Photo courtesy of Portillo's

Cult hot dog classic Portillo's, the fast-casual chain serving Chicago-style favorites, is hitting Dallas in September with a two-week tour, to serve up its famed Chicago-style fare ahead of its opening its first restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth in The Colony this fall.

From September 12-24, Portillo's will make at least 10 stops in a 32-foot Beef Bus, serving a quartet of dishes including Chicago-style hot dogs with all the fixings.

If this sounds familiar, you're not wrong. The bus toured the region once already in July. Sales were obviously sufficient to warrant a return trip.

The menu is the same as the last run and will include:

  • Chicago-style hot dog with everything: mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppyseed bun
  • Italian Beef Sandwich, a mini version, served on French bread, and topped with sweet peppers or hot giardiniera peppers
  • Polish Sausage with everything: mustard, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a poppyseed bun
  • Maxwell Street Polish Sausage with yellow mustard and sliced grilled onions

The Beef Bus will follow the below route/schedule. They post an opening time, but not a closing time since they close when they run out of food. Apparently there were issues in July of running out of food, and as such, Portillo's reserves the right to cut off the line accordingly. Surely they know that this kind of thing, this limited availability, only stokes desire more keenly. Anyway, you've been warned, no complaining.

Here's the when and where:

Tuesday, September 13-Wednesday, September 14, 10:30 am: Dallas Arboretum, Gate 4: 8720 Garland Rd. Open for lunch, while supplies last. (NOTE: The Arboretum charges a $10 entry fee for non-members, so add that to your bill.)

Friday, September 16, 2 pm: Harvest House, 331 E Hickory St., Denton. Open through dinner, while supplies last.

Saturday, September 17-Sunday, September 18, 11 am: Taste of Oak Cliff, 221 W. 12th St. Event hours are 11 am-7 pm, but don't forget "while supplies last." (NOTE: There's a $20 event entry fee.)

Tuesday, September 20, 4 pm: Nebraska Furniture Mart, 5600 Nebraska Furniture Mart Dr, The Colony); Open for dinner, while supplies last.

Wednesday, September 21, 11 am: Truck Yard, 5624 Sears St. Open for lunch and dinner, while supplies last.

Thursday, September 22-Friday September 23, 11 am: Truck Yard, 5959 Grove Lane, The Colony. Open for lunch and dinner, while supplies last.

Saturday, September 24, 11 am: Texas Live!, 1650 E. Randol Mill Rd, Arlington. Open for lunch, while supplies last.


Dallas Cowboys debut nachos and more new snacks at Arlington stadium

Cowboys News

The Dallas Cowboys 2022-2023 season at AT&T Stadium is about to begin, and they've unfurled a slate of new foods to go-with.

These new culinary creations will debut on Sunday, September 11 at the home opening game when the Cowboys play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The menu is from Legends at AT&T Stadium, their on-site food purveyor. In a release, their food & beverage director George Wasai gives props to one particular dish.

"Next-level flavor for fans is what this season is all about, continuing our tradition of delivering an extraordinary culinary experience for local fans and those visiting at AT&T Stadium," Wasai says. "Our famous Cowboys Mac N Cheese has a new option with lobster that we are so excited for fans to enjoy this new addition, with all of the new comfort food sandwiches and more."

That must be some mac & cheese to get its own shout-out.

New dishes include:

  • Steak Sandwich. Beef dipped in au jus and piled on a toasted bun with arugula, provolone cheese, creamy horseradish sauce, and caramelized onions
  • Lobster Mac-N-Cheese. Their "famous" Cowboys Mac-N-Cheese with chunks of garlic-butter-poached lobster
  • Torta. Bolillo bun with refried beans, choice of chicken, barbacoa, or pork, topped with queso fresco, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and guacamole
  • Fried Mozzarella Burger. Angus patty on top of fried mozzarella sticks, with marinara sauce and pepper jack cheese
  • Mozzarella Sticks. With marinara sauce
  • Mango Habanero Chicken Sandwich with Pineapple Slaw. Fried chicken tossed in mango-habanero sauce, topped with pineapple slaw
  • Muffuletta. Focaccia bread topped with olive salad, capicola, mortadella, ham, salami, provolone, and mozzarella cheese
  • Coffee. From Black Rifle Coffee

Wasai also touts the vegetarian (not vegan) menu, stating that "our Plant Based Touchdown program with vegetarian options for fans has been so successful, and we are honored to help have an impact on game day both in Stadium and at home with adding more produce and big flavor vegetables and vegetarian options to their familiar and favorite game day menu options."

Launched in 2021, their plant-based offerings feature vegetarian dishes, some using produce from WE Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College in Dallas. They're available at the Plant-Based/Vegetarian Carts located at sections U411 and U441.

And the menu includes:

  • Awesome Plant-Based Burger. With lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, and chipotle aioli
  • Buffalo Chick’n Nachos. Blue corn tortilla chips topped with jalapeño jack queso, Sweet Earth's plant-based chicken tossed in buffalo sauce, and pickled jalapeños
  • Touchdown Tots. Tator Tots drizzled with jalapeño jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, Sweet Earth plant-based chicken tossed in Cholula sauce
  • Plant-Based Chicken Avocado Wrap. Crispy plant-based chicken, avocado, lettuce, and ranch, wrapped in a tortilla
  • Plant-Based Chopped Chicken Salad. Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, charred corn, plant-based crispy chicken, and black beans in creamy herb dressing

There's another separate menu for suites that has dishes like hummus, empanadas, and plant-based chicken sliders.

Photo courtesy of Fletcher's

Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs to operate food truck in downtown Dallas

State Fair News

State Fair of Texas classic Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs will be selling its corny dogs in downtown Dallas on a regular basis.

According to a release, they'll set up a food truck at Klyde Warren Park (KWP) later this fall.

The park is known for hosting food trucks regularly on the downtown side of the park in Food Truck Lane. But Fletcher's won't be with those food trucks. Fletcher's will get its own berth opposite Food Truck Lane, in a special location on the East Lawn, by a soon-to-be-revealed new fountain called the Nancy Best Fountain.

They're calling it a "permanent" installation, but it's still a food truck with wheels and such, so theoretically it could drive away any time it liked.

Fletcher's is designing a new truck for this, but in the interim will make appearances at KWP events with one of their two mobile trailers, which they use for events outside of the State Fair of Texas.

At the park, they'll serve all six varieties of Corny Dogs, plus seasoned curly fries and lemonade.

Fletcher's CEO Aaron Fletcher says in a statement that they've been searching for a partnership exactly like this.

"What better place than our hometown of Dallas and what better place than beautiful Klyde Warren Park?" he says.

As a preview, Fletcher's will be at Klyde Warren Park on Friday August 26 from 11 am-7 pm.

Photo courtesy of Portillo's

Portillo's food truck pulls into 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. For a big list of Fourth of July fireworks and events, go here.

1. Portillo's deploys food truck to Dallas to preview its famed Chicago hot dog. Chicago-style hot dogs are popping up via Portillo's, the fast-casual restaurant concept known for its Chicago-style street food. It is bringing its Beef Bus food truck to tour Texas from July 11-23, offering a preview of its menu ahead of the first restaurant opening in Texas, later this year.

2. Old school club in Dallas' Deep Ellum shuts down after a decade. A Dallas bar closed after a decade in Deep Ellum: Wits End, an old-school hangout in the epicenter of the neighborhood at 2724 Elm St., closed its doors on June 26. The bar was one of the last with a throwback vibe that hearkened to the Deep Ellum of old, with band stickers, graffiti, and slight medal edge — reminiscent of when Deep Ellum was a music-driven neighborhood.

3. Bar with troubled history on Dallas' Greenville Ave pulls plug after 11 years. A Greenville Avenue bar that's been a nexus of crime and discontent is pulling the plug: OT Tavern, located at 3600 Greenville Ave, is closing on July 5, after 11 years. The bar had been the subject of a longtime campaign by neighbors disgruntled by the crowd it draws and the accompanying noise and crime.

4. This Dallas neighbor weighs in as the healthiest county in Texas, says U.S. News. For babies and baby boomers alike, Collin County stands out as the healthiest county in Texas, according to a new study by U.S. News & World Report. Collin County lands at No. 50 on U.S. News’ list of the 500 healthiest counties in the U.S., making it the healthiest county in Texas. U.S. News assessed 2,735 of the 3,143 counties across the U.S. but ranked only 500 of them.

5. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' net worth kicks into 11-figure territory. Sure, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is worth billions of dollars. But he also recently joined a more exclusive club: people whose net worth totals at 11 figures. In April, Forbes pegged Jones’ net worth at $10.6 billion — the first time it has ventured into 11-figure territory. As of June 24, he was worth $83 million more, according to Forbes, bringing his net worth to $11.3 billion.

Their Chicago-style hot dogs are famous.

hot dogs
Photo courtesy of Portillo's
Their Chicago-style hot dogs are famous.
Photo courtesy of Portillo's

Portillo's deploys food truck to Dallas to preview its famed Chicago hot dog

Pop-Up News

Chicago-style hot dogs are popping up via Portillo's, the fast-casual restaurant concept known for its Chicago-style street food, which is bringing its Beef Bus food truck to tour Texas from July 11-23, offering a preview of its menu ahead of its first restaurant opening in Texas, later this year.

Over the course of two weeks, the Beef Bus will visit various cities, events, and locations across North Texas.

This is in anticipation of the first Portillo's in Texas, coming to the Grandscape complex, the mixed-use development in The Colony, with an opening targeted for the fall. Their mad scheme is clearly to ramp up a fervor.

The Beef Bus schedule is as follows:

Monday, July 11, 1:30 pm-5 pm: Across the street from the future site of Portillo’s Restaurant at Grandscape in The Colony

Friday, July 15-Saturday, July 16, 9 am-11 pm: Summer Truckin Nationals at AT&T Stadium

Sunday, July 17, 10 am-4 pm: Summer Truckin Nationals at AT&T Stadium

Tuesday, July 19, 4-8 pm: Klyde Warren Park

Thursday, July 21, 11 am-4 pm: "Christmas in July" at Grandscape, 5752 Grandscape Blvd., The Colony

Friday, July 22, 11 am-9 pm: Truck Yard at 5959 Grove Ln., The Colony

Saturday, July 23, 4-8 pm: Harvest House, 331 E Hickory St., Denton

The menu will include:

  • Chicago-style hot dog with everything: mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppyseed bun
  • Italian Beef Sandwich, a mini version, served on French bread, and topped with sweet peppers or hot giardiniera peppers
  • Polish Sausage with everything: mustard, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a poppyseed bun
  • Maxwell Street Polish Sausage with yellow mustard and sliced grilled onions

Portillo's will also be giving away limited-edition merchandise, from swimsuits to pool floats and more, to anyone who utters a secret code word when placing their order at the Beef Bus window. To learn the secret code word, follow @BeefBusOfficial on Instagram.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 8 best restaurants to grab lunch

Where to eat

The March edition of Where to Eat, our monthly feature recommending best restaurants in Dallas to check out, gives love to a meal that needs it: lunch.

Lunch has been on the skids since the pandemic, when COVID-shy workers stopped going into the office. Along came the work-from-home trend, and it was goodbye to lunch. The lunch traffic that kept many restaurants afloat evaporated overnight.

In good news, that trend is starting to reverse. According to security company Kastle Systems, which monitors the work-from-home trend weekly, office workers are returning to the workplace. A recent survey of 10 of the largest cities in the U.S. found that office occupancy is at its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you're a worker back in the office or still doing the WFH thing, it's time to get out and grab a bite at those restaurants putting out mid-day spreads.

Here are eight great places in Dallas for lunch:

Best salad: Bread Zeppelin
This Dallas-based chain takes an ingenious approach to salad, that lunchtime staple, by packaging it in an edible container: a crusty, artisan baguette which gets hollowed out and stuffed with your customized chopped salad drawn from 40 ingredient options. Or choose one of their signature selections such as the Shanhai with mixed greens, carrot, almonds, currants, Chinese noodles, Mandarin oranges, and choice of tofu or chicken in a carrot-ginger-lime dressing. The bread sops up just enough of the dressing but doesn't get soggy. It's portable, eco-friendly, and really good. They have six DFW locations including the original in Irving and one in downtown Dallas, and there's another opening later this year in Knox Park Village.

Best healthy bowl: Buddha Bowl at Modern Market
Healthy bowls make for a handy lunch, and none is more ubiquitous than the classic Buddha bowl, with its perfectly balanced combination of grains, veggies, and protein; Veganuary says the name was coined by Martha Stewart. The one at Modern Market is awesome, popular enough to inspire knockoff recipes on the internet. It features warm rice & quinoa, spicy roasted broccoli, carrot, citrus cabbage slaw, peanut, cilantro in peanut-mango sauce, topped with thick slices of sesame-glazed tofu that have the perfect creamy and dense texture. It's only $11.45 and Modern Market — which has five locations in DFW including one at Preston Hollow Village — makes lunch easy with its fast-casual ordering style and casual cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Best lunch with a buzzy chef: Parigi Restaurant
Oak Lawn restaurant from owner Janice Provost has always been a classic, and always a great destination for lunch. But for those who need an excuse, there's a new chef in the kitchen: Joel Orsini, who has earned acclaim in kitchens such as Izkina and FT33, and who is turning out seasonally driven dishes such as a stunning pasta featuring leek top cavatelli, Hakuri turnips, baby carrots, sugar & snow peas, and confit chicken thighs. There's also Parigi's reliable assortment of incredible salads, sandwiches, and risotto, and great wine by the glass.

parigi pastaPasta with turnips, carrots, and snow peas from Parigi.Parigi

Best lunch buffet: DiMassi's
The lunch buffet was in peril during the fearful days of the pandemic, but that's all behind us — to the great relief of fans of this Mediterranean buffet concept, first founded in Houston in 1992, now with four DFW locations in Richardson, Grapevine, Irving, and Plano. Their menu of Mediterranean and middle-Eastern favorites includes four kinds of hummus, warm puffy pita bread in both plain and whole wheat versions, beautifully grilled vegetables, meats, and seafood, stuffed grape leaves, salads, and desserts like baklava. Some buffets are about excess, but this is a place where it's simply a variety of items, excellently prepared.

Best Indian lunch in Irving: Our Place
Irving's vibrant Indian community makes it one of the best places to find Indian food, with a bounty of restaurants. That includes this popular classic that's been dishing out all kinds of Indian cuisine — from north Indian and south Indian to Moghlai and Indo-Chinese — since 2005. They're proud of their time-tested skills with cooking Tandoori-style in a clay oven, and also their signature lunch buffet, served every day, with more than 40 items including a full salad bar, veggies, Halal meats, seafood, breads, desserts, and ice cream.

Best lunch for a work group: Terry Black's BBQ
Who'd have ever thought we'd feel nostalgic about the work-group lunch expedition? But it's one of those benchmarks of office normalcy, of life as it was pre-pandemic. Barbecue joints are a popular choice for this, for many reasons. For starters, you go through a line and pay for your own, so there's no awkward hassle over who's picking up the check. There's no wait because the food's all ready. You can get a sandwich or meat or just a side like mac & cheese. Terry Black's, the Austin-based family chain that opened a location in Deep Ellum in 2019, is centrally located, has plenty of seating, and menu options from burgers to home cooking to Tex-Mex to sandwiches.

Best Tex-Mex combo lunch: El Jordan Cafe in Bishop Arts
Small no-frills longtime Tex-Mex in the thick of things dates back to the days before Bishop Arts was an Arts District, when rent was still cheap, serving as a reminder of the neighborhood's original charm. It's also a reminder of the cheap and funky Tex-Mex joints that were once common but have faded away, where you can get a combo plate with taco and enchilada for $7.50 or a BLT for $4.50. They're not open past lunch but they are open for breakfast with migas, omelets, pancakes, and a breakfast special with eggs, bacon or sausage, and pancakes for $5.50. This kind of place is on the wane; go eat there while you still have a chance.

Best for ladies-who-lunch: Cafe Pacific
Bless the ladies who lunch, making their valuable contribution to the restaurant lunch scene (and hopefully tipping more generously than the reputation that precedes them). Ground zero for this set is Highland Park Village, a neighborhood which surely boasts a higher per capita ratio of this diner category than other less fortunate parts of DFW. HPV has multiple dining options these days, but the perennial is Cafe Pacific, whose entree salads, French dip sandwiches, grilled seafood, elegant atmosphere, and doting service make it a favorite for the likes of Yvonne Crum, the one-time flight attendant, effervescent bold-faced name, and a gracious lady if there ever was one.

Dallas Opera dives into dramatic new season with world premiere and big artist debuts


Dallas Opera fans who've been waiting for the 2023-24 season announcement now have plenty to applaud: The DO's 66th mainstage season will feature a highly anticipated world premiere, plus three new-to-Dallas productions, big artist debuts, some annual family favorites, and the return of live-streaming.

"We are thrilled to bring three new-to-Dallas productions and a long-awaited world premiere to our audiences, both near and far, in the 2023/2024 Mainstage Season," says General Director and CEO Ian Derrer in a March 16 release.

Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca will open the season in dramatic fashion, featuring the debut of Joseph Calleja and his “honey-tone tenor” (as dubbed by The New York Times). Alongside Calleja as the lovesick namesake of the production is Ewa Płonka. Conspiratorial Scarpia will be played by Gihoon Kim, 2021’s Cardiff Singer of the World.

The director of the high drama (in his company debut) is Andrew Nienaber, alongside Dallas Opera Orchestra and Chorus music director Emmanuel Villaume. Sets and costumes are designed by Robert Perdziola. The production is by the Cincinnati Opera with original direction by Jose Maria Condemi. Tosca will run October 13, 15 (matinee), 18, and 21, 2023.

Following Tosca is the world premiere of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, led by Grammy-Award winner Lucas Meachem as Jean-Dominique Bauby. The star-studded cast is complete with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Richard Croft, soprano Deanna Breiwick, bass Kevin Burdette, soprano Andriana Chuchman, and tenor Andrew Bidlack.

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is the remarkable true story of a man whose determination leads to one of the most poignant memoirs ever written,” says Derrer in the release. “We are honored to bring this story to our stage for the first time anywhere.”

This based-on-a-true-story tale is composed by Joby Talbot and directed by Leonard Foglia, with Villaume conducting the orchestra. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly will run November 3, 5 (matinee), 8, and 11, 2023.

Villaume says that conducting this world premiere production is an “extraordinary and rare opportunity.”

In a glorious return after a quarter century, Richard Strauss’ Elektrawill take the stage for the second time in Dallas Opera history. The Opera’s 2002 Vocal Competition winner Marjorie Owens will make her debut in the titular role, with “operatic superstar” Denyce Graves also making her debut as Klytämnestra. Additional co-stars include soprano Angela Meade as Chrysothemis, Alfred Walker debuting as Orest, and company favorite Clifton Forbis as Aegisth.

Nick Sandys is making his company debut as director, Villaume as conductor, and costumes by John Macfarlane. Elektra runs February 9, 11 (matinee), 14, and 17, 2024.

A timeless, romantic classic will debut two of the most anticipated leads this season: tenor Long Long and soprano Golda Schultz as star-crossed lovers in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. In his Dallas Opera return, the legendary Donnie Ray Albert will star as Lord Capulet.

This new-to-Dallas performance is co-produced alongside the Houston Grand Opera and Atlanta Opera. Nicole Paiement will conduct the orchestra and chorus while Romain Gilbert makes his Dallas Opera directorial debut. It runs March 1, 3 (matinee), 6, and 9, 2024.

The final performances of all four mainstage shows will be livestreamed by the Dallas Opera on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.

"In an exciting continuation from last season, we will livestream the last performance of all four mainstage productions," says Derrer. "Our commitment to bringing world-class opera to audiences, wherever they may be, is as strong as ever. Making these performances available on a pay-what-you’re-able basis keeps our artform accessible to all viewers."

Familiar favorites making a return to the Dallas Opera’s 66th season include the annual free People’s Choice Concert on October 7 at 7:30 pm and the Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Family Recital on Sunday, January 24, 2024 at 2 pm.

The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors Showcase Concert will take place on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 7:30 pm. It is the only program of its kind globally that highlights gender imbalances of leadership and advocates for women conductors worldwide.

Family Shows are also returning in the fall and spring of 2023-24 with The Billy Goats Gruff (October 14, 2023 and March 10, 2024) and Pépito(November 12, 2023 and March 2, 2024).

The National Vocal Competition will make its return this season, with finalists set to compete on March 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm.

Subscriptions will be available on Wednesday, April 19 with packages starting at $89 for all four operas. Single tickets go on sale Friday, July 21. The Opera’s newest membership initiative, Crescendo, is in its second season and is currently accepting new membership registrations ($60). The program includes two complimentary tickets for the upcoming season with additional discounts, special event invitations, and more.

More information about the Dallas Opera’s 2023-24 season and tickets can be found on their website.

National pickleball tournament relocates from Calif. to Dallas-Fort Worth

Pickleball News

A major pickleball event is making its home in Dallas-Fort Worth: The 2023 USA Pickleball National Championships is officially moving from California to Texas.

According to a release, USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for the sport of pickleball, and the Carvana Professional Pickleball Association (PPA Tour), is relocating the 2023 USA Pickleball National Championships from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California — where they've been held since 2018 — to Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch.

The National Championships is the world’s largest pickleball tournament and facility, and the 2023 event is expected to be double the size of 2022, with more than 3,500 amateur and professional players playing on 65 courts.

The event will take place November 4-12, and will be presented by the PPA Tour.

PPA CEO Connor Pardoe says in a statement that Farmers Branch beat out other cities vying for this honor, which other cities he does not say.

"After a competitive bidding process that encompassed proposals from multiple city governances, Dallas and the Dallas Sports Commission presented the best combination to take the National Championships to the next level," Pardoe says. "Furthermore, Invited’s Brookhaven Country Club, as one of the state’s premier golf and tennis resorts for more than six decades and situated as it is in the City of Farmers Branch, which is an inner-ring suburb of Dallas, was marked as the ideal locale to host an event of this size and prestige."

USA Pickleball Board of Directors chairman Robert Quicksilver chimes in that the move to Dallas, which he calls "one of the great cities in the U.S.," will be more accessible geographically for their membership which exceeds 70,000 members.

They aren't yet revealing how much prize money will be doled out to the professional divisions, other than the fact that it will exceed the 2022 total of $150,000. Total event attendees are estimated to reach 25,000.

Amateur players will have greater opportunity to qualify due to the USA Pickleball’s addition of three new Golden Ticket events leading up to the championship:

  • the Selkirk Texas Open, May 31-June 4
  • the Baird Seattle Open, July 27-30
  • the Kansas City Open, August 24-27

Meanwhile, upgrades planned for the Championships include designating the street outside of Brookhaven Country Club as “Pickleball Boulevard” to make space for a stage, live music, and family-friendly activities with sponsors and local businesses.

Food and beverage vendors from all over Texas will be on-site as part of the “Taste of Pickle” exhibit that will give tournament attendees the chance to experience the local cuisine. Nightly musical performances are planned, plus interactive events they hope will make the fan and player experience unforgettable. A photo wall, maybe.