Monster Truck Wars

Photo courtesy of Monster Truck Wars

Monster Truck Wars, America’s wildest monster truck show, comes to Dallas. The high-energy monster truck show will feature a superstar lineup, a real-life robot battle, a clown show, kid’s power wheel races, and more. Plus, kids can take a ride in a real monster truck.

Monster Truck Wars features giant, 10,000-pound monster trucks, including the world-famous Outlaw, legendary Equalizer, the unforgettable Shark Attack and Sheriff. These superstars will compete in non-stop, head-to-head competition. Their all-new Robot Battle is joining the action this year, where three-story-high transforming robots Galactron and Reptar battle on the arena floor.

Courtesy photo

Dallas hot rod king Richard Rawlings is clearing out Gas Monkey Garage

Hot Rod News

Dallas' celebrity hot rod king Richard Rawlings is selling off a slew of classic cars — nearly his entire collection.

The star of Discovery Channel's Fast N' Loud reality show and owner of Gas Monkey Garage in northwest Dallas, is selling more than two dozen vintage and restored cars in a national auction, which he reveals in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Partnered with Bring A Trailer, a well known vintage automobile auction site, he'll sell off more collectible cars such as Corvettes, Mustangs, Porsches, as well as a few motorcycles.

"I've had some of these cars for a very long time, and over the last year, I've been reflecting on what I want to keep and what I don't want to keep," Rawlings says. "I reached a decision: I'm selling everything — all of it."

His rationale is that now is a good time to sell, and he wants to use the proceeds to do what else: start a new collection.

"I want to collect some things that I've never been able to achieve," he says. "I'm actually going to sell these cars and start collecting much more expensive cars, better cars, different cars, things that I always really wanted to have."

His new focus: what he calls "hot rods with super big pedigrees."

"I want Mercedes, I want Ferraris, I want Lamborghinis — but all old cars," he says.

To execute the sale, he's partnered with Randy Nonnenberg from Bring a Trailer, a San Francisco-based online vintage car website. The auction takes place in September although the exact date has not been announced, but the website has a page with a link to the YouTube video. UPDATE 9/7/2022: According to a post on Instagram, the auction starts September 7 on BringATrailer.com. "NO RESERVE," it says. "Everything Will Sell." More than 25 cars and motorcycles are in play, and all listings end on September 14, one after another.

The sale is anticipated to comprise somewhere between 23 and 30 cars, plus a few motorcycles. The duo have been photographing the cars and recording videos that explain the history of each car, where Rawlings got it, and why.

Nonnenberg says it's one of the biggest collections they've ever sold at one time. "Most people sell one or two cars at a time but you're going big," he says to Rawlings.

"I think this is the perfect time," Rawlings says. "This is the height of the car market. This is where I'm going to exit with a lot of cars I've had for many many years, and hopefully I'm going to take that and reinvest into a different kind of collection. We'll see if my beer bucket will turn into champagne dreams."

Courtesy photo

Vintage car-themed restaurant vrooms into this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

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.

1. Vintage car-themed restaurant Ford's Garage makes Texas debut in Plano. A restaurant with a cool vintage garage theme has opened in Plano: Called Ford's Garage, it's a burger-and-craft-beer concept inspired by Henry Ford himself, and has opened its first Texas location in Plano, at 3904 Dallas Pkwy.

2. Upscale Mexican restaurant in former El Fenix in Addison closes after 4 years. In surprising news, an upscale Mexican restaurant in Addison has closed: Meso Maya, which had been open at 5280 Belt Line Rd. since 2018, has shuttered. David Romano, president of Local Favorite Restaurants, Meso Maya's parent company, said in a statement that they closed on June 12.

3. Dallas teens can get free passes to parks and museums during July. The city of Dallas is opening its parks to Dallas teens for free. The city is bringing back its Teen All Access Pass, issued by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, allowing teens to visit iconic cultural and recreational attractions for free.

4. Dallas restaurant makes prestigious Best New Restaurants in America list. A Dallas restaurant has earned a major nod from international magazine Robb Report: Meridian, the acclaimed restaurant from esteemed chef Junior Borges, has nabbed a spot on the publication's annual 10 Best New Restaurants in America, coming in at a laudable No. 5 on the list.

5. Italian pizzeria restaurant in Dallas' Deep Ellum closes after 18 years. A longtime pizzeria in Deep Ellum has closed: Mama Mias Italian, which held court on the far eastern edge of Deep Ellum at 2935 Elm St. closed on Sunday after 18 years. Owner Anselmo Manzanares announced the closure with a note on the restaurant's Facebook page, partially blaming the pandemic.

Vroom vroom.

Ford's Garage
Courtesy photo
Vroom vroom.
Courtesy of Tesla

Tesla revs up for vehicle production at new billion-dollar Texas factory

Car news

The wait is nearly over. Within the next several days, Tesla reportedly will start production of electric vehicles at its new Texas factory, just east of Austin.

Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who tracks Tesla, wrote in a January 8 research note that based on the firm’s analysis, “it appears paperwork is now clearing the way for Model Y production starting over the next 7-10 days.” Several media outlets have reported on Ives’ research note.

“Launching the Austin production in early January is very important to Tesla expanding both domestic and global production of Model Ys, which are set to have a massive year in 2022,” Ives writes.

In 2021, Tesla delivered 936,172 vehicles, up 87 percent from the previous year. The vast majority of those vehicles were the almost identical Model Y and Model 3.

Ives anticipates Musk will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Texas factory in the coming weeks. He notes that the plant “is becoming the centerpiece of Tesla’s broader supply ambitions, as well as its formal HQ buildout.”

Construction of the manufacturing plant, dubbed Gigafactory Texas, began in July 2020. Last month, Tesla officially relocated its headquarters from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Austin factory.

On December 16, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the $1.1 billion factory would represent a long-term investment of at least $10 billion, generating over 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. Musk previously said the plant would create 5,000 jobs and potentially 10,000 jobs.

The Austin factory is eventually supposed to manufacture three vehicles: the Model Y, a midsize SUV; the Cybertruck, a pickup truck; and the Semi, an 18-wheeler. Musk has said the Model Y should become “the bestselling vehicle of any kind globally.”

Tesla already makes vehicles at its plants in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China. The automaker’s new factories in Texas and Berlin will enable it to essentially double production capacity, according to Barron’s.

Photo by Kevin McCauley

CarLotz, new kind of used car dealership, opens first Dallas-area store

Used Car News

A new kind of car dealership that trades in used cars has opened in North Texas. Called CarLotz, it's a Richmond, Virginia-based consignment store for used vehicles, that claims to get you more money than what you would get in trade-in.

The company opened a facility in Plano, at 1001 Preston Rd., at George Bush Turnpike, in a former Toyota dealership which moved. This is the second Texas location; the first opened in San Antonio in 2019.

According to a release, CarLotz offers a retail consignment model that works with regular consumers as well as corporate sellers such as leasing and fleet management companies. They say they typically get more than $1,000 more vs. traditional trade-in models such as auctions or dealers.

For a flat fee paid by the seller, CarLotz prepares the vehicle for sale, markets it nationwide, deals with buyer questions, conducts test drives from its retail stores, and negotiates the price.

All of that is well and good, but you have to wonder about the choice of name. If you're trying to telegraph the message that there's more money to be had, it seems like "CarLotz" is maybe not the best way to do it. It's that "Z" — it gives it a budget feel.

Buyers can shop online or through CarLotz retail locations, which are staffed by non-commissioned salespeople.

CarLotz Plano has a 62,000 square-foot store and lot, with have the capacity to house about 400 vehicles.

CarLotz was launched in 2011 by co-founders Michael Bor, Aaron Montgomery, and Will Boland, who were frustrated with the traditional process of selling used cars. Since then, the company has opened stores throughout California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State, with Alabama and Nevada coming soon.

Texas puts the brakes on COVID-19 waiver for car registration renewal

Sticker Shock

The pandemic-fueled hiatus on certain requirements for Texas vehicle titles and registrations is coming to an end.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the temporary waiver on March 16, 2020, to reduce in-person exposure to the coronavirus. A little over a year later, on April 14, 2021, the waiver is set to expire. The waiver enabled Texans to avoid penalties for failing to drive with a current vehicle title or registration.

Once the waiver disappears, law enforcement officers can issue citations for motorists who operate a vehicle without an up-to-date registration sticker or a current registration receipt. No grace period will be in place after April 14.

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers three options for registering a vehicle:

  • Online at TxDMV.gov or Texas.gov. Online renewal is available up to nine months past the registration expiration date.
  • By mail. Return the bottom portion of your registration renewal form, payment, and other required information to your county’s tax assessor-collector.
  • In person. You can visit the office of your county’s tax assessor-collector or, in many cases, you can renew registration at a local grocery store.

“Before renewing registration, Texans will need to obtain a passing vehicle inspection at the state vehicle inspection station of their choice, unless their vehicle is exempt from inspection requirements,” the Texas DMV says in an April 5 release.

The expiring temporary waiver covers:

  • Initial vehicle registration.
  • Vehicle registration renewal.
  • Vehicle titling.
  • Renewal of parking placards for people who are permanently disabled.
  • 30-day temporary permits.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is headed to Garland and more Dallas dining news

News You Can Eat

This roundup of restaurant news around Dallas is topped by a mega-exciting opening for Garland, plus new dishes for spring and lots of fresh new beverages.

Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news:

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, the casual dining restaurant known for its innovative twists on American dishes served with small mountain-town hospitality, is opening a location in Garland. It'll be located at 5180 N. President George Bush Highway, and marks their sixth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. According to a release, it'll open in spring 2024.

“We look forward to bringing our concept of delicious food, warm hospitality and small mountain-town vibes to Garland. Lazy Dog has been received with open arms as we’ve joined new neighborhoods, and we can’t wait to be part of this community,” says Chris Simms, Lazy Dog founder & CEO in a statement.

Influenced by the lifestyle of the Rocky Mountains, Lazy Dog Restaurant serves made-from-scratch American food and drink with seasonally inspired ingredients. Other DFW locations are in Addison, Allen, Arlington, Euless, and Plano.

Salad and Go has four new drive-thru locations coming to DFW: 1102 W Main St, Lewisville April 1; 3401 Midway Rd, Plano April 3; 211 E. Euless Blvd, Euless April 10; and 3820 Belt Line Rd., Addison April 22.

Taco Bell opened a location at 12015 University Dr. in Frisco. This location utilizes Taco Bell's Endeavor model which is outfitted with the latest digital channels, free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and comfortable seating. The drive-thru features an easy-to-navigate menu board with an electronic ordering system.

A-T Bistro is the new name for Au Troisième, the Park Cities bistro that opened in Preston Center in 2022. A-T Bistro has been its nickname all along. Now they've decided to make it official. The restaurant is a nominee for Best New Restaurant in CultureMap's 2023 Tastemaker Awards and also madeTexas Monthly's "10 Best New Restaurants in 2023" list. In addition to the name change, A·T Bistro has also added a 600-square-foot outdoor dining space, 14-seat private dining room, 600-bottle wine cellar, Sunday brunch, daily lunch specials, and happy hour menu.

Boneless Butcher, the Dallas startup that makes vegan BBQ ribs and steaks, is now popping up at the Dallas Farmers Market every weekend with a small menu, three-to-four items including Korean BBQ burritos, a bulgogi steak sandwich, steak nachos, sloppy BBQ sliders, loaded steak nachos, and a banh mi.

La Madeleine has new limited-edition bakery items for spring: Blueberry & Lemon Individual Cheesecake topped with tart lemon whipped cream; Blueberry and Lemon Crepe with blueberry-cheesecake filling and fresh blueberries; and Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. Three seasonal favorites are also returning: Lemon Blueberry Danish with blueberries and a lemon cream center; Lemon White Chocolate Chunk Cookie with tangy lemon glaze; and Lemon Poppyseed Muffin with a sweet lemon glaze drizzle.

Dog Haus has a new creation: the Pepperoni Pizza Sausage, a savory link with pork and fennel Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato, and oregano. Guests can get it the Würst Way, served on King's Hawaiian rolls with spicy basil aioli and grated cheese; the Corn Dog Way dipped in Dog Haus’ root beer batter; and “Sliced Way” grilled and sliced with spicy basil aioli. A new item in the Absolute Würst Sausage Series arrives each month.

Cowboy Chicken, famous for its rotisserie chicken, has added chicken tenders to its menu, served with honey blaze, ranch, BBQ, and honey mustard sauces.

Genghis Grill has partnered with chef Robert Kabakoff on a trio of new Fried Rice bowls: Kimchi Fried Rice with spicy pickled cabbage, fried rice, scrambled egg, in spicy Korean chili sauce; Jambalaya with chicken, sausage, shrimp, onion, bell pepper, and dirty rice; Farmhouse with chicken, bacon, jalapeños, ranch seasoning, fried rice with carrots, bell pepper, onions, and a cream BBQ ranch sauce. They start at $8.49.

Dunkin' has new Breakfast Tacos with scrambled eggs, sharp white cheddar cheese, fire-roasted corn, and tangy lime crema in a soft flour tortilla, with or without bacon. What sets Breakfast Tacos apart is the fact that the fire-roasted corn takes center stage.

Cicis Pizza is collaborating with Mike’s Hot Honey to offer a Hot Honey pepperoni pizza, drizzled with the signature chili pepper-infused honey. Now through April 30, the Hot Honey Pizza will be in the third slot after Garlic Cheesy Bread and Pepperoni Pizza, or to-go, $10 for a medium, $12 for a large, or $15 for a giant.

Yogurtland, the self-serve frozen yogurt brand, has two new seasonal fro-yo flavors: Thai Tea and Boba Milk Tea, inspired by two classic tea experiences. Thai Tea frozen yogurt is new, with a bold black tea flavor and sweet cream notes. Boba Milk Tea is a returning flavor, with brown sugar notes. They also have a new limited-edition topping: rainbow mochi.

Chick-fil-A has brought back Watermelon Mint Lemonade after six years. It's available as Watermelon Mint Sunjoy, Watermelon Mint Iced Tea, and Watermelon Mint Frosted Lemonade, starting Monday, April 3. According to a release, the Watermelon Mint Lemonade has a devoted following. "Guests loved the Watermelon Mint Lemonade in 2017, so we are thrilled to bring it back to our menu and introduce new ways for guests to enjoy this flavor," a spokesperson says.

Gong Cha has a new Sparkling Series of bubbly beverages featuring combinations of fruit flavors, pearls, jelly, milk foam, and sparkling water: Sparkling Milk Foam Mango with Star Jelly, a bright, fruity and fizzy mango drink topped with milk foam and chewy, peach flavored jelly in star shapes; Sparkling Lychee with Mango Popping Pearls, a tropical fruit blend of lychee with bursts of mango in each pearl; and Sparkling Hibiscus with White Pearls — sweet & sour hibiscus drink with tart, floral flavor and chewy white pearls. The chain has seven locations in DFW.

Häagen-Dazs Shops has a new ice cream confection: Pineapple Coconut Shake, an alcohol-free ode to the classic piña colada, made from Häagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream, topped with whipped cream and a slice of fresh pineapple, available April 1-June 14.

Milk Bar, the New York dessert company, has launched two new cookie types in grocery stores: bite-sized crunchy cookies (“crunchies”) and ready-to-bake cookie dough. Known for familiar-yet-unexpected items like their Compost Cookies, Milk Bar entered into the Grocery category in 2020. Crunchies will come in four flavors: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Toast, Pretzel-y Chocolate Chip, and Vanilla Butter Crunch, and sold at Whole Foods. The cookie dough comes in two flavors: Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow and Fruity Cereal, and is sold at Target and Kroger.

El Chico has two new cocktails featuring tropical flavors: Guava ‘Rita: with Monte Alban 100% Agave Silver Tequila, Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, Reàl Guava and margarita mix; and Sangria Swirl, a house frozen ‘Rita with El Toro Silver Tequila and red sangria swirl. Both are $7 and will be available April 3-July 3 at participating El Chico locations: 1549 S. Bowen Rd. Pantego; 7621 Baker Blvd., North Richland Hills; and 503 I-30, Rockwall.

Manhattan Project Beer is launching a blonde beer called Peacekeeper as a permanent offering. It's a blonde ale with a hint of guava and a crisp finish, and will be available in cans, and on tap at some bars, still TBA.

WES Brands, the Dallas-based company launched after the $610 million sale to Diageo of Aviation American Gin, has a slate of executive hires: Shawn Thurman as CEO, Sean Penn to President & COO, Kyle Stein as President, Lauren Ryan-Kiyak as Senior VP of Marketing, and Chris Jebbia as Senior VP of Finance. The company is focused on the growth of its existing brands — Mark Wahlberg's Flecha Azul Tequila and Jamie Foxx’s BSB Flavored Whiskey — and soon-to-launch spirits brands.

Chili’s is no longer using children’s activity placemats that promote keeping parrots and monkeys as pets, after a complaint was lodged in Nebraska. The North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance collaborated with PETA to discourage use of the placemats.

Miami restaurant Komodo brings South Beach flash to Dallas' Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum News

A restaurant from Miami that's been penciled in for Dallas for four years has at long last arrived: Komodo, a Southeast-Asian-Inspired restaurant from Miami-based Groot Hospitality, will finally make its debut.

The Dallas location is in The Epic office tower at 2550 Pacific Ave., at the intersection of Good Latimer Freeway, and according to a release, it will open on April 7.

Founded in Miami, and one of an array of Miami concepts that's migrated to Dallas, Komodo is known for Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine, cocktails, eye-catching decor, and buzzy atmosphere. The first location opened in Miami's Brickell neighborhood, and is said to be among the most profitable restaurants in the United States. Sounds delicious!

Dallas has been in the works since 2019, and was forecast to open in 2022 until the pandemic intervened. So they've really stuck it through. This will be the first location outside of South Florida, representing a big step for Groot Hospitality, says founder David Grutman in a statement.

"To open our first property outside of South Florida in Dallas is a huge privilege and honor," Grutman says. "I’m so excited to bring our Groot Hospitality experience to Texas with Komodo. The restaurant is a perfect showcase of what we deliver: High-level hospitality, delicious food, luxe decor, marquee entertainment and shareable, memorable moments."

Komodo’s Dallas menu will feature Southeast Asian dishes developed and interpreted with a global approach, with rotating specials plus house favorites such as Peking duck, salmon tacos, miso Chilean seabass skewers, and plant-based Kung Pao chicken. There's also a full sushi bar.

Menu items that are exclusive to Dallas include Wagyu cuts of Texan beef such as tomahawk and filet, oh gee more steak; and Szechuan Texas quail using locally-sourced quail.

Komodo Dallas spans two stories and accommodates up to 270 diners, acaross tabletop, booth, and bar seating. Design by New York-based firm ICRAVE takes visual cues from Miami, including Komodo's signature illuminated “bamboo” cutout columns and duck display windows. The lounge area features eye-catching wallpaper and a dramatic fabric-draped corridor.

Groot Hospitality is a Miami Beach-based collective of restaurants, cafés, nightlife ventures and hotels formed in 2018. Properties include The Goodtime Hotel, the nightclubs LIV and Story, the restaurants Gekkō, The Key Club, Komodo, Papi Steak, Strawberry Moon, and Swan, all based in South Florida.

Goofiness keeps Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves light on its feet

Movie Review

In the franchise world in which we now live, movie studios are always looking for the next big thing that will ensure fans come flocking to the theater. The role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons has gotten a pop cultural boost in recent years thanks to the Netflix show Stranger Things, and now – just shy of its 50th anniversary – it’s getting its own blockbuster movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Michelle Rodriguez and Chris Pine in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Michelle Rodriguez and Chris Pine in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

The somewhat complex story centers on two of the titular thieves, Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), who lead a group of rogues who make a living by stealing, but only from those who deserve it. One such altruistic mission, a relic that can bring back the dead, leads to the pair getting caught and put in jail, separating Edgin from his daughter, Kira (Chloe Coleman).

Fellow thief Forge (Hugh Grant) agrees to look after her, but after a daring escape, Edgin and Holga discover that Forge is even more of a scoundrel than they thought, rising to the title of Lord in their absence with the help of the sorceress Sofina (Daisy Head), and poisoning Kira’s mind against them. They must gather the rest of the team, including Simon (Justice Smith) and Doric (Sophia Lillis), to try to take him down and recover the relic once and for all.

Written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, with help from co-writer Michael Gilio, the film has the unenviable task of turning the famously dense game into something that pleases both fanatics and those unfamiliar with its many characters, creatures, and locations. It’s clear the filmmakers are trying to strike a balance between the two, loading the story with terms they barely attempt to explain while at the same time making the movie as goofy as possible.

Only the second of those two approaches truly works. The problem the filmmakers run into is that this is an introductory film that barely seems to care about introducing its characters. A lengthy speech by Edgin at the beginning attempts to do that, but is staged in such a way that the humor of sequence takes precedence over the details of the people. The only reason the characters wind up likable is because of the sheer amount of time spent with them and the actors’ performances.

Well, that and the comedy sprinkled throughout the film. If Daley, Goldstein, and Gilio do anything right, it’s not taking the material too seriously. The world has already seen Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, so adding in funny elements like the wise-cracking Edgin, a supremely fat dragon, and more keeps the film from getting lost in its own minutiae. Not all the jokes land, but 75-80 percent of them do, which is enough to keep the film buoyant.

Pine, as he’s shown in the recent Star Trek and Wonder Woman films, has charm to spare. He occupies this particular role extremely well, and so even if you can’t remember his character’s name, his performance carries the film. Rodriguez is an acquired taste, but her surly demeanor and physical prowess works for her here. The supporting actors shine at times, but the film doesn’t showcase them enough to make them stand out.

While miles better than the reviled 2000 Dungeons & Dragons, Honor Among Thieves is a merely okay beginning for a possible new franchise. There’s some excitement to be had and it stays light on its feet thanks to the comedy, but more attention paid to the story is warranted if they decide to make sequels.


Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves opens in theaters on March 31.