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An exciting vegan burger from Alamo City is coming to Dallas: The pioneering San Antonio chain Earth Burger will be available for order at Oomi Digital Kitchen, the digital food hall at 3510 Ross Ave.

According to a release, they'll be available starting on Tuesday, January 17.

Oomi will be the first restaurant outside of South Central Texas to offer menu items from Earth Burger, an award-winning plant-based fast food chain founded in San Antonio in 2014.

Earth Burger is known for its burgers made with plant-based patties, chik-n, and “fishless” filets. The company is embarking on a national expansion expansion with assistance from Sinelli Concepts, the Dallas group founded by Jeff Sinelli that owns Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.

Oomi co-founder Markus Pineyro says in a statement that they're excited about Oomi's new partnership with Earth Burger.

"We'd been seeking plant-based offerings, so it was only natural for us to look for the best plant-based burger concept in Texas," Pineyro says.

Pineyro opened Oomi in December as a digital food hall featuring concepts created by chefs. The concept goes beyond the traditional fragmented ghost kitchen by allowing customers to choose from different restaurants in one order, facilitated by one hub. Diners can order for pick up or get delivery if they're in the right zone.

Oomi's lineup features up to 10 restaurants, which may change seasonally. Initial brands included WhichWich sandwiches, Austin-based FlyRite Chicken, Fuel America coffee, Acai Revolution, Momo Shack Dumplings, Pineyro's own concept, Urban Taco - and now Earth Burger.

In a statement, Earth Burger founder and chef Mike Behrend says "you're not settling for an average bland fast food meal at Earth Burger. Our completely meatless menu features bold recipes and sauces we create in house, bringing out the best flavor in our dishes. We want to provide a really delicious meal that just happens to be plant-based."

Oomi will give the same attention to detail to Earth Burger it has given to its other in-house brands, including the separation of ingredients—from storage to preparation and cooking—to ensure that there is no cross-contamination with its non-vegan/vegetarian items.

Photo courtesy of Haystack

Family-owned burger chain hits ritzy Dallas neighborhood shopping center

Burger News

A small fast-casual Dallas burger chain is about to get a little bigger: Haystack Burgers & Barley is opening a location in Dallas' Preston Forest Shopping Center, at 11700 Preston Rd #732. They're going into what was previously an art gallery, and according to a release will open December 12.

Haystack is from husband-and-wife Kevin and Jenny Galvan, who launched the concept in 2013. Jenny has a sales and marketing background which complements Kevin’s food and beverage expertise. He's the fourth generation in his family to own and operate restaurants, and has worked for Houston’s and Pei Wei.

This marks the fifth Haystack, joining locations in Richardson, Lakewood, Hillcrest Village, and Frisco. Even though they're a chain, Kevin says in a statement that they love being a part of the local community and make each location unique to the neighborhood.

The menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, and milkshakes.

Starters include fried pickles, fried mozzarella, chicken stuffed jalapeños, and chips with salsa, queso, and guacamole. The stuffed jalapeños and queso are third-generation recipes from Kevin’s family.

Burgers come topped with ingredients such as bacon, haystack onions, cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce, American cheese, 1000 island dressing, jalapeño escabeche, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and, in the case of the Chicken Fried Burger, jalapeño-bacon cream gravy.

Other sandwiches include a Reuben, grilled cheese, chicken sandwich with Swiss cheese, and a hot dog on a challah bun topped with chili, cheddar, relish, and haystack onions.

On the "barley" side are a dozen beers on tap featuring rotating local DFW beers. Exclusive to the Preston Hollow location will be four wines on tap, 2 reds and 2 whites. Their signature cocktail is a frozen drink with Maker’s Mark, orange juice, lemonade, and tea.

The location has seating for 99 inside plus a 500-square-foot patio with seating for 44.

“Kevin and I do all of the design work ourselves and it is one of our favorite parts of owning Haystack," Jenny says. "We make sure each location has a unique design that fits the personality of the neighborhood.”

Photo courtesy of Tarrant Co. Veterans Council

All the Veterans Day 2022 deals in Dallas-Fort Worth that honor military service members

Military Salute

With Veterans Day coming up Friday, November 11, we've unearthed some of the best deals around Dallas-Fort Worth to ease the strain on the bank accounts of all military veterans and current service members.

Below are the top Veterans Day deals to check out for 2022:

  • 7-Eleven: The convenience store chain, which is everywhere throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free Quarter-Pound Big Bite 100% all-beef hot dog on November 11. The deal, which is available in-store and via delivery through the 7NOW app, is available to all, not just veterans.
  • Bar Louie: The gastrobar chain, which has four area non-airport locations, is offering veterans and active-duty military a complimentary craft burger, including That’s My Jam Burger, Bourbon BBQ Burger, GastroBurger, and more. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • B&B Butchers & Restaurant: The Fort Worth restaurant offers a complimentary three-course lunch to all active military and veterans November 11. The special menu includes appetizer, entrée, side, and dessert. Guests of veterans and military can partake in the menu for $25. Reservations are encouraged and the special will run from 11 am-3 pm.
  • Beck's Prime: The steakhouse chain, which has one location in Dallas, is offering all veterans and active duty military a free burger on November 11. The deal is good for dine-in and in-store to-go orders only.
  • Bedford Ice House: The bar/restaurant in Bedford is offering all active and retired military members a free meal up to $14 on November 11. This offer is available for dine-in only.
  • Black Rock Coffee Bar: The coffee house chain, which has four locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering one free medium drink for veterans, active-duty military, and members of their immediate family on November 11 with proof of ID. Both the veteran and immediate family member must be present.
  • Bombshells Restaurant & Bar: The Texas-based military-themed casual dining chain, which has two locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering free entrees for veterans on November 11; other items will be discounted 20 percent. In addition, families accompanying veterans as well as active service members and accompanying families will receive a 20 percent discount on entrees and other items. Alcoholic beverages are not included.
  • Bonefish Grill: The seafood restaurant chain, which has two locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free order of their Bang Bang Shrimp to all veterans and active duty military on November 11. They also offer a Heroes Discount that gives 10 percent off for all service members, veterans, and first responders' checks all day, every day with show of valid ID.
  • BoomerJack's: The sports bar chain, which has 18 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering all active and retired military members a free meal up to $14 on November 11. This offer is available for dine-in only.
  • Bourbon & Banter: The underground speakeasy inside The Statler will offer veterans one drink (including draft or bottled beer, house wine or Champagne, and well cocktails and shots) on the house tab on November 11.
  • Bowl & Barrel: The bowling alley/restaurant in Dallas is offering a free Burgers in a Bag for all veterans with a valid ID on November 11.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: The chicken wing chain, which has 18 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering 10 free Boneless wings and fries for all veterans and active-duty service members with valid ID on November 11. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Cantina Laredo: The Mexican restaurant chain, which has two area non-airport locations, is offering veterans and military members a free entrée on November 11, up to a $20 value.
  • Carrabba's Italian Grill: The Italian restaurant chain, which has three locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a complimentary dine-in appetizer or dessert paired with a soft beverage for veterans and active-duty military with show of ID. They also offer a Heroes Discount year-round, providing 10 percent off to all service members, veterans, and first responders.
  • Charleys Philly Steaks: The fast-casual cheesesteak chain, which has 16 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering free Gourmet Fries in-store with no purchase necessary to all veterans and active duty military on November 11.
  • Coolgreens: The healthy food chain, which has three locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free meal to all current and retired military personnel on November 11. They can choose from sandwiches, wraps, salads, or bowls valued up to $15.
  • Corner Bakery: The fast casual chain, which has 17 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering 20 percent orders for active and former military members on November 11.
  • Cotton Patch Cafe: The casual dining restaurant, which has 22 locations in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, is offering a free Chicken Fried Steak or Chicken Fried Chicken for all veterans or active military on November 11 with proof of military service. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Denny's: The family dining chain, which has 40 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free Grand Slam breakfast to all active, non-active and retired military personnel on November 11. The offer is valid for dine-in only at participating locations from 5 am to noon.
  • Dickey's BBQ: The barbecue chain, which has over 60 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free Pulled Pork Sandwich to veterans who use the code VETFREE on November 11. Veterans can redeem the offer in-store for carryout and online for pickup all day at their nearest Dickey’s.
  • Dunkin': The doughnut chain, which has over 30 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering veterans and active duty military one free doughnut of their choice at participating locations. Check with your local shop before heading out. Deal is good for in-store orders only.
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels: The breakfast/coffee chain, which has over 40 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free hot or iced coffee of any size with purchase when veterans show their ID. The deal is good at all locations except license stores inside colleges, hospitals, airports, and hotels.
  • El Chico: The Mexican restaurant chain, which has four area locations, is offering veterans and military members a free entrée on November 11, up to $20 in value.
  • El Chingon: The Mexican restaurant in Fort Worth is offering veterans and active military duty 50 percent off their meal on November 10 and 11. They also offer an ongoing 10 percent discount for military members all year long.
  • Fish City Grill / Half Shells: The sister restaurants, which have 10 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, are offering veterans and active-duty military personnel a free entrée (up to $25.99) with valid ID. This special offer is available with dine-in and to-go orders.
  • Ford's Garage: The burger and beer chain, which has one location in Plano, is offering a 25 percent discount with up to three guests per table (alcohol excluded) on November 11 for veterans and active duty military. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Golden Corral: The casual restaurant chain which has seven locations throughout Dallas Fort Worth that are currently open, has put on a Military Appreciation Night for over 20 years. They offer a free meal to any person who has served in the U.S. military on November 14 from 5 pm-close. The deal is only good for the military member, not guests.
  • Grimaldi's: The pizza chain, which has seven locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering veterans and active duty military 25 percent off their bill on November 11. If you can't make it that day, they also offer 15 percent military discount all year long.
  • Hawaiian Bros.: The fast casual Hawaiian food chain, which has 11 locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free plate lunch from 11 am-11 pm on November 11 for veterans and active military, as well as their friends and family.
  • John Wayne: An American Experience: Veterans and active-duty military with ID get free walk-in admission to the museum dedicated to the Duke in Fort Worth on November 11.
  • Kolache Factory: The pastry chain, which has four locations in Collin County, is offering free breakfast to all veterans and active duty military on November 11. Those with valid ID will receive a free kolache and a cup of coffee.
  • La Madeleine: The fast-casual French restaurant chain, which has 20 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering active-duty service members and military veterans 30 percent off any purchase all day on November 11 with military ID.
  • Logan's Roadhouse: The casual restaurant chain, which has four locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free Vets Meal on November 11 from 3-6 pm. Vets Meal options include Steak Tips, Bayou Shrimp, Chopped Steak, Pork Chop, Tenders, and Pulled Pork Plate, as well as side options.
  • Lucky's: The home-cooking diner on Oak Lawn Avenue is offering veterans and military members a free entrée on November 11, up to $20 in value.
  • Overeasy: The diner inside The Statler will offer veterans one drink on the house tab on November 11. Options include draft or bottled beer, house wine or Champagne, and well cocktails and shots.
  • Perry's Steakhouse & Grille: The steakhouse chain, which has three locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is offering one complimentary dinner pork chop on November 10 (4-10 pm) or pork chop lunch on November 11 (10:30 am-5 pm) to active or former military members when they’re accompanied by a guest that purchases a dinner entrée while dining in. Reservations and proof of valid ID are required.
  • Pie Five Pizza: The pizza chain, which has 11 locations through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is offering area personal pizza for active and retired military veterans, in-store only, on November 11.
  • PJ's Coffee: The coffee chain, which currently has six locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is offering a free 12-ounce hot coffee or cold brew iced coffee for veterans and active-duty military on November 11.
  • Pluckers: The chicken wing chain, which has 8 locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free meal (entree, side and non-alcoholic beverage) for veterans and active military on November 11 with valid ID.
  • Primo’s MX Kitchen & Lounge: The Tex-Mex favorite with locations in Uptown and Downtown Dallas will offer veterans one drink (including draft or bottled beer, house wine or Champagne, and well cocktails and shots) on the house tab on November 11.
  • Red Lobster: The seafood restaurant chain, which has 12 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free Walt’s Favorite Shrimp, Fries, and Coleslaw for veterans and active duty military on November 11. The offer is available for dine-in and to-go orders placed in-restaurant between 11 am and 4 pm.
  • Sfereco: The Spaghetti Western-themed Italian-American restaurant with locations in Downtown Dallas and Lewisville will offer veterans one drink on the house tab on November 11. Options include draft or bottled beer, house wine or Champagne, and well cocktails and shots.
  • Shell Shack: The growing seafood restaurant chain, which has five locations around Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering active or retired military a free shrimp basket from 11 am to 4 pm on November 11. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Sidecar Social: The social lounge in Addison is offering all active and retired military members a free meal up to $14 on November 11. This offer is available for dine-in only.
  • Silver Fox: The steakhouse chain with two area locations is offering veterans and military members $30 off their entire check on November 11.
  • Six Flags Over Texas: The amusement park in Arlington is offering veterans, active duty, and retired military personnel free park admission, meal, drinks, and more when they present a valid military ID on November 12 and 13.
  • Snuffer's: The burger restaurant, which has eight locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering veterans and military members with valid ID a free Snuffer’s burger or sandwich on November 11. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Thirsty Lion Gastropub: The gastropub chain, which has four locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering all active and retired military members with a valid ID a free entrée and a nonalcoholic beverage on November 11. The offer is good for dine-in only.
  • III Forks: The Frisco steakhouse is offering veterans and military members a free entrée on November 11, up to $60 in value.
  • Trinity Metro: All of Trinity Metro’s local services – including buses, TEXRail, ZIPZONE and ACCESS – will be available on at no cost to veterans on November 11. To receive a free ride, riders must show proof of service to the driver or train conductor.
  • Twin Peaks: The breasteraunt chain, which has nine locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering a free lunch on November 11 from 11 am-3 pm. Veterans and active military personnel can choose from a menu that includes Cheeseburger and Fries, Chicken Tenders and Fries, Pulled Pork Sandwich and Fries, Soup and Salad Lunch Combo, and Chicken Caesar Salad. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Walk-On’s: The sports-themed restaurant chain, which has two locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, is offering all active and retired service members a complimentary Scholarship Burger & side of fries on November 11. The deal is good for dine-in only.
  • Waterproof: The rooftop poolside lounge at The Statler will offer veterans one drink (including draft or bottled beer, house wine or Champagne, and well cocktails and shots) on the house tab on November 11.
  • WOB Bar & Kitchen: The beer-focused restaurant chain, which has one location in Fort Worth, is offering an order of their famous, traditional, bone-in chicken wings for free to all veterans and active military personnel, November 7-11. Additionally, on November 11, veterans and service persons will receive an exclusive WOB Bar & Kitchen-branded t-shirt, while supplies last. These offers can be redeemed by presenting a military ID, VA card, or proof of service.
Earth Burger

Dallas' Sinelli Concepts partners with Earth Burger for vegan expansion

Down to Earth

A Dallas restaurant group is stepping in to help a vegan burger chain go big. Earth Burger, the San Antonio-based chain that does a vegan spin on a fast-food joint, has partnered with Sinelli Concepts, owner of concepts such as Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, who will help launch a national expansion.

The new partnership has already resulted in a brand redesign plus updates to the menu that will include the addition of breakfast and a coffee program, coming soon.

Earth Burger was founded in 2014 with the goal to do a healthier plant-based version of drive-thru fast food, after co-founder and chef Mike Behrend switched to a plant-based diet and lost 70-plus pounds. There are currently two locations in San Antonio, one in San Marcos, and one in Nacogdoches.

They're a 100 percent plant-based restaurant famous for their stacked burgers and krinkle-cut fries, plus chick'n and "fishless" sandwiches, wraps, wings, bowls, and corn dogs, as well as healthier items such as kale salad, edamame, and carrots & hummus.

“As a Texan, I can strongly confirm meat is a central part of Texas food culture – but believe me when I tell you these burgers are just as tasty," Behrend says in a statement. "You’re not settling for an average bland fast food meal at Earth Burger. Our completely meatless menu features bold recipes and sauces we create in-house, bringing out the best flavor in our dishes. We want to provide a really delicious meal that just happens to be plant-based."

House-made chef-style sauces include agave mustard, BBQ ranch, poblano ranch, "secret" sauce, spicy mayo, and tartar sauce.

There's a big selection of kids items including a grilled cheese sandwich and chick'n tenders, as well as vegan desserts including coconut-milk soft-serve and milkshakes, often offered in seasonal flavors such as their current pumpkin spice.

Sinelli Concepts founder Jeff Sinelli has been a pioneer in the vegan realm, early to offer vegan items at all of his restaurants, and even dabbling in a vegan diet himself.

Sinelli was heavily involved in the Kickstarter campaign that helped launch the first Earth Burger restaurant in San Antonio’s Park North Shopping Center. He also aided them with concepting and branding.

In a statement, he says that Sinelli Concepts is proud to partner with a Texas-based brand that takes pride in offering customers accessible plant-based options.

"We’ve seen a trajectory of demand for plant-based food and more sustainable options," Sinelli says. "The future of fast food is here, and we know plant-based lovers and novices alike will enjoy Earth Burger’s flavorful offerings."

They're hosting a franchising party in San Antonio in early November, but there's also information online at www.earthburger.com/franchise.

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Brianna Caleri contributed to this story.

Fatburger

Fatburger brings California burger glory to far east side of Dallas

Burger News

A burger chain from California still fairly new to Dallas-Fort Worth (and therefore still exciting) has a new location on the books: Fatburger, the revered and long-running chain based in Los Angeles known for its truly fat burgers, is opening its first location on the east side of town, at Firewheel Town Center, 365 Coneflower Dr. in Garland.

It'll take over a space vacated by a BurgerIM, and will open mid to late summer, says owner franchisee Alfredo Gonzalez. UPDATE 10-19-2022: The restaurant will celebrate its grand opening on October 20.

Fatburger is known for its juicy, built-to-order burgers, more like a burger restaurant offering than a fast-food joint and well ahead of its time in that regard. At one-third of a pound, a standard Fatburger is heftier than the typical fast-food patty, and has more of a hand-formed, less symmetrical appearance.

Founder Lovie Yancey was a trailblazer in the realm of toppings transforming a burger into a meal, beyond the usual lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, with bacon, eggs, chili, jalapenos, and onion rings.

In addition to burgers, Fatburger's menu also includes Fat and Skinny fries, sweet potato fries, Impossible burgers, turkeyburgers, chicken sandwiches, and milkshakes.

The chain has also become a favorite destination in Hollywood for celebrities and athletes.

It made its debut in Texas in 2020 with a location in North Richland Hills that was a combination Fatburger and Buffalo's Express, a fast-casual wing chain founded in 1985 in Roswell, Georgia that is a popular co-branding option for Fatburger franchisees.

Two others have since opened: One in Arlington and another in Allen, which is also from Gonzalez. Garland will be his second.

"During the pandemic, I left my executive job at AT&T to try my hand at entrepreneurship," Gonzalez says. "We opened Allen on August 30, 2021. I wasn't thinking about a second location, but the owners of Firewheel Town Center invited me to consider it."

He liked the opportunity because the restaurant is inside the mall, where he'll be the only burger and only concept of its kind.

"Fatburger definitely has a following, which we've seen in Allen," he says. "There's a big vegetarian community, and they like it because we offer options like the Impossible burger and a veggie burger."

Two other locations are also in the works, both also dual-branded with Buffalo's Express, but from a different franchisee: Plano, at Park Boulevard and the Dallas North Tollway, scheduled to open in June; and Keller, at 1521 Keller Pkwy., scheduled to open in July.

But everyone opens restaurants on that side of town. East of 75, that's a big deal.

Black Tap

New York burger joint Black Tap will make Texas debut in Dallas

Burger News

Dallas is getting a new burger joint, this one from New York. Called Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, it's a global burger chain owned by husband-and-wife Chris Barish and Julie Mulligan, expanding within the United States.

That includes Dallas' Victory Park, at 2475 Victory Park Ln. #120, which seems to be on the ground floor of the new Victor Dallas residential building, where it will open in late 2022, serving burgers and so-called world famous CrazyShake milkshakes. It'll be a debut not only for Dallas, but Texas, as well.

"With the city booming and continual demand from our fans for a Texas location, it’s the perfect time for us to open," Barish says in a release.

Barish is more than familiar with the Dallas area: In 2006, he opened Martini Park, one of his very first concepts, in Plano at the Shops at Legacy, and says he's excited to be returning.

Black Tap is their take on a classic burger joint, with a downtown New York vibe. The menu offers something for everyone, from signature burgers like the All-American with American cheese, to chicken sandwiches, salads, wings, and snacks.

Food
Their burgers have won awards and include:

  • Greg Norman with Wagyu beef, blue cheese, and arugula
  • Texan Burger, with bacon, cheddar, BBQ sauce, and an onion ring
  • Italian-American inspired Mulberry Street burger, with provolone, hot cherry peppers, prosciutto, soppressata, roasted garlic aioli, and grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Wagyu Steakhouse Burger, with pepper jack cheese, bacon, crispy onions, and A1 sauce

They have a specific method for cooking their burgers, which they postulate keeps them juicy: They cook it on a griddle — never a grill!, they say — and flip it only once. "Then, we layer on two slices of cheese and serve it up on a perfect potato roll with lettuce, tomato, and a pickle on the side," they say. Whatever the results, you have to admire having a method.

There are also two salads, wings, fries with a dozen sauces, and starters that include chips & queso, fried pickles, teriyaki broccoli, and crispy Brussels sprouts with sesame-tahini.

Milkshakes
Their CrazyShake milkshakes are trademarked, and that's smart because there's probably a lot of restaurants that would want to be calling their milkshakes CrazyShake, too. By "Crazy," they mean crazy in the way that is useful for Instagram, such as a milkshake topped with a slice of birthday cake, a cloud of cotton candy, or Cookies "glued" to the side of the glass.

Whimsical and over-the-top flavors include:

  • The CakeShake, featuring rainbow sprinkles, a funfetti cake slice, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, and a cherry, which they have in limited quantity per day, just to ramp up the fervor
  • Cookies ‘N Cream Supreme, with crushed Oreos, a cookies 'n cream sandwich, whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle
  • Bam Bam Shake, with Fruity Pebbles rice krispie treat, strawberry pop tart, laffy taffy, whipped cream & a cherry

Beer
Craft beer is also a big part of their DNA. The name Black Tap refers to the black tap handles found at craft beer bars.

They pour mainstay classics, limited-edition Black Tap brews, rotating seasonal beers, and collaborations with local microbrewers.

Decor
Each location is unique, with its own cool style. Co-owner Julie Mulligan oversees the design, which she says in a statement will be infused a little Texas hospitality, original artwork and murals, and New York vibes.

The first Black Tap opened as a small 15-seat joint in New York's Soho neighborhood, but has since expanded to the West Coast with locations in Las Vegas and Anaheim at the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort, and also internationally to Dubai, Geneva, Zurich, Verbier, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain.

Black Tap Dallas will be followed by Black Tap openings in Nashville in late 2022, and Miami in early 2023. Great great, but who cares about them, they're not in Texas.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Dallas reels in impressive ranking among 25 best big cities to be a filmmaker

That's showbiz

Good news for cinephiles and aspiring directors: Dallas has landed a top-25 spot among the best big cities to live and work as a moviemaker in 2023. Coming in at No. 20 (down from No. 15 in 2022 and No. 12 in 2021) on MovieMaker Magazine's annual list, Dallas joins four other Texas cities in the top 25: Austin (No. 12), Houston (No. 21), San Antonio (No. 22), and Fort Worth (No. 25).

MovieMaker compiles its annual list based on surveys, production spending, tax incentives, additional research, and personal visits whenever possible — with the notable exclusions of Los Angeles and New York:

"We don’t believe people should have to be rich or well-connected to make movies," writes MovieMaker editor Tim Molloy. "And we know plenty of people who moved to L.A. or New York with filmmaking dreams and ended up working industry-barely-adjacent jobs just to pay the bills. We think the best place to live is one you can afford — a place where you can be happy, inspired, and financially free to pursue your art."

These criteria are themes throughout the ranking: Atlanta, Georgia, took the top spot overall, followed by Vancouver, British Columbia (No. 2), and New Orleans, Louisiana (No. 3). The five Texas cities on the list all boast more affordability than Los Angeles or New York, and each one features a deeply supportive film community and various local incentives.

Dallas came in second among Texas cities at No. 20, selected for its location and architecture, among other factors.

"Why choose Dallas? The city offers an online document that addresses just that question, and points to factors including its equal access to both coasts, great weather (except for some cold nights) and striking visuals, including modern and futuristic buildings that form a strikingly camera-worthy nighttime skyline," Molloy writes.

Dallas' diversity, plethora of permitting options, and cost of living also bolster its ranking.

"It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country, with a deep, experienced crew base, easily obtainable permits, and hotel deals to be had — if you’re shooting in Dallas and staying in the city’s hotels for at least 15 nights, you could qualify for up to 10 percent back on rooms," Molloy writes. "It’s a great city to work on other people’s projects so you can save enough money to create your own, and is almost exactly in line with the U.S. average cost of living. Just drive or walk its streets and it’s impossible not to notice the new construction and businesses popping up all over town, and it’s full of rising filmmakers who pitch in to do each other favors and bring one another’s projects to life."

He adds that the Dallas International Film Festival does an admirable job of showcasing must-see films, such as last year’s documentary Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.

Neighboring Fort Worth made the list for the second year in a row. (It was No. 25 in its debut last year also.)

"Fort Worth is the proud home of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Paramount+ limited series about Bass Reeves, the once-enslaved man who became a famed federal marshal," Molloy writes. "Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel 1883 also shoots in Fort Worth, and is based in nearby Weatherford, where Sheridan owns a ranch. Fort Worth offers clear skies, easy permitting, and a vibrant film culture that includes the Lone Star Film Festival.

"The 13th-biggest city in the country also has experienced crews and a cost of living almost exactly in line with the U.S. average. While there’s no official local incentive program, the city’s very accommodating film officials work hard to offer soft incentives like deals on hotels."

Elsewhere in Texas

"Texas is booming, as you’re about to see from the five Lone Star State cities on this list — all of which would be higher in our rankings if Texas offered more generous tax incentives," Molloy writes. "Still, the state is working hard to attract film and TV projects, and the signs of growth are obvious all over the state."

Austin unsurprisingly took the highest Texas spot at No. 12, scoring points beyond the obvious benefits of SXSW. MovieMaker praised smaller fests like the Austin Film Festival, as well as the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, and Austin's impressive list of filmmaker residents (Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, and Terrence Malick — to name a few).

Houston placed right behind Dallas at No. 21, with MovieMaker touting its diversity and low cost of living.

San Antonio came in fourth among Texas cities at No. 22, selected for its plethora of permitting options, reinstatement of local film incentives, and growing educational opportunities such as the University of Texas at San Antonio’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts Film & Media Studies program.

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

This week in gluttony

Warm up this week with a whiskey dinner, rib-smoking class, and hot cinnamon rolls. Or hop aboard a motorcoach bus for a Valentine’s-themed vegan tour of Dallas. Follow that with a meetup at one of Dallas' newest vegan restaurants. This week also brings the first Galentine’s event of 2023 – a brunch just for gal-pals with lots of pink drinks. (Note: Due to winter weather, be sure to check the event links for possible cancellations.)

Tuesday, January 31

Lockwood Pairing Dinner at Whiskey Cake Plano
The Southern-inspired dining destination will partner with Lockwood Distilling to host a five-course cocktail and spirits pairing dinner. Menu highlights include shrimp and grit cakes, lamb meatloaf, and banana and spiced pecan eggrolls. Cocktails will be themed to match the courses. Reservations are $85 plus tax and gratuity, and dinner begins at 7 pm.

Saturday, February 4

House of Bread One-Year Anniversary
Line up early for 25-cent cinnamon rolls at this McKinney bread bakery, which is celebrating its first birthday. There’ll be raffle prizes, giveaways, and even a 25-pound cinnamon roll to share. Proceeds will benefit the Community Food Pantry of McKinney. House of Bread opens at 8 am.

RibsU at Manhattan Project Beer Co.
The folks from Backyard Pitmasters will host a class all about ribs during this Saturday morning cooking class. Learn about short ribs, chuck ribs, beef back ribs, St. Louis-style pork ribs, pork baby back ribs, and lamb ribs. Butcher a rack of spareribs and learn how to use a dry rub, how to slice, and how to serve. The class is $119 and will run from 10 am-1 pm.

The Vegan Valentine Tour
Hop aboard the motorcoach bus for a tour of Valentine’s specials at vegan eateries around Dallas. The tour will be led by Courtney Garza McCullagh of VegWorld Magazine. Tickets are $64, and the tour will run from 12:30-4:30 pm. The bus is BYOB.

Veggie Outers Meetup at Green Papaya Plant Based
Join the Veggie Outers, a foodie group that meets once a month at area vegetarian restaurants, on a visit to Green Papaya Plant Based, the new vegan restaurant at 3211 Oak Lawn Ave. The event is free. You can order a la carte from their menu which includes dishes such as avocado truffle burger, tofu pho, white truffle pizza, and green papaya salad. 6:30-9 pm. RSVP on their website or on EventBrite.

Sunday, February 5

Galentine’s Brunch at El Patio Mex-Tex
Bring your gal-pals for an all-pink Galentine’s brunch-time affair at this Lewisville hot spot. There’ll be lipstick readings, DJ music, pink drink specials, and an all-you-can-eat Tex-Mex brunch buffet for $28. Brunch will be served from 11 am-2 pm.

Luke Bryan trucks to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2 'Country On Tour' stops

Country on

Luke Bryan fans, clear your calendars in late September 2023. The five-time Entertainer of the Year and American Idol judge is making not one but two stops in North Texas on his "Country On Tour."

He'll play Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on September 28, then scoot over to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena on September 29. The only other Texas stop on his 36-city tour will be in Lubbock, on July 27. (So sorry, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.)

Special guests throughout the tour will include up-and-coming country artists Chayce Beckham, Tyler Braden, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, Jon Langston, Conner Smith, Alana Springsteen, Hailey Whitters, and DJ Rock.

According to the tour site, Beckham, Dean, Whitters, and DJ Rock will play the Dallas-Fort Worth shows.

Bryan has a history of investing in new artists by inviting them to join him on tour, a press release reminds.

“Artists get into the business to make music and perform it for the fans,” Bryan says in the release. “Leaving it all out on that stage is what it’s all about for me. I’m excited to support and have so many talented new artists along for the ride this year. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.

The tour is named for Bryan's 30th No. 1 single, “Country On” - a celebration of farmers, truckers, military, first responders, and all of Americana that hit the top of the country singles charts around Christmas 2022. He has amassed a career tally of 56 total weeks at #1.

Bryan launches his 2023 headline dates at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas on February 1. He's also returning as a judge on ABC's American Idol this spring.

Bryan's "Country On Tour" kicks off June 15 in Syracuse, New York.

Tickets go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lukebryan.com.

Presale for Bryan's fan club members will run 8 am Tuesday, January 31 through 5 pm Thursday, February 2. For details, go HERE.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from 10 am Wednesday, February 1 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb 2 through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.