Chef Mark Wootton - Texas House Farm to Table Caucus Dinner
Chef Mark Wootton - Texas Summer Salad
July 25, 2012
“What a meal it can be. The Thursday special is the most wonderful, authentic chicken-fried steak I’ve had in Dallas since the legendary Bishop Grill closed.
Garden Cafe treats home-style cooking like the lost art it’s become, something to be treasured when you chance upon the real thing.”
June 11, 2012
Art Saveur is a new organization for people who share an interest in both art and dining. Their slogan is: “Blending Passion for Art, Food, and Wine into Art-Inspired Gourmet Meals.”
April 6, 2014
“Opened 12 years ago by retired Dallas lawyer Dale Wootton, the cafe is a casual, neighborhood eatery with a standard fare of breakfast and lunch items. With an affinity for gardening, Wootton deemed the large backyard behind the cafe the perfect setting for outdoor seating surrounded by a variety of garden crops.
His son Mark took the lead for the cafe in 2010 after earning his food prep cred by working his way up from dishwasher to cook in several local restaurants. The younger Wootton felt the quality of the ingredients used in the kitchen should be of utmost importance, a sentiment that propelled the garden to the center of attention for the family business.”
‘“Okra is another item I have a very personal connection with,” say Wootton. “We grew okra every summer, and I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Mostly because it’s incredibly delicious raw, sautéed, fried or whatever the heck else you want to do with it, but also because I made lots of money off of it. Suckers sold lemonade for a quarter; I sold bags of okra for 5 bucks.”’
March 26, 2013
“Spring’s arrival means the dozens of rows behind Garden Cafe will soon be even more colorful and bountiful, with romaine, Arugula, chives, green onions, and many other offerings soaking up the sun as the weather begins to warm. There’s a sizable dining area in the garden, covered with a vine-laden pergola amid the arched footpaths that lead from bed to bed, and even a brightly colored coop with a few chickens pecking around inside.
But it’s not just the outside of Garden Cafe that merits mention – sure, it’s the namesake, but the inside of this 90-plus-year-old building doesn’t lack for comfort and charm, either. Large windows at the front and one at the back give the warmly wooded interior plenty of natural light, while a chalkboard menu and a walk-up register ensure a casual atmosphere. A La Marzocco Strada espresso machine is dutifully attended in the corner, and the atmosphere is light with the murmur of conversation.”
Photos taken by Rich Vana
“There’s a real garden out back, with chickens. The center was supposed to be an office building, but lawyer Dale Wootton had other ideas when he purchased it in 1991. “The previous owners gave him plans for an office building and parking lot,” says Mark Wootton, Dale’s son and manager of Garden Cafe. “He spent a lot of time and money to renovate what was there.” Indeed, if you go to the website, there’s a photo of the boarded-up brick edifice.”
Photo taken by Melinda Ortley
Mark prides himself on working with local farmers and even pulling from the garden in the back to help him work with as he says, “The Best Possible Ingredients.” The Garden Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, but occasionally has dinner events like poetry reading and movie nights. The tranquility has even led some guest to have weddings and events at the scenic locale.
Dallas Observer Interview
April 11, 2012
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Garden Café is one of several little neighborhood jewels tucked away in East Dallas. The breakfast and lunch spot’s most distinguishing feature is the large garden behind the quaint white brick building in which it sits. Plots of herbs and rows of veggies keep the butterflies and bees busy, and also supply a homegrown touch to many of the plates served.
I recently spoke with Mark Wootton, who is the cook, manager and also the owner’s son. He’s worked hard for the past two years to bring the restaurant back from the brink of closing. We talked to him about that and more in this week’s chef interview.
NBC Article by Annie Potaznik along with a short video!
“Hard to find, but well worth the drive, Garden Café offers a dining experience unlike any other in the city. It’s a place where nature and nutrition are hand in hand.
A café where children are encouraged to learn about the environment and adults can take a break, relax and recharge in Mother Earth’s green surroundings.”
“This cafe is a great source of pride for the proprietors, and their enthusiasm is contagious.”
“Salons where the intelligentsia and artsy cliques gather are usually well-kept secrets. One such spot is Garden Cafe on Junius Street – tucked behind Gaston Avenue off Munger Boulevard in a tiny, antiquated neighborhood strip center. Here, local artists, doctors, judges and rockers commingle over hearty breakfast lunch and occasional dinners, followed by poetry readings, which were a tradition in Wootton’s home for 10 years. An avid gardener and cook, owner Wootton opened the Garden Cafe due to loud encouragement from friends who loved his cooking. Fresh ingredients are key, and specialties include sweet-potato pancakes and the garden omelet. An outdoor eating area behind the cafe overlooks the gardens, where vegetables and fresh herbs abound.”
Dallas Morning News
“Garden Cafe has a cult of devout fans…It’s not that Garden Cafe is some insanely great restaurant, though it’s breakfast and home-cooking lunches are certainly good. The regulars’ protectiveness has more to do with the accessibility and personality of the place, with the sense that it’s theirs. It has a funky-casual brightness…The building…is the dream project of attorney Dale Wootton, who offices there as well. He’s done a lovely job, with awnings, fresh scrubbed facades and nice landscaping. Even the paved parking area is impeccable. Typical entrees: meatloaf, chicken n’ dumplings, baked chicken…Vegetables might include broccoli, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, carrots or coleslaw”
By Spencer Michlin
“Hidden away on an East Dallas block so quiet that it’s almost a secret, this delightful breakfast and lunch place boasts some of the freshest, most delicious food in town and a delightful patio surrounded by flower, herb and vegetable gardens. You’ll feel that you’ve traveled back to a time and place when food tasted better and time moved slower.”