Pitmaster Jaime Salazar cuts sausage at Lakewood's First & 10 in Dallas on Aug. 10, 2018. Smokey John's is using the restaurant because their own building is under construction after it was burned-down. (Carly Geraci/The Dallas Morning News)

Pitmaster Jaime Salazar cuts sausage at Lakewood's First & 10 in Dallas on Aug. 10, 2018. Smokey John's is using the restaurant because their own building is under construction after it was burned-down. (Carly Geraci/The Dallas Morning News)

Carly Geraci/Staff Photographer

Oak Cliff is gearing up for their second annual festival focused on food and culture.

"I've been with the organization 12 years," says Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce president Kiyundra Gulley. "The organization has been around 99 years. And in that time we've done a lot of galas and golf tournaments and things like that. Last year we just decided we didn't want to do it anymore. Our community was starving for something else."

So the chamber decided to change their signature event and feed the people by creating the Taste of Oak Cliff. Last year's event exceeded expectations, bringing out 6,300 attendees. But it also brought out teachable moments, like how unpredictable North Texas weather can be. Last year's event on April 7 was held in bitter 32-degree temps. Obviously there are no guarantees on what Mother Nature will bring this year, but it's safe to say the restaurants participating will make it worthwhile. Coat, or no coat. 

Juan and Brent Reaves, left to right, are brothers and co-owners of Smokey John's BBQ.

Juan and Brent Reaves, left to right, are brothers and co-owners of Smokey John's BBQ.

Jeffrey McWhorter/Special Contributor
Soul of Dallas bus tours combine food and restaurants with black history

"Right now there are about 28 different food vendors," board member John C. Williams Jr. says. "From Daddy Mac's Fried Chicken, to Smokey John's Bar-B-Que, to Kuby's, we're covering a plethora of food items in general. We were looking for vendors that were Oak Cliff related, but we wanted to open it up to everybody."

And that strategic inclusion garners an opportunity for much-needed positive exposure for the community. 

"All too often Oak Cliff is seen as this terrible place to be," Gulley says. "But there's a sense of pride here. The beautiful thing about this event is that it puts Oak Cliff on full display. And it shows outsiders how wonderful this place truly is."

Owner, Gary McMillian of Daddy Mac's Chicken, hands out menus to attendees of the Soul of Dallas Bus tour in Dallas, Saturday, March 16 2019. 

Owner, Gary McMillian of Daddy Mac's Chicken, hands out menus to attendees of the Soul of Dallas Bus tour in Dallas, Saturday, March 16 2019. 

Clarence Hodrick III/Special Contributor

Other vendors include The Local Oak, Picole Pops, Tacodeli, Snappy Catfish, Taqueria Taxco and Who Dat Dogz.

The Taste of Oak Cliff kicks off Saturday, May 4, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 10th Street and S. Beckley Avenue. General admission is $5 at the door. tasteofoakcliff.com

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