Norma’s Cafe celebrates 60th anniversary this month

davis cafe

Norma’s Cafe celebrates its 60th anniversary this month.

The big celebration, on Thursday, June 23, includes 1950s pricing on three menu favorites. Chicken fried steak, meatloaf and chicken and dressing, served with green beans and mashed potatoes, will cost $1.79 that day.

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The restaurant now known as Norma’s Cafe started out as Bob McGhee’s Davis Cafe. McGhee was Norma Smith’s well-known husband, who played baseball for Adamson High School and Southern Methodist University and was recruited to baseball’s minor leagues as a right-handed pitcher around 1950.

After McGhee injured his arm, they started the cafe in the 1000 block of West Davis. The couple split in the 1960s, and Norma moved the restaurant to its current location. She and her family lived in the house directly behind the restaurant for years.

Norma Smith Manis sold the restaurant to customer Ed Murph in 1986 (so this year also marks the 30th anniversary of Murph’s ownership). Manis missed the restaurant business so much that her daughters helped her start Mama’s Daughters Diner on Irving Boulevard around 1990.

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Murph has expanded Norma’s to Far North Dallas and Farmers Branch over the past few years, and a fourth cafe, near NorthPark Center, is expected to open soon.

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