Arlington.  But if you are at UNT Dallas, your choices are VERY limited.  If you really want to get a decent meal off campus, you’re really looking to head over to the I-20/Hampton/Wheatland area.

Wheatland Towne Crossing is 4 1/2 miles away and offers nice variety, especially for those who live southward.  There’s Chili’s, Chick-Fil-A and Burger King.  On the other side of the highway on Hampton is Cheddar’s.  Then another half mile down on Whealtand is Spring Creek Barbecue and a few other fast food options.

Fortunately the second thing that popped into my mind for lunch was Panda Express.  My first thought was Pinnacle Park, but then I remembered the Panda Express built on Wheatland within the last year.  So 5 miles after I left UNT-D I was there.  But that would seriously cut into a lunch break to drive 5 miles.  And if you wanted to take a potential faculty member or donor for a bite to eat after a meeting, I doubt you’d choose Krispy Krunchy, so five miles it is.

The discussions about comprehensive development in the Southern Dallas are real.  Mayoral candidate Edward Okpa has been highlighting how long it took to get basic infrastructure (street/water/power) improvements to the area surrounding UNT Dallas.  We’ve got to a great New U in Oak Cliff but to really make it attractive there need to be more amenities in close proximity, even in its first life as a commuter school.

If the City of Commerce (pop. 9,352) can provide for livable/workable environment for Texas A&M Commerce, Dallas should be able to do the same for UNT-D. OK, now what’s for lunch?

  • Fabian Sanchez

    Great story! I can definitely relate to this dilemma. It is very expensive to have lunch on campus, plus some of the staff are really rude. I have stopped going to our local cafeteria and opted to go to some of the restaurants you have mentioned in your piece, but as you mentioned they are not close to school. I believe that some restaurants should start opening on University Hills Blvd. since the university is going to grow soon. Not a bad idea for some big chain restaurants to start looking into this area. Thank you for addressing this issue.

  • Woodrow Mom

    When I look at the response cards from property owners whose neighborhoods are up for rezoning and I see comments like “there’s already too much retail in this area” it makes me wonder why the city steers businesses where there is already a glut of development instead of to areas wehre there is none.

  • Neville Mason

    I am a student at UNT-Dallas and thought about getting a group of students together to support Paul Quinn. We would drive to Paul Quinn and eat in there cafeteria for lunch. I understand your concern, however, many of the students going to UNT-Dallas live in other areas outside of Oak Cliff. Many of them eat at home to save money or simply stop on there way to campus. Students are not typically going to eat at mid-price or expensive restaurants regardless if they attend SMU or UTA-Arlington. That is why both the Burger King on Mockingbird and the numerous fast food restaurants abound on Collins.

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