Shrimp and crab with spaghetti squash at Cafe 45

Cafe 43, at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Dallas

On my first trip to The George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, I discovered a perfect place for a casually elegant lunch, Café 43, in the west corner of the library complex. I really didn’t know what to expect, but a quote from Mrs. Laura Bush said it best: “This will always be a place that welcomes each visitor with open arms.”

Location: 2943 SMU Boulevard at Bush Avenue, Dallas, Texas at the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the SMU Campus. Parking across the street at 6222 Bush Avenue is extra. Café 43 is wheelchair accessible.

Menu: The contemporary menu features some of President and Mrs. Bush’s favorite dishes at Cafe 43 (named for the 43rd President). Executive Chef John Maas creates modern American organic, casually elegant food that is seasonally and sustainably sourced.

Thoughts: The red goblets on the tables set beautifully with cloth napkins, and place settings glowed like ornaments, creating an elegant but cozy atmosphere. Enjoy very friendly, attentive service – my water glass was never empty. Full-length tall windows with high ceilings revealed
beautiful views of the SMU campus and the native Texas landscape that surrounds the Bush center.

For creative cocktail options, order a Texas Mimosa made with red grapefruit vodka, orange juice, and prosecco, or a Hill Country Surprise mixed with Tito’s vodka, orange juice, and cranberry juice; for wine, Llano Cellar Reserve Chardonnay from Texas or Lyric Santa Barbara Pinot Noir by the glass or bottle. For beer, try a Texas Ale Project 50 ft. Jackrabbit, Deep Ellum Dallas Blonde or a Shiner Bock to name a few.

As a starter, I recommend the Corn Soup with roasted poblano and lump crab or Fried Avocado with black beans, smoked tomato, and chipotle aioli. Note the list at the bottom of the menu of friends and partners who share Café 43’s commitment to local, fresh cuisine.

Select the Seared Salmon Salad with dill dressing or Summer Squash with couscous, tomato, olive, and lemon vinaigrette, or Mrs. Bush’s Favorite Sandwich with tomato, avocado, mozzarella, and mayo, served with market fruit or fries.

For the entrée, I chose the Shrimp & Crab with spaghetti squash, roasted tomato, and olives, garnished with two thin breadsticks. The creamy, buttery sauce was a blend of savory flavors that enveloped the shrimp, lumps of fresh crab and squash.

Price Range: Appetizers $4-10; Salads, Sandwiches and Entrees $13-18; Beer, Wine and Cocktails $6-10, plus wine by the bottle $34-75; Desserts $6-7.

Author Bio: Janie Pace, loving life as a travel writer and photographer, is a native Texan based in Fort Worth covering restaurants, travel destinations, wineries, breweries, cruises and much more locally, nationally as well as internationally from Peru to Canada plus Hawaii to Bermuda. She is a member of the ITWPA, International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance and United States Press Agency USPA. Follow her on Instagram.

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