The State Fair will open weekends in September and October with limited capacity. There will be photo opps with Big Tex and fair food drive-thrus. Bret Redman

News Bites

News Bites: The State Fair Is Back On, Sort of, and 7-Eleven Is Doing Too Much

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

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.

The State Fair Is Not Canceled!
Sort of. The State Fair that you know and love can’t return in full force. But the Dallas Morning News reports that it will open for “drive-thru picnics” allowing 50,000 cars (less than 5 percent of the usual crowds) to drive through the fairgrounds and pick up a Fletcher’s corny dog and other fair foods like Smokey John’s smoked turkey legs. Man, I love hand-held foods. A drive-thru picnic is when you pick up your food and eat somewhere else, in your car, or as a socially distanced picnic. The logistics of this whole operation sounds like an interesting challenge, but best of luck! Oh, you can also still get your yearly picture with Big Tex, which, it seems, is way better than one with Santa Claus.

Southern Comfort Food Arrives Downtown
Entrepreneur Kevin Kelley opened True Kitchen and Kocktails at 1944 Elm Street downtown last week. Food skews Southern—”classics made with a twist,” per its press release—with fried chicken and lobster tails, shrimp and grits, creative waffles, oxtails, greens, black-eyed peas, and candied yams alongside desserts such as peach cobbler, lemon cake, and banana pudding. It does not skimp. But definitely don’t skip the cocktails, which skew more tropical than Southern: mojitos, rum punches, caipirinhas, frozen cocktails, and more. Kelley, who’s also opened a restaurant in Houston, said in a release that “not only do Black lives matter, but so do Black businesses.” It’s significant to note that there are few Black-owned restaurants in Dallas’ downtown core—there’s the new Burger IM in the Historic West End, Avery’s Popcorn is there too, and a cupcake shop. “We hope the public supports that we are not only Black-owned, but also that we’ve collected a diverse dream team of talent to ensure that this concept serves proper. Our general manager is Hispanic, our manager is Black, our chef is Black and our bar manager is white. We will be that model of restaurant diversity and opportunity, and because of that we hope to have the support of every person of every ethnicity and every background.”

ICYMI: Peggy Sue BBQ Closed
Longtime Snider Plaza eatery Peggy Sue BBQ won’t be reopening as previously planned, reports our sister pub PeopleNewspapers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Dallas area, the restaurant at 6600 Snider Plaza was closed for remodeling. “Peggy Sue is not coming back as we know it. We thought they were, and we gave them every chance to succeed, and the ownership, who bought it from Marc Hall – they tried,” said Jerry Washam of the Ralph Porter Company, which manages much of Snider Plaza. “We signed a new lease with them at the first of the year, we gave them a period of time to do some improvements…and they started, and never did finish, and then COVID came and that finished them off, and they couldn’t recover from that. So, that obviously changed their plans, changed our plans.” Peggy Sue BBQ opened in 1989, carrying on the tradition of barbecue in its location started by previous tenants Howard and Peggy’s, then Peggy’s beef bar, which closed in the late 1980s.

Justice Kitchen Shouts Out Collab With D Magazine on WFAA Segment
Back in June, Justice Kitchen reached out to use data that SideDish compiled on Black-owned restaurants in the Dallas area. Corey Austin and the Richards Group team that built the Justice Kitchen website put our data on a cool, user-friendly map.
Since August is National Black Business Month, WFAA had Austin on virtually to discuss the project. You can watch the segment online.

Is 7-Eleven the Willy Wonka of Flavors No One Asked For?
Sure, it’s 90 degrees out, but fall stops for nothing and no one. Case in point: 7-Eleven announced a pumpkin spice latte and a pumpkin-flavored brewed coffee hitting participating stores in one week (September 2). I love to cook and eat hot soup in hot weather, so really I’ve no ground to stand on. So all you “autumnaphiles” get your PSLs! Even Starbucks has already launched its pumpkin spice flavors. And if that’s not possibly enough, the Dallas-based chain is testing vegan pork rinds at some 200 locations in California, according to the website VegNews.

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