It’s finally fall outside. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. We need something new and different to do.
And we’re hungry.
The solution? Head to Garland. Maybe you have yet to hear that Garland is a foodie destination, but you will understand why once you get there and begin to explore. Garland has a diverse community with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, and the food reflects that—a plus for anyone looking for something out of the norm. Garland has become such a dining hot spot that it now claims its own foodie Facebook page, Garland Foodies, which has grown from a few hundred to more than 7,000 members. Among Garland’s claims to fame, it’s home to a famous chef who once beat Bobby Flay on a Food Network cooking show.
Dana Lodge, Garland Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, is new to Garland and has spent a lot of time checking out what all the food fuss is about. “We are seeing and eating as much as we can, as fast as we can,” Lodge says. “Garland is special when it comes to restaurants, because you have everything from the local mom-and-pop type of restaurants who have held the torch in downtown Garland for so long, to new and innovative concepts that keep things fresh and vibrant.”
To begin your journey of sampling Garland’s restaurants—new and old—consider starting with the Garland Foodies Facebook page. Lifelong Garland resident Julian Olalde, who owns a local insurance company, started the page with a friend a few years ago as a way to get the word out about Garland’s hidden restaurant gems. It has become an especially important go-to resource during the pandemic, where restaurant owners and foodies go to promote local restaurants that need more business. “For a long time, I kept hearing that all Garland has is Mexican food restaurants,” Olalde says. “Yes, Garland has great Mexican food but there’s so much more. We have great barbecue, catfish, Filipino, Mediterranean, and Asian food—many places that you wouldn’t know about unless someone tells you about them. What I love about many of Garland’s unique restaurants is their authenticity. You don’t always find that.”
A sampling of Garland’s too-many-to-list restaurant flavors:
Dallas native Kevin ‘Chef Kev’ Ashade is a French-trained culinary professional from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in New York. He also happens to be one of the few chefs who won on the Food Network show, Beat Bobby Flay, in 2016. From Chef Kev’s signature Coq Au Vin dish that Beat Bobby Flay to steaks, seafood, salads, and an array of appetizers, there’s something for everyone here.
Ferah Tex-Med Kitchen.
Bright, fresh, airy, and welcoming, this is where Garland goes for locally-owned, chef-driven cuisine for a variety of palates and nutritional lifestyles. It’s a twist on Mediterranean food with Texas flavor.
Taste of the Philippines.
Soups, noodles, grilled dishes, vegetables—this is where family and friends come together over traditional Flipino fare. It’s a small restaurant in a strip mall, but big on flavor.
This is not your average, or humble, pie. Choose from classic favorites to unexpected and innovative combinations of pie flavors. Order a slice to go or a whole pie for a special occasion.
Intrinsic Smokehouse Brewery.
A crown jewel on the historic downtown Garland Square, this is where good food, good beer, and great people converge. The outdoor patio is a draw in good weather. Intrinsic will play a starring role in the redevelopment of downtown Garland in 2021, which will feature an updated mixture of walkable areas, restaurants, and retail.
Wildwood Smoke Craft Whiskey.
Diners’ Choice Award winner, Wildwood, is a locally owned kitchen known for its delicious bourbon, craft beers, and southern food served in a casual, and comfortable environment.
Paw Paw’s Sweet Shop & Café.
Located in downtown Garland, Paw Paw’s is a 1950’s-style soda shop and café, popular for its comfort foods and, of course, ice cream. Diner-style breakfasts, burgers, specialty salads, and sandwiches—it hits the spot.
Meshack’s BBQ Shack.
If you can make it to Garland by 7 p.m., swing by Meshack’s, one of the few places where people will stand in line now that restaurants are opening up again for affordable and authentic barbecue. What to try first? All of it.
Fish N’ Tales Oyster Bar.
Huge oysters and fried catfish are the draw at this Garland favorite, as is the lively outdoor patio now that the weather has cooled.
De La Fuente Tacos de Birria.
For fast-casual, authentic Mexican food, head to De La Fuente Tacos de Birria. It’s a bit hidden and unassuming, but those who know tacos swear it’s worth the hunt.
TLC on the Lake.
For dinner and cocktails with a view, head to TLC on the Lake. The chef proudly claims graduation from “Grandma’s Kitchen,” and is a master at creative twists on timeless favorites. With patio seating overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard, it’s where Garland goes after a day on the lake for a beer, food, and sunset views.
Learn more at MakeYourMarkGarland.com.