Photo courtesy of Barber Shop Marketing

Dallas-Fort Worth has landed near the top in several recent travel rankings, including family friendly vacations and hotels, and now the region can add best airport to that list. The Airports Council International (ACI) has named Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport the winner of the 2022 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award for Best Airport that serves over 40 million passengers in North America.

The ACI ASQ awards recognize airports that exhibit consistent excellent customer service.

ACI's data is compiled through their worldwide passenger departure and arrival surveys. According to their report, the DFW Airport is “the largest airport in the world” to receive the award.

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue said in a statement that it was a “tremendous honor” to be declared the best airport in North America, and the award reflects all of the hard work he and his team have done to prioritize their customer service.

“I want to thank and recognize all of our employees, especially our front-line customer experience team, for the passion and commitment they showcase every day in taking such good care of our customers,” he said. “I also want to thank all of our business partners who share our commitment to providing an excellent customer experience."

2023 looks to be one of the busiest years for the DFW Airport since 2019, with 78 million passengers projected to travel at the airport.

More information about the award can be found on the DFW Airport website.

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Award-winning Mexican restaurant hits the jackpot at new location in Denton

Vegan News

A DFW restaurant that's earned national acclaim has opened in Denton: El Rincón del Maiz, previously of Garland, is now located at 1431 E. McKinney St. in Denton where it's winning over locals with its Tex-Mex classics and vegan dishes.

Now in a small center east of Denton Square, the family-owned restaurant from husband-and-wife Carlos Guillez and Michell Torres, and their son Gerardo Guillen, first opened in a former Sonic Drive-In November 2021.

They quickly drew praise including making a 2022 list by Bon Appétit of the Best New Restaurants in America (which strangely identified them as "the Saporito family"), as well as winning the 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Award for Best Neighborhood Restaurant.

"We were so encouraged," Carlos says. "We'd decided to open because my wife was such a good chef that everybody would tell her, 'You need to open a restaurant.'"

But they discovered that the majority of their clientele were coming from outside Garland.

"Pretty much all of our customers were from areas north of Dallas, and some were driving 30 to 45 minutes," Gerardo says. "People kept saying, 'You need to move north.'"

They almost ended up in McKinney but negotiations were taking too long, and then the Denton spot opened. It's only a half mile from the Square, and has enviable proximity to TWU, UNT, the Denton County courthouse, and the Denton sheriff's office, all representing a built-in audience for their award-winning food.

Their recipes come from south Mexico including dishes like panucho — refried tortillas topped with black beans, choice of protein, coleslaw, and red onion; and enomoladas — corn tortillas with chicken, mole, red onion, and sesame seed.

A longtime home cook, Torres is also vegan. When she crafted the standard Mexican menu, she created an entire vegan menu, as well, using plant-based items like jackfruit and cauliflower to substitute for meat items, served on eye-catching tinted tortillas in flavors such as cilantro, beet, chipotle, and chocolate.

Since moving to Denton, they've added new dishes such as vegan pozole; vegan menudo made with mushroom; and vegan huevos con chorizo, featuring scrambled tofu, a vegan version of chorizo, and black beans, with choice of fried plantains or spicy potatoes.

These days, they're reveling in packed crowds on weekends, and they still haven't even gotten their liquor license yet (it's pending).

And here's one sweet irony: "We've seen customers from Garland coming to Denton," Gerardo says.

East Dallas bar noted for craft beer program to close after 12 years

Craft Beer News

East Dallas craft beer staple Strangeways, a family-run bar which has been in business at 2429 E. Fitzhugh Ave. for a decade, is closing. The bar announced its closure via a Facebook post over the weekend, stating that closing was "the hardest decision we’ve ever made to walk away from this. We are completely heartbroken but, sadly it was not meant to be."

The post stated that its last day would be "October-ish."

The bar debuted during the early days of the craft beer boom and carved out a spot as a destination with a huge selection of beers on tap, with options written on a chalkboard in cheerful chalk colors, as well as events such as Barrel Week and a prized festival dedicated to sour beers.

The bar was owned by brother and sister Eric Sanchez and Rocio Ildemaro, and earned acclaim such as a spot on Draft magazine's 2014 list of the 100 best beer bars in the U.S. That same year, CultureMap named it one of "The 10 best bars in Dallas to fill up on craft beer," and more recently, Ildemaro was a nominee for Bartender of the Year in CultureMap's 2022 Tastemaker Awards.

The craft beer trend has leveled off in recent years, but Strangeways prevailed as a casual neighborhood bar that welcomed all kinds. They also had food that was well above the bar norm, including nice salads with fresh mixed greens.

They supported other local businesses such as Picadera, the Dominican street food vendor, for whom they provided a place to do pop-ups.

The duo did not respond to inquiries, but told the Observer that the landlord sold the location to another buyer, despite their efforts to purchase the property themselves.

The new owners, who were not identified, are said not to have plans to level the building, but will likely need to charge a higher rent than what Strangeways can pay.

These are the 8 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Summer officially ends on Saturday, and this week’s event lineup provides for a perfect farewell. There’s a sunflower festival with floral-themed cocktails, a tropical island-themed birthday celebration, and two tequila-themed parties. Cheers to surviving another Texas summer.

Tuesday, September 19

Tequila Dinner at Chido Taco Lounge
The Frisco taco hot spot will host a four-course dinner paired with ArteNOM tequilas, including blanco, reposado, and anejo. Menu items include chicken tinga sopes, sopa con albondigas, crispy carnitas with elote sweet potato, and Mexican chocolate cream pie. Dinner is $165, plus tax and gratuity, and begins at 7 pm.

Thursday, September 21

Sunflower Festival at Haywire and The Ranch at Las Colinas
Celebrate the Texas sunflower with menu specials at both Haywire locations in Plano and Dallas and The Ranch at Las Colinas. From Thursday through Sunday, the sister restaurants will offer sunflower-inspired cocktails, including The Western Wildflower with lemon vodka, and the Sunflower Sour with bourbon. They're also serving sunflower seed hummus made with herb-infused olive oil. All guests who purchase a sunflower menu item will receive a complimentary packet of sunflower seeds to take home and plant.

Beviamo Italian Wine Dinner at Knife Plano
Chef John Tesar’s Plano steakhouse will host a multicourse Italian-themed wine pairing dinner with Texas touches on the menu. Think figs with ricotta, honey, and Texas pecans; cacio e pepe; and 45-day dry aged beef from 44 Farms. Wines will be paired with each course. Dinner is $150, plus tax and gratuity, and dinner begins at 6:30 pm.

Kick Back Dinner Series at LORO
Both the Dallas and Addison locations of the Asian smokehouse and bar will host a five-course, family-style dinner paired with beers from a local brewery. In Dallas, it’s Community Beer Company and in Addison, it’s Manhattan Project Beer Company. Menu items range from pineapple tuna poke and green curry mussels to smoked spatchcock chicken and charred prawns. Tickets are $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and dinner begins at 7:30 pm.

Friday, September 22

The Island Spot’s 13th Anniversary Celebration
The Carrollton location of this Jamaican-inspired gem will host a birthday party to kick off the weekend. It will include live reggae music, rum specials, giveaways, and dishes like jerk chicken, plantains, and fried dumplings. The fun will run from 7-10 pm.

Saturday, September 23

Sugar Fest at Mexican Sugar
Both locations of the festive Mexican restaurant (Las Colinas on Saturday and Plano on Sunday) will host an afternoon of sampling agave-based spirits, with a special focus on tequila and mezcal. General admission is already sold out, but there are $65 VIP tickets available that include complimentary premium tastings, hand-crafted cocktails, and Mexican Sugar cuisine in a private area. The event will run from 2-6 pm both days.

Monday, September 25

Pints & Pies Beer Dinner at Urban Seafood
Indulge in four courses of both sweet and savory pies paired with pints of various brews at the Plano seafood destination. Tickets are $65, including tax and gratuity, and dinner starts at 6:30 pm.

86 Cancer at The Adolphus
Makeready’s annual fundraiser to benefit cancer research will feature a Chopped-style culinary competition at The Adolphus. Dallas chefs will compete alongside culinary students from El Centro College for a panel of judges. Participating chefs will come from Monarch, Circle T Ranch, Fearing’s, Bistro 31, Billy Can Can, and SER Steak + Spirits. The $130 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres from participating chefs, along with food, beer, wine, and signature cocktails from The Adolphus. The event will run from 6:30-10:30 pm.