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Saturday, October 23, 2021

One of Dallas’ oldest vegetarian restaurants is closing this weekend


A longtime vegetarian restaurant in Dallas is closing: Cosmic Café, which has been serving unpretentious vegetarian food on Oak Lawn Avenue for more than 25 years, is closing to make way for a yoga studio.


They’re closing on October 17.


The new tenant will be Sun Yoga Center, which is moving into the space and opening a facility that will offer donation-based yoga and meditation classes. According to the proprietors of the yoga center, the grand opening will be on November 6.


“We have made plans to reopen for yoga and meditation classes in the space now known as Cosmic Café at 2912 Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas,” says their statement. “Our focus will be on what we can offer our community, not what our community can offer us.”


Cosmic Cafe was founded as the Cosmic Cup by friends Praveen Sachdev and Kumar Pallana, who created a gentle little oasis with a menu of Indian and vegetarian food at a time when vegetarian options in Dallas were slim to none, making it a unique and valuable piece of the Dallas community, and a quirky counterpoint to Dallas’ shiny persona. (It also briefly had a location in Austin.)


As one of the only vegetarian restaurants in Dallas at the time, it was also a drop-in for vegetarian performers and celebrities passing through town.


The food was your prototypical post-hippie vegetarian with a comforting warmth in dishes such as the signature Buddha’s Delight, with curried vegetable of the day, dahl, samosa, pappadam, rice, and naan; and Cosmic Stir, with stir-fried asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, carrots, squash, snow peas, and tofu sauteed with a yogurt and ginger sauce and served over rice with a salad.


Most dishes were under $10, so it attracted younger diners and students, giving it a dose of hipness.


Glorious decor featuring Hindu artwork, Buddha statues, and other Indian motifs added to the peaceful hippie vibe, and a front porch overlooking Oak Lawn Avenue, draped with Tibetan prayer flags like a beacon, gave it a patio ahead of its time. It also had a meditation center on the second floor, where yoga classes were held, so the precedent was there.


Sachdev and Pallana ran the restaurant together until Pallana scored acting roles in a series of Wes Anderson films including Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums.


Eager to pursue a film career, he moved to California, and Sachdev took over the cafe full-time. (Pallana died in 2013.)


The café will be open for the rest of this week, giving fans time to pay their respects and get a final taste.

Source

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