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Monica Greene is Making Some Changes: She’s Leaving Monica’s Aca Y Alla to Open Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge

Monica Greene has never been afraid of change. Moments ago she told me she is leaving the business of Monica’s Aca Y Alla in Deep Ellum to her partners who will close the restaurant at 2914 Main Street, remodel the space, and reopen as a yet-to-be-named Mexican restaurant. Monica is moving all of her energy over to the iLume Building on Cedar Springs where she has been in the planning stages of opening Tajin. When the Sushi Axiom closed, Monica decided to take the space and open up the walls of Tajin into the space and create a new concept. The 7,600-square food space will now be Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge. It was a difficult decision for Greene to leave Deep Ellum where she has been a major player for over 20 years. More on the food later. Monica has written a letter to YOU. It’s below.

UPDATE: Monica is on her way to Houston. I got lucky when she answered her cell phone. “This [move] has been a real struggle for me,””Greene said. I’ve always been committed to urban development. I believe in Dallas but unfortunately the area [Deep Ellum] has taken a long time to develop. It’s time for me to expand and open my doors to a larger audience.”

I say, you go girl. It’s a great move. She has been in, what I would call, an abusive relationship with Deep Ellum for a long time. It’s time she made a fresh start. That girl has some balls. Oh, wait. Nevermind.

May 18, 2012

Dear Dallas,

Years ago, I read in “Popular Science” that it takes seven years for a person’s cells to replenish. Maybe this is true for humans, but it has taken twenty years at Monica’s Aca y Alla for that cycle to occur.  Monica’s Aca y Alla, with some other creative and wonderful entrepreneurs, helped put Deep Ellum on the map.  But today Deep Ellum is paying the price of Dallas growth within the Downtown area, Bishop Arts District, Uptown and other business districts.  Deep Ellum is going through its own revitalization; old buildings are being redone, DART stations are now open and someday there will be a new world in Deep Ellum. I hope that new world is a good. I expect to continue to be a part of Deep Ellum through my support of whatever venture my ex-partners decide to re-open in the Aca y Alla space.

Indeed, Monica’s Aca y Alla is evolving and changing to Monica’s and the ME Lounge and we will be moving to new digs.  We look forward to becoming a new fixture for the Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn area. We are excited to begin a new partnership with the Crosland Group and the Axiom Group at the beautiful ilume ®  building.  Hector Hernandez will be leading the charge as the Chef for this new concept. Together, we have a vision that will continue to create reasons for guests to eat our unique – yet traditional – style of food, enjoy new menu recipes that will include some of the real Mexican-style of food that was destined for Tajin.

Reality has shown me that with the intense competition in the Mexican food segment, the challenge of finding new ways to attract (and to keep) customers grows. Yes, the new Monica’s together with ME lounge will be fast paced, inventive, exciting, and it will epitomize a new style of Mexican food that I prefer to not call Tex-Mex, but “Nueva Cocina.”

I work, I play, I live and I will always love Deep Ellum. Monica’s had a very successful twenty years of restaurant operation in this historic district.  I am grateful, and would like to thank all Dallasites for their kind and generous support over the years.  We hope you will join us over the next few weeks at Monica’s Aca y Alla to say your good-bye’s and share with us your favorite stories from the past 20 years.  Then, I look forward to sharing with you my vision of the future at Monica’s in the ilume ®.  Until then…

Monica Greene

  • Katie M.

    She’s an awesome lady. Best of luck with everything! Can’t wait to try the new ventures.

  • Jeff

    Good Luck Monica!
    We’re looking forward to your new place.
    And while we’re waiting, we still love BEE, Monica’s enchaladeria in Oak Cliff just down from Bishop Arts…

  • JS

    “Monica Greene has never been afraid of change.” I see what you did there.

  • Sandy

    I am amazed you said she has balls. That is pretty rude considering.

  • Bluee

    I don’t fault her for wanting to experiment more. But I just didn’t understand Aca Y Alla, it seemed stale and incredibly underwhelming each visit. I realize it’s been something of an “institution”, though Ive been in Dallas for 4 years. Maybe I kissed the boat?

  • Nancy Nichols

    I kissed a boat once.

  • Trey Sheppard

    Good luck, Monica!


  • Kirk

    Better to kiss a boat than to jump a shark.

  • Liz

    Best of luck Monica! I have never forgotten your black bean ravioli with that fresh tomato-based sauce and the accompanying salad. That was the most brilliant thing I have ever tasted! I hope you develop many more creative dshes that make our mouths water. You’re amazing!

  • Kent

    Monica is a class act and I wish her nothing but the best in life!

  • FOH

    Monica is the best!! Can’t wait for the new place to open!!!

  • Jacque Wynne

    Congradulations Monica! Your food has, always, been fabulous & the Ilume is easier for me to get to than Deep Ellum! Sincerely, Jacque

  • Karen Reeves

    I love the Mexican lasagna and the prices were so reasonable – I hope that the Mexican lasagna survives at Monica’s new place AND at the new restaurant at the current location! Good luck on both!

  • Richatrd G.

    I’ts nice to know that Monica (a class act) is moving on to some exciting new things!! We look forward to more great food!!! As for the tacky and tasteless comment from the writer about Ms. Green, I look forward to your apology to Ms. Green. (shame on you).

  • Cissy Aberg

    I quit going to Deep Ellum five years ago when for the third visit in a row, I was given a very expensive parking ticket when I had paid BOTH meters on either side of me to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake. A $300 meal for four at Local and then a $45 parking ticket to boot. It’s just too upsetting and too expensive to park there. I won’t go again, ever!

  • Dale Moses

    I have been a fan and a follower of Monica’s for years. I plan to visit the new location when it opens.
    Good Luck, Monica!

  • Tracey Taylor

    I don’t think the comment about balls was offensive at all. Nancy has known Monica for years and it’s no secret about Monica. She’s a lovely person and I’m sure would laugh with us about the comment. Happy to hear Monica has a new restaurant.

  • Arcetti

    Good luck! I have enjoyed Aca Y Alla, Ciudad, and BEE. I feel confident your new venture will be equally awesome! I can’t wait!

  • Mario

    Monica es una mujer trabajadora al 100% , con los huevos bien puestos. Una empresaria que no le teme a nada, siempre con la frente muy en alto y poniendo la cocina Mexica a un nivel unico.
    Felicidadez y bien benida a Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn area.

  • Clark

    I had my surprise 50th birthday party at Monica’s, and we regularly had our Homeowner’s Association meetings there. We had my partner’s surprise 50th birthday party at Cuidad. We held Monica’s City Council campaign announcment party at our home on Swiss Avenue. Monica Greene is a Dallas institution, and will always be a vital part of the restaurant scene.

  • Sharon

    I LOVE Monica’s!! I will miss it. Please bring your Mexican lasagna to the new Monica’s…..It is the best:)

  • Jennifer

    I will miss going to lunch or after-work drinks at Monica’s, but am excited to check out her new restaurant & lounge. Agree, please keep the Mexican lasagna!!