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Jimmy's Food Store

2 Ratings: 4.0
Neighborhood Italian market in an eclectic Old East Dallas neighborhood

Jimmy's is open Monday - Saturday 9:00 - 7:30, the sandwich counter closes at 7:00.   Phone: 214.823.6180   Fax 214.823.2104   4901 Bryan Street at Fitzhugh   Dallas TX, 75206

1 review about Jimmy's Food Store

Jimmy's Food Store: The quintessential Italian market (in Old East Dallas)

  • Aug 5, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
My first brush with Jimmy's Food Store was several years ago, when the little market was listed in D Magazine's annual "Best of Big D" issue, under "Best Cuban Sandwich". My curiousity was piqued. I didn't know exactly what constituted a Cuban Sandwich, or why it was the specialty of an Italian market named "Jimmy's" in East Dallas, but I knew I would have to try one.

We live in McKinney, a far northern Dallas Suburb, so driving 40 miles each way for a sandwich did not come easy for my husband. He's not so anxious to escape the generic chain restaurants or the virtually identical grocery store chains which rule suburbia.

So one evening, we went to Jimmy's, and I finally had that Cuban sandwich. And, it was a good sandwich. But the sandwich paled in comparison to the rest of the Jimmy's experience. I was hooked immediately.

I'm not the only one in love with Jimmy's Food Store. Just google "Jimmy's Food Store Dallas" to see the many who also love this place.

First of all, Jimmy's is located at 4901 Bryan Street, at Fitzhugh, in Old East Dallas. This is a very eclectic area, and many people may be frightened to go into this part of town. Personally, I say lock your car doors (like I do everywhere I go) and enjoy the neighborhood. To get to Jimmy's you may pass through areas of historic mansions, another block of what once were mansions, and even some areas of urban revival. There are lots of interesting businesses in the area, some of which I will write about here on Lunch (Tom Spicer's FM 1410), and some I haven't quite gotten around to yet (the Chupacabra Ice Cream shop in a former gas station). Note the Dallas school buildings that are so old that they don't have central air, as evidenced by the occasional window A/C/ unit.

Jimmy's is recognizable by its red, white and green awning. Park on either Bryan or Fitzhugh, but try to park close to one of the two doors because you might buy a lot of stuff that will need to be hauled to the car.

On the sidewalk, by each of the doors, there is likely to be an assortment of goods for sale. Sometimes it's onions or tomatoes in a box, sometimes a selection of large herb plants.

Entering the store, grab a cart. You'll probably use it. Around Christmas time, the cart area might be displaced by a huge display of Panettone cakes. Also near the carts is the produce, in a refrigerated case like you might recall from the 1970s or so. The produce seems to be very good, and surprisingly well priced.

Roaming the aisles, you will find many kinds of pasta, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, pepperoncini, crackers, cookies, and other Italian staples. Some of the labels are printed only in Italian. On the far aisles you will find many types of oils in various sizes, from the small bottles to the gallon cans. There are olive oils, avocado oils, and many others. Vinegars too, especially the balsamics. Check the expiration dates on whatever you decide to buy.

The refrigerator case on the far wall is quite possibly the area's best selection of interesting beverages: Dublin Dr. Pepper, Italian sodas, coffee sodas, root beers, cream sodas, sparkling waters, even ginger beer. They also have some chilled beers and wines. You'll never know what is going to be available, so just enjoy what is available on any given day.

The wine selection takes up several aisles in the middle of the store, and it is expansive. And, all Italian. Whatever the grape, if it is Italian, Jimmy's is likely to have it and at a very good price. Buy in bulk and get an even better price. If I recall, 12 - 23 bottles = 10% discount, 24 - 47 bottles = 15% discount, and if you can buy 48+ bottles and will pay with cash or debit, a whopping 20% discount. So if you want Chianti, Barolo, Sangiovese, Sicilia, Proseco, etc., Jimmy's has the variety and the price. Sign up for the email notifications if you are interested in tastings (some are free and some are pricey). And if you just drop in looking for wine, there is always someone there who can help. Don't be ashamed to ask for a good, cheap Chianti. Also, don't worry, they will help you load your car.

Whatever you do, don't ignore the back of the store. Check the whiteboard for available sandwiches. Keep in mind that the sandwiches are a huge draw, award winning. The Caprese sandwich is very good, ask for balsamic vinegar added if you like that. The Cuban sandwich, as you should already know, is famous. Say "yes" to the hot sauce. I have heard that all the sandwiches are available as a salad if you ask. The sandwiches are made to order and sometimes the wait is a little long. This is not the place if you are in a big hurry.

While you are waiting for your sandwich, check out the deli and meat cases. Jimmy's is famous for meats. On any given weekday, you might find area chefs purchasing meat for their restaurants. I've seen the chef from The Zodiac at Neiman Marcus purchasing Italian sausage at Jimmy's. Other restaurants do also. Me, I'm just thrilled to be able to buy a good sized hunk of pancetta for my home use, and I always enjoy the sausage shaped like a pig, with olive slices for eyes. I am disappointed when the sausage pig is gone. Also, check the cheeses as bulk parmesan from Italy is a steal at $9.99 / pound which is Jimmy's perpetual "special".

When your sandwich is finally ready, you might enjoy it at one of the small indoor tables. You can even purchase a bottle of wine to enjoy on the premises. And, if available, there is an intimate room in the back of the shop, known as "The Wine Room". Ask the cashier if the wine room is available.

Oh, and espresso is available at the cash register. $1 for a single shot and $2 for a double.

Jimmy's is open Monday - Saturday 9:00 - 7:30, the sandwich counter closes at 7:00.
Phone: 214.823.6180
Fax 214.823.2104
4901 Bryan Street at Fitzhugh
Dallas TX, 75206


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September 12, 2009
Thanks Amanda! We just moved to McKinney from out of state so I am trying to get the lay of the land and scope out some interesting places! Keep them coming.
 
August 05, 2009

Wow! Amanda, another great find. This place sounds as good as a Florence deli or market. I love it when you can find authentic meats and cheeses (and with Italian labels). How frequently do you make the trip?

I'm going to add the factual information at the end of your review to the wiki section on the right. You can do this too in future just by click on the wiki edit icon and pasting information into the box. Let me know if you have questions! Great review! 

August 11, 2009
Thanks for adding the wiki, and thank you for the compliments. Gosh, sometimes I go to Jimmy's twice a month, sometimes once in six months. If I think I will be within 10 miles of Jimmy's, I take a cooler and ice packs and stop in and stock up. I think this is the kind of place that one would find in an Italian neighborhood in New York City. Love it.
 
August 05, 2009
i love boutique places like this. not sure the next time i will be in Dallas, but i lived there for a couple years and i'm really bummed i never made it to Jimmys. These types of places have been a dying breed for a while now... nice to see someone like you taking the time to point it out and hopefully send some more business there way to keep them going for years to come. thanks!
August 05, 2009
it is extremely sad for avid world travelers like myself to see these kind of unique stores become a dying breed!! Replacing them are countless globalized chain stores without characteristics and they are sweeping across the world... It's one thing to appreciate the world as a global village, another to see a huge KFC instead a Chinese noodle house right by the entrance of the Great Wall of China... the homogeneity can be so intolerable.... I recently returned to Morocco after haven't been there for 8 years and had to experience poignantly the local craft stores in the old medina turned into a gathering spot for cheap made-in-China trinkets you can find anywhere else in any other touristy destinations.... How about looking for a cup of authentic Cafe au Lait in Paris and every other street corner you turn you are tempted to just step into a Starbucks for a quick American coffee fix.... While globalization of fast food chains made our lives a lot more convenient to live in and the wide spread of made-in-developing country goods enable most of us to afford to buy more.... but the cost is really too great!! We are losing unique characteristics that come naturally with different cultures and different countries, we are becoming monotonous across the world which in my eyes is extremely sad. The last straw of my sadness with globalization comes from an article I read this morning on Time magazine.... the sales of Sari in India had dropped significantly over the past few years because women there now prefer to dress in t shirts and jeans...in time, most of the traditional sari craftsmen and tailors are going to be out of business.... I remember one of my favorite things to enjoy in India is just watching all the ladies in their beautiful and colorful saris walking around the streets doing everyday chores.... how sad it is to think that this practice will probably become obsolete in just a few more years..... Maybe I am just getting old, and like all the other old people, I reminisce about all the wonders of the "old days" filled with "traditional ways of dressing and living and eating and manners".... these were the happier times.....
August 11, 2009
One of the most interesting things about Jimmy's is that I really don't think they need me. It's pretty rare to find businesses that go into these neighborhoods where the major grocery chains dare not tread, or at a minimum, the major chains have hastily retreated. The original Jimmy's burned down a few years ago, and yet the family returned. The young men at the register are third generation Dallas shopkeepers. A testament to the success of Jimmy's is the development of the immediate city block. Jimmy's has new neighbors in formerly vacant storefronts: Tom Spicer's FM 1410 gourmet produce market and also Urbano Cafe. Jimmy's has attracted some very nice neighbors! Jimmy's has created quite the microcosm with awesome shopping and dining on the same block. And to LandyLin, I agree with everything you have said. Even here in the United States, I refuse to step into the Starbucks if I can help it. When I do go into a Starbucks, seriously, once every few years, I do not embrace their "language" of ventis and whatnot. It's just marketing baloney. Late last year, my husband and I visited Buenos Aires, a city of 13,000,000, and just before we visited, Starbucks supposedly moved into town. We never considered American coffee in such a cafe-oriented society. We can only vote with our wallets. I've visited a few places in my life, Argentina, France, Scotland, England, Mexico, and in every single place I visit I refuse to patronize anything remotely American.
 
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