Courtesy photo

A long-awaited waterpark in Cedar Hill is debuting Memorial Day weekend with two of Texas' favorite splashy attractions: a lagoon and lazy river.

TheLagoon at Virginia Weaver Park will open Saturday, May 27 after more than a year in development. The buzz is so big for the new park that tickets for a grand opening event (12-2 pm) have sold out. Guests without tickets can still enjoy the new park for free that day, from 12-5 pm.

According to the City of Cedar Hill, the Lagoon - a transformation of the '70s-era Crawford Park Pool - will be one of the largest public pools of its kind in the Southwest.

It will feature almost 10,000 square feet of water surface, including a zero-depth entry pool; a separate lap swim pool; a lazy river; three-turn slide; and a splash feature. Cabanas (available for rent) and shaded picnic tables will surround the pool. A private, indoor party space also can be reserved.

“This project was highly anticipated and truly a collaboration between our city leaders and local community members. We had many members of our community help determine what this pool would look like and how it would best serve our city,” City of Cedar Hill mayor Stephen Mason says in a release. “I have no doubt that this pool will make our citizens proud and will serve our area well for many years to come.”

After opening day, the waterpark will be open to the public from 12-5 pm daily. Regular daily admission will be $8, with discounts available for seniors and Cedar Hill residents.

Season passes (available online) run $60 for kids and seniors, $70 for adults, and $140 for a family of up to four people. Season pass holders can enjoy private swim time, 5:30-7:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays.

Entrance to Virginia Weaver Park, without pool admission, is free. The park offers playgrounds, hike and bike trails, softball field, basketball courts, and more. Cedar Hill is about 20 minutes southwest of downtown Dallas.

The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park is at 631 Somerset Dr., Cedar Hill; find more information on the website.

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Cool Dallas mid-century hotel off I-35 gets funding to become apartments

Hotel News

Developers of the historic Cabana Hotel, the distinctive mid-century Dallas lodging where the Beatles once stayed, received a $41 million go-ahead from the Dallas City Council to turn the building into apartments.

Cabana Sycamore Development Inc., a subsidiary of Sycamore Strategies, plans to transform it into a $116 million, 160-unit mixed-income apartment building.

Located at 899 Stemmons Fwy., the Cabana was built in 1962 by Las Vegas entrepreneur Jay Sarno, who several years later developed Caesars Palace hotel and the Circus Circus in Las Vegas. The Beatles stayed there on their 1964 U.S. tour, reportedly followed by other British acts including the Who, Led Zeppelin along with President Richard Nixon.

The hefty cash outlay, which will be paid through the Design District tax increment financing (TIF) district once the project is complete, is a marked increase from a $15.5 million incentive that was approved in 2019, when building owner Centurion American Development Group sought to renovate the hotel and open it as luxury lodging once again.

A TIF allows cities to subsidize developers by refunding or diverting some of their taxes.

Centurion, who renovated the similar Statler Dallas in downtown Dallas, had gone so far as to gut the building, but after four years of inaction, put it up for sale; Sycamore Strategies' lead Zachary Krochtengel put it on contract in May.

The project had few dissenters at the Dallas City Council's September 27 meeting other than former city council member Ed Oakley who was in office in the early 2000s when the Design District TIF was first created.

Oakley noted that, with the $116 million price tag, each unit will cost $725,000, and reminded the council that the current TIF board voted against it on September 11, objecting to its "higher than typical costs."

But council member Omar Narvaez said the building is needed in part to introduce housing for those working within the Design District.

“There is no workforce housing in this area and that’s something we have all committed to fixing,” Narvaez said. “This is the mixing of income levels and brackets that we have talked about.”

Okla. favorite Hideaway Pizza tiptoes into Texas with first shop in Plano

Pizza News

A new pizza purveyor is coming to Texas where it will bravely enter the Dallas-Fort Worth market: Hideaway Pizza an Oklahoma-based chain serving pizza, craft beer, and cocktails, is making its DFW debut with a location in Plano, at 5410 SH-121.

According to a spokesperson, the restaurant will open in mid-October.

Based in Tulsa, Hideaway was founded in 1957 by Richard "The Big Kahuna" Dermer and his wife Marti in 1957 near the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. They became known for making deliveries via a fleet of Volkswagen Beetles.

In 2006, the company was purchased by Brett Murphy and Darren Lister who've successfully retained the anti-chain irreverent spirit and laid-back atmosphere, with employees wearing tie-dye shirts. Their help-wanted ad, for example, says, "We're looking for Weirdoughs and Fungi's to join our team!"

There are now 23 locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas, and they recently made a list of the "10 Established Casual-Dining Restaurant Chains Consumers Love" by Nation's Restaurant News.

Expanding to North Texas made sense because the area has many OSU alumni as well as Oklahoma transpants. The owners also observed that many pizza concepts have moved to to-go only.

"The pizza casual dining space has been vacated by competitors chasing delivery and quick dining," Murphy said in a December 2022 interview. "Hideaway offers premium pizza and a fantastic dine-in experience you can’t find anywhere else."

For pizza, they have two crust options: thin and hand-tossed, slightly thicker and puffier. There are also two alternative crusts: GF and cauliflower.

Signature pies include 17 options, from chicken Florentine with alfredo sauce to the Capone, with sausage, pepperoni, Genoa salami, bacon, red onion, black olives, garlic, and their "Parmesan-herb shake."

There are sandwiches, pastas, salads, meatballs, and garlic cheese bread. Their fried mushrooms are a big customer favorite, and beer is served in frosty cold mugs. Their Sweetza cookies dessert are big boys baked in a six-inch pizza pan and topped with vanilla ice cream. They also have a full bar.

Following Plano, they'll open a location in McKinney at 2101 N. Hardin Blvd. in early 2024, and have Fort Worth penciled in next.

Famed Seattle piroshky bakery makes stop in Dallas on Texas-wide tour

Meat Pie News

A Seattle bakery is coming to Dallas for a special pop-up: Piroshky Piroshky Bakery, which specializes in handmade piroshki, AKA Russian hand pies, will stop in Dallas on a national tour.

The bakery will be at Outfit Brewing, 135 John W. Carpenter Fwy, on October 5 from 5-7 pm, with luscious offerings, both savory and sweet.

Piroshkis are small pies of Russian origin, made from an enriched yeast dough, with savory fillings like meat, vegetables, or cheese, the most traditional being meat and rice or potato and onion.

Piroshky Piroshky Bakery was founded in Seattle in 1992, and offer their pastries in all sorts of delectable fillings: from beef & cheese to cabbage & onion to vegan-friendly mushroom & potato. They make authentic pastries, as well.

Their piroshky are individually made from scratch and hand-formed into unique shapes that help differentiate the flavors and fillings inside.

The company has five locations across Seattle, and also sells their products online. Their original location at Seattle's Pike Place Market serves more than 20 varieties.

But they also make annual tours, just like a rock band, to bring their goods to towns across the U.S. They last came through Dallas in November 2022.

The tour features options such as:

  • Smoked salmon pate piroshky
  • Beef & onion piroshy
  • Impossible beef & onion piroshky
  • Ham, spinach, & cheese piroshky
  • Potato & cheese piroshky
  • Veggie chipotle piroshky
  • Chocolate cream hazelnut roll
  • Cinnamon cardamom braid
  • Pumpkin toffee braid
  • Caraway cheddar cheese stick
  • Poppyseed cinnamon roll

The full menu is online, and pre-ordering is required. The cutoff order date for Dallas is October 3 at 4 pm. There's a minimum of $50; individual items run between $5.25 to $7.25.

In addition to Dallas, they're also making three other stops in Texas:

  • Fort Worth at Martin House Brewing, 220 S Sylvania Ave. on October 4, from 5-7 pm. You must order by October 2; pre-order here.
  • Austin at Twin Creeks Park, 2303 Dervingham Drive, Cedar Park, on October 6, from 5-7 pm; pre-order here.
  • Houston at Elks Lodge, 10150 W Airport Blvd, Stafford, on October 7, from 5-7 pm; pre-order here.