A year ago this week in our 25th Anniversary Issue, we listed transgender chef and restaurateur Monica Greene as one of our 25 Dallas Notables. Now comes word that Greene, who’s been living in Aspen, Colo., for the last few years, plans to return to Dallas in September to open a new restaurant called Distrito. “I’m very excited,” Greene told D Magazine’s Side Dish. “I can’t transmit how much through the phone line. I’ve been eating at new concepts all over Dallas and I am amazed by the savvy attitude and energy [of the restaurant business] in Dallas. It’s not dull like Denver.”
Welcome back, Monica. After the jump, read what our Hardy Haberman wrote about Greene last year.
Once the rising star of the Dallas restaurant scene, Eduardo Greene shocked everyone when he gave up his successful restaurants and took off in pursuit of his dream.
That dream was to become the person he always felt he should be, and that person was female.
After a lot of personal struggle and hard work, Eduardo began the transition to Monica, and in 1995 headed to Belgium with borrowed funds to have gender reassignment surgery. After a painful recovery, Monica returned to the Dallas restaurant scene with a splash.
Instead of hiding who she was, Monica celebrated the change in public and in her advertising for her newly rechristened restaurant. What was once Eduardo’s Aca y Alla, became Monica’s Aca y Alla.
Her advertisements in the Dallas Observer became legendary. One favorite summed up much of her experience, “For every Chromosomal X in my body, there’s a ‘why’ in people’s minds.”
Over time the business flourished again and Greene was hailed as Dallas’ grand hostess. In 2005, she ran for the District 2 seat on the Dallas City Council, eventually losing a hard-fought and, at times, bitter campaign to Pauline Medrano.
Today, Greene lives in Aspen, Colo., where she owns a vegetarian restaurant on the top floor of the Explorer Bookstore & Bistro on Main Street. Her restaurant here in Dallas’ Deep Elum district is still doing well after 16 years.
For transgender people, Greene is an example of someone who successfully pursued her dreams both personal and in business. Her courage and candor as well as her culinary savvy have made her not just successful, but endeared her to thousands of friends and patrons.