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Food & Drink

News Bites: Boozy Seltzer Is Unstoppable and Flavors of the State Fair Live On

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.
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Bret Redman

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between, including coronavirus-related intel.

Norma’s State Fair–Themed Menu
If there’s anything I’m lamenting as a first-time Dallas resident, it’s missing the fried concessions at the State Fair. I love all sorts of food, fancy and non. But I love corndogs. To have tried one of the OG corny dogs would’ve been a crowning moment for me. Hopefully that moment will come in 2021. I digress. If, like me, you’d still like to experience a sliver of those State Fair flavors, Norma’s will have a special menu dedicated to the now-canceled event that will run through October. The menu will feature fried favorites like mini corn dogs, funnel cake fries, chili cheese tots, funnel cakes, chicken fried steak, deep-fried Oreo churros, and other State Fair-adjacent classics like bacon mac and cheeseburgers, sausage on a stick, and Belgian waffles. Norma’s is also looking to help out the organizations affected by the cancellation by helping to raise money for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction & Scholarship Program.

The Summer of Hard Seltzer
Move over White Claw. There are two boozy seltzers coming to the North Texas market. First up is one from Shiner. Yes, Shiner. The century-old Texas brewery is getting into the seltzer game. You should start to see its Straight Shooter boozy seltzer (in flavors like wild cherry, lemonade, mango, and grapefruit and lime) hit shelves by the end of August. And everybody’s favorite fizzy water, Topo Chico, also recently announced a forthcoming hard seltzer. According to Bloomberg News, the mineral water brand will first release its boozy seltzer in select Latin American cities. The U.S. will have to wait until 2021. But let the anticipation build like a shaken up bottle of Topo Chico.

Minnie’s Pantry Plots a Dallas Location
The Plano-based nonprofit distributes food to those in need. Since the pandemic hit, that need has greatly ballooned. In a normal month, the pantry would serve some 5,000 people; these days that number is closer to 20,000. Standing firm in its mission, Minnie’s Pantry hinted at a new location coming to South Dallas. There’s still much to do, like break ground on the space at Bonnie View Road and Prosperity Avenue. Related: if you haven’t, you most definitely should read Abby Blasingame’s profile of Cheryl Jackson who founded the nonprofit in 2008.

PSA to Restaurant Workers in Need: Get Your Free Staff Meal Meal Kits
The Staff Meal Special, the 10-week program launched by FestEvents Foundation to help feed restaurant workers in need and financially support restaurants, has operated since July. Four weeks remain. As more restaurants close permanently and the $600 CARES Act unemployment benefit has ended, Staff Meal knows there are plenty of industry folk who could use a helping hand getting food on the table. Thanks to a grant from Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, they pay a different local restaurant each week to create and provide 100 free, to-go meal kits (serves two). Sign up for your weekly reservation link online. For August, pickup locations include La Madeleine, Humble Pie, La Duni, and Gas Money Bar N’ Grill (in that order).

Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen Expands to Bishop Arts District
Last week, we shared news of a new Vietnamese restaurant in Lower Greenville. Chef-owner Carol Nguyen quickly moved into a restaurant space on Greenville Avenue, where she’s been serving a limited (but still sizable) menu for takeout, such as banh mí and vermicelli bowls. Come September, Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen will officially open with its full menu (indoor dining yet to be determined). Nguyen’s food has been so well received she’s gone and snagged a space for a second Ngon location in the Bishop Arts District, near Paradiso. Stay tuned for more details as we have them.

Another Round of Food Distribution at Fair Park
On August 11, the North Texas Food Bank will return to Fair Park for another day of mass food distribution, reports Dallas Morning News. It’s the fourth round since the pandemic began, which has left thousands food insecure. In the past, cars would drive-thru for a contactless pickup. This time, there will be an option for walk-ups for those without vehicles. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., or until supplies last; head to Gate 2.

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