Back When Preston Royal Village Was “Exotic” and Had Its Very Own Elephant

by Paula Bosse



by Paula Bosse

Dallas had a restaurant like this?! Believe it or not, Safari — a popular steakhouse — was in a shopping area that hadn’t been finished at the time of this photo (probably around 1956). This was in the shopping center at Preston & Royal, in the very same location now occupied by Royal China (which, having been in Royal China fairly often, I can totally recognize in the photo of the restaurant’s interior). Someone put their whole heart and soul into that decor — from the elephant and, um, elephant wrangler (“mahout“?) out front, to the ornate wood carving and the somewhat … busy … murals inside. And the uniformed staff is pretty impressive, too. I could find almost no advertising for the place — perhaps they blew their advertising budget on elephants and murals. One of the stars of the restaurant was host Iqbal “Ike” Singh Sekhon, who left a few years later to run the fabulous La Tunisia. Royal China took over the space in 1974. Man, I wish I’d seen that elephant.





From the cover of the menu.



From the steak menu. Choose between the “Maharajah (Man’s) Size” and the “Maharanee (Ladies’) Size.” Or get the kebabs of skewered beef “deliciously seasoned with Safari Sauce — A Treat.”



Ike Sekhon — who started working as the restaurant’s host while studying for his Master’s degree at SMU — an interesting man I’ll write more about later!



Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.