Vern’s in Deep Ellum: A Review/Essay

This summer we have several interns in the office polishing up their journalism skills. One, Jonathon, drew me as a “boss.” He spent his first few weeks here fact checking the master list of our restaurant reviews. It’s a horrible job.

Today, he comes across Vern’s, the home cooking spot in Deep Ellum. The phone is disconnected. Jonathon scours the Internet to find that other people have commented that the phone never works at Vern’s. I told him to do what any budding journalist would do—get in the car and drive down there. (We do this for all of our restaurant listings.)

He wasn’t too happy with me but he went. Upon return, I asked him to write up his adventure thinking it would keep him away from me while I dealt with important issues like the new yogurt shop in Preston Forest. An hour later he walks into my cube and says, “I wrote it. It’s a thousand words long. You’d better print the whole thing.” He left.

Here is his surprisingly insightful and funny take on life, Deep Ellum, and Vern’s in Deep Ellum. Leave him a note. He’s now a professional.

46 comments on “Vern’s in Deep Ellum: A Review/Essay

  1. Pretty entertaining, and I’m actually going to try that place out now. If that guy writes some more stuff, I’ll read it (and I bet a lot of others will too).

  2. I love verns, quirks and all. and I just have to walk a couple of blocks. and the ladies always call me sugar. But that is the best review by an intern in a bit. good job!

  3. and dont feel bad. The first day I moved back to dallas a long long time ago, me and my best friend drove the wrong way from fairpark, to elm and downtown looking at the lofts we only realized it at 45. I was in love and have lived here for 20 something years. Mayberry!

  4. Humorous write up as the D intern is forced out of 75205 – new offices and all – dines with black people and lives to tell about it. Let’s hope that the phone at Elaine’s Kitchen works when he checks on it or Jonathon may need a week off to recover. Good writing though and open for comments on this side.

  5. Funny piece. This gent should come to the hood with me and go to Rudy’s chicken at Lancaster & Kiest and see what he writes. Or maybe I’ll take him to Big T Bazaar. something like that.

  6. Good job, Jonathon. Your writing is very entertaining and takes me back to my own intern experiences. I, too, will now try Vern’s – thanks for the fresh look. You must now aspire to the heights of yogurt run rampant or tracking the latest car chase!

  7. I say more Bonathan. Be sure he gets out of that poorly lit cube again – and soon.

  8. Boy’s got some skills-he made me laugh and think(and not necessarily in that order).

  9. Great job, really. Some of the best writing I’ve come across in awhile. Keep it up, kiddo!

  10. i think it’s great that bonathan can still enjoy simple pleasures in life, even after being subjected to the diabolical hand of his most imposing boss, nancy. keep living the dream, d intern!

  11. I uncare? Best line in the write up. This kid has a future. I am offering my tour guide services to take this child into the bowels of Oak Cliff and have lunch at the Fiesta store on Jefferson. He will never be the same.

  12. Bonathan, keep working on your writing. You’re trying to hard. You want your personality to come through, but it shouldn’t sound like a speech.

  13. Nice Reminds me of me when I was a journalism intern, 22 years ago. Stay with it young, “comfortable” Jonathan. You have it.

  14. And never take writing advice from someone who confuses the usage of to and too.

  15. That was the best article I have read here in a long time.
    Also, I have had many food babies too and depending I even name them. But I get a little giddy when it comes to good food.

  16. Refreshing. Food baby?! Love it… Send Bonathan out of his poorly lit cube a lil more..

  17. It’s almost as if he’s been hanging around Eric and Tim a little too long. But great writeup, and I want to try this place now too! (By the way, are you single? You’ve got great sarcasm for my sister…)

  18. I’m so sick of these stories about white people venturing to the south side or downtown and finding out that, gasp!, it’s not scary. And that all people of color don’t bite and that they all won’t automatically pistol whip or carjack a white person. The person who wrote this and the people who find it “enlightening” need to take a long look in the mirror. The north side of this city can be so shamefully backwards.

  19. i’m with Brandon here

    this isn’t even journalism

    it’s a diary entry from an overly sheltered Millennial who appears ill-equipped for adulthood like so many of his ilk

    i don’t find this funny or entertaining
    i think it’s a sad, parochial view of the world and somewhat racist

    at least, he kinda understands that
    “…my experience with those not like me can vary from nervousness to bewilderment to fright. These are things I’m not proud of.”

    but as a working journalist, who is apparently an old fuddy-duddy at 37, everything about these two sentences scares the crap outta me
    “I still do not understand how people did this before iPhones but whatever. The past is lame anyways.”

  20. AP Stylebooked!
    7-Schmeleven, I read all 1,000 printed words & now crave black-eyed peas.

  21. The only thing I’ve read on Frontburner since they banned comments. Good work.

    As far as racemongers above, go screw yourselves. People shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells to keep from being called a racist. He wrote something that was humorous and light and you’re trying to make it sound like he wants to resurrect Jim Crow. Get a life.

  22. No kidding Jacqui!!! Kill me now please cause he writes just like Tim. Blech.

  23. Dallasite, this is why there’s no more comments on FB
    you inferred things that weren’t implied
    i don’t think this is good work at all and that’s my opinion
    why can’t you just respect that?

    this cat admits he’s afraid of those unlike himself…i find it troubling that an adult would feel that way and i believe it’s a product of many things, least of all the institutional racism that still permeates American (and global) society, especially in the private-schooled sect the intern admits being a part of

    sad, man, so much of Dallas is just sorry and sad

  24. I uncare what JRP says. More Bonathan!! It was entertaining, self deprecating and made me interested in trying a place I’d not heard of before. Good work!

  25. Wow. Very good and funny. And as lowly as you may feel, you’re getting to write which is what it’s all about. You don’t really want to spend your time staring at FB and texting, do you? Oh,… never mind.

  26. Great article. I chuckled all the way through, and it fits right in with Tim and crew.

    Vern’s – Great food, but haven’t eaten there in years. But, your review brought back many of those great memories. I may have to go visit again!

  27. There are too many oversensitive people these days. Enjoy this piece of literature for what it is. If you have something to review or write that is out of your neighborhood, let’s hear it, but don’t dog it just because the guy was out of his element.

    There are many people who either don’t go south of 635 or outside of the Bubble, nor toward Fair Park or Arlington. And, if it wasn’t for this review, I wouldn’t want to drive all the way down to Deep Ellum just to eat.

    You, Brandon and jrp, just ruined this perfectly light-hearted and funny commentary. Hopefully you can overlook your own insensitivity and lack of realism and see that others are in fact different from you and may not be as ‘comfortable’ in ‘different’ situations.

  28. I guess we can all quit now and give sweet Jonathan the keys to the castle because none of the rest of us has excited the SideDish nation quite like this.

  29. I’m glad to hear Vern’s is still as good as it was back before it moved to this new spot. 20 years ago I ate at Vern’s once a week, at least. I guess I kind of forgot about it for a couple of decades. I’ll have try it again. Those short ribs were heavenly!

  30. To everyone saying “lighten up!” –

    While this behavior may seem innocent and cute when it concerns an afternoon jaunt to a local restaurant, take it out of that context and put it into, oh, one of employment decision making.

    Jonathon is a manager, and has to choose between two equally-qualified individuals for an open position. One is white, and the other is black-latino-asian-gay-whatever. The white applicant will, more than likely, get the job.

    That is the crux of the argument, and one of this country’s most persistent and destructive problems.

  31. I will not be naming my Food Babies JRP or Brandon and I uncare what they think about it!

  32. Journalism 101


    and, ummm, ahhh, ummm


    How does one do a restaurant review with listing the address of the restaurant???

    And thank SO MUCH for giving The Big Guy the opportunity to post a comment, without having to verify if The Big Guy has 75225 zip code.

    A couple of more points:

    The website is ugly, and loads slowly.

    “To just sit, relax, and immediately feel at home even though I wasn’t that similar to the people there (the majority of diners were African-American) was liberating.”

    This is a trick, right? A troll post?