Little Elm Craft Brew & Que Festival

Little Elm Craft Brew & Que Festival

Photo courtesy of Little Elm Craft Brew & Que Festival

The Little Elm Craft Brew & Que Festival features beer and wine tastings from national award-winning breweries and wineries, music from headliner Mike Ryan and more, barbecue tastings from pitmasters across Texas, VIP passes with extra perks, contests, shopping and great vendors, a kid zone, and a fireworks show.

Photo courtesy of BrisketU

These are the 6 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and there’s a backyard barbecuing class to kick off the season. Also plan to sip and stroll a popular Dallas district during an annual wine walk, try a newly release summer-themed seltzer from a local brewery, and explore exotic flavors during an Asian-themed night market. Finally, cheers to an iconic winemaker’s 100th birthday during a complimentary wine tasting.

Thursday, May 25

Vive La France Wine Tasting at Terroir
East Dallas wine shop is hosting a wine-tasting event featuring labels from some of the top regions of France, presented by Michael Flynn of Dionysus Imports. Wines poured will include Domaine de Fondreche Ventoux Blanc and Ventoux Rouge, from Rhone Valley Vineyards; Bernard Defaix Bourgogne Aligote Burgundy; Mourchon Siguret Cote du Rhone from Rhone Valley; and Chateaux Franc Patarabet Saint-Emilion Granc Cru, Bordeaux. It's a free event from 5-7 pm. RSVP to Andrew@terroirdallas.com.

Bishop Arts Wine Walk
Sip, stroll, and shopBishop Arts District during this evening wine walk. The $25 ticket (plus tax) includes a logo wine glass and wine pours and promos at more than two dozen participating restaurants and retailers. Participants include Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Oddfellows, and Revelers Hall. The event will run from 6-9 pm.

Saturday, May 27

La Pachanga Chef Pop-Up & Tiger’s Blood Release Party at Texas Ale Project
The Dallas brewery will celebrate the release of its latest seltzer with a pop-up party. The summer-themed Tiger’s Blood TAPWTR is brewed with strawberry, coconut, and watermelon. Try it paired with dishes by several local food vendors, including Sweet-Stack, Rev’s Grilled Cheese, and Mayan & More Vegano Mexicano. There’ll be music all day, too. The event will run from 12-5 pm.

Grgich Hills Wine Tasting at Central Market
The gourmet grocer will celebrate the 100th birthday of Mike Grgich, the legendary California winemaker who established Grgich Hills Estate and is recognized for putting Napa Valley on the wine world’s map back in the 1970s. Visit starting at 12 noon for a complimentary tasting featuring Grgich’s wines, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, and a Sauvignon Blanc. The tasting will be available at all Central Market stores.

Asian American & Pacific Islander Night Market Block Party
The second annual event will be held at Krio Asian-Inspired Cajun in Bishop Arts and will feature 30 local food and artisan vendors. General admission is free and allows for a la carte food and beverage purchases. Or purchase a “Fastpass” for $75 (plus a small fee) and get five food tickets and two drink tickets along with a pass to skip any lines. Proceeds from Fastpass sales will benefit Make-A-Wish North Texas. The event will run from 5-10 pm.

Sunday, May 28

Brisket U at Pegasus City Brewery
Officially kick off backyard barbecuing season with this brisket-smoking class. Both newbies and experienced grillers will learn from accomplished pitmasters on the art of smoking brisket, from selecting the beef to properly slicing the end product. The class will be held from 12-3 pm at Pegasus City Brewery and is $89.

Photo courtesy of Franklin Barbecue

LORO Asian Smokehouse & Bar presents Aaron Franklin Book Signing

LORO Asian Smokehouse & Bar will present an exclusive BBQ and book signing event to celebrate the launch of Chef Aaron Franklin’s third book, Franklin Smoke. Franklin will be celebrating at LORO Addison with complimentary book signing and smoked Pulled Pork and Chopped Brisket Sliders for purchase. The first 50 guests will also receive a free signed copy of the book.

Franklin is one of the most recognized names in barbecue and co-author of New York Times bestselling books, Franklin Barbecue, A Meat-Smoking Manifesto and Franklin Steak.

Photo courtesy of Goldee's BBQ

Where to find the most iconic — and best — meals in all of Texas

Hit the Road

Texans don't need much of a reason to hit the open road. Our state is brimming with natural beauty and charming small towns, but nothing motivates us to fill up the tank like a bonanza of regional foods.

There are renowned Texas flavors to be found throughout the entire state, from small towns like Round Top to the far west end in El Paso. And with meals ranging from Tex-Mex and barbecue to Frito Pie and kolaches, the Lone Star State is known for some of the most iconic foods in America.

When you hit the open road to explore (and taste) it all, know that a Hilton Hotel is nearby for a good night's rest. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, the right room is waiting with a warm welcome.

Hope you're hungry, because here is but a small slice of some of the best.

Goldee's BBQ, Fort Worth
Few barbecue joints in Texas can make a name without serving the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs. Still, the young chefs and pitmasters at this Fort Worth stop one-up the competition with unexpected sides like chicken rice and collard greens and crowd-pleasers like fish and chips.

Chicken Fried Steak
Babe's Chicken Dinner House, Carrollton
All Texans take their chicken fried steak with some degree of seriousness. We dare say this eatery — which originated in Carrollton and has locations all over North Texas — takes it the most seriously of all, with plenty of family-style sides to round out the table.

La Cocina, McAllen
Former oil worker Evin Garcia combines tradition and innovation at this McAllen haunt. Enjoy everything from birria tacos dipped in a luscious consommé to an octopus version served with traditional al pastor fixings like onion, cilantro, and grilled pineapple.

Elotes Fanny, Austin + North Texas
With locations in Austin, Fort Worth, and Garland, this snack shop mini-chain knows everything about corn. Get it by the cob or in a cup, and make sure to douse it in the fiery homemade Atomic Salsa.

Fried Chicken
Dolli's Diner, Nacogdoches
This diner does just about everything right, but the crowning jewel of the menu is undoubtedly the chicken fried chicken. It's served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and fresh veggies for color and is best enjoyed with funnel cake fries for dessert.

Frito Pie
RD's Burger, Cibolo
This casual stop does its namesake dish with aplomb, but found pure magic in its Frito Pie. It's served with no muss or fuss and occasionally on the insanely delicious burger.

Slovacek’s, West
When it comes to kolaches, any bakery in West will serve the real deal. Relative newcomer Slovacek's gets the vote for its dozens of fruit flavors and creative klobasnek (the meaty cousin of kolaches) filled with boudin, pepperoni, or kraut.

Royer's Round Top Cafe, Round Top
No trip to Round Top's famous antique fair is complete without a stop at this darling cafe. "Pie Man" Bud Royer makes every visit sweet with pies like buttermilk, pecan, and the multi-fruit Troy's Junk Berry.

L & J Cafe, El Paso
This El Paso tradition is by a graveyard, sure, but don't let that deter you from enjoying its queso. The miraculous concoction made with roasted green chile, tomatoes, and onions is served with just-fried tostadas.

Leal's Tamale Factory, Lubbock
A Lubbock classic, this mainstay doesn't go for newfangled tamale flavors like sweet potato. Order pork, chicken, or cheese and rediscover the fundamentals.

Viet-Cajun crawfish boils
Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
Who knows what James Beard-nominated chef Trong Nguyen puts in his secret sauce. What we do know is that it's one of the most intensely flavorful experiences in all of Houston.

Texas knows no bounds when it comes to to where you can go (and eat). No matter where your next foodie adventure takes you, a Hilton hotel is waiting for you.

With over 550 Hilton hotels spanning across the state of Texas, the possibilities to earn more while exploring the Lone Star State are endless.

Photo courtesy of Shiner Beer.

Shiner Beer crafts new barbecue joint at iconic Texas brewery

Road trip time

Lewis and Clark, Sonny and Cher, SpongeBob and Patrick. Duos float in and out of pop culture at hummingbird speed. But few have quite as much staying power as beer and barbecue. So, it’s only natural that one of Texas’ most iconic breweries would want to break out the smoker.

According to a release, Shiner Beer is untapping a new market with the April 1 grand opening of K. Spoetzl BBQ Co. Housed at the newly expanded Spoetzl Brewery, the eatery will welcome carnivores seven days a week.

Pitmaster Tommy Schuette, the former proprietor of the Shiner Barbeque Co., will lead the charge with the state’s holy trinity of smoked meats, including brisket, sausage, and ribs. Other favorites like pulled pork and chicken will be served alongside a meaty assortment of salads, loaded potatoes, and sandwiches.

Of course, no Texas barbecue joint can get away with skimping on the sides. Potato salad and pinto beans are served throughout the week, but weekend guests get a little extra. Diners can also opt for green beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, and giblet rice from Thursday through Saturday.

In celebration of K. Spoetzl BBQ’s debut, samples will be passed out between 10:30 am-6 pm on April 1. QR codes will also be scattered across the grounds giving visitors a chance to win gift cards, shirts, hats, and more. Diners will also be given a free beer token for every $25 spent at the restaurant that day.

In addition, budding influencers can post a picture of Schuette to social media to get a coupon for 10 percent off. (As a rule, pitmasters do not need a yassify filter.)

After the grand opening celebration, K. Spoetzl BBQ will be open daily. Hours are 10 am-4 pm, so plan accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Hurtado

Dismal winter traffic shutters Hurtado Barbecue location in Little Elm

BBQ News

An award-winning barbecue concept has closed a location: Hurtado Barbecue, the small local chain owned by husband-and-wife Brandon and Hannah Hurtado, closed its location in Little Elm at 100 Hardwicke Ln.

The restaurant shared the news in a Facebook post, stating that its last day was Sunday, February 5.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of our Little Elm location," their post said. "We gave it everything we had, but after being forced to close with severe water leaks and inclement weather in a very seasonal town, we unfortunately couldn't recover."

"We're still open in Arlington and Fort Worth and will be hyper focused on making those locations two of the best in the business," they said.

Brandon Hurtado started his BBQ journey doing barbecue in his backyard, then graduated to a food truck before opening the first brick-and-mortar location in Arlington in February 2020. Bolstered by incentives from the city of Little Elm, they opened a location there in mid-2022, followed by a third location in Fort Worth in September 2022.

Their two locations in Tarrant County have both prospered, but Little Elm came with some challenges, Brandon said in an email.

"Little Elm is a lakefront town," he said. "They're incredibly busy during the summer with a massive beach and boat docks, but abysmal sales during the fall and winter."

"Our Fort Worth and Arlington locations are thriving, but I just couldn't take another day in Little Elm with fewer than 25 customers walking in the door," he said.

Hurtado's served its menu of brisket, ribs, sausage, turkey, and burnt ends plus sides such as Hatch chile mac & cheese and baked potato salad. Little Elm had one thing the other locations did not: a full bar. To no avail.

Some Little Elm locals floated theories on the location. "It’s that building. It’s cursed!" said one.

"We went there once a month. That building for whatever reason can’t seem to hold a restaurant more than a year," said another.

Beyond the building itself, others noted that the location was remote, made less accessible by a toll bridge.

"That location was too far into Little Elm for the price point Hurtado’s offered and not convenient even for someone who lives in the area. The same was for Kabuki who occupied the space before Hurtado’s," said a third.

"The truth is, you are in a bad spot because the drive is far out from most people. Most people didn’t even know you existed," said a fourth.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Dave Chappelle's stand-up show tops this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle plots out 4 Texas arena shows, including Dallas. Comedian/actor Dave Chappelle will soon bring his "Dave Chappelle Live" stand-up comedy show to arenas in four cities in Texas, including American Airlines Center in Dallas, on June 29. Chappelle is a complicated figure who's been celebrated for his trailblazing comedy and vilified for his controversial stances.

2. Dallas steakhouse famous for big carrot opens location in McKinney. McKinney gets its own location of an epic Dallas steakhouse: We're talking about Bob's Steak & Chop House, which has opened a location in District 121, the mixed-use development at the northeast corner of State Highway 121 and Alma Road, adjacent to Craig Ranch. It opened on June 2.

3. H-E-B's streamlined sibling Joe V's Smart Shop to debut in Dallas. Supermarket giant H-E-B is continuing its expansion in the DFW Metroplex with plans to open a sibling concept: Called Joe V’s Smart Shop by H-E-B stores, it's a cheaper version of H-E-B, and will open two stores in the Dallas area, both south of I-30.

4. Dallas-Fort Worth arrives at surprising spot among top summer travel destinations. Dallas-Fort Worth recently racked up more than a dozen accolades at the 2023 Texas Travel Awards. But a new survey reveals it's not necessarily such a hot travel destination this summer. DFW comes in at a middle-of-the-road No. 45 in WalletHub's recent 2023 Best Summer Travel Destinations report.

5. More than 90 live music acts will perform at 2023 State Fair of Texas. The State Fair of Texas will return in fall 2023 with a music lineup that includes more than 90 artists performing live on three stages. Headliners include Lonestar, Ceelo Green, and 38 Special, as well as a tribute to Selena Quintanilla Pérez, Experience Selena. Other acts kicking off opening weekend September 29 to October 1 include Chrisette Michele, Lil Jon, Hairball, and Bowling for Soup.

Warm up to these 8 must-see art exhibitions in Dallas-Fort Worth for June


As the lazy days of summer approach, the frenetic pace of art festivals and exhibits quiets down a bit. But that doesn’t mean artists' voices are hushed; they’re coming through loud and clear.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth digs deep into post-war paintings, Dallas Center for Photography delivers a look at the compelling vision of women in photography, and several group exhibitions explore a range of media and subject matter.

Art lovers ready to welcome (or seek respite from) the warmth of June should put these eight exhibits on their must-see list.

Artist's Retrospective
Lewisville Grand Theatre, through July 8
Works by members of the Visual Art League (VAL) of Lewisville will be on display this month in the art gallery in Lewisville's Grand Theater. Each entry in the show judged by Denton-area artist Laurie Weller represents a self-retrospective of its artist. Since 1978, VAL has provided support and education for member artists, while members have judged student arts shows and taught art classes to senior citizens. Like all VAL events and programming, this exhibition is free and open to the public. And if you're a first-time visitor to this stunning theatre and arts center, you'll immediately understand why local art feels right at home here.

Madeline Donahue:"Art House"
Various Small Fires - Dallas, through July 8
Experiences of pregnancy, birth, motherhood and owning a postpartum body can be exemplars of the complexity of the mother-and-child relationship. Having experienced all of the above, Madeline Donahue explores all of them with oil paintings and colored pencil drawings on paper in this contemporary art solo show.

Robert Motherwell: "Pure Painting"
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, through September 17
Abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell explored political, philosophical, and literary themes in various art forms throughout his life (1915-1991) while communicating as a spokesman for an art movement that wasn't particularly well-understood in its early days. Motherwell was a painter of note from the post-war period, but also showed talent as a collagist, a printmaker, and a draftsman. The Modern was the site for the last retrospective of Motherwell's work during his lifetime, and the museum owns more than 50 of his works. That makes it a perfect fit as a venue for this guest-curated retrospective focusing on his paintings.

"Hold Up Half the Sky"
Dallas Center for Photography (DCP), through-July 1
This photography exhibit is part of DCP's year-long commitment to women in photography. The juried (and judged) show highlights photos that tell a story, from more than 40 female photographers. Prizes have been awarded to Emily Buckley, Pamela Chipman, and Linda Plaisted for first, second, and third place, respectively. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Leonardo Drew: Number 235T
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, June 17-June 30, 2024
Contemporary sculptor Leonardo Drew uses organic material and techniques of oxidation, burning, and decay to create works like the ones that will grace the first floor galleries at the Carter this month. The intricate, large-scale topography of Number 235T was commissioned specifically for this space, and reflects a connectedness that translates effortlessly from art to life.

Arden Bendler Browning: "Off Screen"
Galleri Urbane, June 24-August 12
Arden Bendler Browning's sense of wanderlust inspired both the subject matter and the method for creating the pieces displayed in this show. Many of the multi-media works began as sketches or watercolors made in a moving vehicle with her husband at the wheel and kids in tow in the back seat. First impressions appeared on yupo paper, which is waterproof, and were then layered with an assortment of acrylic paint, acrylic marker, spray paint, acrylic gouached, and fluid acrylic. Some were then adhered to round panels, symbolizing a portal to the place, time, and atmosphere Bendler Browning envisions. Meet the artist at the opening reception on from 5-8 pm Saturday, June 24.

10th Annual Texas Juried Exhibition
ArtSpace111, June 24-August 26
For this show, Texas artists were invited to enter their two- and three-dimensional works in pursuit of a top prize of $10,000 and a solo show. A portion of the entry fees will be donated to the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and at the end of the exhibition all entries (not just those selected for the show) will be displayed online in the gallery's Texas Now Online Showcase. The exhibition is free to attend, and all art on display is available to purchase. Join the artists for an opening reception from 4-7 pm Saturday, June 24.

"Art of Paper"
Laura Rathe Fine Art Gallery, June 24-August 19
This group exhibition promises "sequenced architectural wall reliefs, encaustic sculptures, biomorphic patterns, repurposed ephemera, and rhythmic compositions" demonstrating that creative options are limitless when the medium is paper. Each of the 15 contemporary artists from around the world elevates paper as art with perspectives that delight and inspire. The show is free and open to the public, with an opening reception from 4:30-7:30 pm Saturday, June 24.

Popular Disney immersive experience to host special sensory-friendly viewings in Dallas

A whole new world

The "Disney Animation: Immersive Experience" on view now at Lighthouse ArtSpace Dallas, will be extra inclusive for Disney fans at special viewings this summer.

On Saturday, June 24, the venue will host three sensory-friendly viewings of the popular immersive experience. The schedule is:

  • Sunday, June 24 – 9 am
  • Saturday, July 22 – 10:15 am
  • Sunday, August 27 –10.15 am

As sensory-friendly viewings, the volume of the show will be reduced for a more comfortable viewing experience for guests with special needs.

Other accommodations include comfortable gallery lighting (and no blackouts like there are in the regular showings), reduced guest capacity, sensitivity warnings at certain potentially agitating moments in the show, and quiet areas outside of the gallery (where the show takes place) so guests can take a break if the noise is too overwhelming.

"Disney Animation: Immersive Experience" made its Dallas debut at Lighthouse ArtSpace Dallas (507 S. Harwood St.) in April.

The experience brings to life Disney classics like The Lion King and Aladdin, as well as newer favorites such as Encanto, Frozen, and more. Interactive features include responsive floor projection design that "moves" with the audience, custom bracelets that light up in sync with the projections and based on the audiences’ movements, and galleries that fill with bubbles.

"Inclusion is important to us with all of our offerings, but all the more so with 'Immersive Disney Animation,' which is truly an exhibit where everyone should feel welcome," says Lighthouse Immersive producer Corey Ross in a release. "These viewings reduce the sensory output of the show to offer a relaxed environment and judgment-free zone where the wonderful worlds and characters of Disney Animation Studios can be enjoyed by all.”

Tickets for the show, including specific sensory-friendly performances (starting at $21) are available here.