When Brownie’s restaurant opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1945 it must have made quite a splash.
There was eye-catching signage – the name Brownie’s was displayed in neon in huge golden letters above the door that lit up the whole neighborhood at night. There was a portrait of the big-eyed, wide-eyed but friendly pixie mascot called Brownie.
Food was a mix of Mexican and American tastes and, at one point, the restaurant claimed to be open 24 hours a day, with freshly baked biscuits served to early-bird customers.
Partly because of its elaborate décor, Brownie’s was a popular location for filming and featured on the television series Walker, Texas Ranger, starring veteran character actor Bruce McGill as the bad guy. The actor also played time cop Captain Braxton in Star Trek: Voyager and Al the Bartender/God in the series Quantum Leap.
Brownie’s, which was on East Grand Street, also featured in the 1986 cult film True Stories, directed by Talking Heads' David Byrne, about a small Texas town called Virgil filled with strange, musical characters.
The restaurant survived until 1996 - more than 50 years. But it had an ignominious end – it was shuttered after county officials, who had issued food violations over several years, finally gave the place its marching orders.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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