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Photo courtesy of Magnolia

“Are you ready to see your fixer upper?” the enthusiastic tour guide asked, channeling Chip and Joanna Gaines and their famous “big reveal” line from TV’s Fixer Upper. This time, it wasn't the home owners waiting outside a first glimpse at their home makeover; it was a small group of tourists gathered on the porch, ready to step inside the Gaineses’ most ambitious renovation project yet — a century-old castle in Waco.

For the first time ever, Texas’ king and queen of renovation have unlocked the doors and let the public into one of their famed fixer-uppers before it’s featured on their Magnolia Network show.

Known as the historic Cottonland Castle, this three-story, 6,700-square-foot residence was started in 1890 and finished in 1913. The Gaineses purchased the dilapidated structure in 2019 and designed and executed a regal flip that will be featured on an eight-episode special called Fixer Upper: Welcome Home – The Castle, beginning October 14.

They plan to sell it in the fall. But before a home sale comes an open house, and for three months only — through October 29 — the castle is open six days a week for guided tours.

Hour-long castle expeditions take visitors through every room, nook, and cranny — from turret to toilettes. Knowledgeable guides dispense history, impart design information, and reveal behind-the-scenes stories from Chip and Jo that may or may not make it on TV.

For Fixer Upper fans, Magnolia maniacs, and Gaines gangs in Dallas, it’s worth the 90-minute drive down I-35 to experience the castle transformation in real life before it hits the small screen. A tour offers the very rare chance to walk through the door (in this case, a 10-foot-tall, 400-pound, solid-oak door) into the world of a Chip-and-Jo reno.

Without revealing too much, here are seven fun surprises you’ll find behind the castle walls.

1. History meets homey. A castle museum, this is not.

“Chip and Joanna’s vision was that they really wanted to honor it with historical pieces but also make it more practical for the modern family that’s going to live here in the future,” guide Megan Shuler said at the beginning of the tour.

While many original features — including seven fireplaces — were restored, the castle has been fixed up as a home for the future, not a shrine to the past. One-of-a-kind and collected antiques (such as the kingly dining room table from Round Top, Texas) blend with pieces from the Gaineses’ own Magnolia Home collection. A 17-page “Castle Sourcebook” lists design elements and products and where to buy them. And in the ultimate modern touch — a branding tie-in — a forthcoming “Colors of the Castle” paint collection will be available through Magnolia this fall.

2. Sweet nods to the castle’s past. Posted on the wall in the foyer is a poem written by Alfred Abeel, the owner who completed construction in 1913. It talks of making the castle “‘home sweet home’ all seasons of the year.”

On the center of the dining room fireplace mantel is Abeel’s family crest, along with the phrase (in Latin), “God’s providence saves me.” Next to it, children’s heights are recorded from the 1930s to the early 2000s, the last time a family lived here.

3. A cozy nook in the turret. The original design was modeled after a small castle on the Rhine River in Germany, and there is one tower turret. A space historically used (in “real” castles) for military defense has, here, been turned into one of the coziest corners of the house. Tucked into a corner next to the winding staircase, two comfy chairs sit under an antique-y light fixture from Austria. It's the perfect place to curl up with a book from the library upstairs.

4. Rooms with storylines. “One of the challenges Chip and Joanna had when they bought the castle was, there was no one, really, they were designing it for,” Shuler explained. “So they would create storylines for each room to help tell their story.”

Two of the four bedrooms, for example, are the “boy’s bedroom,” and “girl’s bedroom.” The storylines are that the future homeowner’s son would come back from college and stay in his childhood bedroom, and that the future homeowner’s granddaughters would stay in the room while hanging out at the grandparents’ house.

The boy’s room contains more masculine furnishings and decor, including a watercolor portrait of Roy Lane, the famous architect who helped complete the castle. The girl’s room is painted in “Rose Pink,” a color named after Joanna’s grandmother.

5. Bodacious bathrooms. There are three-and-a-half “throne rooms” in the castle, and they’re some of the prettiest spaces, mixing metals, woods, and tiles; even original radiators look like works of art. One of the most spectacular rooms in the house, in fact, is a grand, gleaming bathroom — which (tease!) will be fully revealed on the show.

6. Party in the basement. “Gathering spaces” are a hallmark of Chip and Jo’s homes, and in the castle, they take place in the dungeon — er, basement. A “card room” for poker games or family game nights sits next to the family room, which houses the only TV in the castle. The guest bedroom’s also in the basement, along with a laundry room and a former wine cellar now left “blank” for the new owners to reimagine.

7. Behind-the-scenes tales and tidbits. Fixer Upper devotees will devour the charming and quirky tidbits about the Gaineses shared throughout the tour. There are a few design elements and furnishings originally meant for their own home, including an item banished to the castle by their daughters. There’s a fun story about what Chip did when they found bones — yes, bones — in the basement. And, the prime selfie spot for Fixer Upper fans is a large mirror that, the tour guides say, Joanna used to touch up her makeup during the filming of the show.

Castle tour tickets, $50, are available through the website, with 20 percent of proceeds benefiting The Cove nonprofit organization. (Note that the home does not have an elevator and requires guests’ ability to access three staircases.)

Tips for a Magnolia pilgrimage in Waco:
Shop: No castle jaunt would be complete without a stop at the Magnolia Silos complex. A new 8:15 am tour, offered Monday through Saturday, takes visitors behind the scenes and on the roof before the crowds (and the heat) arrive. Hint: August is a “slower” month at the Silos, and Tuesday through Thursday are less crowded. Tour tickets are $25 and come with a free coffee from Magnolia Press.

Eat: Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Table cafe stays busy all day, every day. If you don’t have time to wait for a table, visit the takeaway market next door. Grab to-go items like pimiento cheese and crackers, a butter flight, banana pudding, and chicken salad sandwiches, and enjoy them on a table outside (if it's not too hot).

Stay: Availability at Magnolia’s four vacation rentals can be hard to come by, but watch the website for nights to pop open. Make it a girls’ getaway with a stay at the grand Hillcrest Estate (which sleeps 12), or go solo and book the darling Hillcrest Cottage, the Gaineses’ newest and smallest lodging, which opened in fall 2021. A forthcoming Magnolia boutique hotel, in the historic Grand Karem Shrine building downtown, is slated to open in 2024.

The castle will be on tour only through the end of October, before it's featured on a special season of Fixer Upper - Wecome Home.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia
The castle will be on tour only through the end of October, before it's featured on a special season of Fixer Upper - Wecome Home.
Photo by Charro Photography

Texas builder unveils sleek prefabricated luxury homes starting at $600,000

High-end housing

A Texas homebuilder has brought a high-end approach to a type of housing that has often been lumped into the low-end category.

Escobedo Group, based in Buda, a suburb of Austin, has introduced a “panelized” construction system that enables a luxury home to be prefabricated and then installed on a homesite within roughly five months. So far, more than 70 of the company’s DARIO Villas homes have been built.

Over the years, prefab construction has frequently been associated with cheap, mass-produced housing. Following World War II, the British embraced prefab construction to address a severe housing shortage. Amid the 19th century’s California Gold Rush, prospectors relied on prefab homes to quickly provide shelter.

In recent years, prefab homes have gained fans as construction techniques have grown more sophisticated.

“DARIO is a better way to build. The construction method we have designed is more efficient and dramatically reduces construction waste while saving the client the most precious commodity — their time,” David Escobedo, co-owner of Escobedo Group, tells CultureMap.

Escobedo Group, founded in 1987, official launched the DARIO brand in June.

DARIO touts the ability to construct and assemble a home in a matter of months rather than, in some cases, a few years.

A buyer can choose from among three floor plans with one, two, or three bedrooms, and then select an interior package. A one-bedroom DARIO home starts at $600,000. Larger options go for $1 million or more.

A DARIO home measures anywhere from 800 to 20,000 square feet.

Escobedo constructs the home panels at its 60,000-square-foot facility, then delivers them to a homesite and puts together the new home within hours. The panels include all of the components needed for a home, such as the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Each home features steel framing and a pier-and-beam foundation.

Optional add-ons include:

  • Roof-mounted solar power
  • Battery storage to supply electricity during power outages
  • Eco-friendly water collection, storage, and filtration

The end product is sleek and modern, like any built-from-the-ground-up luxury home.

Escobedo’s DARIO homes are currently available in Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma. The company says they can be placed in pretty much any residential setting, from a rural ranch to a cliffside locale.

“Whether you need a new guest house, vacation retreat, or expanded living space, this is truly revolutionizing the way building is done. The complications and mess of construction are a thing of the past,” the homebuilder says.

Escobedo Group uses a “panelized” construction system to prefabricate luxury homes and install within roughly five months.

Photo by Charro Photography
Escobedo Group uses a “panelized” construction system to prefabricate luxury homes and install within roughly five months.
Courtesy of DH Photography, Compass

Texas architect's tree house featured on HGTV hits market for $1.2 million

Love this listing

A treehouse-like home near Austin's Lake Travis that’s been featured on HGTV can now be yours for $1.2 million.

The 1,653-square-foot house, at 2803 Manitou Dr., offers two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and plenty of rugged yet modern charm. The home is in the Apace Shores neighborhood.

Highlights of the contemporary home, situated on a half-acre wooded lot, include 30-foot-high glass walls and 11 sets of sliding glass doors. The two-story house, built in 2003 as architect John Allen’s own residence, is one of the few homes in the vicinity that provide private access to the Indian Creek hiking trail.

Allen “believed that the rugged and what many called ‘unbuildable’ lot was the perfect spot to accomplish his vision of living one with nature due to the greenery of the adjacent hiking trail, along with the sun, moon, stars, and thunderstorms as seen through glass walls and balconies,” the listing agent, Monica Fabbio of Compass, tells CultureMap.

Aside from being featured in 2007 on the HGTV series Look What I Did, the house recently served as the main shooting location for an upcoming movie. Viewers of the movie will notice that decks and patios grace all four sides of the hillside home, which is set back from a cul-de-sac. Nearby waterfalls and a spring-fed creek add to the ambiance.

“A dramatic rock wall and bridge entrance to the home make for amazing settings,” the listing says.

An adjacent second lot, which is undeveloped, is included in the sale.

Allen, who originally designed the glass-and-steel home as his “bachelor pad” before eventually getting hitched, sold the house in 2007 to the current owner.

“We heard the word ‘impossible’ more than once when it came to building our house,” says Suzanne Allen, the architect’s wife. “It’s a word that would discourage many people, but for John and me, the word invigorates, motivates, and inspires. In the process of building our house, we proved that with imagination, persistence, and resolution, the impossible idea becomes an achievable reality.”

Many called the lot at 2803 Manitou Dr "unbuildable," but architect John Allen saw its true potential.

Courtesy of DH Photography, Compass
Many called the lot at 2803 Manitou Dr "unbuildable," but architect John Allen saw its true potential.
Photo courtesy of Reality 360 Imaging

Quirky shipping container homes top 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.

1. 2 quirky shipping container houses come on the market in Dallas' Fair Park. One form of housing that has captured people's imagination as of late is the shipping container home, and now there are two on the market from a Dallas developer who has made it his specialty. Both properties are located just a few blocks south of Fair Park. One has a conventional facade; the other is a quirky rectangle that stands three stories tall.

2. HGTV's popular No Demo Reno seeks North Dallas homeowners ready for a re-do. Popular HGTV show No Demo Reno is now casting homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth who are willing to trade in autonomy in exchange for a redesign of their home. The series is hosted by Jenn Todryk, AKA the "Rambling Redhead," who lives in the area. They're searching for homeowners in North Dallas, Plano, McKinney, Allen, Fairview, Prosper, Richardson, Frisco, and Lucas to be on the show.

3. Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion hawks mega-lawn pass for summer concerts. It's only March but it's not too soon to be thinking about summer concert season, and Live Nation has a deal: The entertainment company is offering a Lawn Pass for one price that gets you into shows at Dos Equis Pavilion all summer long, even including sold out shows. The Lawn Pass can be purchased for $199, while supplies last.

4. Fuss-free hop-on jet service JSX launches new nonstop flights from Dallas to Destin. With summer vacation on the horizon, Dallas-based JSX hop-on jet service is relaunching its popular seasonal service to a favorite Florida beach destination — Destin. Nonstop flights from Dallas Love Field to Destin Executive Airport will start May 12 and run until October 31. Fares start at $199 one-way.

5. Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas-Fort Worth suburb turns off the lights for good. Less than three years after its big premiere, the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater in North Richland Hills is closing permanently. According to a release, the theater's owners filed for bankruptcy, along with two other locations — Richardson and Lake Highlands in Dallas. North Richland Hills is the only location closing for good, they say. The others will continue operations during bankruptcy proceedings.

Three-story shipping container house cuts a sharp profile.

Photo courtesy of Reality 360 Imaging
Three-story shipping container house cuts a sharp profile.
Photo courtesy of HGTV

Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network launches with DFW show still to come

Holy Shiplap

Y'all ready to see a lot of Fixer Upper? Cruise on over to Chip and Joanna Gaines' new Magnolia Network, which finally premiered on cable TV Wednesday, January 5, taking over the old DIY Network. But it debuted without one very important show — read on.

The new station, which the Gaineses announced way back in 2018, stealthily jumped from streaming platform (Discovery+) to cable world overnight January 5, then aired an entire day's worth of Fixer Upper reruns before officially making its official launch official at 8 pm ... with Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.

The Waco TV stars had promised more than themselves, though. And they made good on it. By Day 2, viewers got a marathon of Maine Cabin Masters and the introduction of The Lost Kitchen, one of Magnolia's new original shows. Then more Fixer Upper.

As reported by People magazine, in addition to five seasons' worth of Fixer Upper, the Gaineses are launching the network with "a huge slate of original programming throughout the month of January," including Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, Restoration Road with Clint Harp, Home Work, Family Dinner, The Johnnyswim Show, Mind for Design, and Zoë Bakes.

Next month, two more original series will premiere, the magazine says — Super Dad and The Lost Kitchen — as well as Season 2 of Magnolia Table. In March, Season 3 of Magnolia Table will drop, they say, along with three more series: Ranch to Table, Inn the Works, and Homegrown.

Missing from that three-month planner is Self Employed, the Magnolia original series starring Fort Worth entrepreneur Jonathan Morris.

In the show, Morris travels around the country meeting inspiring small business owners, who share stories of success, challenge, and resilience — along with lessons and best practices to inspire other entrepreneurs. The series debuted last summer, with all eight episodes now available to subscribers of the Magnolia App and Discovery+.

In the first season, Morris travels around Dallas-Fort Worth, to Atlanta and Detroit, showcasing a Dallas cheesecake guru, local leather goods purveyor, skincare queen, recycling pioneers, Fort Worth's best-known ice cream maker, and more. He's an affable, empathetic, and naturally curious host who makes trimming leather, tossing plastic bottles, and scooping ice cream in the heat look fun. (Each episode shines a tiny spotlight back on Fort Worth, too.)

Given the grave omission of Self Employed from the Magnolia lineup, CultureMap reached out to a network spokesperson to find out when the show might make its TV debut, and if another season was coming.

"We do not have a cable premiere date for Self Employed yet, as our original shows will premiere throughout the year," spokesperson Taylor Griffin said by email January 6. "No news yet on a season 2 either, but will keep you posted."

In a December news release, the Gaineses said, "We've been amazed by the stories and storytellers we've found, people whose lives are living proof that our world is full of beauty, hope, courage, and curiosity. We can't wait to see these stories brought to life on cable this January, and we're hopeful about the impact it might have — to help reclaim the best of what television can be."

Given that Morris posted happy Instagram snaps of himself with Chip and Joanna on November 17, 2021 we'll cross our fingers he's one storyteller who's still part of their grand TV plan.

Magnolia Network is available now for cable subscribers who previously had DIY Network. Providers differ; on AT&T Uverse in Dallas-Fort Worth, it's channel 1454 in HD.

Facebook/Magnolia Network

Texas' Chip and Joanna Gaines unveil long-awaited launch date of new Magnolia Network

TV news

UPDATE 7-15-2021: Magnolia Network officially launched today, available for streaming with a Discovery+ subscription. Of special interest to DFW viewers, one episode of Self-Employed, starring Fort Worth's Jonathan Morris, is included, with more to drop August 27.

---

Fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines have been ready to see their Fixer Upper reboot — and the rest of their Magnolia Network content — since they announced their new cable network in 2018.

After a couple of coronavirus-related delays, they've finally revealed a launch date. Two launch dates, actually.

  • On July 15, 2021, Magnolia Network will debut on a new Magnolia app and the streaming platform Discovery+.
  • In January 2022, the new Magnolia Network will debut on cable TV.

“In what has been the most unconventional of years, our plan and timing for the network launch has evolved, but our original vision for this network has remained the same," the Waco-based reality TV-entrepreneurs said in a statement February 11.

That vision, they say, is still to "tell good stories — stories that unite instead of divide; stories that serve to inspire and uphold beauty; stories that entertain and draw out curiosities; stories that feel like home in all the ways a home should feel," they say on the network's website.

Notably, the Magnolia Network will feature their Fixer Upper reboot, as well as Joanna Gaines' cooking show called (what else?) Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, and Self Employed, a series about entrepreneurs hosted by Fort Worth resident Jonathan Morris.

The first 10 Magnolia Network shows were unveiled in a TV special last spring. Content focuses on people who are living life passionately and authentically, the Gaineses say, and covers topics the couple themselves are passionate about: home design, restoration, and renovation, gardening, cooking, wellness, business, family, and traditions.

According to Deadline, Magnolia Network was supposed to take over DIY Network in October 2020, followed by a direct-to-consumer product at a later date. COVID-19 shut down Hollywood production, which pushed everything back.

"Meanwhile, Discovery launched their SVOD platform Discovery+ last month as the pandemic accelerated traditional media companies’ shift to streaming as a leading distribution method," Deadline says. "The Magnolia brand has been a key — and growing — part of the Discovery+ lineup with previews of many of its original series, led by the new season of the Gaines’ hit Fixer Upper."

While Fixer Upper: Welcome Home can be seen now on Discovery+, starting July 15, the platform will stream an expanded lineup of Magnolia shows. The Gaines' Magnolia app is expected to stream their original series and over 150 hours of unscripted content.

Discovery+ currently costs $4.99 per month, with a free trail available here.

Those who don’t want to stream yet another service will have to wait patiently for about another year until Magnolia Network launches as a rebranded DIY Network on their cable or satellite provider. In January 2022, the new TV network will carry not only Magnolia originals but new seasons of favorite DIY shows, they say.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Warm up to winter menus and holiday specials in this Dallas restaurant news

News You Can Eat

December is (almost) here and in the Dallas restaurant world, that means wonderful winter menus and speciala for the holidays: Peppermint shakes, pumpkin pasta, boozy hot chocolate, Christmas tamales, spiced horchata, and so much more. There are also a couple of new restaurants opening in the next week, hustling to start serving in time for holiday festivities.

Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news, with items culled from press releases, emails, and DM's on social media:

Loro Addison is officially opening on December 14, when they'll be "slinging slushies and frying corn fritters all day long," according to an email. From December 14-18, the first 100 customers every day get a free custom Yeti. This is the second Loro in DFW and is located at 14999 Montfort Dr.

Shake Shack is opening a location in Plano at 5009 W. Park Blvd., at the intersection of Preston Road, on December 5. This is the second Shake Shack in Plano but the first in Texas to feature a drive up window. They'll open with a few limited-time items including the new Hot Ones Burger and Hot Ones Chicken Sandwich, plus seasonal holiday shakes: Christmas Cookie Shake, Chocolate Milk & Cookies Shake, and Chocolate Peppermint Shake. The menu will feature the Lockhart Link Burger, a cheeseburger topped with Kreuz Market jalapeno cheese sausage link, pickles, and ShackSauce.

Freebirds World Burrito celebrates the opening of its new location in Murphy on December 6. The first 25 guests in line receive free burritos for a year. There'll also be food samples, swag giveaways, and yard games. It's at 103 W. FM 544 and is the fifth Freebirds to open in 2022.

Layne's Chicken Fingers has opened a location in Denton at 1200 W. Hickory St. It's from franchisees Scott and Heather Davis, who plan to open five more Layne’s in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, possibly Burleson, Arlington, and Mansfield.

Tipsy Elf, a holiday pop-up bar from Exxir Hospitality, is now open in the little white house at the corner of Bishop & Melba in Bishop Arts, spanning into sibling Mermaid Bar as well as a tented patio. Entertainer Gloria Devine will give nightly readings of letters to Santa, and there are new cocktails including the North Pole Dancer, Secure The Sack, and a salted toffee old fashioned with port spices titled Left Me for The Muffin Man.

Grand Lux Cafe at the Galleria Dallas has a set of new menu items including Fried Provolone Cheese with marinara sauce, Garlicky Shrimp, Pasta Alla Arrabiatta - spaghettini tossed in spicy tomato sauce and topped with ricotta cheese, steak frites with parmesan fries, BLT Benedict with Calabrian Hollandaise on a grilled English muffin, and two drinks: Bluegrass Margarita with Basil Hayden Bourbon, and a Cold Brew Espresso Martini.

Eataly Dallas is carry a selection of pasticcini (bite-sized pastries) from Pasticceria da Guido, a pastry shop by Michelin-starred chef Ugo Alciati. Exclusive to Eataly Dallas, these Michelin-starred Italian sweets are known for quality, simplicity, and tradition. Eataly’s pastry team has worked with Pasticceria da Guido to ensure they're properly prepared. Find Pasticceria da Guido at Eataly’s pastry counter, located on the west side of NorthPark Center, every day this holiday season.

Elm & Good at the Kimpton Pittman Hotel is featuring a special dish from executive chef Ben Smallman, with a portion of the sales going to No Kid Hungry: Market Pumpkin and Maple Stracciatella features Kuri squash, stracciatella, sage, maple syrup, and pumpkin seeds, for $17, and can be ordered through December 31, Tuesday-Saturday from 5-10 pm.

Blue Mesa Grill has a new Holiday Fajita Party Pack To-Go, with queso, guacamole, chicken taquitos, steak & chicken fajitas, adobe pie, black beans, coconut lime rice, toppings, tortillas, and brownies with a cajeta swirl. $195 serves 8 people. It's available through December 31; order at bluemesagrill.com.

Blue Goose Cantina is offering its annual homemade Box O’ Tamales in pork, chicken, jalapeño, and cheese options, with three sauces - Salsa Verde, chili con carne, and queso. The boxes are $30, and require a 24-hour minimum advance order on BlueGooseCantina.com. Click ‘Order Now,’ and select the nearest restaurant and date needed.

Greenville Avenue Pizza Company has partnered with Monkey King Noodle Company on the new Dan Dan Pizza, featuring Monkey King’s Dan Dan sausage, GAPCo’s mozzarella blend, chili oil, bok choy, shredded carrots, wonton sauce, and sesame seeds. It's $25 for a 16-inch large, $20 for a 12-inch small, and $8 for a slice, at all three locations: Greenville Avenue, Peavy Road, and Richardson, throughout December.

Snooze an A.M. Eatery has a limited-edition Cranberry Orange Pancake, a buttermilk pancake topped with orange crème anglaise, cranberry coulis, cranberry mascarpone, and almond streusel, available through December 31. Proceeds from the purchase will be donated to World Central Kitchen.

BoomerJack’s Bar and Grill has a new winter menu with $8 items including Brown Bag Burger, Bottomless Soup & Salad, BLT, and a Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The Fat Jack Sampler is a sampler for the table with Boneless Wings, Mozzarella Bites, Brisket Quesadillas, Fried Pickles, and Jack’s Skillet Queso with tortilla chips, for $35. Holiday items include Boozy Hot Chocolate and Tableside S'mores.

The Dolly Llama has a limited-time Christmas Waffle featuring mint-chip ice cream with chocolate sauce, holiday sprinkles and a marshmallow snowman, all in a warm waffle. It's available from December 5-31 and can be purchased as a Bubble Waffle, OG Liege Waffle, or within a cup.

Aw Shucks and Big Shucks Oyster Bar now have whole Key lime pies for preorder only, through the month of December. The 9-inch pie is $30. The pies are made in-house daily and 24-hour minimum notice is required. A 9-inch pie is $30.

Bulla Gastrobar is bringing back Holiday Spiced Horchata, a holiday cocktail with spice-infused coconut cream, rum, and creamy flan foam, for the entire month of December.

Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge has newly released a new winter cocktail menu with selections that include peppermint espresso martini; "Sweater Weather," with Ketel One, hot apple cider, spiced apple syrup, bitters and graham cracker rim; and Holiday Cheer with Tito’s, cranberry syrup, ginger beer, lemon, cranberries, and rosemary.

Another Round, the indoor mini golf and bar venue in West Dallas, has new holiday cocktails including two new shots: Gingerbread Man has Baileys, Butterscotch Liqueur, Hot Damn Cinnamon Liqueur, served in shot glasses rimmed with red/green sugar; and the Holiday Spice, with Rumchata and Fireball, served in shot glasses rimmed with crushed cinnamon blend. Each order comes with two shots for $12. There’s also a festive cocktail, the Mistletoe Pomegranate Margarita - Exotico Blanco, with Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, lime juice, agave, and red sugar, served in a cup rimmed with green sugar and garnished with pomegranate seeds for $12.

Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe has introduced a new holiday cocktail called the Berry Blitzen, served in a Hurricane glass with Jack Daniels, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, Finest Call Raspberry, honey syrup, and lemonade, topped with a Red Bull. They're also bringing back Angry Balls, a pint of Angry Orchard Hard Cider paired with a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.

Sean Rakidzich, entrepreneur and influencer, is hosting a benefit for Harvest Project Food Rescue, a Dallas nonprofit that provides fresh produce to 2000-plus people a week. Food will be provided by Chef Diana Zamora (Nena’s Postreria), and businesses such as José and CocoAndre will provide gift certificates for a raffle benefiting Harvest Project. It's December 1, from 6-10 pm at 3039 Nowitzki Way #4012.

Celebrate the holly jolly holidays at Highland Park Village

Ho-Ho Let's Go

Shop, dine, and experience the magic of the holiday season at Highland Park Village’s annual Christmas Lights Celebration and Shopping Stroll on Wednesday, December 7, from 4-7 pm.

Discover Dallas’ most spectacular display of more than 1.5 million lights while tackling holiday gifting lists and celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.

Highland Park Village will offer exclusive store promotions, festive treats, Christmas carolers, face painting, a performance by Dallas Symphony Orchestra Young Strings, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Take part in exclusive shopping promotions and discounts, gift raffles, complimentary bites and sips, and more from participating retailers such as Brunello Cucinelli, Christian Louboutin, FRAME, Jimmy Choo, Lela Rose, MARKET, Rag & Bone, Rolex, and so much more.

In addition to the activations, shoppers can give back with two of Highland Park Village’s community partners, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and Community Partners of Dallas.

For the duration of the event, The Salvation Army will have bell ringers collecting monetary donations, while Community Partners of Dallas will be hosting a toy drive. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy.

Can’t make it to the holiday event? Check out Highland Park Village’s highly anticipated Holiday Gift Guide. No matter who you are shopping for this year, Highland Park Village has the perfect gift for even the most discerning of recipients. From luxe accessories to stunning home décor or chic ready-to-wear looks, there truly is something for everyone.

Each week, Highland Park Village will unveil the year’s top wish list picks, organized in festive gifting categories such as “Gifts for Her,” “Gifts for the Home,” “Last-Minute Holiday Gifts,” and more.

Highland Park Village is home to over 60 stores and restaurants and is the city’s premier open-air luxury lifestyle destination. It also offers several complimentary services for guests to enjoy, including personal shopping in a private salon space, a chauffeured car service, valet parking, and WiFi.

Amazon rolls out hundreds of new electric vans for Dallas' holiday delivery season

electric avenue

Amazon CEO/occasional space traveler Jeff Bezos is doing his best to supplant a certain jolly fellow from the North Pole as tops for holiday gift delivery.

His latest move: Amazon is rolling out more than 1,000 electric delivery vehicles, designed by electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, ready to make deliveries in more than 100 cities across the U.S. On the Texas good list: Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Bezos' juggernaut began some deliveries in Dallas-Fort Worth in July, along with Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.

These zero-emissions vans have delivered more than 5 million packages to customers in the U.S., according to Amazon. The latest boost in vehicles now also includes Boston; Denver; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Madison, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; New York, Oakland, California; Pittsburgh, Portland, Oregon; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.

Plans for the Amazon and Rivian partnership call for thousands of vehicles on the road by the end of the year and 100,000 vehicles by 2030.

“We’re always excited for the holiday season, but making deliveries to customers across the country with our new zero-emission vehicles for the first time makes this year unique,” said Udit Madan, vice president of Amazon Transportation, in a statement. “We’ve already delivered over 5 million packages with our vehicles produced by Rivian, and this is still just the beginning—that figure will grow exponentially as we continue to make progress toward our 100,000-vehicle goal.”

This all comes as part of Amazon's commitment to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, as a part of its The Climate Pledge; Amazon promises to eliminate millions of metric tons of carbon per year with it s commitment to 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030, press materials note.

Additionally, Amazon announced plans to invest more than €1 billion over the next five years to further electrify and decarbonize its transportation network across Europe. This investment is meant to spark innovation and encourage more public charging infrastructure across the continent.

“Fleet electrification is essential to reaching the world’s zero-emissions goal,” said Jiten Behl, chief growth officer at Rivian, in a statement. “So, to see our ramp up in production supporting Amazon’s rollout in cities across the country is amazing. Not just for the environment, but also for our teams working hard to get tens of thousands of electric delivery vehicles on the road. They continue to be motivated by our combined mission and the great feedback about the vehicle’s performance and quality.”

A little about the vans: Drivers’ favorite features include a spacious cabin and cargo area, superior visibility with a large windshield and 360-degree cameras, and ventilated seats for fast heating and cooling — a must for Dallas summers ... or winters, for that matter.