Our editors scoured the greater Dallas area for family-friendly dining destinations. Here are some of our favorites.
Finding a family-friendly restaurant that’s affordable, accessible and delicious can be challenging – but we know where to look! The next time your teens ask, “What’s for dinner?” (you know, in that voice) pay a visit to one of these tried-and-true eateries:
Nora Restaurant and Bar
Restaurants featuring Afghan cuisine in Dallas aren’t that easy to find. And finding one with a beautiful rooftop bar and patio is just about impossible—until Nora came along. If you’re already familiar with the country’s food, you’ll be delighted to find your favorites such as Kadu (sautéed pumpkin with garlic yogurt and meat sauce), Mantoo (steamed beef dumplings), Kofta Chalao (stewed meatballs with spices and dried plum) and Qabili Palao (seasoned meat with raisins and carrots). But if you’re just getting started, you can’t go wrong with any of the Kabobs and some of the best hummus we’ve sampled. Before or after dining, grab a Cardamom Martini and head to the roof for some of the city’s most romantic views.
1928 Greenville Ave. | Dallas
If walking into eight|11 feels like you’ve stepped into a friend’s house (in Austin), there’s a good reason for it: 1) it actually used to be a house and 2) the chefs/owners are from there. A classic, intimate interior with wood floors, plenty of candles and Mason jar pendant lighting make this wine bar a very cozy place to unwind; or, venture outside and share a table with fellow music lovers. Menu items Salads, Bites (think: Pimento Cheese Sliders) and housemade Flat Breads such as the Chorizo Hero with local goat cheese, red onion, cilantro and roasted yellow peppers. This is the kind of place where you can kick back and enjoy the cool vibe while sipping on wines by the glass/bottle and local beers on tap.
7080 W. Main St. | Frisco
Hash House A Go Go
What’s not to love about a restaurant that’s self-described as “Twisted Farm Food?” Based in San Diego with several locations now in other states, Hash House serves hearty portions of breakfast-all-day menu items like Sage Fried Chicken Benedict, an assortment of savory hashes that will make you rethink hashes, and Sausage Gravy Pot Pie with scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes. Flapjacks and waffles are also solid choices, as is our other most recent anytime obsession—Hot, Sticky Granola with milk and mixed fresh fruit. Even several of the salads are rib stickers; you will definitely not leave this place hungry. Other standouts on the dinner menu include Hand-Hammered Crispy Pork Tenderloin and Pan-Seared Airline Chicken Breast with fresh polenta, fried leeks and mushroom madeira cream.
1900 Preston Rd., Suite 343 | Plano
Jasper’s motto may be “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine,” but our question is, Whose backyard? And more importantly, How can we snag a nightly invitation? Beloved Dallas-based chef Kent Rathbun believed the concept was “just crazy enough to work,” and it certainly does. The dining here is largely indoors (though there is a nice patio), the atmosphere is upscale-meets-cozy, and the service is equally attentive and relaxed. Start with Jasper’s famous Maytag Bleu Cheese Potato Chips and Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp ‘N Grits. We’re slightly addicted to the smoky Blistered Shishito Peppers served with lime and Falksalt. For bigger appetites, you can’t go wrong with the Slow Smoked Baby Back Ribs served with Baked Potato Salad or the Wood Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Texas Peach BBQ Sauce. Cast iron sides like the Smoked Onion Creamed Spinach are generous enough to share with the table, and an eclectic wine list ensures perfect food pairings every time.
7161 Bishop Rd. | Plano
Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill
There are so many things to love about Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill—let us count the ways: how about a half-pound crab cake? Lobster Deviled Eggs with white truffle cream? Or, light and fluffy popovers? And of course, the Perfect Grey Goose martini, poured from their signature frozen tap system. While Kenny’s certainly meets the mark for special occasions, it’s also just right for hearty business lunches and weeknight dinners with the family.
5000 Belt Line Rd., Suite 775 | Dallas
Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar
Reminiscent of a Jackson Hole, Wyoming après-ski lodge, this Addison outpost at the Village on the Parkway offers something delicious for everyone. From comfort food classics such as burgers and big salads to heartier fare including Lamb Stroganoff and Housemaid Veggie Lasagna, Lazy Dog feels like the perfect place to replenish all those calories you burned off on the slopes (or more likely, holiday shopping at the Galleria).
5100 Belt Line Rd., Suite 500 | Addison
You know how it is when you’re hungry and want something quick, but you also want it to be on the healthier side, and, oh yeah—you don’t want to get out of your car? Think PDQ. While this acronym typically stands for “Pretty Darn Quick,” (and they are!) in this relatively new, but rapidly expanding concept, it stands for “People Dedicated to Quality.” While the menu is decidedly poultry-driven, it’s also surprisingly varied, with several good-for-you fruits and veggies tucked into unexpected but delicious places. Zucchini fries and Blueberry Coleslaw (try it!) sit unpretentiously alongside hand-battered chicken tenders served with made-fresh-daily sauces. The heavenly Handheld Thanksgiving is actually the Grilled Turkey Sandwich, with all the seasonings of the holiday layered inside a signature toasted brioche bun. The salads are generous, fresh, and filling, and to satisfy your sweet tooth, try a handspun milkshake. Dine in or drive-thru.
Locations in Frisco, Plano, Murphy
Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar
Although the inside space is gorgeous, it’s the patio overlooking the Arts District that’s the real draw at Saint Ann—the perfect spot for a cocktail or weekend brunch. The food is fairly straightforward: salads, sandwiches, steaks and fish. We like ordering a few appetizers (the bacon wrapped Medjool dates and spinach artichoke dip are nice) and kicking back while taking in the hipster crowd.
2501 N. Harwood St. | Dallas
What could be better than a great glass of wine? How about a great glass of wine—on tap? Not only does this mean that each glass provides the best possible taste at the perfect temperature, reusable kegs equal less spoilage and less landfill. But let’s get to the food: Small plates like Manila clams with creamy white wine chowder broth or wood-fired cauliflower with lemon dill yogurt are perfection. Hungrier appetites will find plenty to choose from too, such as fregola served risotto style, then topped with crispy wild mushrooms. The burger, made with Akaushi beef, is something you’ll dream about later, and entrees, such as chicken, fish and chops, are solid choices. Perfect for both large parties and intimate gatherings.
3701 Dallas Pkwy. | Plano
Though The Grape has been around for more than 40 years, there’s a reason (actually, several) why it remains a Dallas favorite. Let’s start with THE Mushroom Soup, a must-have, and move right into, say, Cornmeal Fried Oysters and Crispy Duck Breast with Roasted Brussels Sprout. Craving something less fancy? The burger, topped with housemade peppered bacon and Vermont white cheddar, has been voted “Best in Texas” by Texas Monthly. Two dozen wines by the glass and a Monday through Friday Happy Hour with drink specials help make The Grape an after-work respite from the daily grind, and its romantic atmosphere keeps it at the top of everyone’s Date Night list. Swing by for Sunday brunch, too.
2808 Greenville Ave. | Dallas
The latest crown jewel from award-winning Chef Tim Byres and Turn the Tables Hospitality (Smoke, Bolsa, The Foundry, Chicken Scratch and more) is The Theodore. Inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s adventurous spirit, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy cocktails and appetizers before a movie, or linger for a sumptuous dinner. Handpainted constellation murals, vintage furniture, natural curiosities and cozy, nook-like seating give The Theodore a refined, quirky air. The menu contains the sort of rustic/sophisticated and shareable twists we’ve come to expect (and love) from Chef Byres. Highlights include Sausage and Chervil Artisanal Toast, Crispy Chicken Thighs with Squash Mustard and Salted Cucumber and the (vertical) Lamp Shank Pie in puff pastry. For dessert, don’t miss the sublime Grapefruit and Honey Baked Alaska. In good weather, enjoy the patio.
8687 North Central Exwy. | Dallas
The logo says a lot: Chicken. Biscuits. Beer. But what it doesn’t convey is that Chef Omar Flores and his team pickle brine each and every bird, creating one of the juiciest, most flavorful chicken experiences we’ve ever had. And at Whistle Britches, it is all about chicken: half chickens, whole chickens, roasted chickens, fried chicken tenders— even chickens glazed with pomegranate molasses. Sides and starters are comfort-driven, such as pickled jalapeno pimento cheese, served with saltines. Or deviled eggs with country ham. Three cheese mac. Grits with gouda. Are you hungry yet? Brunch, lunch and dinner served, along with a nice selection of cocktails, beer and wine. Desserts are straightforward and totally decadent.
6110 Frankford Rd. | Dallas
The Blue Fish
The Blue Fish serves some of the freshest fish prepared by talented sushi chefs anywhere. But not everyone likes sushi (or so we’ve heard) and The Blue Fish accommodates that preference easily with delicious entrees such as Korean Style Slow Braised Short Ribs, Chicken Teriyaki and Sautéed Jumbo Prawns. A variety of small plate appetizers, craft cocktails, and extensive wine and sake offerings help make this family friendly place a local favorite.
940 Garden Park Dr. | Allen
Located in what looks like a former Pizza Hut, this is anything but a chain restaurant. From Tom Chung Ramen to Egg Foo Young and everything in between—everything is good. Do not miss two of their most popular dishes: Peking Duck and Beggar’s Chicken. The succulent duck is carved tableside and made daily; when they run out, they’re out—so get there early. After the meat’s been carved, your server will ask whether you want the bones in a soup or stir-fried. Ask for a little bit of both—you’ll thank us. Beggar’s Chicken is a whole chicken stuffed with Chinese sticky rice that’s been stir-fried with shallot, Cantonese sausage, veggies, and five-spice powder and then wrapped in lotus, bamboo leaves, and bread crust, sealing in the juices and flavors during it’s 22-hour basting (yes, 22). Order the Chicken two days in advance; it’s worth the forethought. BYOB.
2600 14th St. | Plano
Delicious food, a veggie-friendly menu (don’t worry, there’s meat too), brisk service and a putting green? Yes, a putting green (apparently, the owner’s daughter is quite the golfer so, there you have it). Quirkiness aside, Tukta Thai’s Pad Thai is one of Richardson’s best and the Curry Friend Rice and Pad Woon Sen are equally good. Its BYOB policy makes it a budget-friendly place to dine in, or skip the putting green and do take-out.
9625 Plano Rd., Suite 500 | Dallas
If there’s such a restaurant genre as “upscale, Chinese comfort food, served in a romantic setting with great cocktails,” then Yao Fuzi has nailed it. From Shanghai-style soup dumplings to Pork Steamed Buns and Ma Po Tofu to Kung Pao Chicken—everything is freshly made and utterly delicious. Some delightfully unexpected twists also make an appearance, like Summer Rolls with Spicy Ahi Tuna and Asian Pear, Lamb with Scallions, and Jalapeno Chicken. Yao Fuzi aims to please both the diner looking for familiar Chinese favorites, as well as those looking for something a bit more adventurous. Yao’s extensive menu of Special Martinis is a refreshing departure from most Chinese restaurants: don’t miss the Lychee Grapefruit-tini or the Orange Crush-tini with Absolut mandarin vodka, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and Grand Marnier.
4757 W. Park Blvd., Suite 108 | Plano
Kenny’s Smoke House
No doubt about it—Texans love barbecue. But the thing that makes Kenny’s Smoke House so special is that it offers more than just standard Texas barbecue fare. Tasty eats like smoky Pulled Pork Tostadas are featured alongside must-have brisket, sausage and ribs. Even sandwiches and salads get the Smoke House treatment with ingredients like Smoked Turkey and Smoked Bacon, and don’t miss the Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese. A family style to-go menu makes this a great party option, too.
5760 Legacy Drive #4 | Plano
What’s not to love about Smoke? At the Plano locale, the food is delicious, the service is spot-on, the décor is warm and cozy, and the beautiful, covered patios are romantic and also a great place for people watching. And since it’s date night, after all, don’t miss the fire roasted oysters with scampi butter, chorizo and ash salsa. The Dallas location is smaller and charming with a retro feel (it’s adjacent to the Belmont Hotel), offering many of the same menu items as the Plano outpost and all of the same, excellent Texas-sized hospitality.
2408 Preston Rd. | Plano
901 Fort Worth Ave. | Dallas
Grub Burger Bar
While this is definitely a darn good burger bar, a few surprises on the menu take it up several notches. For lighter fare, the Ahi Tuna Salad is tossed with a kicking-it wasabi-teriyaki vinaigrette. And you certainly wouldn’t expect Crawfish Pistolettes at a burger joint, now would you? And then there’s made-from-scratch étouffée, wrapped in a French bread roll and served with house made Mississippi Comeback Sauce. Veggie burgers are actually flavorful and a nice alternative to beef, as is the Jive Turkey Burger with pesto, chipotle aioli and avocado. Optional burger toppings are fun and inventive, from fried eggs to ghost chili sauce. And don’t miss the “Happier Hour” with $3, $4 and $5 drinks, killer milkshakes and generous appetizers, enough to make a serious dent in your appetite.
4925 Greenville Ave., Suite 150 | Dallas
8255 Preston Rd., Suite 300 | Plano
Hopdoddy believes “happy burgers” start with “happy cows” – humanely raised and without any added chemicals or hormones. In fact, just about everything at Hopdoddy is “happy”: local and organic vegetables, handcut fries, made from scratch buns (including gluten-free options) and craft beers. There’s no table service, per se, but staff helps you find a seat and is more than “happy” to bring you refills or anything else you need. Waits at the Preston Center location can be long at lunch but worth it.
6030 Luther Ln., Suite 100 | Dallas
3227 McKinney Ave., Suite 102 | Dallas
5100 Belt Line Rd., Suite 502 | Addison
Jake’s Uptown: Burgers, Beer & Atmosphere
Now this is where you take out-of-town visitors for a really great, no muss/no fuss Texas-style hamburger. Yeah, there are a couple of obligatory salads on the menu but really, who cares? If you’re at Jake’s, you’re there for fried, battered and delicious. Even desserts are fried. Really, it all goes back to the famous poppy seed buns, all crunchy and toasty. “Vegetables” include Fried Pickle Chips and even Fried Green Beans (See, Mom? We’re eating our greens!). There are giant TV screens everywhere, showcasing a plethora of near and far sports channels, and beer is always frosty—whether in bottles or on tap. Servers are friendly, and you’re welcome to stay for as little or as long as you like.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
Kenny’s Burger Joint
Whether you’re in the mood for a really great, classic burger like Zed’s Straight Up or something a little different like Mushroom Brie or Black & Blue (with Cajun spices and bleu cheese), Kenny’s doesn’t disappoint. Loaded Cheese Fries are the bomb here, and if you’re really feeling indulgent, don’t forget the thick cut onion rings—they’re epic.
1377 Legacy Dr., Suite 120 | Frisco
5809 Preston Rd., Suite 588 | Plano
Village Burger Bar
Remember Monk’s on Seinfeld, the café where the group gathered regularly to nosh and chat? That’s how it is at Village Burger Bar in Watters Creek. Yes, the food is stellar (Cheffed-Up Gourmet Burgers, Truffle Fries and Decadent Shakes), but it’s also a place where family comes first. Many customers pop in several times a week to watch games and let the kids run around. Its All Day/Every Day happy hour is also a draw.
957 Garden Park Dr. | Allen
CAFES, DINERS AND COFFEEHOUSES
Bread Winners Café and Bakery
Is your family having a tough time deciding what’s for dinner (or breakfast or brunch)? Bring ‘em on over to Bread Winners. Southern Lump Crab Cakes with spicy remoulade? No problem. Free-Range Roasted Chicken with fresh herbs, seasonal vegetable orzo, and peppadew vinaigrette? Yep. Big, juicy Green Chile Jalapeno Bacon Burger? Of course! How about something more obscure, like Smoked Gouda Fondue with basil, or Pork Belly Sliders? Bread Winners has those, too. Don’t worry, if you’ve got a hankering for big, hearty breakfast items such as Beeman Ranch Akaushi Strip Steak & Eggs or one of several Eggs Benedict varieties, you won’t be disappointed. Stop by the mouth-watering bakery on your way out for a little something to enjoy later, all by yourself.
Uptown, Inwood Village, Plano, NorthPark Center
While this Dallas staple offers a varied menu of appetizers, soups, salad, entrees, desserts, coffees, and more, ingredients lean heavily toward Mexico—not Brazil. We’re okay with that though because tasty, comfort food options abound. Breakfast portions are generous, and most entrees include a signature side of crispy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes or Fried Sweet Potatoes. Migas with housemade chorizo really hit the spot. Several locations are open 24 hours on the weekends, and the University Park location is open 24 hours always. It’s not easy to find that in Dallas!
Multiple locations throughout DFW
Cindi’s NY Deli
If you’re looking for authentic New York deli food, go to Cindi’s. Now. Oh, and it just happens to be owned by a lovely Vietnamese woman named Anh Vo. Housemade bagels and breads, Reubens, patty melts, generous omelets and matzo ball soup are just a few of the things that keep transplanted New Yorkers and original Dallasites alike flocking to Cindi’s—morning, noon and night. The menu’s huge, so suffice it to say, if you’ve got a taste for something, Cindi’s probably has it—and it’s all good. Breakfast served all day and catering available. With locations throughout the Metroplex, there’s sure to be a Cindi’s near you.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
Crossroads relocated to the NE corner of Preston and Campbell, making this former Walnut Hill favorite even more convenient for north Dallasites. Yes, the famous sticky buns are ooey, gooey, and over-the-top, studded with chopped pecans, caramel, and cinnamon—but this is a diner after all. You can’t go wrong with the made-from-scratch, blueberry pancakes and hearty frittatas, but you’ll also want to try lunchtime fare such as My Mom’s Egg Salad Sandwich on wheat toast or the sublime Crispy Fried Chicken and Warm Brie sandwich. Crossroads welcomes kids and large parties, and, while this busy place doesn’t take reservations, simply download the Nowait app and you’ll get a text when your table is ready.
17194 Preston Rd., Suite 101 | Dallas
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta have a sandwich – a really big, juicy one on pillowy bread, piled high with deli meats, cheese and condiments. And Deli News, a true New York-style deli, restaurant and bakery has served the best for the past twenty-two years. They’ve got everything the ex-New Yorker is looking for: whitefish, chopped liver, pastrami and more. But they do dinner, too. Dine in or take out (they also cater) from their hot food menu including beef stroganoff, boiled chicken in the pot with matzo ball, stuffed cabbage rolls and braised short ribs. What are you waiting for?
17062 Preston Rd. | Dallas
This favorite breakfast-lunch-dinner-brunch spot, equally popular among young, energetic families and sleepy singles sporting disheveled hair, offers something for everyone: vegetarian entrees so hearty you’ll never miss the meat; gluten-free dishes; breakfast items for dinner (Chicken and Waffles with bacon gravy?); and plenty more. Just looking for a nosh? Try the Blue Cheese Chips loaded with apple-smoked bacon and scallions or the Thai Crab Fritters with lemongrass, lime leaf, buttermilk, and chile. With friendly service and cocktail offerings, the dream is very much alive. Now with a location in Lakewood.
Addison, Uptown, Lakewood
Fifth Street Patio Café
This is a terrific place for patio dining—and they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We adore the Bananas Foster French Toast, the Kentucky Hot Brown and the Frisco Cheesesteak (notice—we like decadent food!). Waits can be long, especially on weekends, but the food and the vibrant scene are definitely worth it.
8621 5th St. | Frisco
Since 1956, Norma’s has been serving up its own brand of delicious fare and down-home hospitality. From giant omelets stuffed to the brim, to burgers, sandwiches, and so much more, narrowing down your choices can be a challenge. Everyone loves Norma’s biscuits, but don’t eat too many of them or you won’t have room for things like the Chicken Fried Steak (one of DFW’s best), Open-Faced Pot Roast Sandwich on Texas toast served with mashed potatoes and smothered with gravy, or the ubiquitous diner Patty Melt, positively oozing with Swiss Cheese and smothered onions. Don’t forget the pies! You can’t leave without indulging in one of Norma’s Mile-High Cream Pies™; the coconut version is an otherworldly experience.
Addison, Frisco, Oak Cliff
It’s a little bit of Austin food truck and a little bit of a German biergarten. Throw in some east Dallas quirky hospitality and the ubiquitous urban plethora of beards and man buns, and you’ve got the Truck Yard. A rotating selection of food trucks (check the website for the monthly calendar), live music on the weekends and a respectable offering of booze, brews and yes, dog treats make this an easy-peasy outdoor hangout for both humans and their canine companions. It’s also family friendly, but just in case you’re planning a visit after a Texas-sized rainstorm, wear your rubber boots. Things get muddy, but nonetheless, still fun.
5624 Sears St. | Dallas
Bonnie Ruth’s Bistro Français et Pattisserie
Can’t get to Paris? Then get to Bonnie Ruth’s, where you’ll enjoy classic French bistro cuisine, music and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Menu favorites include Croque Monsieur with decadent béchamel sauce, Steak Frites (ala 10 ounces of NY Strip, pan seared and served with red wine jus) and of course, Onion Soup Gratinée made with veal stock, caramelized onion and topped with melted Gruyere. Heavenly. The Thursday, Friday and Sunday Date Night menu is an exceptional value at just $69 for two, including a bottle of house wine, one hors d’oeuvres, two delicious entrees (choose from Seafood Crepes, Duck Two Ways, Bone-In Pork Chops with Calvados and more), dessert to share and coffee. And don’t forget to swing by the adjacent patisserie to pick up some post-date deliciousness.
916 Garden Park Dr. | Allen
Who doesn’t love a really good soufflé? And this is definitely the place for one. Whether you go with a savory version like Truffle Infused Mushroom or Herb & Spicy Sausage, or a sweet soufflé like Chocolate or Grand Marnier (we would definitely suggest at least one of each), these are soufflés just like your grandmother used to make, if she happened to be French. Or a chef. Or both. If you’re really lucky, you’ll enjoy one of their spectacular seasonal soufflés, like Cranberry Champagne. And of course, you simply cannot miss the inadvertent appetizer for which the restaurant has become most famous: Marshmallow Soup. Though not technically marshmallows, small puffs of baked goat cheese float effortlessly on a delicious red broth topped with green pesto. Yum.
5360 West Lovers Ln., Suite 220 | Dallas
Kuby’s Sausage House and European Market
Kuby’s Catering has been a Dallas holiday staple for decades. From mouth-watering deli trays to box lunches to sit down dinners, everyone loves Kuby’s sausages, Oma’s Potato Pancakes, Schnitzel, Reuben Sandwiches and Homemade Soups that change daily. Catering starts at just $14 per person and includes two sausages, several traditional German sides, mustards, buns and even Apple Strudel for dessert.
6601 Snider Plaza | Dallas
ITALIAN & PIZZA
Brio Tuscan Grille
While Brio offers a delicious menu to suit many different needs or palates (gluten-free, children’s, reduced calorie), it’s their friendly, personalized service that really makes them stand out. Or as Brio likes to say, “You’re not just a customer, you’re considered part of the family.” Its “Lighter Side of Tuscany” options are especially popular. Each of these entrees contains 550 calories or less, and with succulent choices such as Shrimp Mediterranean or a 5-ounce Filet Brio with Roasted Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes, you’ll never miss the extra calories.
810 Central Exwy. South | Allen
When it comes to pizza, Campisi’s is a Dallas favorite, but don’t forget about the rest of the menu. Since 1946, the Campisi family has served up classic and beloved Italian favorites, from meatballs to artichoke hearts and everything in between. Pasta portions are generous and easily shared, and all entrées come with a salad, bread and your choice of pasta. In recent years, Campisi’s has expanded to include gluten-free pizza crusts, and most lunch specials, priced at just $9.99 including entrée and drink, keep business folks, students and stay-at-home moms coming through the doors every weekday.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
Because sometimes, you’ve just gotta have Italian. Whether you’re carb loading with a rich plate of lobster ravioli or keeping it Paleo with a thick and juicy steak or seafood and a side of grilled asparagus, Carrabba’s appeals to families and business professionals alike. Life-just-got-easier options, such as online reservations, several under 600-calorie entrées, and a gluten-free menu, make Carrabba’s both accessible and upscale. Don’t miss the Italian lettuce wraps with wood-grilled chicken, vegetables and ricotta salata, drizzled with port wine reduction. New owner Marco Martinez has a passion for customer service as well as his community, so be sure to say “Ciao” on your next visit.
17548 Dallas Pkwy. | Dallas
There was a time when you could only get Grimaldi’s famous coal-fired brick oven pizza in New York. But that was then. Today, there are Grimaldi’s almost everywhere, it seems. While the menu is somewhat basic (pizzas, calzones, salads), it’s also consistent. But what we like about the Allen location is that it overlooks the little park at Watters Creek where live music is often played during warmer months.
836 Market St. | Allen
Kenny’s East Coast Pizza
If you’re from the east coast, there’s no doubt about it: you’re going to be verrrry picky about your pizza. That’s why North Dallas has drawn the lucky straw in pizza eating, because Plano is where native Bostonian (and one of Dallas’ fave restaurateurs) Kenny Bowers is soon opening his own pizza place. While the menu will also offer Italian American favorites featured on the menus of his other successful restaurants, expect a selection here focusing mainly on the pie—pizza pie, that is; cooked in a classic Bakers Pride Deck Oven. Handcrafted cocktails and Grey Goose on tap, too? We’re already lining up at the door.
4701 W Park Blvd., Suite 101 | Plano
Kenny’s Italian Place
This is the real deal when it comes to Southern American Italian comfort food (think: Parmigiana, Picatta and Marsala) in a fun and friendly atmosphere. A nice selection of pastas ranging from vegetarian to killer “Midnight” meatballs as well as seafood, steaks and chops make Kenny’s a perfect choice, whether it’s family night or date night. Many dishes can be prepared “light” (if you’re so inclined), vegetarian or gluten free.
5100 Beltline Rd., Suite 764 | Dallas
Patrizio is practically a Dallas area tradition and its Highland Village location doesn’t disappoint. The menu, described as “traditional…with modern approaches” includes plenty of pasta but also twists on classics such as Ossobuco (this time, as a Bourbon Glazed Pork Shank on Gorgonzola Polenta) and Roasted Red Snapper with a Cauliflower Mousse (yes, please). The Warm Chocolate Chip and Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is simply to die for. A relaxing patio with winter heat lamps and big fireplace make it a cozy destination on chilly nights.
4131 Deer Creek, Suite 110 | Highland Village
When you hear the words “street food,” you probably think about Vietnamese, Thai, or Mexican. Rarely, do you associate street food with Italian, so it’s nice to find a place founded on that very concept. It all starts with Piada’s super thin pizza dough—not quite tortilla, not quite lavash—but wonderfully chewy and light. From there, a plethora of topping options (delectable meatballs, fried chicken, steak, avocado, greens, etc.) turns the dough into your choice of either a folded/layered sandwich known as a Tasca (pocket) or a Piada (wrap). Street sides are also good and very fresh, including Orzo Crunch or Roasted Corn. Piada’s reasonably-priced menu makes it a favorite for a quick bite or a sit-down dinner in a fast, casual atmosphere.
Frisco, Richardson, Fort Worth
The best way to describe Roman Cucina is just this: simple, delicious and family-friendly. The Dallas location, with strings of party lights and comfy black leather booths, reminds us of something we might see in a Brooklyn, New York neighborhood, and the arched patio provides a lovely place for dining al fresco. The newer Allen location boasts a spacious dining room as well as an intimate banquet room, both perfect for larger parties. At both locations, you’ll find straightforward Italian fare: pastas, subs (worthy of a notable mention, especially the meatball), soups and salads, and classic entrées like Steak Milanese and Eggplant Parmigiana. But unlike a lot of other old-school Italian joints, this one also accommodates egg-free, gluten-free and dairy-free substitutions at low or no additional cost on many of their items. A small but well-priced wine list and cocktails are also available.
7989 Belt Line Rd., Suite 315 |Dallas
201 E. Bethany Dr., Suite 1 | Allen
Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen
This Houston-based eatery does offer a well-rounded menu, including Arancini (delectable Sicilian rice balls loaded with herbs and Romano cheese in a rich Bolognese sauce), fantastic Calzones, and standard Italian entrées (Chicken Piccata and the like). That said, the real draw to Russo’s is the pizza, thanks to its nearly 1,000-degree coal-fired oven which gives us that chewy, but crispy, crust we love. Try the Prosciutto and Kale with Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese. Feeling carnivorous? The Paesano Napolatana will leave you feeling sated. Russo’s is family-friendly, and they cater to both big and small parties.
700 East Campbell Rd. | Richardson
A chic Italian joint to grab a quick bite or linger—your call. Pizzas are fresh and fast, and hearty traditional sandwiches like Chicken Parm or The Gina Parm (with assorted Italian cold cuts and fresh mozzarella) are served on yummy semolina rolls from Empire Bakery. Spezzo’s choice of two appetizers—fried calamari with marinara and spicy garlic aioli or white bean soup—are solid. Wine, beer, cocktails, espresso and gelato also available.
4901 W. Park Blvd., Suite 521 | Plano
What’s more relaxing than ordering in a pizza? Urban Crust’s catering options take care of everything you need whether it’s a small pick-up order, a huge catered affair or even their mobile pizza oven at your next home party, complete with two pizza chefs. Pizza is Urban Crust’s mainstay but it also offers delicious mini appetizers like Chicken Parmesan Sliders and Bite Size Calzones. Fresh and hearty salads will round out your menu.
1006 East 15th St. | Plano
What started in Austin in 1982 as fun/funky Tex-Mex joint—where you could grab a beer and chips or a comforting mix of familiar entrees, has since grown into what you might call a Tex-Mex empire, with locations across Texas and 14 other states. Still, Chuy’s hasn’t lost its charm. And a lot of love goes into Chuy’s food—from hand-pulled chicken in all entrees, to hand-rolled fresh tortillas, to any of the 10 signature sauces made fresh daily—those extra steps really make a difference in both taste and quality. If your appetite’s cavernous, you’ll definitely want to try a “Big As Yo’ Face” Burrito or famous Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken breaded with Lay’s potato chips, deep fried and smothered with green chile sauce and cheese. A small but refreshing selection of signature drinks still makes Chuy’s a perfect place to kick back—any time, any place.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
El Bolero Cocina Mexicana
This authentic spot draws the inspiration for its food and beverages from the diverse regions of Mexico. The patio has plenty of umbrellas to provide shade, making it an ideal brunch spot; or kick back on a sunny afternoon with one of their outstanding margaritas and some tacos al pastor.
1201 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 160 | Dallas
A Knox-Henderson “institution”, Javier’s is still the go-to place for a guaranteed good time with its bustling crowd of beautiful people and a swanky (just ignore the smoke) cigar bar. No Tex-Mex here. This is authentic Mexico City dining. Don’t miss the Filete Cantinflas – tenderloin beef filet stuffed with Chihuahua cheese and topped with mild chile mulatto sauce or the Barra de Navidad – giant shrimp in a delightful diablo sauce. Olé!
4912 Cole Ave. | Dallas
This is the kind of Tex-Mex cuisine that North Texans both love and crave. And at Mattito’s, you have to start off with the Bob Armstrong dip. Basically a layered chile con queso with seasoned ground beef, guacamole and sour cream, you’ll soon find yourself swooning over Mr. Armstrong. While not on the menu, with a wink and a smile your server will be happy to accommodate you. Then move right on to more cheesy goodness with Texas Enchiladas or Quesadillas de Brisket. If your mood isn’t cheesy, you can’t go wrong with the fajitas and yes, if needed, they even offer gluten-free tortillas. The lite fajitas are perfect for calorie counters, sautéed without oil and served over seared broccoli and cauliflower. The chicken fried steak, though definitely not for Paleos, is strictly top notch. A few locations also offer a well-priced Sunday brunch from 10-2, and all locations are very family friendly.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
If Mexican Sugar doesn’t make you want to book a vacation south of the border, pronto, we don’t know what will. Chic, hacienda-style design, replete with arched doorways and hardwood floors, showcases perfectly the Latin food and flavors of this Shops at Legacy gem. Fresh, local ingredients and plenty of lighter fare, too, help make this place a date night/family/crowd pleaser. Don’t miss the stellar ceviche and shrimp/crab/avocado cocktail alongside heartier items like enchiladas and a fantastic hamburguesa with chile bacon, roasted poblano and pickled jalapeno. For carb watchers, all of the fresh tacos can be served with lettuce cups rather than tortillas. “Beautifiers” (aka killer cocktails) are worth the trip alone. We can’t get enough of the Smoked Pineapple Margarita and Basil Limonada. Love the Legacy Tequila Flight, too.
7501 Lone Star Dr., Suite B150 | Plano
Mi Dia From Scratch
While folks who like Tex Mex food tend to prefer Tex Mex, and those who like Mexican food tend to prefer Mexican, Mia Dia offers the best of both worlds. The name says it all: from scratch. From tamales lovingly stuffed with pork and then topped with New Mexico red and green chile sauces, Oaxacan salsa with crema and pasilla, silky Negra Modelo Glazed Sea Bass to the crowd-pleasing Applewood Smoked Bacon and Chipotle Fajitas, each dish is prepared using mouthwatering ingredients with a flair. Signature items include Chipotle Ribs and wonderful Sopes—corn masa boats topped with Oaxacan black beans, pork belly, queso fresco, crema, micro cilantro, and New Mexico red chile. The Plano location’s outdoor patio area is a perfect spot to enjoy one of their more than 25 different margaritas, maybe one of their craft cocktails, or a tequila flight.
Great chips, zippy salsa, friendly service, and the infamous Mambo Taxi (an intoxicating—literally—blend of Sauza Silver tequila, lime juice and housemade sangria with Pinot Noir, brandy and fruit juices) have ensured that every single person in Dallas (or so we imagine) has been to Mi Cocina at least a dozen times. While the Brisket Tacos are legendary, and the Queso Blanco with Picadillo Beef is the bomb, for the fitness-minded, the housemade soups and hearty salads are also excellent. Feeling fishy? The seared Tilapia Filet with Orange-Garlic Mojo is solid. We’ll also take anything they offer, as long as its smothered in Mi Cocina’s silky-smooth mole sauce.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
Featuring both “American standards and Mexican classics,” this cozy, but popular, McKinney Avenue spot is favored by the in-crowd, making it a wonderful place for a date night or meeting up with friends. During non-peak times, it’s also a nice family destination. When the weather’s nice, the outdoor patio is especially popular to enjoy a Micorita, a house specialty made with Herradura Jimador tequila. Other favorites include Brisket Tacos and the flat grilled Mico “12” Strip Steak, served with serrano and grilled cherry tomatoes. If you have a hankering for a hot dog, this is the place to go. The Big D Dog is made with ¼ pound of Kobe beef, topped with chile, cheese, and onion on a brioche bun.
4444 McKinney Ave. | Dallas
What better anti-turkey meal than one including the best queso and chips in town? This Austin-based eatery offers what most would call “gourmet” tacos in a fun, casual, non-gourmet setting. Their taco of the month is always delicious and might include ingredients like pumpkin seed crusted chicken tenders or escabeche carrots. They also offer hearty breakfast tacos, perfect for out of town guests.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
The Lion & Crown Club at Watters Creek
If you’re experiencing Downton Abbey withdrawal (who isn’t?) you’ll get your fix at The Lion & Crown Club. A full English-style pub menu with good wines and 38 beers on tap will remind you of your favorite PBS drama. Enjoy classics such as Fish & Chips, Cottage Pie and Bangers & Mash but also some American twists like Pepperoni Flatbread. The cozy pub décor adds to the fun.
932 Garden Park Dr. | Allen
Dive Coastal Cuisine
Yes, Dive, located in Snider Plaza, attracts ladies who lunch. And ravenous, yet well-heeled SMU students. But what packs in customers for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday is the food. It’s really good, and portions are surprisingly generous. Think the-Hamptons-meets-shabby-chic with convenient counter-service and a strong commitment to seasonal, organic ingredients. As the name suggests, there’s a strong bent toward seafood with freshly-shucked oysters, mussels and daily fish specials served with a choice of sauce and two sides. But that’s just the beginning. Not feeling fishy? Try the South Beach Turkey Burger with sriracha aioli or the Grilled Churrasco Steak Wrap. One of our faves is the trio salad sampler featuring soba noodles topped with perfectly cooked salmon, agave chicken salad and raw artichoke & herb salad. Cocktails, beer, wine and seasonal sangria round out your swim.
3404 Rankin St. | Dallas
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
While this may be considered more of a date night place, if you happen to bring your in-laws here for a Thanksgiving weekend night out, they’ll never forget it. THE freshest seafood in a sleek setting makes The Oceanaire the perfect spot for a luxurious dinner with top-notch service. Menu offerings are based entirely on freshness and availability, so arrive prepared to “just go with it.” There are several sides you won’t want to miss including Chardonnay Roasted Mushrooms and Shells & Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Applewood Bacon. Their full bar might just make you forget you promised to pick up the tab.
The Westin Galleria Dallas
13340 Dallas Pkwy. | Dallas,
This light and spacious Louisiana-style eatery has plenty to offer. Not only is it smack-dab in the middle of one of Dallas’ hottest dining destinations for date night and more, the freshly prepared seafood is tough to beat. Whether you’ve got a hankering for Down Home Shrimp and Grits, Lobster Mac & Cheese or maybe something lighter like Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi, Ponzu and Ginger, Amberjax will not disappoint. Don’t like fishy things? No worries. They also offer delicious chicken and beef.
3011 Gulden Ln., Suite 107 | Dallas
Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
Babe’s just might be the ultimate in family-friendly, down-home cooking. If you like things battered and fried, Babe’s has got you covered. The fried chicken is (practically) world-famous but the chicken fried steak is equally delicious. The catfish is as good as any we’ve had. If you insist, they have one un-fried option: Hickory Smoked Chicken. Sides are unlimited and served family-style, just like Grandma used to make, including iceberg lettuce with sweet vinaigrette, creamed corn, green beans cooked with grease (don’t expect al dente), mashed potatoes with gravy, and fluffy biscuits. Without a doubt, Dallas loves Babe’s, so there can be a wait, especially on weekends, but seating moves quickly. For food this good, at just $12.99/person for adults, it’s definitely worth it.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
If you’re looking for slow fast food and a cool Austin vibe, Chicken Scratch (CS) is the place to be. The Fork and Knife Chicken Finger Biscuit Sandwich is like Chick-fil-A on steroids only in this version, the chicken is hormone-free, never frozen and local, and the biscuit is made from scratch. Not feeling “fried?” No problem. CS offers big salad bowls and pecan wood rotisserie plates, too. Grab an adult beverage next door at The Foundry and hang out at the outdoor picnic tables. When you’ve had your fill, enjoy an all-natural fresh fruit popsicle.
2303 Pittman St. | Dallas
Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar
Really, everything we’ve tried at Sissy’s is good. Really, really good. And the owner, Lisa Garza Selcer, couldn’t be more hospitable. But for family dining, the way to go at Sissy’s is with a bucket of her famous fried chicken. You’ll get ten pieces for just $25 (if you prefer all white meat, it’s $32) and it comes with your choice of coleslaw or whipped potatoes and gravy. Throw in some of her delicious sides like collard greens ($9), Sissy’s mac & cheese ($12) or her famous squash puppies with Texas honey butter and jalapeño jelly and voilà! Dinner is served.
2929 N Henderson Ave. | Dallas
The gigantic patio is always packed! Enjoy down-home food made from scratch daily. The menu features seafood from the Gulf, steak sourced from local ranchers, and dairy and produce grown by local farmers. The bartenders stay busy, pouring the most prolific collection of local beverages in town, including 40 beers on tap.
3656 Howell St. | Dallas
Located in the beautiful Grand Hotel & Ballroom in downtown McKinney, Rick’s is absolutely a date destination for lunch, cocktails and dinner. Comfy leather couches, live music from local artists Thursday through Saturday and handcrafted cocktails are just part of what makes Rick’s so popular but it’s a chophouse, after all, and the real emphasis here is on the food. Mouthwatering steaks, juicy burgers, fresh seafood (including Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes served with Roasted Corn-Crawfish Bisque and Bacon-Wrapped Trout) along with classic, hearty salads like the Iceberg Wedge with Maytag Bleu Cheese Dressing are just a few of the things you’ll love at Rick’s. And since you’ve already booked the sitter, why not include an overnight stay at the historic hotel? Rick’s serves Sunday brunch, too.
107 North Kentucky | McKinney
Another great pick for tapas and maybe a lovely glass of rosé. Just off the beautiful downtown historic square, Café Malaga’s secluded back patio is a bit of a hidden gem but well worth a visit. Tapas standouts include the Lamb Lollipop Chops and gooey Fondue with five different types of cheese.
107 S Church St. | McKinney
Crú Food and Wine Bar
All three of the Cru locations offer tasty little bites to share (tapas style), stone fired pizza, big plates (steaks, chicken and fish) and a very nice selection of cheese. Bartenders are knowledgeable about the extensive wine selection. We enjoy ordering a flight of three two-ounce wines related by grape varietal, geographic region or style. Flights are a nice way to try something new without breaking the date night bank. Plus, they encourage lingering.
Shops at Legacy
7201 Bishop Rd., Suite E2 | Plano
842 Market St. | Allen
3699 McKinney Ave., Suite 107 | Dallas
BEST BARS: JUICE BARS
There’s a reason why Jamba Juice is so popular: everything tastes really good. From dairy-free smoothies to creamy protein drinks, made-to-order fruit/veggie juices and wheatgrass shots, delicious light bites such as oatmeal and breakfast wraps and even a kids’ menu, everyone in the family will find something to love. Some locations are now also offering artisan flatbreads and toasted bistro sandwiches, so it’s like a one-stop shop for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
With cold-pressed juice names like Toxin Flush and Green Apple Detox, you know you must be doing something good for your body. Gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan? Nékter’s got you covered, too. Add-ins include vitamin-packed ingredients like kale, fennel, pitaya, chia seeds and hemp protein. If you’re craving solids, their signature açai bowls with housemade vanilla cashew milk, granola and fruit are divine. They also offer cold brew coffee, and 1- to 5-day juice cleanses.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
The Gem uses 100% organic and vegan ingredients and their commitment to delicious, quality nutrition really shows. Cleanses may be ordered online and with the availability of turmeric wellness shots, kombucha on tap and growler-sized containers of anything they serve, your immune system is going to be very happy, indeed. Nice food offerings, too, including a daily soup, kale or quinoa salad and hummus with veggie chips.
6030 Luther Ln. | Dallas
5915 Forest Ln. | Dallas
Crú Food & Wine Bar
While Crú is known for its friendly, knowledgeable staff as well as delicious appetizers, cheese plates and stone fired pizzas, it also offers a nice selection of “big plate” items including filet mignon, herb crusted branzino and Barolo braised short ribs. Join their free Wine Club and you’ll get all sorts of juicy discounts, including a free entrée on your birthday.
Allen, Plano, Dallas
Mercy Wine Bar
Offering over 50 wines from 10 countries by the bottle and 100 wines by the carafe, the Mercy experience feels like a cozy extension of your living room (if yours looks like a chic boutique hotel). With shareable appetizers and desserts as well as fresh fish, grilled meats and succulent pastas, this is a perfect spot before or after a movie. Close to several theatres, too.
5100 Belt Line Rd. | Dallas
Veritas Wine Room
Veritas is a true wine lover’s dream, offering a rotating menu of 30 wines by the glass and a plethora of both familiar and obscure wines by the bottle—many of them at reasonable prices. The warm, woodsy atmosphere makes you want to pull up a leather ottoman and just chill. Hungry? Enjoy a beautiful local and imported cheese/meat plate and chocolate (yes!) from Wiseman House Chocolates in Hico, Texas. Great selection of craft beers, too.
2323 N Henderson Ave. | Dallas
Now, this is what we call a sports bar. Nothing fancy—just plenty of good grub and suds, and of course, TV screens. But what makes Austin Avenue a local favorite is its festive, neighborhood vibe. March Madness bracket contests with wing specials, dart tournaments, Halloween dress-ups and corporate social hours are really what keep regulars coming back for more.
1801 N Plano Rd. | Richardson
935 W Parker Rd. | Plano
Brick House Tavern + Tap
Described as a “sports bar with elevated pub fare”, Brick House offers a relaxed atmosphere with enough comfort food to totally blow your diet for the week. Think Chicken and Waffles, Battered Fish and Chips, Steak and Eggs and Drunken Chops. Their late night menu runs until 1 am weeknights and 2 am weekends. Don’t miss their famous meatballs, and burgers are decadent.
4900 West Park Blvd. | Plano
700 W State Hwy. 114 | Grapevine
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta have a good wing. And some waffle fries. And by all means, don’t forget the fried pickles. Multiple TV screens and a family-friendly vibe make Pluckers wildly popular, just about any time of the day. Voted “ESPN Top 5 Sports Bar” and “Top 10 Wing Bar” (USA Today), you’ll find traditional Buffalo-style wings alongside Spicy Korean and Garlic Parmesan varieties. Wash it all down with your favorite brew.
Multiple locations throughout DFW
Looking for an upscale sports bar/tavern that’s also kid-friendly? Henry’s is your place. With a full-scale menu (burgers, tacos, pizzas, fresh fish, you name it), you can bring the whole family and enjoy a snack, meal, dinner and even Sunday brunch. There’s also live music Tuesday through Saturdays and no cover charge, thank you very much.
5741 Legacy Dr. | Plano
Coffee House Café
This is the perfect setting for “coffee talks” with friends, weeknight dinner with the family, date night or just about anything else. Coffee is European style, handcrafted, shade grown, mostly organic and all that—but there’s so much more. You’ll also see French press drinks, cold brews and pour overs, as well as delicious “adult” coffees, featuring tasty add-ins like Bailey’s, Frangelico and vanilla vodka. Why not stop in after a movie, when you’re not quite ready to call it a night? Or, maybe you’re in a hurry? No problem; this place even has a drive-thru, offering both beverages and breakfast/lunch items. And pooches are always welcomed on the patio—as long as they don’t drink too many espressos.
6150 Frankford Rd. | Dallas
This beloved neighborhood staple on Greenville Avenue offers fantastic coffee, delicious pastries and housemade breakfast and lunch items. A few additional bonuses: it’s connected on one side to a gluten-free bakery and on the other to a darling flower/gift shop offering reasonably-priced, hand-tied bouquets. With cute, local M-street names for a variety of hot and cold sandwiches and a deli case of nicely presented cold salads, there’s something here for everyone—whether you’re looking for a place to roost/work, takeout or catering. Bread is baked daily from Empire Bakery, meats are preservative free, veggies and herbs are from the rooftop garden, and even the eggs are from the Corner Market’s very own chicken coop. Don’t miss the mile-high huevos rancheros and Belgian waffles on weekends.
3426 Greenville Ave. | Dallas
Cuban Dulceria International Bakery
Tucked away in a sleepy (read: tired) shopping center in Carrollton just off George Bush lies this tiny treasure, operated by the lovely Vazquez sisters. (Their parents opened the bakery back in 1979.) It’s the kind of place that you try once, then hesitate telling your friends about it because basically you’re selfish, and you want the mind-blowing café con leches, cortaditos (espresso, steamed milk, foam, sugar) and freshly-baked Cuban pastries all to yourself. We don’t blame you. With just a few tables inside and out, you’d better be prepared to wait, but while you do, enjoy the black-and-white family photos of days-gone-by in Cuba. Do. Not. Miss. The sandwiches, particularly the Media Noche, stacked with meat and pickles and pressed onto freshly baked Cuban bread.
2662 N Josey Ln. | Carrollton
1017 S Broadway St. | Carrollton
Fourteen Eighteen Coffeehouse
Brick walls and a pressed tin ceiling give Fourteen Eighteen the big city urban vibe that many of us crave in DFW, especially in the ‘burbs, but really, it’s about the coffee. And the comfy couches. Oh, and the pastries! If you’re craving sweets, there’s a generous selection of sumptuous pies from Emporium, flaky pastries, muffins and scones to pair with your double espresso or cappuccino, made with beans roasted by Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. All-natural fruit smoothies and frappes are a nice alternative, and the non-rushed atmosphere means you can while away here on a Saturday morning, book in hand, feeling somehow transported. Or, bring a date later that night to share dessert.
1418 K Ave. | Plano
Frogg Coffee Bar & Creperie
‘Cause sometimes you need a crepe, too! And when the craving hits, it’s time to head to Frogg. If the Nutella and Stuff crepe (with foster and caramel sauces, whipped cream, apples and cinnamon) isn’t enough to make you jump in your car, maybe the friendly and knowledgeable baristas will win you over with one of their delicious hot beverage options, topped with beautiful latte art designs. Heartier appetites will appreciate their delicious soups, sandwiches and filling omelet crepes. This place feels like a little slice of European heaven.
832 Market St. | Allen
Global Peace Factory
If you think the name of this place refers to a hippie-dippie alternative to “that other factory” (you know, the one with cheesecake), think again. “Factory” is just for fun, because Global Peace is anything but. A fairly small space with highly customizable drinks, interesting ingredients and super-friendly wait staff are what bring folks back here time and again. We said interesting coffee ingredients, and we meant it: lavender or coconut syrup. Honey. Brown Sugar. There are also plenty of milk alternatives. But what makes Global Peace a standout for us is that it donates a portion of its proceeds to peacework charities. Pretty cool for a place that serves really hot beverages.
1377 Legacy Dr. | Frisco
i Java & Chai
Looking for an off-the-beaten path hangout serving good coffee (including a delicious Turkish option), a plethora of hot and cold teas and tons of bubble tea options? This is your new go-to. And we’re not just talking bubble tea—there are popping bubbles, tapioca pearls, jelly—if you enjoy a certain amount of chewable-ness in your beverage, they’ve got you covered. Also nice are the unique pastries, including baklava, pretzels, cakes, macarons and za’atar pie—not really a traditional pie but a savory snack made with Middle Eastern spices and sesame seeds on pocketless pita bread. Popular with students doing homework, this family-run biz even offers them a 15% discount with ID. It’s even open until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays, a rare and welcome find in Plano.
1820 Coit Rd. | Plano
This is the kind of straightforward coffee joint that makes life wonderfully simple: a few coffees, a few specialty drinks, some beer, a little wine and kombucha on tap. Daily wraps and sandwiches (a limited selection but all very tasty—served with chips and oddly, a banana—because bananas are awesome) provide something to nosh on while you linger (and you’ll definitely want to linger). The atmosphere is Irish pub meets something from the set of Harry Potter with warm, dark woods, old paintings and taxidermied animals. Our only complaint is that folks like it so much here, they tend to set up camp at the small tables rather than grab-and-go, so if you’ve got work to do (free Wi-Fi), be sure to arrive early in the day. There are also seats at the bar and on the small front patio.
2114 Greenville Ave. | Dallas
817 Matisse Dr. | Fort Worth
We’re not sure what makes us nerdier: our love of Nerdvana’s borrow-or-buy board games library or the fact that we get super excited about a hot beverage served in actual coffee mugs. Never mind. Nerdvana gets a big thumbs up. Much of the seating in this wide-open space is community-style—perfect for socializing and playing games—with plentiful outlets for all your electronic devices. Teas and fresh juices round out your beverage selection, and the Texas Toasts are definitely worth a tasting. We swooned over the Divine Apple Pecan version.
5757 Main St. | Frisco
When Carlene Saelg and Rita Davis moved to Dallas from Austin in early 2007, they began looking for a “real” coffee shop—the kind that served strong, mostly espresso-based drinks that weren’t bitter, provided a community atmosphere and welcomed those who wanted to open up a laptop or book and hang out for a while. When they couldn’t find one, they boldly opened Pearl Cup. Using only the best, local Texas roasters, Pearl Cup is the perfect venue for true coffee snobs—and we mean that in the most complimentary way. Of course, you must try their creamy, dreamy signature drink: The Pearl Latte™.
2701 Custer Pkwy. | Richardson
Snug on the Square
Snug is like a hug, tucked into a square. Does that make sense? Maybe it will when we tell you Snug offers delicious hand-crafted coffee beverages and ginormous portions of omelets, breakfast sandwiches, hearty soups, sandwich melts and salads—and both breakfast and lunch are offered every day, all day. If you live in McKinney, you’re lucky—you can just stumble into the square for a Snug brunch any ole time you like (up until 3 pm on Saturdays). The rest of us will make our visit a mini day trip, first filling up at Snug, then burning off those calories with a few strolls around the courthouse square, stopping in at all those cute, independently-owned shops. Waits can be long, especially on the weekends, but it’s worth it.
109 N Kentucky St. | McKinney
White Rock Coffee
Whether you’re searching for a cool, caffeinated hangout after burning some calories at White Rock Lake or a quick walk-up/drive-thru with plenty of specialty drink options, like Iced Caramel Mocha and Mango Peach Green Iced Tea, White Rock aims to please. The main location on Northwest Highway offers plenty of seating (there’s also a small balcony upstairs if the downstairs is full), free Wi-Fi, fresh muffins, bagels and pastries and if you hit them at the right time, free live music, too. It’s also a great place to pick up a pound of locally roasted microlot, organic or direct/fair trade beans for your home brews.
Lake Highlands, East Dallas and Dallas
BEST SWEET TREATS
Andy’s Frozen Custard
The choice between a massive drive-thru and walk-up ordering makes this a unique stop on our list. There are a few benches outside, but be warned, there is no indoor seating here. Frozen Custard is a change of pace from all of the ice cream, and since blueberries are in season, we went with the Blue Bonnet Jackhammer, which mixed vanilla custard with blueberries and a marshmallow center. Not your thing? Try a Malt, Shake or even a Banana Split. No matter what you order, the whole family will be impressed. Don’t forget about bringing Spot along—Andy’s is dog friendly!
1731 E Hebron Pkwy. | Carrollton
Dozens of unique flavors are served up by high school employees who seem to be having as much fun making the concoctions as you will have eating them. Try the Caribbean Cola, a soda with vanilla flavoring and tropic cream. Another favorite for the teen scene is the Super Sour Sno Cones. Apple, Blueberry and even the Atomic Warhead are all winners for those who like to make pucker faces with their icy treats. The list of flavors is dizzying, and then with the add-ons like ice cream, chocolate syrup and more, you can really customize your creation.
8700 Preston Rd. #127 | Plano
(multiple other locations)
Double Dip Frozen Custard
This cute open-air venue in Downtown Frisco hosts a multitude of different unique Sundaes and Caliches (blended custard with toppings) with names like “Pie in the Sky” and “The Gizmo.” Try the “Grasshopper” with custard, creamy mint topping and a scoop of Oreos. What about having your cake and eating it too? There’s even a Caliche with pieces of bundt cake mixed right in! Want a cool treat but without the ice cream? Try one of their true old-fashioned sodas—cherry, chocolate and key lime, just to name a few.
7511 Main St. | Frisco
Henry’s Homemade Ice
With a tagline like “Ice Cream Makes You Pretty” this stop was a no brainer. Homemade ice cream with unique flavors, such as Corn, Strawberry Marshmallow and Triple Oreo—we were able to sample many and then take some for the road. After devouring my Pecan Praline, I will say I felt a little prettier.
3100 Independence Pkwy. #215 | Plano
Highland Park Soda Fountain
Step back in time and hop up on an old-fashioned circular stool to experience the “soda jerks” mixing up your favorite treat. Milkshakes and Malts (extra malt, please!) are just the start. Maybe a Float is your thing or Egg Cream Soda? Order what you like and while you wait, you can wander around and check out all the goods for sale. Everything from lotions and candles to baby clothes and artwork line the walls of this historic shop.
3229 Knox St. | Dallas
Howdy’s Homemade Ice Cream
Howdy’s is the best way to my heart or anyone else’s! This unassuming blue door in a shopping center holds a delight that is worth a drive from anywhere in the metroplex. Incredible flavors like Dr. Pepper Chocolate Chip and Hot Tamales (yes, like the candy) are just a few of the gems here. The real treat though, is the staff. 14 out of the 16 employees are people with special needs, who love their job. It shows. We couldn’t eat the samples fast enough—the staff is so proud of their flavors and product that they can’t wait to share it with everyone. They handed us spoonful after spoonful of every delicious flavor, and we couldn’t get enough. I left with a bag full of pints and a huge smile on my face.
4333 Lovers Ln. | Dallas
Is there anything more indulgent than gelato? How do they pack in all that flavor with 70% less fat than ice cream? I don’t know, but I do know that I love the Salted Caramel Gelato here. Give me a giant scoop in a waffle cone, and my inner fat kid is happily fooled. You can also find sorbets and lattes if that’s more to your liking. Most locations are open late so this is a great place to head after a movie or dinner if you want that night to go on just a little bit longer. (Hint, hint fellas!) Locations are all over so there really is no reason why you can’t go tonight.
936 Garden Park Dr. | Allen
(multiple other locations)
Frozen hot chocolate. Need I say more? Stop by this unique chocolate shop for a decadent treat and stroll through the resort-style shopping center for a truly special day or after dinner treat. (While you’re there, you might take home a few pieces of “bean to bar” chocolate and ask Troy for a lesson in how real chocolate is made.)
908 Watters Creek Blvd. | Allen
Located in the adorable Canyon Creek neighborhood in Richardson, this gem is a must visit. I hit frozen utopia with the Slowpoke ice cream—chocolate ice cream with salted caramel ribbons and pecans. It’s almost as wonderful as the staff! The location also boasts a beautiful party room for showers and birthdays, and really, who wouldn’t love an ice cream party? Fun for the whole family, including your pooch who can enjoy a Puppy Cone on the patio with you.
2701 Custer Pkwy. | Richardson