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American Airlines executive melissa leach with her family

Why American Airlines Exec Melissa Leach Loves Oak Cliff

Her favorite local spots for date night, self-care splurges and more

Melissa Leach loves supporting the small businesses in her neighborhood of Oak Cliff. The director of airport operations support at American Airlines enjoys getting out and getting active with husband Ryan and son West, 4.

Beto & Son Courtesy Adriana Hererra

Favorite family restaurant: Beto & Son at Trinity Groves. Unlimited chips and salsa is always a win for kids while you’re waiting for food. Plus, they have a great patio and they always make West a special drink, so he doesn’t get jealous of our nitro margaritas. 3011 Gulden Lane, Suite 108, Dallas; 469/249-8590 

Favorite local green space: Twelve Hills Nature Center is basically in our backyard. It’s a wonderful little escape and is especially beautiful in the spring and fall. It’s such a great place to go for a quick walk in nature without having to hop in the car. 817 Mary Cliff Road, Dallas; 469/249-2817

Go-to family outing: It’s not quite in our neighborhood, but the Dallas Farmers Market is a quick drive and is somewhere that we love to go as a family. There is always so much to see and snack on, and it’s so fun to support small local businesses and farms. 920 S. Harwood St., Dallas; 214/664-9110

Courtesy Emporium Pies

For date night: Our go-to date night is Stock & Barrel in Bishop Arts. They have such a romantic atmosphere, great cocktails, the food is always amazing, and the service is outstanding. We usually end the night with a stroll through Bishop Arts and dessert at Emporium Pies. Stock & Barrel, 316 W. Davis St., Dallas; 214//888-0150; Emporium Pies, 314 N. Bishop Ave., Oak Cliff; 469/206-6126 

For self-care: I love the YaYa Foot Spa in Bishop Arts. It’s so easy to sneak away after West goes to bed and get an hour-long foot massage. Such a luxury for any mama! 509D N. Bishop Ave., Oak Cliff; 214/707-0506 

Favorite way to get active: North Oak Cliff is beautiful and hilly so we love to take walks as a family down to Coombs Creek Trail and climb the Kessler Steps. Coombs Creek Trail, located along the Coombs Creek Greenbelt and Stevens Park Golf Course; Kessler Steps, 1175 W. Canterbury Court, Oak Cliff

Where to cool off: When we’re in the mood for something light and refreshing we head to Encanto Pops (and we usually stock up and take a bunch home in the summer!). They have the best fruit-based popsicles. We also love the ice cream and ice cream sandwiches at Joy Macarons. Our son has declared their ice cream the best ever, and the Cereal Milk ice cream sandwich will change your life. Encanto Pops, 831 W. Davis St., Oak Cliff; 469/899-7434; Joy Macarons, 839 W. Davis St., Oak Cliff; 214/434-1922 

Ways to give back: The pandemic has made it harder to spend time volunteering but one thing we’ve made a concerted effort to do is to divert as much of our spending as possible to businesses in our neighborhood. We have so many incredible small, women-owned businesses that really suffered during the pandemic, and we wanted to do everything we could to make sure that they existed in our neighborhood this year and for many years to come. Pretty much all our friends and family received Christmas gifts from: DLM Supply, 837 W. Davis St., Oak Cliff; 469/917-8081; Davis Street Mercantile, 710 W. Davis St., Oak Cliff; 214/541-9999; All Good Things, 404 W. Eighth St., Oak Cliff; 214/579-9961 

Why Oak Cliff is a great place to raise a family: North Oak Cliff has such a strong sense of community, and with our proximity to downtown Dallas there is always something nearby to do. The Perot Museum, Dallas Zoo and Dallas Farmers Market are all just a quick drive away. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field St., Dallas; 214/428-5555; Dallas Zoo, 650 S. RL Thornton Fwy., Dallas; 469/554-7501; Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St., Dallas; 214/664-9110

Find your tribe: I met most of my neighborhood mom friends through our church, Trinity Church Oak Cliff. They are an amazing group of incredibly supporting and loving moms who always show up for one another, no matter what’s going on in your life. 1139 Turner Ave., Oak Cliff

RELATED: Lawyer Cindy Dodds’ Oak Cliff Picks

This article was originally published in July 2021.

Top photo courtesy of Murphy + Grace Photography