Get To Know: Cafe Izmir

It’s lunchtime on a Tuesday and Café Izmir is filled to the brim. This is considered a slow lunch for them – the busy days are later in the week.

Each day, businessmen and women come in droves to enjoy the fast, fresh food at the Downtown location of this popular Dallas eatery that opened in February.

The restaurant is simple, clean, and oddly comforting. The décor hints at its familial roots through the framed photos and handmade Turkish plates hanging on the walls. The light fixtures are fascinating in their own respect; colorful lanterns handmade in Turkey dangle from the bar, and giant iron pendant chandeliers hang from the ceilings.

The Downtown location is just one of four Café Izmirs in DFW – others are Greenville, Plano, and Terminal D in DFW Airport.

What differentiates Café Izmir from most chains Downtown is that it’s family-owned. And you can tell.

cafe-izmir-interior“In our culture it’s so warm and welcoming, and hospitality is such a high aspect of it. We try to embed that into our service,” said general manager Sammy Habibi. “It makes me feel like I’m at home. It doesn’t feel like work.”

Café Izmir is perfect for those yearning to be transported on a culinary adventure; the menu consists of grilled and vegetarian tapas, bowls, sandwiches, dips & appetizers, salads, baked flatbreads, and dinner course specials.

The menu is probably the reason Café Izmir sees lasting success in Dallas. It’s filled with family recipes and hasn’t been changed in the 20 years since its inception. These recipes come straight from owners Beau and Ali Nazary and their mother Nazy.

“Nothing is frozen – we don’t even have any big freezers,” says Habibi. The cousin of Beau and Ali explained that they have one small freezer for the ice cream – saffron gelato to be exact.

The dips are enough to build a loyal following on their own. Habibi says the Downtown location goes through 150 pounds of hummus (regular and chipotle) each day. You can even take tubs of hummus home with you – $6 for 6 oz., $14.99 for 16 oz., or $17 for 32 oz. The hummus is so good you could bathe in it.

The meat Dolmas are a standout dish – grape leaves are stuffed with beef, rice, and spices. They are bursting with flavors of mint and dill, and taste like a warm hug with a squeeze of lemon overtop.

Waitress Sarah Driver’s favorite is a simple dish – grilled Portabella mushrooms, and she brings them back to the table, beaming.  “These are marinated in Beau’s mom’s sauce – it’s a secret recipe,” she says.

When they say secret, they mean it. Over the years, people have tried asking to purchase Mama Nazary’s recipes. Don’t even try.

The chicken meatballs are fluffy clouds that melt in your mouth. They are served with a tomato basil sauce and are a great complement to the flavorful, yet simple saffron rice.

Turkish coffee is the perfect end to the meal. It’s essentially a shot of espresso that is sweet, creamy, and chocolaty.  It’s perfect when paired with the freshest, flakiest baklava.

If you’re in the Downtown area and are in need of some fresh and fast comfort food, look no further than Café Izmir. Be sure to swing by for happy hour Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m, and ‘Neighborhood Nights’ on Wednesdays. They also offer catering and corporate menus you can take advantage of.

For information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit www.downtowndallas.com. And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit events.downtowndallas.com.

Cafe Izmir is located at:
211 North Ervay Street
Dallas, Texas 75201

CityLab Summit! January 12th and 14th

The CityLab Summit! is intended to support CityLab High School’s mission by being its signature annual recruiting and community engagement event. It seeks to bring together the diverse stakeholders that will be part of CityLab HS, and provides an opportunity for parents, students and the public to become part of the CityLab HS family.

For its inaugural year, this will be a two-day event, designed for prospective and entering students to the 9th grade in August of 2017. The program will open with a Keynote Lecture the evening of Thursday January 12, 2017 at the Latino Cultural Center’s Auditorium. This will be followed by a full day of activities on Saturday January 14th, 2017 at the future home of CityLab HS on 912 S. Ervay St. Activities will include a panel discussion, design charrettes, a hands-on painting project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and a sidewalk art project (weather permitting). All of the CityLab Summit! events will be free and open to the general public.

Future summits will include a series of exhibitions and discussions, where the work of CityLab HS students will be celebrated and recognized, as well as provide a platform where students, their families, school administration, staff and the community at large can come together and continue to strengthen and grow the mission and vision for CityLab HS.

CityLab HS is an open enrollment Transformation School part of Dallas ISD Public School Choice program opening in August 2017. Our vision is to create an inner city high school where the students use the city as a lab and engage with the social fabric of Dallas. Our students will collaborate with organizations, practitioners and industry experts as they prepare for college and future careers in Architecture, Urban Planning, Environmental Science, Public Policy and Community Development.

CityLab HS | preparing the next generation of creative problem solvers, critical thinkers and compassionate advocates in our communities.



Thanks to our Clean Team and Downtown Safety Patrol

On Friday, December 16, we held our annual holiday lunch as a thank you to our hard-working Clean Team and Downtown Safety Patrol employees.



During the lunch, three Downtown Safety Patrol officers were promoted to Corporals.


(From left to right: Brian Banks, Tiffany Mitchell, and Sasha Williams)

Additionally, Rudy Peres (pictured below), Shalunda Sims, Carl Hobbs, Rico Roberts, and Timothy Price with the Downtown Safety Patrol and Juan Wicks (pictured below) with the Clean Team were recognized for this being their 10-year anniversary with the company!


Congrats to all, and thank you for all you do!


DDI Job Opening: Operations & Communications Coordinator

Downtown Dallas, Inc. is seeking a full‐time administrator to provide organizational administrative and communications support for the office, team, and special projects.

The ideal candidate has a Bachelor’s Degree and three to five years related experience. Knowledge of administrative and general accounting principles is preferred, as well as proficiency using Microsoft Office.  He or she is detail-oriented and skilled in time management.  The ability to work well with all levels of internal management and staff, stakeholders, board members, and others outside of the organization is required.

Candidates should possess excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.  Drafting and editing text for professional internal and external documents is an important responsibility of this position. He or she must have the ability to use standard proofreading marks and excellent knowledge of grammar and style.  Familiarity with Adobe Design Suite is a plus.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Office:
    • Manages the company’s lobby area. Greets and directs all visitors, including vendors, members, and stakeholders. Handles incoming calls and operates switchboard.
    • Coordinates office conference room calendars and manages various meeting/in-office event coordination and preparation, as needed.
    • Provides general administrative support as needed for management staff including catering, printing, copying, audio-visual, etc. for meetings.
  • External & Internal Communications:
    • Coordinates and manages executive communication, including official letters or emails sent on behalf of executive management to internal or external parties, including elected officials.
    • Some creation and editing of documents to ensure proper grammar, spelling, syntax, and style.
    • Manages Downtown Emergency Response Team (DERT) communications coordination, including creating messages and managing the database.
    • Coordinates Board of Directors and Public Improvement District reports.
  • Information Management:
    • Conducts research and gathers documentation in order to compile comprehensive reports.
    • Input of information quickly and accurately into databases (i.e. Cvent and CRM).
  • Manages employee external involvement list to ensure that DDI is represented throughout the community.
  • Board Administration:
    • Keeps all meeting minutes.
  • Leads Efforts to Plan Team Building and Educational Events and Activities:
  • Holiday parties, birthdays, etc.
  • Partner organizations or city trips (i.e. Deep Ellum monthly meet up, bi-monthly team walks, day trips to various cities with downtown associations for best practices)
  • Other:
    • Manages intern program, including the Safety Patrol intern and the Mayor’s Internship Program intern.
    • Various projects or support of various programs and events, as needed.

Please submit resumes to info@downtowndallas.com with the title OPERATIONS & COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR in the subject line.  For more about Downtown Dallas, Inc., visit www.downtowndallas.com.