A Guide to Eating on McKinney's Town Square

Categories: Eat This

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Sara Kerens
Square Burger on McKinney's town square.
Unlike other town centers, where everything looks like it was erected in late 2010, McKinney's town square holds a lot of character. Some of the small boutiques are worth taking a peek into just to check out the old buildings that house them. An antique dealer now sits in the former bank, where the guts of the vault are open to walk through and the heavy metal door stands open on its hinges.

The antique store is one of many on the square, but is probably the third tenant to occupy the space over the course of only four years. The retail shops here rotate in and out like this, too. But the restaurants are unusually stable. They've been here for years, quietly establishing reputations and catering to locals.

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No Fuck You, John Tesar, Because Knife's Ozersky Burger Ruined Burgers for Me

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Nick Rallo
The OZERSKY burger, with two happy coats of American Cheese
The first thing that happens at John Tesar's three-Brenner-star Knife, after you order a glacially-cold beer from an iPad, is a flight of complimentary crudités (fancy word for chopped, fresh vegetables with dip) hits the table. The place-mats look like woven, Elvish armor. Because this is Texas, the crudités comes with a boat sail of homemade beef jerky. A tray of bread shuttles around, and you get a butter structure that looked Roman. I grabbed a pretzel roll because who doesn't like pretzel rolls? All this happens before a burger that sets you back a mere 12 bucks, and it's one of the most fun and simply best meat experiences in Dallas.

See also:
- Our full review of Knife
- Chef John Tesar Told the Dallas Morning News' Food Critic "Fuck You," and Life Is Good

I sat at the counter facing the kitchen, which made the experience more fun. There are few things better in life than watching a cook not disturb your burger. I watched one of the chef's season it, a nice winter coat of salt and pepper (only) from what I could tell, and place it gently on the griddle. She only disturbed the burger's sizzling meditation to do a quick flip.

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A Guide to Drinking (OK, and Eating) in Uptown

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Sara Kerens
Uptown can be a minefield, but there are plenty of good finds, too.
Uptown may be one of Dallas' most recognizable neighborhoods. It's also got a reputation for being a bit of a minefield, filled with towering heels, excess hair product and a slew of mediocre or downright terrible restaurants and bars. Despite the reputation, though, there are some great finds along and around McKinney Avenue, and if you've got great weather, everything is within walking distance with each other or that rickety trolly that connects it all. You can make a very fuzzy day of it.

When in Uptown, we drink, and The Common Table (pictured above) is probably the best place to explore beer. Local brews are well represented, but other taps pour beers from around the world. There's a great front porch and patio and a pretty solid Reuben. You could spend your whole Uptown-themed day here and not feel like you've missed much, but there are plenty of other places to drink, too.

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There Are Wild Boar Empanadas at FM Smokehouse, and You Want to Eat Them

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Amy McCarthy
Meat + Pie = Obviously
Most people in Dallas have no real reason to venture over to Irving for dinner, but FM Smokehouse is the exception to the rule, and the kind of place that might change your mind about venturing that way.

Owner Brian Rudolph, best known for his craft beer-focused Holy Grail Pub in West Plano, has worked with Chef Marcus Cutler to create a smoked meat sanctuary in the suburbs that rivals Dallas' best barbecue spots, especially when you factor in an extensive and well-curated selection of craft beers from Texas and beyond.

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Where to Eat During DFW Restaurant Week

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Scott Reitz
Tei An: One of your best Restaurant Week bets.
Ah, Restaurant Week. The time of year when your favorite neighborhood restaurants are flooded with people who only dine out a few times a year. It's a week notorious for bad service, small portions and watered-down menus, but unlike some other cities' versions, DFW's benefits the North Texas Food Bank and the Lena Pope Home. And so we go, ready to eat and spend. We just choose carefully.

There are more than 100 restaurants in the metroplex that participate, and many are great places to dine, despite the throngs of people and stressed out servers. If you're planning on making your reservation (and you should soon; they go pretty fast), consider these five, which are, in our estimation, among those most worth throwing down $35 for.

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Fighting the Texas Heat with a Little Help from Antojitos Jalisco

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Obed Manuel

Can you feel the hellish heat creeping up on us? The folks at Antojito's Jalisco will gladly pour you a cup of their ice-cold aguas frescas ("fresh waters") or mix up one of their several specialty drinks, like a Rusa, to fend off the three-digit temperatures.
  
The chubby kid inside me jumped for joy when I walked into this small establishment located in the heart of Oak Cliff.  Someone finally thought to open a one-stop shop for all the best Mexican treats or "little cravings," which is what antojitos means.
  
Antojito's Jalisco (428 E. Jefferson Blvd) carries a menu of more than 30 Mexican snacks and treats. Because my wallet wouldn't agree with me trying the entire menu, here are three of their most refreshing options. 
 


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Newcomer Chef Brooke Egger's First Four Dallas Dining Destinations

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Chef Brooke Egger orders you to eat at Bolsa. For your own good.

Moving across the country to take an executive chef position at one of the country's only permanent pop-up restaurants doesn't exactly leave a lot of time for leisure. When chef Brooke Egger of Kitchen LTO made the trek from California to Texas, she had no idea what to expect about the city, its diners, or most important, the restaurants she'd be competing with.

Despite her chaotic schedule in the kitchen, Egger has still managed to cover some pretty good ground in the Dallas restaurant scene in the month that she's been here. Take a few tips from someone who's cooked at and eaten at great restaurants all over the world and check out these four spots.

Bolsa
Critics have been raving about what chef Andrew Bell has been able to do at Bolsa (pictured above) in Bishop Arts, and Egger only had nice things to say about the menu there. Her memory was a little hazy -- she went to Bolsa after Margarita Meltdown -- but she did remember a smoked fish served in a jar that she described as "amazing."

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Go Eat This Right Now: Nutella Rolls at Zoli's

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Zoli's New York Pizza/Instgram
There's no disputing that even though it's relatively young, Zoli's New York Pizza in Bishop Arts is one of the city's best spots to buy a slice. After owner Jay Jerrier brought in born-and-bred New Yorker Lee Hunzinger to lead the kitchen earlier this year, the pizza there just got better. The crispy thin crusts got lighter, were cooked a little more evenly and tweaked with ingredients like chef Brian Luscher's Italian sausage to make a great product even better.

Since taking over at Zoli's, Hunzinger has introduced several new menu options. On any given day, you'll find at least one specialty pie of the day, a stromboli and maybe a chicken Parmesan wrap alongside the usual thin crust and "Grandma" style pies. Best of all are the decadent dessert rolls that Hunzinger first perfected a few years ago when he was working in New York before bringing them to the menu at Zoli's.


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I'm a 30-Year-Old Texan, and Last Night I Went to Dairy Queen for the First Time

Categories: Eat This

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Nick Rallo
Steak Finger basket was the recommend entree. Also this freaking Jalitos Hungr Bustr Burgr. Errr. Brgrr.
I was born a not-Texan, but I moved here from Virginia when I was 4. On one of my first trips to Dallas in the late 1980s, I napped under my dad's chair while he and my mom voraciously ate Tex-Mex at El Fenix. I was a Texan. And yet, I confess:

My name is Nick Rallo, I was raised in Texas, and I'd never been to a Dairy Queen until last night.

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How to Stuff Your Face in Bishop Arts

Categories: Eat This

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Pop a squat on the back porch of Wild Detectives and sip on a coffee. It's going to be a long (and great) night.
City of Ate thinks you should get out of your neighborhood rut this summer, even if only for one weekend evening. This is the first in a series of neighborhood guides.

According to some people with access to spreadsheets, computers and maybe even some pocket protectors, Dallas is one of the least walkable cities on the planet. If you've ever stepped into a crosswalk and been honked at by an angry driver wielding a 3,000-pound car like it's a weapon, you're probably inclined to agree. But while that may be true for 99.987 percent of the city, there are some nice neighborhoods dotted with excellent bars and restaurants that at are also a pleasure to walk in.

Oak Cliff may boast one of the best, as its large network of sidewalks connects some of the city's best culinary destinations to some really great bars and coffee shops. Don't cast off the walkability of an entire city just because most of it is so dismal. Park your car on the outskirts of the Bishop Arts District and get ready to relearn why exploring a neighborhood by foot is so preferable.

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