Live local: The lowdown on neighborhood businesses

Updates on Norma's Cafe, Zen Sushi, Hula Hotties and more ...

Norma’s Café recently purchased two vintage fire engines: a 1975 Ford Fire Truck and a 1944 Mack Fire Truck. Spokeswoman Emily Frauhiger says the trucks need restoration and inspection before they can be used for parades and car shows. Another upcoming treat is the café’s mini pie — a bite-sized version of Norma’s traditional mile-high pies. Frauhiger says the pies are still being perfected, but will be available soon. The flavors are: chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, lemon and coconut crème. A single mini pie is $1.99; a set of three is $4.99. 214.946.4711, normascafe.com, 1123 W. Davis.

The McDonald’s off Cockrell Hill and West Illinois has been a neighborhood fixture for 25 years and recently underwent a massive remodel. “We started in mid-September, and technically it was finished the last week of December, but we’re still working on the details,” says Even Chronister, director of operations. Owners Jeff and Jerry Smith, who also own three other McDonald’s locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, wanted to make this location more family-friendly, so they removed the outdoor playground to install a spacious indoor playground, equipped with a separate toddler section. Other additions include a double-lane drive-through with new monitors, tile walls, two televisions inside the dining area, and a full “McCafé” coffee line. Chronister says employees also were beneficiaries of the remodel: They now have a new break room, a training center and a more spacious front counter. “I think we provide a really nice environment for both adults and kids,” Chronister says. 214.330.4873, mcdonalds.com, 4223 W. Illinois.

Zen Sushi is trading its sushi knives for a crawfish pot during the Mardi Gras Oak Cliff festivities Saturday, March 6. Michelle Carpenter, executive chef and founder, is half Japanese and half Cajun, and she invited her Cajun family from Louisiana to help her with the Bishop Arts District crawfish boil at 3 p.m. A $15 advance ticket includes admission and a pound of crawfish; unsold tickets can be purchased at the door for $20. Zen Sushi also is bringing back its Secret Sushi Society on the last Wednesday of every month. The seven- to 10-course meal for $80 includes dessert from nearby Rush Patisserie. 214.946.9699, zensushidallas.com, 380 W. Seventh.

Neighborhood stores Make Shop & Studio and CocoAndrè are teaming up Friday, March 25, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for a class demonstrating the how-tos of chocolate molds, truffles and fruit dipping. The class is $55 per student. 214.256.3061, themakesite.com, 313 N. Bishop; 214.941.3030, cocoandre.com, 831 W. Davis.

Hula Hotties Café and Bakery recently added Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch to its schedule. Owners Jill Inforzato and Roger Simpson say they received numerous customer requests to stay open Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant already was closed Mondays, and dropped Tuesdays and Wednesdays to focus on the remaining four days of the week — “the main days when people seem to come out to Bishop Arts,” Inforzato says. Saturday night’s menu will cater to dinner dates, and Inforzato plans to continue Thursday night spaghetti dinners because business has been booming. 214.943.2233, 244 W. Davis.

Oil and Cotton will host Spring Art Camp for Kids from March 14-16. Participants can choose any or all of the half-day camp events with sessions from 9 a.m.-noon, 9:15-10:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Each class is $25-$40 and includes art forms such as sculpture, printmaking, crafting and painting. oilandcotton.com, 837 W. Seventh.

Beginning March 2, Decanter will hold a wine tasting night every Wednesday, 3-5 p.m, with Oak Cliff Cellars. The $15 cost covers wine and hors d’oeuvres. Decanter also will host an interactive cooking class on March 7 led by executive chef Tony Gardizi. The hands-on class for up to 20 people will divide participants into groups, and each group will prep, cook and plate one course. The $80-a-person class includes food and wine. 214.948.0644, decanterrestaurant.com, 408 N. Bishop.

Do you know of a neighborhood business renovating, expanding, moving, launching, hosting an event, celebrating an anniversary, offering a special or something else noteworthy? Send the information to livelocal@advocatemag.com or call 214.292.0487.


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  • Kathy Fox Hardin

    I was just wondering what happened to Vitto’s in the Arts District? It was so good and then it was gone.