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The Best of Big D 2023

We only want the best for you. So here’s our top-of-the-line guide to the best of everything in Dallas.
By D Magazine Staff | |Illustrations by Molly Dickson
Best of Dallas
Molly Dickson
Best Radio Station

KNON 89.3 FM

Terrestrial radio is the land of corporate acquisitions and industry-dictated playlists. In July, KNON celebrated 40 years of being the exact opposite, a station driven not by genre—it’s not rare to hear metal, Tejano, blues, and hip-hop in a single afternoon—but by heart. May it live forever.


Best Media Conglomerate

KERA

While no one was paying attention, the scrappy little organization launched a TV station (KERA TV, 1960), added a sister radio station (KERA 90.1, 1974), started another radio station (KXT 91.7, 2009), assumed management of another radio station (WRR 101.1, 2023), and acquired a newspaper (the Denton Record-Chronicle, later this year). Not to mention keranews.org. Can’t stop, won’t stop.


Best Radio Show

Gemini Disco Soul Party

Hip-hop, soul, R&B, 15-minute mixes of the foregoing commissioned from local DJs—the GDSP is all of that and more. It’s hard to describe. Just call it a show hosted by someone with great musical taste. Skin Wade does the honors, conducting the city’s best music history class between tracks. 97.1 The Freak. Saturdays, 4–6 pm; Sundays, 9 pm.


Best Tiktok

Carla Rockmore 

The Dallas-based designer has enchanted millions on TikTok with her fashion-forward content, Ms. Frizzle personality, and fabulous two-story closet since June 2021. While she’s earned a loyal following with her lighthearted videos, Rockmore also takes time to educate her viewers about trans rights, in support of her daughter, Ivy. @carlarockmore (TikTok); @carla.rockmore (Instagram)


Best Twitter Feed

Jennifer Judge

Judge is a lawyer and cohost of the podcast Lawyers Behaving Badly, whose title pretty much describes its subject (with her buddy Karen Delaney, also a lawyer). Judge’s funny, smart Twitter feed, which has drawn nearly 18,000 followers, is filled with mom stuff, current events, legal matters, and, well, everything else. @J_Dot_J


Abraham Alexander
Abraham Alexander Elizabeth Lavin
Best Album Release

Abraham Alexander, SEA/SONS

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to confine Alexander’s debut to one genre or another. You could make a convincing argument for R&B, folk, rock, gospel, blues, country, and any number of sub-categories. Probably best to take your cues from his vocals, wrapped in choir robes and late-night embraces, and call it “soul.” Read Zac Crain’s profile of Alexander from the March issue.


Best Country Artist

Joshua Ray Walker

The big man with the bigger falsetto stopped being Dallas’ secret the minute he belted out “Sexy After Dark” on The Tonight Show last February. His star is set to rise further with this month’s release of What Is It Even?, his album covering women vocalists (Beyoncé, Lizzo, the Cranberries).


Best Rapper

BigXThaPlug 

You often hear X breathe before he speaks, sucking in air so deeply that it sounds like he’s summoning something from his sternum. Then the rapping begins, a baritone barrage of boasts, brutality, and bacchanal delivered so effortlessly that it can only be something he’s spent his whole life preparing for. 


Best Musical Collaboration

A-Wall and CHROMA

The team-up between A-Wall and rap collective CHROMA blew us away on their joint Primavera album (“Watcha Say?” being a particular favorite).  When they paired up again on “Floating” (from A-Wall’s Autopilot), it confirmed how magic it is when these musical talents combine. Our playlists have been freshened up with bilingual lyrics and anti-pop and alternative hip-hop sounds. @thecolorchroma; @lordawall


Best Actor

Tiffany Solano

In the past few years, she’s wrangled the Von Trapp children as Maria in Sound of Music, beguiled a detective as Mrs. Peacock in Clue, and ventured Into the Woods as the Baker’s Wife in Stephen Sondheim’s fairytale musical. On stage, Solano is one of our favorite things.


Best Stage Production

The Play That Goes Wrong, WaterTower & Stage West 

This play about a play that—you guessed it—goes wrong has been a crowd-pleaser in productions all over the country. And this collaboration between Addison’s WaterTower Theatre and Fort Worth’s Stage West Theatre was no exception. Premiering in February with a show-stopping performance by Parker Gray, this show went very, very right. 


Best Theater Company

Uptown Players 

In the past few years, the city’s LGBTQIA+ company has been reaching bigger audiences with show-stopping productions of popular musicals such as Kinky Boots and Fun Home. Earlier in 2023, the company broke new ground with the sold-out world premiere of Silver Foxes, directed by television star and North Texas native Michael Urie. Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. 214-219-2718.


Best Art Space

The Design District gallery not only focuses on single-artist and owner-curated exhibitions but offers a variety of art events for all ages. The space hosts artist talks and last looks for currently exhibiting artists, creativity-centered summer camps for kids, portfolio prep for pre-professionals, and more. 4755 Algiers St., Ste. 100. 469-360-4931.


This spring, Board launched a spinoff of her popular West Dallas gallery on the same block as the Joule, directly across from Tony Tasset’s giant eyeball—an enviable location. And she has done right by it, filling the compact space with dynamic works by BIPOC artists. 1604 Main St., Ste. 100.


Keijsers Koning 

After years of running galleries in New York, Bart Keijsers Koning moved his family to Dallas in 2022 and opened an eponymous space in the Design District. Since then, he’s curated a fascinating range of exhibitions, from artists with Dallas ties, such as William Binnie, to internationally important artists, such as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. 150 Manufacturing St., Ste. 201. 469-961-5391. @keijserskoning (Instagram)


Best Suburban Orchestra

Mansfield Philharmonic

The cooperative ensemble—it just premiered one of its players’ own compositions—is majority-minority, a rarity in classical music. That’s not all that makes it a unique presence in North Texas’ music scene. Many of its volunteer performers are teachers, so the orchestra performs for donations and hosts music camps for local students. mansphil.org 


Best Performing Arts Venue

Meyerson Symphony Center

It’s still going strong after almost 34 years, adapting to the times but never fully changed by them. It’s still beautiful, inside and out, the I.M. Pei design often overshadowed, rarely overcome. It still sounds better than anywhere else, from anywhere inside, which feels like an important quality for a performing arts venue. 2301 Flora St. 214-849-4376. 


Best Arts Incubator

Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts

Consistently ranked as one of the state’s top schools, Dallas ISD’s Booker T. has a proven track record of molding the next generation of artists who go off to do big things. Among the alumni: Erykah Badu, Norah Jones, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, and the late Roy Hargrove. 2501 Flora St. 972-925-1200.


Best Curator

Laurie Ann Farrell

After sorting through one of the largest South African contemporary art collections over the past year, Farrell’s eyes must be tired. All that work paid off when she brought “If You Look Hard Enough, You Can See Our Future” to the African American Museum.


Best Artist Couple

Sam Lao and Jeremy Biggers

Their current practices, respectively, find them creating hand-tufted wall hangings (Sam) and photo-realistic paintings (Jeremy). But Sam has been a rapper and singer and also paints, and Jeremy has worked in photography and directed videos and spray-painted murals. They’ve shown work together, at their shared studio and with Daisha Board, but their best collab is their daughter.


Best Exhibition

“Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances,” Dallas Museum of Art 

The self-taught painter’s career ended after roughly six years when he committed suicide in 2019. But in this retrospective at the Dallas Museum of Art (which ran through February), Matthew Wong’s work was very much alive. The paintings, many of which captured nature, were evocative, and the experience of them was powerful. 


Best Dance Company

Bruce Wood Dance

The popular dance company has been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster since 2016 and has continued to advance the late Bruce Wood’s desire to make Dallas a city that appreciates dance. It is 13 years old now and performs close to home and nationally. 101–103 Howell St. 214–298–9212.


Best Athlete

Scottie Scheffler

A couple of years back, the 27-year-old Highland Park native was living in Jordan Spieth’s shadow as the best golfer in Dallas. Now the entire sport lives in Scheffler’s after he won the Masters, tacked runner-up finishes in two other majors, and shot to the top of the World Golf Rankings. 


Best TV Broadcaster

Jason Whitely 

Whitely is Walter Cronkite in a Jason Sudeikis mask. He is disarming and clever with a deep knowledge of local and state politics. After the outlet mall shooting in Allen, we needed Whitely: a sober, trusted reporter who used facts to hold the governor to account for his inaction on gun control. 


Best Sportscaster

Dave Raymond, Texas Rangers

You would never glean from play-by-play that Raymond once squatted on Stanford University’s campus for six months, quit his first broadcast job before his first game, or wrote financial articles that helped pop the internet bubble. That’s because Raymond evokes baseball tradition in the best ways.


Best Pro Coach

Nico Estevez, FC Dallas

The affable 43-year-old Spaniard kicked off his first season at FC Dallas by bringing cookies to the office the Monday after every win. The club got its fill of that Ted Lasso-esque gesture: Estevez guided FCD to its best regular-season finish since 2016 and has kept it in the playoff picture in 2023.


Best Museum

Dallas Contemporary

At a visit here in July, you would have found: the first substantial U.S. showing of Cerámica Suro owner José Noé Suro’s private collection; Eduardo Sarabia’s “This Must Be the Place,” a modern meditation on Mexican traditions; and Shepard Fairey’s first solo exhibition in Texas. In other words: the Contemporary at full strength. 161 Glass St. 214-821-2522. 


Best Ballpark with a Pool

Riders Field

Technically, it’s a lazy river. But no matter the name, ever since Dirk Nowitzki was its first occupant in 2016, the 174-foot-long water attraction has helped keep the Frisco institution fresh and its fanbase cool as they take in the next wave of Texas Rangers standouts. 


Best College Sports Team

TCU Football

A three-part recipe for reviving a program: one, lure archrival SMU’s coach to Fort Worth. Two, pick the wrong quarterback—and thrive anyway when Max Duggan goes from backup to Heisman Trophy runner-up. And three, ride an explosive offense to the national title game. Hardly simple; the Frogs just made it seem that way. 


Best High School Sports Team

Lake Highlands Boys’ Basketball

The Wildcats’ 6A state championship was their first in basketball since 1968. They got there behind junior Tre Johnson, the best recruit nationally in the class of 2024, and 6-foot-9 senior Samson Alaton, who set a UIL record by blocking seven shots in the state title game. 


Best Pro Sports Team

Dallas Stars

What a difference a year makes. One season after a vexing first-round exit, a cadre of young talent, ageless wonder Joe Pavelski, and new coach Pete DeBoer took the Stars within two games of the Stanley Cup Final. The best is yet to come with this group. 


Best Sports Venue

American Airlines Center

The AAC isn’t as swanky as AT&T Stadium. But it’s also not surrounded by a moat of suburban sprawl. Our only truly urban stadium prioritizes people—accessible by transit and buttressed by bars and restaurants. It could be better, maybe. It could also be in Arlington. 2500 Victory Ave.


Best Public Official

Heider Garcia

The elections director of Tarrant County since 2018, Garcia worked through death threats and was recognized statewide as one of the best in the field. Then Tim O’Hare, a Trump election denier, became the county’s top executive and promised to investigate Garcia’s work. So, in April, he resigned. 


Best Family Attraction

Fair Park 

When the City Council privatized Fair Park, the first order of business was juicing the programming. OVG360 and Fair Park First, the operators, focused on families. Enchant Dallas created an art deco winter wonderland, and Jurassic Quest brought us back 165 million years. 3809 Grand Ave.


Best New Park

Big Cedar Wilderness 

Dallas is beautiful, actually. The escarpment that created the Hill Country ends in Oak Cliff and southern Dallas. The nonprofit Trust for Public Land helped preserve 282 acres of hilly trails near Joe Poole Lake, which are a pretty decent facsimile of hiking the Ouachita Mountains. Austin can shut up. 8991 Isom Ln. 


Best Fundraiser

ChildCareGroup’s Great Adventure Hunt

The 122-year-old nonprofit throws a rowdy, youthful party in January. This year, 300 people, working in teams of six, competed at Gilley’s in the escape room-like puzzle contest. There was running and drinking and maybe a little cheating. Plus $250,000 raised for early childhood education for kids living in poverty. 


Best Movie Theater

The Texas Theatre

No other place in town comes close to matching the blend of smart repertory fare and first-run films you can find at this historic spot, better every year since its rebirth under Aviation Cinemas. Recent highlights: a David Lynch retrospective and a tribute to Roger Deakins with the legendary cinematographer in attendance. 231 Jefferson Blvd. 214-948-1546.


Best Garden for Kids

Texas Discovery Gardens

With its two-story butterfly house, model train garden, bug exhibits, native gardens, and playground, this is quite possibly the perfect family destination. Tucked into Fair Park, it’s an easy DART train ride (although there’s usually plenty of parking), and offers great picnic spots, too. 601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (Fair Park, Gate 6). 214-428-7476.

Best Nature Center

Laura W. Bush Native Texas Park 

Grab your dog and stroll through this 15-acre park, which is open sunup to sundown daily. Showcasing Texas’ varied environments, the park has guided tours in the spring and fall, but you can wander at your leisure. There are even free downloadable educational scavenger hunts for students. 2943 SMU Blvd. 214-200-4300. 


Best Florist

Grange Hall

When you need to send your edgier, less froufrou friend flowers, look no further than Grange Hall. We love their succulent sculptures featuring porcupine quills, geode-accented arrangements, and unusual vessels (like a turtle shell). 4445 Travis St. 214-443-0600.


Best Floral Subscription

The Botanical Mix

To walk into Shane Friesenhahn’s retail shop in The Thompson hotel is to enter the floral equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, where unexpected, unabashed arrangements offer a textural treat for the senses. Monthly and weekly subscriptions range from $265 to $465 depending on size; check Instagram for upcoming classes. 205 N. Akard St., Ste. 260. 214-546-3162.


Best Gift Subscription Service 

afloat

On SMU grad Sarah-Allen Preston’s gifting app, you can shop dozens of Dallas shops and curated holiday guides. Find and send the perfect gift in under a minute. Headache free. theafloatapp.com/city/dallas


Best Monograms 

The Monogram Club

Far more than stitching initials on pillowcases or polo shirts, Becca Quisenberry can design napkins, personalize a purse, or customize clothing with names or company logos. DM her to order, or catch her at pop-up events around town. @themonogramclub


Best Upcycled Wedding Dress

Lovellfaye

In theory, wearing your mother’s wedding dress is a lovely idea—but not if those puffy sleeves have anything to say about it. Bring Mom’s 1980s monstrosity into the modern age with an assist from Lovell Faye, who—in addition to custom work—reconstructs heirloom gowns into something you’ll actually want to wear.


Best Sunless Tanning

Sugared + Bronzed

Come for the natural, even, and custom airbrush tan. Stay for the sugaring (a gentler hair removal method than waxing) and bronzing combo. 3911 Oak Lawn Ave. 469-278-5108; 6465 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 440. 972-885-3279.


Best Stationer

Bell’invito

Whether you need over-the-top invitations, a classic stationery set, or just some good advice, Heather Wiese Alexander is your lady. The custom stationer can create any look, always using the highest-quality papers. And if you’re worried about how to properly address an envelope to your doctor stepdad and his third wife, she’s also a trained etiquette expert. 147 Pittsburg St. 214-741-1717.


Best Custom Piñata

No Limit Arts and Crafts

Alfonso Hernandez, aka the Piñata Man, is the artist behind the incredible hand-crafted piñatas that you may just want to keep instead of destroying. Among his sculpture-like papier-mâché creations are Pennywise the clown, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, a T. rex, and Jason Voorhees. @nolimitpinatas


Best Kids Art Studio

Quiggly’s Clayhouse

We subscribe to the experiences-over-things philosophy. A trip with your kid to Quiggly’s is both. Spend a sweet afternoon together painting a piece of pottery, sculpting clay, and more—there’s something for every age, skill level, and price point—then leave with a tangible memento of your time together. 1344 E. Belt Line Rd., Richardson. 972-234-2644.


Best Art Classes 

Trade Oak Cliff

Owned by six friends and artists, this studio-slash-shop-slash-event space embodies its collaborative, creative mission. Informative yet informal classes, ranging from poster-making to pottery, make great group outings or first dates. The instructor at a recent mug-making class fostered a welcoming, judgment-free environment. We walked away with a cute mug—and a second date. 1300 S. Polk St., Ste. 274.


Best Bread Baking Class

Kuluntu Bakery

Head baker and director Stephanie Leichtle-Chalklen has no fear sharing the brilliance behind her bread baking. Sign up for a spot in one of her Sourdough 101 classes and take home a sourdough starter, or book a private lesson to learn how to bake bagels, bonbons, or artisanal bread. 1201 Haines Ave. 


Best Cupcake Decorating Class

The Cupcake Experience

In her Deep Ellum “Cupcake Loft,” Ginger Taylor hosts private decorating parties. For $500, you’ll get a four-hour space rental and one-hour class for a dozen people. If you’re not a fan of sticky fingers, order a dozen of her stunning floral buttercream creations for pickup or delivery.


Best Wellness Studio

Le Sol House 

Part social club, part wellness studio, Le Sol House in Oak Cliff is centered on togetherness. To that end, founder Taylor Madison aims to foster community through classes. Engage in varying styles of yoga, moon circles, guided reiki meditations, sound baths, and rising rituals to learn the importance of building a morning routine. Once your chakras are in order, come back for the occasional swim social, wine club, tequila tasting, or movie night. (Leon Bridges might be there.) 734 W. Canty St. 


Best Pottery Class

Glaze Ceramic Studio

Yes, you can sign up for a one-time lesson here if you’re looking to get your hands dirty. But where Glaze differs from other area studios is its aim to develop talent of every level. Most classes are offered in six-week sessions, broken out by beginner, intermediate, and advanced. 610 Elm St., Ste. 1450, McKinney. 469-545-6911.


Best Luxury Skincare

Joanna Czech 

The celebrity esthetician’s signature seven-piece line fights travel-related annoyances such as dehydration, acne, and inflammation. The whole shebang retails for $1,250, but you can also purchase pared-down kits. 2410 Victory Park Ln. 214-812-9488.


Best Blowout

Osgood O’Neil Salon

The stylists here have the technique down pat—resulting in a flyaway-free, voluminous blowout every time. Plus, the salon’s two locations and multitude of stylists ensure availability. 6932 Snider Plz.; 4230 Lovers Ln. 214-373-6336.


Best Day Spa

Queen Bee Salon & Spa

Jodi Shays, the head Queen Bee, is originally from England. She has opened three spas across the country and now calls Dallas home.  Book the Bee-Spoke Facial—they’ll tailor it to what your skin needs. 8411 Preston Rd., Ste. 102. 469-210-3927.


Best Party Planner

Missy RSVP

Missy Rogers Peck is one of those women who is as much a connector as she is connected, both handy qualities when pulling together a party. Since 2019, the former in-house events manager at Forty Five Ten has planned everything from posh private events to full-scale galas, always with a masterful eye for detail.


Best Affordable Party Store

ABC Party Headquarters

We know a 3-year-old who picked a “mean lady” theme for her birthday party, necessitating a custom piñata in the form of Rapunzel’s evil stepmother. ABC didn’t bat an eye. Their cute, disposable tableware and party favors did their brief duty. Mother Gothel lives on as the toddler’s new (albeit hollow) BFF. 1414 W. Davis St. 214-943-5588.


Best Place for a Staycation

The Range Vintage Trailer Resort

At Sarah Beauregard’s rustic resort, guests can park their own trailer or rent an adorably updated one. There’s a lovely pool, hammocks in the shade, and a bar in a converted 1959 Airstream. If you don’t want to stay the weekend, you can go just for the eight-course pizza dinner on Saturday nights. 325 Slate Rock Rd., Ennis. 972-210-2900.


Best Home Organization

RíOrganize

Anyone with a credit card and directions to the nearest Container Store can throw things in bins. But for Instagram-worthy pantries, closets, and cabinets, enlist California transplant Ría Safford, who creates storage solutions that make sense for your lifestyle and will look good for the long term.


Best Jewelry Repair

Matthew Trent

When we inherited our grandmother’s collection of turquoise jewelry, we asked an expert where to go for some needed repairs. She said there was no jeweler she trusted more with sensitive stones than Matthew Trent. Three pendants and two pairs of earrings later, we agree. Grandma’s silver never looked so good. 8383 Preston Center Plz., Ste. 120. 214-871-9170.


Best Piercing 

Wildlike

After hosting plenty of piercing pop-ups at her parents’ jewelry store, Ylang 23, Alysa Teichman opened her own luxury piercing studio in 2021. Wildlike uses hollow needles—no guns—at its lounge-like location. Ear piercings start at $40, and the gold jewelry ranges from $65 to $3,650. 4218 Oak Lawn Ave. 214-612-7690. 


Best Barbershop

Mr. Winston’s

Mr. Winston’s feels like an old-timey barbershop, with limited chairs and easygoing barbers. But booking online is a breeze. We appreciate any establishment that provides a haircut with conversation or a quieter option with less chitchat. The shop also offers a dad-and-kid cut package. 3699 McKinney Ave., Ste. 311. 469-399-0091.


Best Mani/Pedi

Nailed Up

Located on Jefferson, right up from Bishop Arts, this fabulous salon is the place to visit when you’re looking for a high-level treatment that is clean and ethical. From polygel to Russian manicures, their team of talented nail artists has you covered. And they’ll give you the queen treatment. 925 Jefferson Blvd., Ste. 3. 972-730-6429.


Best Fly-Fishing Outfitter

Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co.

The only independent fly-dedicated shop in the area not only carries top brands, but from its 7,000-square-foot Design District store, it offers instructional programs, leads guided local trips, and operates a fly-focused travel agency that can hook you up with adventures all around the world. 1933 E. Levee St. 214-219-2500.


Best Charcuterie

Fount Board and Table

Offerings range from shareable grazing boards to individual grab-and-goes. Which is fine. What sets them apart is their wide-ranging selection of cheeses and meats—from flower-coated cow cheese and Spanish manchego to uncured pork collar and air-dried wagyu. 2414 Routh St. 214-699-7455.


Best Fitness Studio

Jungle Dallas

Filled with Monsteras, candles, and arched mirrors, Jungle may be Dallas’ prettiest gym. But don’t be distracted by the decor. Workouts are killer, with intense HIIT, Pilates, cardio, strength, and yoga classes seven days a week. 200 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. 106. 972-400-1980.


Best Yoga Studio 

Black Swan Yoga

Three Dallas locations (including a new one in Lakewood) and nine different heated classes mean you’ll find the level that fits you. Classes are drop-in and donation-based—pay what you can. 407 W. 10th St., Ste. 100; 5118 W. Lovers Ln.; 1920 Skillman St. 214-233-6283.


Best Pilates Studio

Shine Hot Pilates 

Unlike most traditional reformer studios, Shine incorporates the best of on-the-mat moves (sculpting muscles) in a 90-degree heated room (targeting cardiovascular health) for a best-of-both-worlds workout. 8061 Walnut Hill Ln., Ste. 914. 214-434-1883; 3105 Reagan St. 214-214-5488.


Best Place to Buy Boots

Miron Crosby

Miron Crosby is to Western wear as Dallas is to Texas: cosmopolitan, fashion-forward, and a little flashy. But don’t let their city-slicker styling fool you. Handcrafted by master makers in Texas and Mexico, these boots walk the walk. Lest you think ladies have all the fun, they make versions for men and minis, too. 25 Highland Park Village, Ste. 201. 214-238-3385. 


Best Women’s Clothing Boutique

V.O.D.

Offering the latest from high-end international brands, V.O.D. is a next-level shopping excursion. They encourage private appointments for one-on-one styling sessions. 2418 Victory Park Ln. 


Best Store for Twentysomethings

Clover

The third and latest in fashion entrepreneur Merry Vose’s Lovers Lane trifecta, Clover acts as the brighter, younger sister of Vose’s boutique institutions Cabana and Canary. Clover’s focus is on serving looks with trendy fabrics and bubbly designs—plus offerings in “small” and “tall” lengths. 4603 W. Lovers Ln. 214-984-8053.


Best Tween Fashion

Dear Hannah, Prep

The selection of trendy tees, colorful miniskirts, and playful accessories makes this the perfect place to shop for tweens. Not to mention their über-cute and festive gifting goods are ideal for a last-minute “OMG, Kelly’s birthday party’s tonight” solution. 3419 Milton Ave. 972-803-3112.


Best jewelry maker

OpalMilk

Myriah “Rye” Shaw created OpalMilk to be a feminine-forward jewelry brand focused on unique silhouettes and natural materials. She was after “wearable art.” It is. Each one-of-one piece incorporates Rye’s signature balance of organically rigid aspects with touches of light and shine.


Best Resortwear

Amy Holly Caftans

Hot girl summer is out; lounging girl summer is in. One of Amy Holly’s breezy caftans makes it easy to stay cool and chic with cotton-blend designs in a variety of bright tones. The inner wrapped belt will cinch in your waist for an hourglass silhouette. 111 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. B. 214-796-1288.


mod plus jo
Mod + Jo Courtesy Mod + Jo
Best Permanent Jewelry

Mod + Jo

This Bishop Arts shop is a go-to for affordable yet fashionable accessories, and their newest venture into permanent jewelry has broadened their appeal. If you’re new to the trend, let us break it down. Step one: choose your chain. Step two: let the lovely experts at Mod + Jo weld it onto your wrist. Et fini! 250 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. 180. 214-770-0833. 


Best Vintage                    

Vintage Martini

The selection features a mix of contemporary and vintage designers, but what truly sets the store apart is its grouping of clothes by year and size, so you can shop for a ’50s wiggle dress or an ’80s shoulder-padded blazer with just a few steps. 2923 N. Henderson Ave., Ste. A. 469-334-0584. 


Best Sustainable Fashion

Ferrah

Lela Orr prides herself on using natural, locally sourced, and ethical materials to construct her brand’s designs. The latest—Collection 009—brings the idea of “coastal cowboy” to life through mermaid-y ensembles with pearlescent pops.


Best Streetwear

Hideaway Vintage

Commes Des Garçons, Helmut Lang, Raf Simons, Louis Vuitton—those are just a few of the brand names among an array of other vintage, luxury, and archive garments you will find here. This hidden gem brings cutting-edge fashion to Dallas in a way that feels very New York. 240 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. 240A. 469-250-7113. 


Best Vintage Dig 

Dolly Python

Real things we’ve seen for sale here: a life-size Vanna White cut-out, unironic portraits of (likely dead) pets, irreverent t-shirts that would make your grandma blush, and more cowboy boots than you can shake a spur at. Bring your curiosity and your sense of humor. 1916 N. Haskell Ave. 214-887-3434.


Best Custom Suits

Don Morphy

From baby blue window-pane suits to crystal-embellished tuxes, the virtuosos at Don Morphy will help you dream big and then make it a reality. A Don Morphy custom is guaranteed to turn a head or four. 1500 Hi Line Dr., Ste. A. 214-775-0860.


Best Women’s Designer

Munelle De Vie

For founder Munisa Khuramova, clothing is meant to liberate and empower. (Munelle De Vie means “woman of life.”) The FGI Dallas Rising Fashion Design Star Award winner creates silhouettes for the uninhibited woman, accentuating the natural lines and elements of the body, while maintaining comfort in her garments. 910 S. Pearl Expwy., Ste 1. 972-382-5535.


Best Fragrance Shop 

The Scent Room

You won’t find Chanel No. 5 or Marc Jacobs’ Daisy at this tiny West Village perfumery. Founded by Deborah Turner in 2018, it specializes in niche fragrances and is stuffed with gorgeous, collection-worthy bottles with hard-to-find perfumes—all labeled with their scent notes for you to test. 3699 McKinney Ave., Ste. 301. 469-209-5000.


Best Baby Fashion

DLM Tots 

Opened last May, DLM Tots feels like a jungle-themed nursery, with its wild animal wallpaper and leopard, tiger, and giraffe rugs. The DLM Supply spinoff has an adorable range of magnet-snap footies, Willie Nelson onesies, swimsuits—and plenty of toys to occupy your little one.
413 W. Eighth St. 972-913-4401. 


Best Quinceañera Shop

Heaven Bridal

This family-owned shop has stunning floor-length ballgowns in every color, whether a traditional pink or emerald green. The result: dresses that make every girl’s fantasy come true. 318 Jefferson Blvd., Ste. A. 972-982-2484.


Best Traditional Furniture 

Mecox

If the words “traditional furniture” conjure up images of heavy dark-brown wood, let this Lovers Lane treasure change the tone of your internal (and interior) dialogue. The inventory—a mix of antique, vintage, and new—is colorful, fun, and the opposite of drab. Best of all, there are no long lead times. You can shop right off the floor. 5360 W. Lovers Ln. 214-580-3800.


Best Antiques Store

Nick Brock & Company

Antiques are intimidating, but not at Nick Brock’s eponymous storefront, which in January relocated to the Design District after 34 years on Henderson Avenue. The down-to-earth Brock will happily educate you on the differences between Louis XV- and Louis XVI-style furniture—and anything else in his vast, centuries-spanning stockpile. 1322 Slocum St. 214-828-0624.


Best Designer Hardware 

Pierce Fine Decorative Hardware and Plumbing

Whereas most showrooms that deal in high-end hardware work only with trade professionals, Pierce’s space near Love Field is open to anyone in search of fine fixtures, doorknobs, or drawer pulls. No appointment is necessary. Simply walk in and shop designer-favorite lines such as Rocky Mountain Hardware. 2615 W. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 101. 214-368-2851.


Marcello Andres Ceramics
Marcello Andres Ceramics Elizabeth Lavin
Best Ceramic Studio

Marcello Andres Ceramics

Two years of ceramics at St. Mark’s was just about all Marcello Andres Ortega needed to eventually leave his corporate finance career behind to make subtle, earthy dishes. They can be found in top restaurants and bars around town, from Beverley’s to La Viuda Negra. And his coral-colored copitas couldn’t be cuter.


Best Hardware Shop 

Elliott’s Hardware

Shopping here gives us small-town vibes in the best possible way. The staff is friendly, knows their stuff, and carries exactly what we need in every category and nothing more. If you manage to think of something they don’t have, ask and they’ll get it for you. 1325 Inwood Rd. 214-634-9900.


Best Affordable Art

John Paul and Erin Hossley recently expanded their Marfa-inspired home goods shop to add a dedicated 2,000-square-foot gallery, primarily showcasing the works of local and regional Texas artists. Depending on the rotating schedule, you may find anything from a $45 Steven Visneau Polaroid to a $16,000 Tom Jean Webb landscape. 2530 Converse St. 214-943-5650. 


Best Home Salvage Shop

Old Home Supply

If you’re not afraid of a short drive and a little digging, you can score some seriously awesome items, all saved from estates, for a fraction of their original prices. We’re talking high-end doors, custom drapes, and vintage light fixtures. 1801 College Ave., Fort Worth. 817-927-8004.


Best Home Decor for Kids

Cait Kids

Does a baby need a $2,500 crib? Maybe not. But will having the Bentley of beds help your infant sleep better? It’s worth a shot. From furniture and rugs to bedding and bibs, designer Caitlin Wilson’s children’s collection is what our nursery dreams are made of: bountiful bows, sweet scallops, and pastels aplenty. 2923 N. Henderson Ave. 469-458-3385.


Best Contemporary Furniture Store

Garde

This 6,000-square-foot residential concept gallery features a dynamic mix of lighting, furnishings, and home accessories by emerging and established designers from around the world. Owners Scotti Sitz and John Davidson describe their wares—from a Zanat stool to an Arno Declercq dining table—as “slow furniture.” We just call them “droolworthy.” 1305 Wycliff Ave. 214-434-1168.


Best Garden Shop

North Haven Gardens

North Haven still checks all our planter boxes: gorgeous pots, unique herbs, hellebores for days, nature journaling classes—even avocado toast at the on-site Ralph & Rose cafe. (A green thumb’s gotta eat.) 7700 Northaven Rd. 214-363-5316.


Best Indoor Plant Shop

Nicholson-Hardie

The folks here source some primo, hard-to-find plants (like a rare, $1,000 Monstera we had our eyes on last year), but you can also buy everyday garden staples and pretty pots in which to plant them. 5725 W. Lovers Ln. 214-357-4348. 


Best Holiday Shop

Holiday Warehouse

Packed year-round with Christmas trees, toppers, and trinkets, ’tis always the season at this sprawling Plano store, where you’ll find everything from Christopher Radko ornaments to animatronic, life-size polar bears. 2819 W. 15th St., Plano. 469-814-0802.


Best Home Accessories Store

Coco & Dash

Mother-and-daughter owners Teddie and Courtney Garrigan fill their sunny home decor shop with antique finds, new favorites, and giftable goods. Their in-house design studio provides opportunities for customization. Choose from their selection of designer textiles and let them create a pair of pillows or a classic lampshade for you. 2819 N. Henderson Ave. 214-370-9743. 


Best Baby Registry 

Baby Bliss

Attention, expectant parents (especially first-timers): you can’t know how easily that stroller collapses from looking at a photo. When creating your registry, put down the device and get thee to this local brick-and-mortar baby goods institution that carries everything from gear and furniture to clothes and toys. 6721 Snider Plz. 469-232-9420.


Best Bridal Registry 

Blue Print 

Some wedding traditions feel a bit dated (coughgartertosscough). Registering for kitchen appliances you won’t use may seem like one of them. But the registry program here lets you choose things you actually want, including furniture, tabletop pieces, coffee table books, and art. 2707 Fairmount St. 214-954-9511.


Best Gift Shop

Talulah & Hess

You have time for only one stop and need to find a first birthday present, a 50th anniversary gift, and something to bring to mahjong night so you don’t walk in empty-handed. This Lakewood shop has something for every occasion at every price point, from home goods and toys to loungewear and jewelry. 5810 Live Oak St. 214-821-1927. 


Best Stationery

Joy Creative Shop

When it comes to thank-yous, we still believe in putting pen to paper. Offered in a curated selection of fonts (we prefer her signature sans-serif) and a palette of happy tones, Steph Weibring’s stationery, note cards, and other personalized paper goods are the friendliest way to say, “You’re the best.”


Best Greeting Cards 

Bonsai Paper Co.

If you need a beautiful, twilled greeting card for any occasion, including birthdays, graduations, and housewarmings, pop into the North Texas e-tailer’s first brick-and-mortar. Opened at Galleria Dallas last fall, the shop offers a variety of cards, boxed stationery, wrapping paper, gift bags, and small presents. 13350 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 3560. 214-699-1869.


Best Leather Goods

Wilkinson’s Fine Goods

The story goes that when Clint Wilkinson was born in 1982, his grandfather, a saddlemaker, paid the hospital bill with one of his creations. Today, Clint carries on the family leather legacy, crafting gorgeously hand-tooled belts, wallets, bags, and more out of his Denton shop. 347 E. Hickory St., Denton. 940-268-5354.


Best Candle Shop

Bella & Brawn

This cute boutique has chic clothes and dazzling accessories, but we keep coming back for their hand-poured soy wax candles. The vintage vessels add timeless glamour. Fear not when you burn out—come back to the shop, select a scent, and refill for $1.95 per ounce. 413 N. Bishop St. 214-205-7604.


Best Skincare Tools

Beauty Bio

Founded by Dallas native Jamie O’Banion, the clean beauty brand deals in skincare products and tools, including their at-home microneedling device, the GloPRO. The GLOfacial utilizes chemical and physical exfoliants to remove blemishes and hydrate the skin.


Best Toy Store

Froggie’s 5 & 10

Once upon a time, East Dallas was a toy shop desert. Today it’s an oasis with the tiny-but-mighty We Are The Missfits, baby-centric Little Things, and this Dallas classic, which hopped from Knox to Mockingbird in 2021. Froggie’s edge: kids get a kick out of the store’s two doors; one for adults, one pint-sized. 6465 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 314. 214-522-5867.


Best Vintage Furniture Store

Vintage Scout

Scout Design Studio has become known for bespoke and cheeky home goods, but their roots are in vintage. Last December, they opened a warehouse across the street from their showroom that’s dedicated entirely to their old-school finds. Take them home as-is, or have their refinishing wizards zhuzh them up. 150 Howell St. 214-741-2414. 


Best Bookstore

Interabang Books

You are sure to find something for your to-read pile on the well-curated shelves here, a thoughtful mix of classic titles and current favorites. The store also holds a monthly in-person book club for adults, as well as a “book of the month” subscription for kids and regular author visits. 5600 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 142. 214-484-4289.


Best Bookstore for Kids

Half Price Books’ Flagship Store

There are few affordable places to burn off kid-energy indoors. Here, kids leaf through picture books in the playhouse and repeatedly run up and down the ramp. All it will cost you is a few bucks for a pre-loved stack on the way out. 5803 E. Northwest Hwy. 214-379-8000.


Best Ski Gear

St. Bernard

They’ve been outfitting Dallas skiers since 1978. Ask for Michael Bones at the Inwood Village mothership. He’s worked at St. Bernard for 12 years and will get you into the latest heat-molded ski boots, all tuned up for next ski season. 5570 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 388. 214-357-9700; 1275 E. Southlake Blvd., Ste. 401, Southlake. 817-329-0322.


Best Place to Buy Sneakers

Centre

Centre was one of the stores chosen by Nike to release its special “Heirloom” edition of the Air Jordan 1. Centre leveraged that to funnel donations to the Pasos for Oak Cliff nonprofit. But this is not just about giving back. The store delivers more heat to its customers than anywhere else. And they just opened a new location in Bishop Arts! 5307 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 140. 214-821-2028; 250 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. 140;. 972-803-5060; 1455 W. Magnolia Ave., Ste. 117, Fort Worth. 817-900-9270. 


Best Streetwear Brand

Malcriadas Collective

Rosa Rodriguez and BB Velez launched Malcriadas Collective to rebel against their strict parents. In limited runs, Malcriadas sells art and streetwear, like tees and hats, that celebrate their Mexican heritage. One of few women-owned local streetwear brands, it grew quickly in popularity, landing a collab with Foot Locker last year. 


Best Bike Shop

Oak Cliff Bike Synergy

Whether it’s parts, gear, or an entire (new or used) bicycle, this Tyler Station spot has Dallas cyclists covered. Oak Cliff Bike Synergy can also handle repairs, assembling, and just about everything you need to get back on the trail and pedaling again. 1300 S. Polk St., Ste. 152. 469-456-1136.


Best Roller Skating Shop

Good Foot Skates

Mo Sanders—former jammer on TV show RollerJam­—opened his Oak Cliff store in 2020, when the pandemic sent people back to quad skates for nostalgia and something safe to do outside. He carries a huge selection of skates and parts and protective gear. And he (and his staff) bring the know-how. 212 S. Tyler St. 469-317-7388.


Best Record Store

Josey Records

Nothing can fully replicate the pleasure of wandering the smoke-filled, cardboard-covered aisles at Bill’s Records back in the day. The massive, 25,000-square-foot Josey comes closest—and not just because it is run by former Bill’s employees who bought the remainder of the store’s stock (after Bill Wisener passed away in 2020) and even display the old sign. 2821 LBJ Fwy., Ste. 100, Farmers Branch. 972-243-2039.


Best Game Shop

House Rules

Stocked with beautifully designed board games, role-playing games, card games, and just game games, House Rules is the only place you need to hit before your next game night. Even more impressive than the selection are the prices. Owner Stephen Callaghan marks every game 20 percent off the suggested retail price. 336 W. Davis St. 214-613-6389.


Best Pet Supply Store

BB & Co Dog Boutique

Brand new to the Dallas Farmers Market, BB & Co Dog Boutique is a small shop that offers adorable outfits for dogs (and unusually chill cats, we guess), and a wide array of pet food and treats you’re unlikely to find in other pet stores. 1011 S. Pearl Expwy., Ste. 186. 469-516-4424.


Best Arts and Crafts Store

Oil & Cotton

In addition to loads of expert-led classes, this creative collective offers an array of supplies suitable for professional or aspiring artists. The kind staff will help you find the right paper, paint, pastels, and more. 2313 Beatrice St. 972-373-4528.


Best Needlepoint Store 

Chaparral Needleworks

Whether you’re a purist or prefer more contemporary, tongue-in-cheek patterns, they’ve got them in stock. They also offer classes if you’re looking to learn the basics or perfect your Parisian stitches. 6445 Cedar Springs Rd., Ste. 200. 713-621-7562.


Best Handcrafted Gift Wrap 

Gloster Road Co.

Watercolor artist Lauren Smith’s gift wraps feature a plethora of flora, fauna, and other preppy, handpainted patterns. (The Amalfi lemons might be our new fave.) Pick up matching gift tags for a stunning presentation worthy of what’s inside.


Best Asian Barbecue

Niwa Japanese BBQ

The meat selection is unlike any we’ve seen at a DIY Asian barbecue grill. Order beautifully marbled beef belly, hearty hanger steak, and plump shishito peppers, and sear them at your discretion. For the newbies, grilling times and instructions are taped to each order, so you can’t go wrong.
2939 Main St. 214-741-6492.


Best Weekend Barbacoa

Tia Dora’s Bakery

Barbacoa de cachete—beef cheek—takes up to eight hours of cooking before it reaches its silky, fatty, rich zenith. It’s why this little Oak Cliff bakery offers it only on weekends and by the pound, an essential impulse buy for when you bring your tray of pan dulce to the counter. 2478 W. Illinois Ave. 214-333-4254.


Best Fried Chicken

Mike’s Chicken

No matter what you order here—any combination of tenders or bone-in fried chicken—it’s going to be a bit of a wait. But we are telling you: just one juicy, crispy bite of the hand-fried bird is worth however long it takes. Toss in corn and slaw, and it’s a comfort meal for the ages. 4234 Maple Ave. 214-443-7822; 7752 Forest Ln. 214-377-9692.


Best Vegetarian-Friendly

Resident Taqueria

The lunch and dinner menu includes falafel and cauliflower tacos among its impressive showing of vegetarian options. The standout: the slow-cooked mushroom taco stuffed with queso and almond salsa. 9661 Audelia Rd., Ste. 112. 972-685-5280.


Best Mexican

Revolver Gastro Cantina

Chef Regino Rojas is always pulling something new out of his sleeve. Here that includes kebab tacos in tribute to Mediterranean immigrants to Mexico, elotes only available during corn season (imagine that!), delicate quail enchiladas, and dazzling cabrito birria wontons. Excellent cocktails, too. 2646 Elm St. 214-258-5900.


Best Fusion in a Wrap

Phorrito at Cris and John

Obviously you can’t put soup in a burrito. But you can put rice noodles, basil, bean sprouts, jalapeños, onions, hoison, and Sriracha in a flour tortilla and then pan fry it. The Phorrito is Vietnamese street food if that street ran all the way to Guanajuato. It’s that amazing. 5555 Preston Oaks Rd., Ste. 5. 972-803-4750.


Best Tacos

Trompo 

It’s a testament to owner Luis Olvera’s talent and mettle that his taqueria has never slumped despite having moved four times since opening in West Dallas. Its new home on Jefferson Boulevard is the city’s most crowded and competitive for Mexican food options, and yet Trompo stands out for its namesake taco and the rest of its menu. 337 Jefferson Blvd. 972-809-7950.


Best Burrito

Alfonso’s Breakfast Burritos

This new Duncanville entry specializes in simple, hearty burritos with fluffy, dusty tortillas; don’t expect fancy mixes or chef-driven excess. Just order a beautifully seasoned stew filling, such as the bold red pork asado, or a breakfast burrito. The whole menu is available all day. If you’re hungry, order two burritos. Or just order two, anyway. 306 N. Cedar Ridge Dr., Duncanville. 469-513-2264.


Best Cuban

Caribbean Cuba

You may very well want to faceplant into a plate of the vaca frita or camarones al mojo de ajo at the Becerra family’s restaurant. If you need a quick lunch, try the Cuban sandwich or beef empanadas. 1000 Webb Chapel Rd., Carrollton. 469-758-6047.


Best Korean

Damasita

Two women helm the kitchen here, expertly crafting some of the most authentic Korean food in town. Head to Dallas’ OG Koreatown—the earlier, the better—for springy sesame-laden japchae noodles or earthenware pots filled to the brim with spicy hot pot broth. 2564 Royal Ln. 972-241-3760.


Best Dumplings

Fortune House

Soup dumplings are the star attraction at Lowest Greenville’s newest culinary darling. But you should also save room for pork buns, fried until brown on one side but still cloud-soft on the other. Some of the more traditional dumplings get a vibrant kick with colorful doughs. 8150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Ste. 190, Irving. 972-831-9888; 2010 Greenville Ave., Ste. B. 469-942-8882.


Best Vietnamese

Saigon Block

This is a restaurant versatile enough that you can stop for a quick lunch or celebrate a birthday, but its focus is classic banquet-style feasts. Bring a group of friends to tackle the whole roasted catfish, or indulge in seven courses of beef presented in a delicious frenzy. 2150 E. Arapaho Rd., Ste. 200, Richardson. 214-575-6400.


Best Japanese

Mr. Max

Irving’s landmark izakaya is a longtime favorite of in-the-know Japanese food lovers, who head for a seat at the bar or follow etiquette and remove their shoes for floor seating. Branch out from sushi to try bar snacks such as takoyaki. The hardest part is getting in: Mr Max doesn’t take reservations for two. 3028 N. Belt Line Rd., Irving. 972-255-8889.


Best Indian

Urban Tadka

This Punjabi restaurant does a little bit of everything and does it all well. Saag and saagwala—dishes made with stewed spinach and mustard greens—are must-trys, as is anything with paneer. You’ll wait a little longer than usual because everything is made fresh. 1800 Market Place Blvd., Ste. 190, Irving. 469-420-9920.


Best Chinese

Wu Wei Din

Some of North Texas’ best dumplings, spicy wontons, and fresh noodles are at this Chinese and Taiwanese spot, which also serves exceptional fried rice, cucumber salads, and beloved golden kimchi. The Plano and Lewisville locations are equally good. 2909 W. 15th St., Plano. 972-985-1688; 2505 S. Stemmons Fwy., Lewisville. 469-968-8001.


Best Ramen

Ichigoh Ramen Lounge

Ichigoh’s rotating specials, brothless bowls, and classic ramen styles mean you can order something new each time. Its fantastic broths are redolent of homemade stock, and the salt level is kept in careful balance. It’s one of Deep Ellum’s most underrated destinations. 2724 Commerce St. 972-707-0732.


Best Bánh Mì

Sandwich Hag

Some of Texas’ best sandwiches of any kind are served at this little shop in the Cedars. Start with the garlicky grilled pork bánh mì or house-made pork sausage. (And come early, too: this year, Sandwich Hag added a morning Vietnamese coffee shop complete with treats from Frisco’s Detour Doughnuts.) 1902 Botham Jean Blvd. 214-484-5971.


Best Tex-Mex

Casa Rosa

You can’t beat Casa Rosa’s onion-cheese enchiladas with chili con carne. Fajitas are top of the class, too. The motto here is “Do it simply, but do it right,” which is also embodied in the decor: classy without being flashy or attention-getting. 5622 Lemmon Ave. 214-484-2997. 


Best Italian

Lucia

Rustic and romantic, Lucia remains the capo di tutti capi of Italian restaurants. But Chef David Uygur could serve his cuisine at a card table on the sidewalk: his hand-made pastas and house-cured salumi constantly leave diners yearning for more. And the bread! 287 N. Bishop Ave. 214-948-4998.


Best Ethiopian

Lalibela Restaurant & Bar

Spongy injera bread stretches to the edges of a wide plate. The vegetables—a mix of stews, lentils, split peas, collard greens, beets—flank the edges. The lamb wot (spicy) gets poured from a cast-iron skillet into the middle at your table. This is why Lalibela has been a portal to Ethiopia for more than two decades. 9191 Forest Ln., Ste. 2. 972-792-8442.


Best Panaderia

Vera’s Bakery

The smell of freshly baked bread will surely lure you to this Oak Cliff bakery, but one bite into their soft, sweet, colorful conchas will have you coming back. Plan ahead and order an ultra moist tres leches cake topped with fresh fruit. 932 W. Davis St. 214-943-2167. 


Best Bagels

Shug’s Bagels

The chewy, boiled bagels are toasted and piled high with schmear and lox for days. Our favorite is the Shug, a hot bagel packed with an entire breakfast: egg, cheese, crispy bacon, and a hash brown. 3020 Mockingbird Ln. 469-526-5050.


Best Doughnut

Wow! Donuts & Drips

Creations incorporate everything from Biscoff cream cookies to strawberry shortcake. Save room for the blueberry cheesecake, which might be the best doughnut in town. 5601 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 130. 469-440-2619; 8811 Teel Pkwy., Ste. 160, Frisco. 469-514-2647.


Best Doughnut Bar

Urban Donut

This Uptown shop invites you to put your own spin on your morning sweet. Choose your flavor, filling, and topping to create something wholly original. Don’t forget a doggy donut for your four-legged friend. 2805 Allen St. 469-444-1302.


Best Gluten-Free Cookies

Trouvi Cookies

These treats are baked without many of the most common food allergens—wheat, dairy, soy, tree nuts, etc. But trust us, you won’t taste the difference. Approved by both gluten eaters and avoiders. 214-552-8814. trouvicookies.com


Best Cookies 

Kessler Baking Studio

Step into this old-school shop and you’ll be greeted with rows of glass cookie jars just waiting to be raided. Try oatmeal chocolate toffee, “Unicorn Bait” (with sprinkles), or the excellent biscotti made from yesterday’s leftovers. 1129 N. Beckley Ave. 214-948-7412.


Best Vegan Bakery

Reverie Bakeshop

Reverie transforms desserts heavy in milk, cream, and eggs (hello, tres leches!) into plant-based versions without missing a bite. Don’t forget the vegan or gluten-free pastries. Especially their doughnuts. 980 N. Coit Rd., Ste. 2850, Richardson. 972-238-7511.


Best Butcher Shop

Evan’s Meat Market

We love their selection of meats, and the shop will go above and beyond to find rare cuts for customers. Even better: the chatty staff (who willingly offer recipe ideas for both seasoned cooks and novices), ready-made sides, and hefty po’ boys. 4266 Oak Lawn Ave. 972-803-5318.


Best Sushi

Ebesu

As the city’s highest-end Japanese seafood restaurants move toward omakase formats, Ebesu remains devoted to excellent a la carte sushi, sashimi, and traditional rolls. If you’re particularly interested in more traditional rolls—not the kind piled high with a dozen garnishes—this is your best bet. 1007 E. 15th St., Plano. 972-212-4564.


Best Tasting Menu

Tatsu Dallas

The most difficult-to-book reservation in the city goes to this tiny, Japanese omakase restaurant, where each dish is painstakingly created, down to the grains of rice. The rotating tasting menu consists of fish flown in from all over the world, all masterfully prepared by the steady hands of chef Tatsuya Sekiguchi. 3309 Elm St., Ste. 120. 469-271-7710.


Best Breakfast

Isla & Co.

Starting your morning at this all-day Australian cafe means diving endlessly into down-under classics like smashed avocado toast and soft scrambled egg brekkie rolls. And “morning” can be a moving target: the breakfast and brunch menu lasts until 3 pm. 408 W. Eighth St. 214-258-6132.


Best Place to Celebrate an Anniversary

Gorji

This Far North Dallas nook has only five tables, a single waiter, and chef Mansour Gorji checking in after every course. Hard to get more intimate than that. The menu rotates widely and often, but you’ll never go wrong with the house specialty of prime beef tenderloin and gnocchi Gorgonzola. 5100 Belt Line Rd., Ste. 402. 972-503-7080.


Best Steakhouse

Brass Ram

A surprise pick, perhaps, as it is both a newcomer and a specialist in just one beef cut: prime rib. But we’re currently taken with the dining room’s Mad Men atmosphere, blushing beef, indulgent creamed spinach, and flawless cocktails. Maybe next year we’ll switch back to rib-eye and strip. Or not. 2130 Commerce St., 2nd Fl. 469-677-6170.


Best Barbecue

Cattleack Barbeque

Cattleack has quietly grown its weekly specials to include jerk chicken and other outside-the-box meats. But the region’s top barbecue joint remains a low-key affair, open only a few mealtimes a week to maintain quality control. Sign up to receive email alerts when there’s no line. 13628 Gamma Rd., Farmers Branch. 972-805-0999.


Best Cheese Shop

Scardello Artisan Cheese

It’s hard to remember a time when Scardello didn’t win this category, and it’s hard to imagine a time when it won’t. Some big grocery chains may rival its selection, but for passionate, helpful recommendations, Scardello can’t be beat. Evening classes, with wine and snack pairings, are a joy. Join the cheese club ($45/month) and be pleasantly surprised. 3511 Oak Lawn Ave.; 911 S. Pearl Expy. (inside the Dallas Farmers Market). 214-219-1300.


Best Family-Friendly Restaurant

Mi Cocina On the Park

The scene at most kid-friendly joints looks like a Slipknot mosh pit on a 10-by-10 patch of AstroTurf. Here, parents can sip margs on the patio while kids run wild on the 30,000-square-foot lawn. Make a day of it and hit the updated playground and interactive fountains at Klyde Warren Park. 2000 Woodall Rodgers Fwy. 214-531-6061.


Best Burger

The Maverick from Burger Schmurger

Remember when The Matrix invented bullet time? Schmurger founder Dave Culwell employs burger time. It’s the slo-mo moment when your order arrives and you see its superpowers: pork belly jam domed by provolone. Upside-down bun. Crushed—not smashed—griddled patties. A multiverse of American cheese. 3601 Parry Ave.


Best Sandwich

The French Dip at New York Sub

The overnight-roasted prime rib is so tender it twerks in the pan. The thin panes of beef get hit with their own juices like that water bucket scene in Flashdance. It arrives in laurels of hot peppers with plenty of jus on the side. 3411 Asbury St. 214-522-1070.


Best Grab and Go

Bodega Provisions

Looking to stay afloat during the pandemic, the couple behind the Tamale Company hastily opened this temporary takeout market in 2020. But customers so loved their made-from-scratch Mexican-leaning entrées, dips, salsas, and, of course, their signature tamales that the concept stuck. 626 S. Cedar Ridge Dr., Duncanville. 469-868-6443.


Best Vegan

Vegan Vibrationz

This former Dallas Farmers Market stall drew acclaim for a simple idea: take a Taco Bell crunchwrap and make it vegan. Now it’s housed in Plano’s Legacy Food Hall, and regulars are making the trek for the Crunchwrap Supreme OG. Get it with a side dipping cup of vegan queso. 7800 Windrose Ave., Plano.


Best Vegan Food Truck

Soulgood

Founded by Cynthia Nevels to honor her son who passed away from cystic fibrosis complications, Soulgood strives to bring awareness to the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet by creating vegan options for traditional Southern flavors. Think barbecue jackfruit burgers and plant-based “chick’n” biscuits. 2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy.


Best Hot Dogs

Chicago Style Dog’s

The best hot dogs are served in the humblest locations. In the case of this Garland spot, that means a tiny counter in front of a garage. Brave the strange traffic pattern to get here, and you’ll be rewarded with a fully loaded Chicago dog or a Maxwell Street Polish. 3225 S. Jupiter Rd., Ste. 100, Garland. 469-452-3328.


Best Dine-In Pizza

Baonecci

The pandemic forced one of San Francisco’s best Italian restaurants to make an unlikely relocation to Frisco. There, in a strip-mall setting, Stefania Gambaccini serves up cracker-crisp pies topped with everything from truffle salame and arugula to spiral-sliced pears and Gorgonzola. 7151 Preston Rd., Ste. 451, Frisco. 469-473-4080.


Best Takeout Pizza

Neony Pizza Works

We’ve gushed over Neony’s 72-hour dough, and for a good reason. It’s flavorful, crispy where it should be, pliant everywhere else, and the perfect canvas for a plethora of toppings. The best part: the crust holds up well dining in or out, so you can enjoy the legendary bánh mì pizza at home. 829 W. Davis St. 214-484-2485.


Best Soul Food

Roots Southern Table

We always indulge in a family-style order of chef Tiffany Derry’s signature duck fat-fried chicken, but the steaming gumbo often calls our name, too. Derry’s James Beard Award-nominated restaurant might have too many modernized comfort-food classics to choose from. 13050 Bee St., Ste. 160, Farmers Branch. 214-346-4441.


Best Latin American

Meridian

Junior Borges takes an expansive but personal approach to his native Brazilian cuisine, using its ingredients in everything from pasta to seafood stew. Though we’re sad they dropped an easy-to-use prix fixe menu format, we’re excited about the return of whole grilled octopus. Save room for nostalgic Brazilian desserts. 5650 Village Glen Dr. 469-659-6382.


Best Kosher

Milk and Honey 

Maybe you wouldn’t go to a kosher market for a good burger, but that just means you haven’t been to Milk and Honey yet. (But definitely try the shakshouka, too.) Make sure you pick up pita, hummus, and falafel for the road. 420 N. Coit Rd., Ste. 2023, Richardson. 972-404-0704.


Best Kosher Catering

The Market Local Comfort Cafe

This newcomer does a bustling business daily, but if you need to impress a whole lot of people, its catering options (including the three-day cured gravlax platter) will do exactly that. The kitchen can offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking options. 13534 Preston Rd. 469-677-5424.


Best Bakery for Bread

Candor Bread

Situated inside Davis Street Espresso, Candor serves up great cookies and scones. But its sourdough, freshly baked every morning, is the real draw. Available in three varieties (white, wheat, and sandwich), the loaves are so crusty, you might need a new knife to slice them. We speak from experience. 819 W. Davis St. 214-929-6752.


Best Caribbean

The Island Spot

How do they maintain their status atop the Caribbean category? By playing the hits and playing them damn well, from jerk chicken to oxtails to ackee and saltfish. Plus, they find room for a little innovation, too, such as nachos with jerk-spiced chicken and cheese sauce. 309 W. Jefferson Blvd. 972-913-4919; 2661 Midway Rd., Ste. 105, Carrollton. 972-447-7000.


Best Brunch

Taco y Vino

The tacos and chilaquiles are oh so satisfying. Owner Jimmy Contreras has a knack for finding wonderful and affordable wines, especially bubbly. There’s not just a patio but a whole backyard. And brunch here takes place every single day, even Monday. 213 W. Eighth St. 469-372-0022.


Best Restaurant Patio

Loro

The upscale campground setup at the East Dallas location is topped only by the Addison outpost. Both are worth regular visits—for the atmosphere, as well as the happy hour offerings unique to each restaurant. 1812 N. Haskell Ave. 214-833-4983; 14999 Montfort Dr. 214-894-5676.


Best Neighborhood Market

Olmo Market

Sometimes you just need a few eggs. Some olive oil. Produce. Olmo Market offers them all in downtown Elmwood, which is becoming something of an Oak Cliff community center. Don’t sleep on the vegan tacos and tortas from chef Paul Hernandez, who made a name for himself with his Planta Potosi pop-up. 2111 S. Edgefield Ave. 469-520-9842. 


Best Cup of Tea 

Halcyon

As tea drinkers know, your friend’s favorite coffee shop rarely has a good tea selection. But while your buddies sip cold brew at this fun and vibey Lower Greenville coffee bar, you can choose from a lengthy menu of 17 Harney & Sons teas, such as hot cinnamon spice and coconut. 2900 Greenville Ave. 469-547-2265.


Best Coffehouse

Magnolias Sous Le Pont

This teal coffeehouse has artisanal coffee with a French charm—sous le pont, or “under the bridge,” in the Harwood District. The perfect location to read, work, and indulge in one of their delectable cinnamon rolls. 2727 N. Harwood St. 469-249-9222.


Best Fruteria

The Piña Loca Fruteria

This self-proclaimed “king of the munchies” brings some serious game to your snacking habits. Ease into their stacked menu with a mangonada: frozen, blended mango swirled with sweet-and-sour chamoy sauce, sipped through a tamarind candy-coated straw. 2331 Lakeland Dr. 214-915-8929.


Best German

Henk’s European Deli & Black Forest Bakery

The unassuming Henk’s has earned the loyalty of longtime customers who line up for bratwurst links, schnitzel, and beers. Join them. After filling up on German fare, meander over to the tiny market and bakery side for a slice of the sought-after fruity Swiss Madrisa cake. 5811 Blackwell St. 214-987-9090.


Best Chocolatier

CocoAndré

Order an horchata or agua de jamaica while you browse the selection of gorgeous truffles with flavors such as mole, canelitas, Turkish coffee, and mezcal. Although the truffles might be the stars, don’t pass up the top-quality dark chocolate bars made from conscientiously sourced beans. 508 W. Seventh St. 214-941-3030.


Best Place for Dessert

Rye

Seasonal desserts might include a deconstructed sweet-and-salty sauerkraut cake, strawberry-rhubarb cheesecake, and spicy maple doughnut holes. The best secret: they are available all day. 1920 Greenville Ave. 972-803-3391.


Best Ice Cream

Parlor’s Handcrafted Ice Creams

The hyperlocal focus on ingredients makes this one of Dallas’ only farm-to-scoop ice cream places. The fan favorite is Milk & Cookies, made with milk from Mill-King and swirled with cookie bits from Oak Cliff’s Candor Bread. 6465 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 465. 214-281-5057. 


Best Paletas

Picolé

Sweet cotton candy. Boozy tequila sunrise. Creamy pistachio. Popsicles in a waffle. Those are just a few of the handcrafted popsicle flavors that this Brazilian family-owned shop churns out for its loyal customers. Your second-toughest choice will be choosing from toppings such as Tajin, chamoy, or Nutella. 415 W. Davis St. 972-803-3595; 2656 Main St. 469-372-1404.

Best Reclamation Project

The Longhorn Ballroom 

The Kessler Theater’s Edwin Cabaniss bought the house that Bob Wills built and launched a rebirth befitting Texas’ most historic venue. The sound system and dance floor are new; an entire wing displays memorabilia of those who played here decades ago. It looks back, but only after pushing forward. 216 Corinth St. 214-272-8346. 


Best Jazz Series

Triumphs Espresso & Whiskey

The latest coffee-related concern from Mike Mettendorf (previously: Parterre in downtown, La Reunion in Bishop Arts) sets the perfect tone with live jazz Friday (with the Christian Levens Quartet) and Saturday (with Terence Bradford) from 8–11 pm. We are especially partial to Bradford, the NOLA-born trumpeter. 141 Manufacturing St., Ste 110.


Best Live Music Venue

Co-owner Scott Beggs has dubbed his bar “HQ,” and it certainly feels like a clubhouse for old-school Deep Ellum denizens. The booking leans toward punk and heavier music, but you can find just about anything on the calendar at some point. It’s the soul of the neighborhood and the spirit of Dallas music. 2704 Elm St. 214-484-6011.


Best Tejano Nightclub

New West

No one does it better than New West when it comes to bringing in live acts from Tejano music’s golden days. Jay Perez, Ram Herrera, and Gary Hobbs are just a few of the names you can expect to see on Friday nights for around $30. Dust off your boots and get ready to scoot. 6532 E. Northwest Hwy. 214-400-9872.


Best Dance Party

Te Deseo

By day, Te Deseo is a chic Latin American restaurant; by night, the rooftop bar is the ultimate dance party. Enjoy Dallas skylines and the sounds of reggaeton, salsa, bachata, and Latin pop. You can reserve a section for larger groups or just embrace the crowd on the dance floor. 2700 Olive St. 214-646-1314.


Best Roadhouse

Gar Hole

Claude “Spider” Webb combined the best parts of Adair’s and Luckenbach to create his dream bar in an old bank once robbed by Bonnie and Clyde in a town that basically no longer exists. The beer is cold, the burgers are killer, and the music is live. Come a stranger, leave a regular. 106 Houston St., Anna. 469-301-6284.


Best DJ

BoyBlk

You can find the DJ also known as Sterling Hasley at the extremely popular house-music party Meet Me Underground, where he’s one of the regular DJs, or Midnight Rambler, where he’s had a Friday-night residency, or opening up at It’ll Do Club, or on SoundCloud or YouTube or somewhere, because he is always hustling. instagram.com/boyblk_


Best Dance Hall

R.L.’s Blues Palace II

It’s open only Friday and Saturday and has an age minimum of 25. R.L. Griffin, the legendary bluesman who has owned the joint for 30 years, says, “By the time you’re 25 to 30, you got some sense about being around grown folks.” Grown folks who like to shake it. 3100 Grand Ave. 214-421-9867.


Best Wine Shop

Le Caveau Vinotheque 

Thierry Plumettaz is a Master Sommelier who began his career as cellar manager at The Mansion. In 2017, he opened this tiny “wine library” that leans mostly toward France, Italy, and Spain. “You like earthy, barnyard?” said the Swiss on a recent visit. “Try this. We call it ‘ass in a glass.’  ” Perfect suggestion. 718 N. Buckner Blvd., Ste. 332. 469-802-9706.


Best Place to Buy Booze

Pogo’s Wine and Spirits

The highly knowledgeable staff will help you choose from an impressive selection of bottles covering every region and price point. Walk in here looking for a bourbon, and you’ll leave with a list of what you need to buy next. 5360 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 200. 214-350-8989.


Best Seasonal Cocktail List

Jettison

At this season-focused cocktail den in Sylvan Thirty, the summer brought: a green tea Old Fashioned; The Concrete Jungle, which combined rye whiskey with black sesame paste; and the Pastelito, with tequila, coconut cream, passionfruit, and espresso. 1878 Sylvan Ave. 214-238-2643.


Best Happy Hour

Tiny Victories 

The bright little bar just west of Bishop Arts isn’t content to simply lop a buck off the wells and domestics. It cuts the price of its impressive cocktail list by half. That means $5.50 negronis and Victor Tangos, a fine remembrance of the long-gone Henderson Avenue bar of the same name. 604 N. Tyler St. 972-685-7055.


Best Late-Night Eats

Ruins 

The Deep Ellum staple has a daring menu during regular hours: oxtail mole, oven-roasted pork shank with salsa borracha, half-moon-shaped San Luis Potosí-style enchiladas. But regular hours here last until 2 am, which means it is easily the best meal you can find after a concert or bar crawl. 2653 Commerce St. 972-707-0607.


Best Place to Skip a Speakeasy

La Viuda Negra 

Forget a secret code or a door hidden in a phone booth. The logo of a bride and the words “bridal boutique” are all that hides what’s on the inside: some of the most creative agave cocktails in North Texas, which aren’t afraid to lean into vegetal, sour, or earthy flavors. 2513 N. Fitzhugh Ave. 214-821-3738.


Best Taproom

Community Beer Co.

Permit delays and city bureaucracy nearly spelled doom for Kevin Carr and his rapidly growing brewery when it came time to expand. Luckily for Dallas, Community overcame, and its new taproom—spacious, airy, comfortable, with lots of natural light—is an impressive setting to while away a weekend afternoon or weekday evening. 3110 Commonwealth Dr. 214-751-7921. 


Best Place to Day Drink

Cold Beer Company

This is not because of its signature cocktails or beer selection or anything like that, although the drinks are great and the brews plentiful. It’s all vibes. You immediately feel so at home bellied up to the bar or (especially) lounging on the patio that an entire afternoon can happily disappear in a snap. 3600 Main St. 214-701-3226. 


Best Bar for Beer

Ye Olde Scarlet Pumpernickel Tavern

This downtown bar’s tap list combines local favorites and little-known out-of-town beers across a variety of styles. You might want to google the names of cult IPAs and sours from Kansas, Michigan, or Massachusetts. If that sounds too fancified, one fridge is reserved for bottles of Miller High Life. 1402 Main St. 214-971-6273. 


Best Brewery

Vector Brewing

The Lake Highlands brewpub went on a hot streak this year, capped by big wins at the Texas Craft Brewers Cup. The superb beers here take inspiration from the Czech countryside, experimental hops, and even pho aromatics. The kid-friendly patio hosts live music, too. 9850 Walnut Hill Ln., Ste. 405. 469-676-0797.


Best Brewery Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Celestial Beerworks

Regulars know it isn’t just Celestial’s taps of hazy IPAs and clean lagers that keep people coming back. Customers are treated like family, which means weekly trivia nights, kid-friendly events, and happy hour days for the pups. 2530 Butler St. 972-707-0523.


Best Margarita

Margarita Clarificada at Ayahuasca Cantina

The deconstructed margarita created by mixologist Tony Leija is just as mysterious and alluring as the speakeasy bar (inside Xamán Café) in which it’s served. Depending on the season, the fleeting foam on top might be dragon fruit, fermented pineapple tepache, or hibiscus and prickly pear. You’ll never order frozen again. 334 W. Jefferson Blvd. 469-687-0005.


Best Frozen Drink

The Peel Out at Thunderbird Station

Do you like Push-Up Pops? What about getting a light buzz on a hot day? Yeah? Well, what if we said you could combine the two by ordering The Peel Out, a frozen vodka cocktail that tastes like orange and vanilla and childhood and heaven? 3400 Commerce St. 469-496-2655.


Best Tequila Drink

The Negroni-ish at El Carlos Elegante

Gin is our jam, so color us surprised when our favorite take on the negroni turned out to be this tequila version. They also have a solid second option, the Checco, made with what used to be our least favorite fruit, the humble kiwi. Sip both on one of the prettiest patios in town. 1400 N. Riverfront Blvd. 214-277-1800.


Best Mahjong & Martinis

The Marvelous Mrs. Mahjong at Catbird

Whether you’re an American mahjong master or interested in learning the ways of the addictive tile game, hit up Resy for a spot at the next Monday night event. The Marvelous Mrs. Mahjong (Stephanie Brinks) provides instruction, and the obliging bartenders provide the signature (tequila-based) martinis. Everyone’s a winner. 1401 Elm St. 469-726-4115.


Best Bar with Games

Cidercade Dallas

Cidercade founders Laura and Joel Malone were some of the first to enter the alcohol-and-arcade arena, and they continue to be on like Donkey Kong, with locations in Fort Worth, Arlington, Austin, and Houston. The original Design District spot is still our fave, serving up Killer Queen and Crackberry (plus an occasional food truck). 2777 Irving Blvd., Ste. 200. 214-208-1922.


Best Subterranean Bar

Midnight Rambler

Gabe Sanchez and Haley Merritt continue to take cocktails to new levels in The Joule’s downtown—and downstairs—bar. Whether they’re paying tribute to local musicians (Naked on the Knoll was a nopales-cucumber cordial honoring Erykah Badu) or artists (the Double Down daiquiri was served in ceramic coupes designed by Marcello Andres), it’s all fine art, distilled. 1530 Main St. 214-261-4601.


Best Dive Bar

New O’Malley’s Club

New O’Malley’s in Oak Cliff is an endangered species of dive bar that carries on the come-as-you-are feel of the dearly departed Tradewinds. If you understand that sentence, head here as soon as you can. 2720 S. Zang Blvd. 214-943-0164.


Best Agave Bar

Las Almas Rotas 

Their encyclopedic collection of more than 150 mezcals and at least as many tequilas makes this more educational institution than bar. Try bacanora, sotol, or raicilla and expand your mind as well as your palate. 3615 Parry Ave. 972-685-5666.


Best Speakeasy

The Branca Room 

James Slater’s bar at the back of Chimichurri serves some of Dallas’ most unique cocktails, mixed with house-made vermouth and amaro. The intimate, low-lit lounge feels like one of the best-kept secrets in the city. Oops. 324 W. Seventh St. 469-906-6098. 


Best Hotel Bar

Rodeo Bar 

Winking from the corner of Akard, Rodeo Bar executes something the attached hotel has never really had: a neighborhood space that feels specifically Texan but also—and this is maybe more important—casual. The juke is free. 1321 Commerce St. 214-651-3559.


Best Sports Bar

Sylvan Avenue Tavern

The flatscreens stretch above the bar like posters. The sound is on during (meaningful) Stars, Mavs, or Rangers games. The thin, tavern-style pizza doesn’t need to be this good, but neither did the Stars this year. 1888 Sylvan Ave., Ste. F250. 972-913-4114.


Best Wine Bar

Bacchus

At the Hotel Vin’s bar-restaurant you will find a seemingly bottomless wine list with bottles from every great grape-growing region in the world, plus at least one, Maison No. 9 rosé, from Grapevine’s own Post Malone. 215 E. Dallas Rd., Grapevine. 817-251-3040.


Best Gay Bar

The View Dallas

You may side-eye this newcomer’s under-the-interstate location, but there’s ample security, no cover, reasonably priced cocktails, and, on Sunday afternoons, “Tea with a View.” (It’s not of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.) 525 S. Riverfront Blvd. 972-373-4011.

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