When owner Ed Murph first heard about the prospect of purchasing Norma’s Cafe in 1986, he said he saw an opportunity to buy a restaurant that was not only a Dallas icon, but also a place he enjoyed as a child.
“As a kid, my parents took me [to Norma’s Cafe]to eat, and in high school it was the place to go to have French fries and a Coke, because that’s all the money you had,” Murph said. “It’s been around for so long that [it seems like]everybody in the world has eaten there.”
Norma’s Cafe first opened in Oak Cliff in 1956 when Norma Manis opened a cafe to support her family, Murph said.
Murph said when he took over, he wanted to make sure the restaurant still remained an old Texas cafe staple and to have its traditional hospitality be carried on. However, Murph said he did evolve the business by honing in on the recipes and using influences from his own grandmother and aunt.
“The two of them were phenomenal cooks, and I tweaked existing recipes and added some of their recipes to the menu,” Murph said.
Aside from tweaking the menu, Murph decided to expand the business by opening locations in other suburbs in Dallas and then in Frisco in March 2013.
In the Oak Cliff location, Murph said he would have customers from different cities—including Frisco—asking to open a Norma’s Cafe in their cities.
Norma’s Cafe serves homestyle Southern cooking, and customer favorites include chicken fried steak ($9.99), meatloaf ($9.99) and chicken tenders ($9.99), Murph said.
Norma’s Cafe is also known for its Mile-High cream pies ($2.99). This year in honor of Pi Day on March 14, Norma’s Cafe will be donating a portion of all pie sales to the robotics team of the School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into [Norma’s Cafe] and a lot of people contribute to make it happen, and without these folks it would not be the kind of place it is,” Murph said.
8300 Gaylord Parkway, Ste. 19, Frisco