Before She Formally Comes Aboard Our Crew Next Month, Get To Know Central Track’s New Hire, Who’ll Be Focusing On Bars, Restaurants And Nightlife.

All photos by Oscar Lozada/@theoscarlozada.

A little over a year ago, I joined Central Track as the editor-in-chief and helped usher in a new era at our scrappy alternative publication.

Our hope back then, as it always has been, was to grow our publication by providing new eyes on the city we love.

Our founder, Pete Freedman, never went anywhere, but was gradually working toward a role as a publisher of sorts. But — as many of you can likely relate to — the pandemic knocked us off course a little bit. We were forthcoming about our concerns for Central Track’s future during an already challenging media landscape.

Thankfully, through the support of our readers and an SBA loan, as well as a wider audience found in the aftermath of our COVID-19 and police brutality protest coverage pivots this summer, we’re now able to dust ourselves off a bit and get back on course.

In fact, we’re now fortunate enough to welcome a new staff member to the crew: Jessi Pereira.

If you’re a longtime Central Track reader, you might already be familiar with her name. She first joined the team as an intern years ago, and has since contributed coverage like thoughtful pieces about cultural appropriation in the Dallas food scene to must-read Q&As with Oak Cliff institutions.

It’s her understanding of Dallas’ panorama that undoubtedly made her a no-brainer for the freshly created role of Central Track associate editor.

Much like the rest of us, she’ll wear many hats here, but will mostly keep her focus aimed on our Food & Drink and Nightlife sections. Consider this your warning to not threaten her with a good time, because she’ll absolutely show you a better one.

While she won’t officially start at Central Track until October 1, we figured you should all get to formally know her ahead of her first day on the job. I promise you’ll enjoy her wit just as much as Pete and I do; in fact, I’m sure of it.

The answers she provided in our below questionnaire should help you get a jumpstart on that. Read it, then please flood her freshly created company email with welcome notes, congratulations and story tips at jessi [at] centraltrack [dot] com.

1. So you’re the new associate editor of Central Track, huh?
I am! I hope that’s cool!

 2. Do you have any experience with this sort of thing?
I’ve been writing about and documenting the Dallas cultural scene since I was 15 years old for a little website I had called In conjunction to that, I assisted in talent booking in high school and worked with my friends to bring some now iconic rap stars to town — all before second period chemistry class! Oh, and I was also Central Track intern back in 2016 and I’ve done some additional writing for the site since then. But this will be my first rodeo with a sexy editor title.

Jessi Pereira: Noodle fan, confirmed.

3. You’re a Dallas native, right?
I’m the first member of my family to be born in Dallas. I was raised in South Irving, just minutes from the old Texas Stadium. Despite spending my formative years right outside of the city limits, there was this deep pride for all the cool things that Dallas seemed to do — even for us in the ‘burbs.

4. You’re a bit of a foodie, I know! What are the three restaurants in Dallas that I need to try at the moment?
Imagine a place where Mexican cuisine is crafted with the same regard as “elevated” Eurocentric cuisine. Now imagine the executive chef is a badass Latina and literally everyone there makes you feel loved, adored and truly cared for. OK, now stop imagining, and go to Jose on Lovers.

If you want Japanese cuisine that’s going to make you cry because you can taste the love, labor and homework put into it, go to Salaryman in Bishop Arts. The chicken skin yakitori rules, and so does the Shoyu-soy tare ramen. But don’t take my word for it — go taste it for yourself.

Lastly, I’d bring you to Sunset Crab Shack, also in Bishop Arts. It’s a bit of a fine, hidden gem. The seafood is always delightfully seasoned and the jukebox actually has a decent selection. Plus, you get a true feel for the real Oak Cliff — as a neighborhood, I mean.

I should also note that I eat Bbbop like three times a week.

5. Bbbop is in my top three! Why are you the right person for this job?
There are certain things that just make sense, y’know? This is one of them.

6. Speaking of things that absolutely make sense, what’s your zodiac sign?

7. If you had to choose: Trixie or Katya?
I’m a Trixie attracted to Katya.

8. I’m a Katya! This is why we get on so well. What would your drag name be?
Jessi del Rio-Coulee-Masters-Davenport? Oh, c’mon! I’m not selling free ideas!

9. Why is the handshake emoji the best emoji?
Sis, is this a pitch? The handshake emoji so universal. Add it to the end of a compelling statement or a complaint, and then watch the magic happen. Examples: “Jesus wept. 🤝” or “He’s an emotionally underdeveloped and insecure man who is threatened with all that you have so he feels the need to tear you down because he hates himself. Dump him, sis, he’s only eating away your energy and essence. 🤝

10. You do more than just write. What are all of your creative flexes?
I paint, illustrate, write, photograph and help clients conceptualize their ideas into visual and verbal forms. I’m also really good at Galaga. Master of none.

11. OK, yes, you’re very visually-minded. How do you plan to incorporate that into Central Track’s storytelling?
I want to bring more personalized illustrations to Central Track and really solidify the storytelling aspect with some visuals that fit. It’s one thing to read; it’s another thing to see. I also want to put some shine on some fabulous photographers we have here. Basically: Wherever I can, I want to amplify the visual department by any means necessary. This is Dallas! We love art and showing it off!

 12. Are there any specific things you plan to make sure Central Track covers?
The culture. The real people of Dallas that make this city so great. And, oh yeah, we need a new podcast!

13. You have no idea how excited I am for us to finally get on that podcast we’ve been talking about. Give me a compelling argument for eating Braum’s at 10 a.m., please?
I like Braum’s and Braum’s is good.

14. Fuel City. What are your thoughts?
Sorry, but I simply do not end my nights there — unless Jeff Weiss is in town. If it’s 4 a.m., catch me at Taqueria El Paisano on Lombardy Lane with four tacos de fajita on corn with a Mandarin Jarrito.

15. When (if?) this damn pandemic ends, what’s the first thing you’re going to do that we can’t right now?
Scream-greet the entire staff at the Double Wide. Get super sweaty and bump uglies at one of Sober’s parties. Shout into the void — but, ideally, at a concert. Things like that.

16. What is your favorite Erykah Badu song?
Do I have to pick just one? If so, it’s “Didn’t Cha Know” forever. But “Hello” is also great. And I’m picking “Back in the Day” if it’s after midnight, or “Out My Mind, Just in Time” when I need to be reminded.

 17. This one is important: How do you feel about the State Fair of Texas?
Um… I could show you better than I could tell you. But, if you want an explanation, that deserves a separate article. I love all of these story ideas!

 18. Before COVID hit, what was the last concert you saw in Dallas?
“I’m not letting you miss that show,” my handsome boo said to me in regards to the Young Dolph and Key Glock show at South Side Ballroom back in February. And miss that show, we did not.

19. Shiner tastes like soy sauce, 🤝?
Honestly, sis! Shiner falls into that category I call “beer Soylent” where just one of them is basically an entire meal in a bottle.

20. Lastly, what do you have to say to your haters?
Hydrate, put your sunscreen on and love yourself. 

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