Your weekends are your own business, and we’re not about to tell you what to do with them. If sitting on your front
porch spitting watermelon seeds into the rhododendron from Friday evening to Monday morn makes you happy, we think
that’s precisely what you should do. There are, however, an infinite number of more entertaining things to try in
Dallas-dressed up, dressed down, or not dressed at all. You can nibble on roast quail farcis in a potato nest at the
Mansion on Turtle Creek, or you can savor the barbequed pigs’ feet at the Haunted House Café. De rigueur, de
regular, or de regress; it’s your decision. Here are the recreational recommendations of three staff writers who
stumbled in one recent Monday morning with tales to tell.
WITH THE soaring rate of inflation and a national banking ethic that hasn’t progressed since the unenlightened
penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned era, it’s been overwhelmingly difficult to support free enterprise by frivolously
spending large amounts of money. Many naive people believe that once living expenses are paid, the remaining wedge
of their paychecks should be saved for a rainy day. Baloney. Andrew Carnegie believed that the man who dies rich,
dies disgraced. So there.
An ideal way to begin a weekend dedicated to elegance and extravagance is to be whisked from your executive
workplace to the Mansion on Turtle Creek in a rented black Fleetwood VIP limousine; or if you’re considerably more
ostentatious, you can get there in a Texas Taxi – a white Eldorado convertible embellished with flags and steer
horns on the grill – for $50 an hour (two-hour minimum). The Mansion serves high tea on weekday afternoons until
5:30 p.m. in the Promenade Room overlooking the garden, and you can unwind by thinking about that sum-merhouse in
Martha’s Vineyard you’d like to buy.
The next stop is Jean Claude’s on Cedar Springs, where you’ve made reservations well in advance for a small group of
your closest friends.
Then it’s on to the Hyatt Regency and up to At the Top of the Dome where drinks and a dance band await you and your
entourage at a scenic height of 50 floors. This is a good place to take Dallas visitors because of the view. Then,
since the gentlemen in your party may be hungry again by the time the bar closes, you’re off to Cafe Dallas on
Greenville Avenue for breakfast (2:30 to 5 a.m.).
There’s very little time to rest because by dawn you’ll need to be ready for a ride in a hot air balloon arranged
through the people at AirVenture BalloonPort. Then it’s home for a morning massage from a massage therapist you
located through the American Massage and Therapy Association. You may feel so spent that you’ll need to call Marty’s
on Oak Lawn for delivered charcuterie. They carry everything from quiche to quail. Then for dinner you might want to
try Old Warsaw on Maple; after which, a stroll around Lakeside Park on Turtle Creek might seem appropriate (unless
you live near there and are tired of the same old thing, in which case you might be able to schedule a visit to the
Begin your Sunday morning smartly with copies of The New York Times and both Dallas newspapers. Elevate your
feet at a comfortable angle, read the local papers, then The Times. Consider moving to New York, and then
reject the idea. Dress and dash to the Hyatt Regency Sunday Brunch (if you’ve kept the limo and chauffeur, your tab
should be well over $1500 by now). From the Hyatt, take an orange Pumpkin Air helicopter north to Piano and watch a
Sunday evening polo game at Willow Bend Polo and Hunt Club. The season runs from August 30th to November 2nd, and
visitors are encouraged to picnic and tailgate. You, on the other hand, will be entirely too full to eat anything
until after the game when you meet your date at Café Royal at the Plaza of the Americas Hotel, where you’ll be
affectionately greeted by Franco Bertolasi, the maitre d’.
Then it’s time to go home, tip the chauffeur, gather your thoughts for the next business day, and have a nightcap.
You could conceivably hire someone from the Dallas Classical Guitar Society to serenade you to sleep, but by now you
should be too tired and too broke to hire anyone for anything. You can opt for quiet classical music on WFAA or
MY FRIENDS Rita and Fred came into town last weekend from the East Coast and demanded that I show them a good time.
It’s strange to have lived in Dallas as long as I have and still be thrown into a panic at the thought of
entertaining two hyperactive adults for an entire weekend.
Their plane landed at D/FW about dinner time Friday. They immediately announced they wanted something “Texan,” which
doesn’t narrow the field down much. I ruled out all the Chili’s locations because of the large, noisy crowds and the
long waits. We finally settled on Tolbert’s Original Texas Chili Parlor at Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn (the original
Tolbert’s isn’t open on Friday nights).
After dinner we walked across the street for a short tour of the Cedar Springs strip, then sauntered back up Cedar
Springs for a cool drink at Adair’s -a rowdy, honky-tonk of a place that’s revived from the Cedar Springs of 10
years ago. When customers at Adair’s get enough to drink, they throw spit wads on the battered ceiling.
Adair’s put Rita in a country mood. Rather than hit one of the Urban Cowboy joints on upper Greenville, we decided
to head for the real thing, the Longhorn Ballroom. The cover charge is minimal, considering there’s always a live
band. But the real show here is the clientele; the Longhorn attracts everyone from Mes-quite old-timers who’ve been
going there for 20 years to North Dallas newcomers who think they’re in a real country-and-western Disneyland.
We got a late start Saturday. Rita wanted to see the “real” TV Dallas, so we headed out the LBJ corridor for a
morning of shopping and ice skating at Preston-wood Town Center. Still in our Texas mood at lunchtime, we went to
Dovie’s, a new down-home restaurant about a half-mile north of LBJ.
Then we had a quick game of tennis at the city courts in Cole Park, between Cole and McKinney just south of
Fitzhugh. There’s no charge to play on the courts. You just have to make your reservations in advance.
After a typically Tex-Mex dinner at Herrera’s (with the best flour tortillas in town), I conducted a bar-hopping
tour down lower Greenville -the Greenville Avenue Country Club, Snuffers, The Grape, and Stan’s Blue Note – before
ending up at Nick’s Uptown.
Sunday we headed to Andrew’s for brunch right away. The menu there is varied enough without depending on the
ubiquitous eggs benedict, and the friendly help kept our champagne glasses filled. We left in a peaceful mood that
carried us right through the afternoon of strolling through the Fair Park museums and the Midway, where you can ride
all the rides without the expense or crowds of Six Flags.
As I put my friends on their plane back to the East Coast I realized I would never again complain about having
nothing to do in Dallas. But I also wouldn’t try to do so much in one weekend.
– Steve Kenny
THE MOST significant problem that will confront Dallas during the Eighties is the growing threat of blatant
Personally, my favorite way to launch an old-fashioned weekend is by getting loaded on a bottle of Cold Duck on
Saturday and then visiting a chiropractor. Then, it’s on to Club Schmitz, located on Denton Drive near Bachman Lake,
a polyester paradise where the patrons have hair on their chests, axle grease under their fingernails, and a pack of
Luckies rolled up in the sleeves of their work shirts.
And the men here are even more down to earth.
There’s only one place in Dallas to eat dinner. It’s located down on Hatcher Street in South Dallas in a
predominantly black neighborhood. Don’t be put off by the fact that the name of this establishment is the Haunted
House Café and that it’s decorated with shrunken heads and other forms of exotic horror-show memorabilia. The
Haunted House was a nightclub when it first opened up about 12 years ago; now its a soul food cafeteria. They’ve got
ribs and catfish and barbecued sausage and pigs’ feet and ham hocks, and, well, they’ve got it all.
After dinner it’s show time, ideally at the Lone Star Drive-In in East Dallas, right off 1-30. The program usually
consists of X-rated features that probably aren’t suitable for young people; and there are usually several fellows
there who drive around in pickup trucks trying to peek into cars. Just ignore them. They mean you no
Sundays should be devoted to activities that are more family- and outdoor-oriented. So gather up the family and head
over to the Bronco Bowl, which is much more than a mere bowling alley. This place has about a hundred pool tables, a
baseball pitching machine, a golf-chipping layout, a dart room, and, best of all, an archery range. The Bronco Bowl
is so huge you can ditch the kids and enjoy yourself for hours at a time before they find you again.
Now comes the climax of the weekend -a trip to the famous Yello Belly Drag Strip, deep in the heart of Grand
Well, technically Yello Belly is not in Grand Prairie or anywhere else – the city de-annexed it several years ago on
the grounds that it is the Sodom and Gomorrah of motor racing.
Yello Belly is allegedly a teeming hotbed of corruption, where every so-called vice from free love to drug abuse
takes place more or less in the open. That, at least, is what its detractors contend.
It’s only open on Sundays.
If you faithfully adhere to this itinerary, you should be more than ready to have the weekend come to an end on
If not, you just weren’t trying hardenough. – Mike Shropshire