Photo courtesy of Beyoncé

The third weekend in September means a lot of things around Dallas, including the official start of fall, the beginning of Halloween events, and the one-week countdown to the State Fair of Texas. But this year it also means visits from a music superstar, a couple of big comedians, a major LGBTQ event, a new production of a favorite musical, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, September 21

Beyonc\u00e9 Renaissance album cover
Photo courtesy of Beyoncé

Beyoncé will perform at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on September 21.

HEB | Central Market Plano Balloon Festival
The annual Plano Balloon Festival is a multi-day event that features balloon glows, skydivers, hot air balloons, concerts, fireworks, a huge kid’s fun zone, merchandise vendors, corporate exhibitors, and variety of foods. There will also be a half marathon, relay, 5K run/walk, and 1-mile Fun Run. The festival takes place daily through Sunday at Red Tail Pavilion.

Haunted houses/Halloween events
Halloween is over a month a way, but you can get in the spirit now by going to one of the handful of big haunted houses/Halloween events in the Dallas area. They include Pumpkin Nights at Howell Farms in Arlington, featuring over 5,000 hand-carved real and artificial pumpkins; Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Texasin Arlington, featuring seven different haunted houses, a variety of scare zones with zombies, witches, and more, and chilling rides in the dark; J&F House of Terror, featuring an indoor haunted house and an outdoor haunted maze; and Dark Hour Haunted Housein Plano, with a witch-themed storyline. All will take place through at least October 31.

Beyoncé in concert
It's taken a long time, but R&B/pop superstar Beyoncé has finally arrived in Arlington in one of the last stops on her Renaissance World Tour. The tour, which is in support of her 2022 album, Renaissance, has been met with rapturous reviews at every stop, featuring a variety of big special guests and the production value that only Queen Bey can deliver. If you're lucky enough to have a ticket, you can see her perform at AT&T Stadium.

Ilana Glazer Live!
Comedian llana Glazer co-created and co-starred in the critically acclaimed series Broad City. Since that series ended in 2019, she's debuted her first stand-up comedy special, The Planet Is Burning, on Amazon Prime, and put out a film, False Positive, on Hulu. She can most recently be seen in The Afterparty on Apple TV+. She'll perform at Majestic Theatre.

Friday, September 22

Unleashed LGBTQ
Unleashed LGBTQ is a first-of-its-kind conference and entertainment festival creating a space for brands, artists, and LGBTQ+ professionals to connect. The lineup will include some of the most prominent names in the LGBTQ+ community, including Antoni Porowski of Queer Eye, Dyllón Burnside and Indya Moore of Pose, Billy Eichner of Bros, former Penn State Rep. Brian Sims, and more. It takes place at Gilley's Dallas through Sunday. While not part of that event, another big name in the LGBTQ community, Chasten Buttigieg, will be in town signing copies of his new book at Oak Lawn Branch Library on Saturday.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Great American Songbook Selections"
Music Director Fabio Luisi makes his first appearance on the Pops Series with "Great American Songbook Selections," featuring influential American popular songs, jazz standards, and other pieces. Highlighted by soprano Karen Slack and tenor Issachah Savage, the concert will have three performances through Sunday at Meyerson Symphony Center.

The Mavericks in concert
For more than 30 years, The Mavericks have made their own way in the music industry, along the way becoming masters of country-Latin rock ’n’ roll. The band, born in the rich cultural mix of Miami, found their biggest success during their Nashville days in the 1990s, with hits like "O What a Thrill" and "Here Comes the Rain." Their most recent album was 2020's En Español. They'll play at Majestic Theatre.

TITAS/Dance Unbound presents MOMIX: Alice
Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, choreographer Moses Pendleton’s newest work explores Alice’s adventures with the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, and more. Having enchanted audiences for over 40 years, internationally renowned dance company MOMIX blends creativity and visual illusions to reveal nothing is as it seems. They'll perform three times through Saturday at Moody Performance Hall.

Saturday, September 23

Nasher Sculpture Center presents "Groundswell: Women of Land Art" opening day
For many years, art historical narratives of land art have been dominated by men. "Groundswell: Women of Land Art" intends to shift that focus to shed new light on the vast number of land works by women artists, whose careers ran parallel to their better-known male counterparts, yet have received less recognition and representation in museum presentations. The exhibition will be on display through January 7, 2024.

AT&T Performing Arts Center presents Latinidad Festival
The annual Latinidad Festival is a celebration of dance, music, food, local vendors, family crafts, art, and culture. The one-day event at Strauss Square on the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus will bring the color and diversity of Latin America while also supporting and spotlighting local businesses, organizations, and artists.

Bert Kreischer: Tops Off World Tour
Comedian Bert Kreischer’s career has evolved from earning Rolling Stone’s 1997 Number One Partier in the Nation, to one of the top grossing stand-up comics in the business. Shameless and shirtless as ever, Bert spills on bodily emissions, being bullied by his kids, and the explosive end to his family's escape room outing. He'll perform at American Airlines Center.

Jelly Roll in concert
Rap and country music aren't usually two things that go well together, but Jason DeFord (aka Jelly Roll) has been carving his own unique path. The prolific artist has released 18 albums in just 13 years, including four Waylon & Willie albums, on which he's collaborated with Struggle Jennings, Waylon's step-grandson. The recently-released Whitsitt Chapelis his biggest success to date, coming in at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. He'll play at Dos Equis Pavilion.

Dallas Theater Center presents The Rocky Horror Show
In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad and Janet discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.” The production runs through October 29 at Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts presents Manual Cinema: Frankenstein
Love, loss, and creation merge in unexpected ways as Manual Cinema presents its version of the classic Gothic tale, Frankenstein. The Chicago-based performance collective imaginatively combines shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, sound effects, and live music for a haunting show. The performance will be at Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson.

Sunday, September 24

Dallas Children's Theater presents Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
In the Zimbabwe-based Cinderella tale Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale, an African villager named Mufaro has two daughters whom everyone agrees are beautiful. Manyara possesses a bad temper and is self-centered, and Nyasha is kind and considerate to people and to animals. When Mufaro learns that the King is in the process of meeting all of the most worthy and beautiful women in order to choose a wife, he decides that both of his daughters should go. The production will have five performances through October 14 at Dallas Children's Theater.

Ann Wilson of Heart in concert
For over 40 years, Ann Wilson was best known as the lead singer of the rock band Heart. She and her sister, Nancy, crafted indelible hits like "Crazy on You," "Barracuda," "Alone," and more. Since 2016, though, both Ann and Nancy have been pursuing side projects, with Ann and her new band Tripsitter recording two albums, including the new Another Door, set for release on September 29. They'll play at Majestic Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Antoni Porowski

Unleashed LGBTQ

Unleashed LGBTQ is a first-of-its-kind conference and entertainment festival creating a space for brands, artists, and LGBTQ+ professionals to connect.

The official lineup will include some of the most prominent names in the LGBTQ+ community, who will be partaking in special panels, keynotes, workshops, screenings, performances, and engaging showcases throughout the weekend.

Headliners include Antoni Porowski of Queer Eye, Dyllón Burnside and Indya Moore of Pose, Billy Eichner of Bros, former Penn State Rep. Brian Sims, and more.

The three-day interactive event aims to bring the LGBTQ+ community together through thought-provoking conversations, endless entertainment, and educational workshops to celebrate the brilliance, innovation, and ground-breaking efforts taking place in the LGBTQ+ world.

Additionally, there will be screenings of new LGBTQ+ content from streaming services, movie studios, and television networks.

Photo courtesy of Prime Video

High society sons engage in international romance in Red, White & Royal Blue

Movie Review

The progression of LGBTQ+ romantic comedies in mainstream movies has been relatively slow in the long history of the medium, but once the dam broke a few years ago, the pace has quickened considerably. Films like Love, Simon and Happiest Season set the stage for films like Fire Island and Bros to go even further, and now Red, White & Royal Blue has delivered perhaps the biggest punch to date.

The setup for the film reads just like any number of cheesy Lifetime movies: Prince Henry of England (Nicholas Galitzine) and Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez), the son of U.S. President Ellen Claremont (Uma Thurman), cause a bit of an international incident when they cause the cake to fall at a royal wedding. Already at odds with each other, they are forced to do a series of public relations sessions together, soon discovering that their feelings for each other are changing.

Of course, a romance between two high-profile people like them is not easy to pull off, especially for Henry given the notoriously conservative nature of the royal family. The two attempt to keep a relationship going by pretending to be good friends, but as any rom-com fan knows, it’s only a matter of time before their subterfuge is revealed…

Directed by Matthew López and written by López and Ted Malawer, the film is pure fantasy in all the best ways. The setup phase is worthy of the biggest eye rolls, but once they get past that, the story only continues to get better. Sure, you have to just go with the idea of a prince and the son of a president being able to avoid public attention, but the goofiness of pairing two people of high social status soon gives way to a great examination of the cost of the relationship for both of them. The relationship itself is treated with dignity, respect, and fun.

This is especially true in the case of Henry and Alex’s more intimate moments. Just as in Bros, there is no hesitation at letting the two men engage in multiple make-out sessions and actual sex scenes that, while not graphic, intimate certain acts with no ambiguity. There is also dialogue with sexual innuendo that makes the film even funnier than it already was.

The film also does a decent job including the secondary story of Ellen Claremont, a Democrat from Texas, running for re-election and having Alex run point on trying to get Texas to flip from red to blue. The implausibility of a female Democrat from Texas becoming president in this day and age, and of her flipping Texas, places the film firmly in the realm of make-believe, but, much like The American President or Dave, they sell it well in the film.

Both Galitzine and Perez are cast extremely well, with Galitzine perfectly embodying the upper crust nature of British royalty and Perez giving off a great cocky American vibe. Most importantly, they have real chemistry, which does more than anything else to make the film work. Thurman is hit-and-miss with her Texas accent, but she’s otherwise solid. Other standouts include Sarah Shahi, Rachel Hilson, and Clifton Collins.

Red, White & Royal Blue breaks out from an early rut to become a charming, interesting, and utterly romantic movie. It plays all the rom-com hits and plays them well, adding in the spice of social commentary to complete the idea of how normal a coupling like this should be to the world.


Red, White & Royal Blue is now streaming on Prime Video.

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine in Red, White & Royal Blue

Photo courtesy of Prime Video

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine in Red, White & Royal Blue

Courtesy photo

Here are all the ways to celebrate your Pride in Dallas-Fort Worth

Have Some Pride

The month of June is designated as Pride Month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and various groups and businesses around Dallas-Fort Worth are showing their support in a multitude of ways.

Here's our list of the best ways we've found for members of community and allies to participate in Pride Month in style. We start with the festivities that are running June 3-4, followed by other celebrations that will occur all month long.

Dallas Pride Weekend
June 3-4: Start the month off right at the biggest official celebration taking place at Fair Park. This annual event, which used to be in the Oak Lawn area before moving to Fair Park in 2019, includes a music festival featuring headliner Allison Ponthier on Saturday; the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday; plus other activities celebrating the LGBTQ community.

Pride Day at Reunion Tower
June 3-4: The little ball in the downtown Dallas sky is celebrating Pride month, too. It'll kick off on June 3 with a splendid rainbow flag show that'll run all weekend long, and will continue to pop up during the month with dynamic rainbow displays on most Fridays and Sundays in June.

"Party with the Queens” Pride Brunch at El Chingon
June 3, 2-4 pm: El Chingon, Fort Worth’s “Bad Ass Mexican” restaurant, will host an exclusive “Pride Brunch” as part of its recurring “Party with the Queens” series. The brunch will feature live drag performances, mimosa specials, and more.

Pride Pool Party at Adolphus Hotel
June 3, 7 am-11 pm: Pool Adolphus at Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas will host an all-day Pride Pool Party, featuring colorful cocktail specials, rainbow Jell-O shooters, and a local DJ.

Lakewood Brewing Co. presents Pride Vendor Fair + Yas Queen! ReleasePride Vendor Fair + Yas Queen! Release
June 3, 12-4 pm: Lakewood Brewing Co. will host a party at its taproom with Wandering Roots Markets celebrating the release of Yas Queen, a taproom-exclusive Raspberry Wheat ale. There will also be Pride Vendor Fair featuring local artists and vendors, as well as on-site flash tattoos.

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum presents “Voices of LGBTQ+ Dallas”
June 7, 7 pm. The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is hosting “Voices of LGBTQ+ Dallas,” a special exhibition program for Pride Month highlighting trailblazers in the Dallas area LGBTQ+ community. The program featuring speakers such as Chris Luna and Naomi Green is already sold out, but the Museum’s current special exhibition, Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, is on display through June 18.

Arttitude presents OutLoud: A Night of Pride
June 8, 6 pm: OutLoud: A Night of Pride is an inclusive event where artists and performers can fearlessly share their stories and experiences. The event will include poetry, burlesque, and a music performance by special guest Gina Chavez. At the Latino Cultural Center.

Dallas Wings Pride Night
June 9, 7 pm: Pride Night for the Dallas Wings of the WNBA. They'll be taking on the Phoenix Mercury, who feature Brittney Griner as their star player. All attendees at College Park Center in Arlington will receive a special rally towel for the occasion.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden presents Pride in Bloom
June 10-11: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will highlight Pride Month with its second Pride in Bloom celebration, featuring a full weekend of LGBTQ+ artisans, entertainers, chefs, and small businesses. Visitors can shop items at the vendor market, pack or purchase a picnic, listen to live entertainment, and enjoy Gary Lee Price’s Great Contributors’ bronze exhibition. Admission to the Children’s Adventure Garden will also be free.

Dallas Arts District presents Pride Block Party
June 16, 6 pm: The Pride Block Party in the Dallas Arts District features a variety of activities at the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and Crow Museum of Asian Art, and throughout the district. Activities include gallery tours, drag performers, comedy, dancing, and a fashion show.

Dallas Comedy Club presents "Stand-Up for Hope"
June 17, 5 pm: Stand-Up for Hope is a stand-up comedy show featuring all-LGBTQ performers and benefiting Dallas Hope Charities, which helps provide food, shelter, and services that instill dignity, stability, and Hope For All. Hosted by Stefan Newman, host of Queer Factor, the event will feature performances by Kim Wadsworth,Kerry Day, Charlotte Parker, Lucia Hardaway, and Jamie Zeske.

Ride for Pride
June 24, 9 am: Ride for Pride is a four-mile bike ride down the Katy Trail and back, starting at Reverchon Recreation Center. There will also be Health and Safety fair from 10 am-2 pm.

Monthlong celebrations

Pride Month screenings at Rooftop Cinema Club
Rooftop Cinema Club on top of the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in downtown Fort Worth will screen a variety of films with LGBTQ+ themes or characters throughout the month of June, including Mamma Mia!, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Birdcage, Moulin Rouge!, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and The Devil Wears Prada.

Special Pride drink from Gong cha
Gong cha, which has seven stores in the DFW area, will donate a portion of every purchase of their special Lemon Ai Love Yu bubble tea to the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) in name of #Equalitea. The special Pride drink is a sweet and tart Lemon Ai Love Yu bubble tea with white pearls and (edible) glitter for some extra festive sparkle. The limited time promotion will run through June 30.

Luckys Pride Celebration
A Dallas institution off Oak Lawn Avenue for more than 35 years, Luckys has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ community. They'll celebrate Pride Month throughout June with a special commemorative T-shirt and a celebratory cocktail, the Pride ’Rita, featuring El Jimador Blanco tequila blended with Chambord, lime juice, and agave nectar.

Electric Shuffle Pride Brunches
Every Sunday in June starting at 12 pm, Electric Shuffle in Deep Ellum will host a Drag Brunch and donate 10 percent of those brunch sales to DIFFA. There will be big-name performers, a Drag Race Royalty special guest, high-tech shuffleboard, live DJs, and more. Additionally, $1 of each purchase of their new summer cocktail, the Prickly Pear Margarita, will be donated to DIFFA.

Equality Texas/Facebook

Equality Texas Foundation

Equality Texas Foundation< div> WEBSITE >

The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.


Donate here and volunteer here. You can also pledge to fight back against hate crimes, new laws that grant a license to discriminate, efforts to undermine marriage equality, and blocking access to healthcare here.

Resource Center Dallas/Facebook

Resource Center

Resource Center< div> WEBSITE >

The mission of the Resource Center is to be a trusted leader that empowers the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) communities and all people affected by HIV through improving health and wellness, strengthening families and communities, and providing transformative education and advocacy.


More than 1,100 community members each year donate their time and talents to the Resource Center, which offers a variety of opportunities for getting inolved, from serving meals to answering phones, stocking shelves, and helping at fundraising events. Volunteers enable the center to provide superior service to the community.


Resource Center created the Young Professional Advisory Council in 2013 to support the Center's Youth First program. The Young Professionals Advisory Council is a unique giving circle for young professionals (45 and under) who are passionate about providing opportunities for life skills, leadership development, peer support, and educational advancement to LGBTQ youth in the Dallas area. You can become a member of the Young Professional Advisory Council here


Each year, the Resource Center hosts the Toast To Life gala, an annual evening featuring a lively theme that help raise money for the Resource Center and its services. Since its inception in 1999, Toast To Life has raised over $4 million to support its mission.

Gay Bingo has also provided unique and fun-filled entertainment since 2001. Conducted at S4, Gay Bingo combines drag and comedy, with all funds raised directly benefitting the programs and services of the center. 

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Storied steakhouse in Rockwall to re-open following reverential redo

Steak News

An old-school steakhouse is getting a revival: Culpepper Cattle Co., formerly known as Culpepper Steakhouse, will open in Rockwall at 309 I-30 Frontage Rd. and soon: September 29.

According to a release, this will be the restaurant's third iteration, executed by UNCO (HG Sply Co., Leela’s Wine Bar) as a passion project from UNCO co-CEO Elias Pope, who ate there when he was young and says he couldn’t bear to see it close.

The original Culpepper Steakhouse opened by Michael “Dobber” Stephenson in 1982, and was purchased a decade later by Bob L. Clements who managed it for the next 30 years.

"Culpepper Cattle Co. will still have the essence of what was already magical about the place - the airplane embedded in the wall, the museum-style animals, the river rock lodge inspired fireplaces and columns throughout," says Pope in a statement. "It’s more than just a restaurant; this place is a tribute to timeless memories, authentic flavors, and the true spirit of Texas."

The menu by consulting chef Danyele McPherson will have Tex-Mex, prime steaks, and home cooking including Fried Green Tomatoes, Crab Stack with tortilla chips, and Nachos with choices of bean & cheese, chicken or steak.

Steaks include sirloin, ribeye, and a petit filet with fried lobster and mashed potatoes. Oher entrees include BBQ chicken, Cajun fried shrimp tacos, and chicken with jalapeño-cheddar sausage and mashed potatoes.

The bar will feature margaritas in many options such as the signature Muchacho Grande with Arette blanco, cointreau, citrus, and orange juice. There'll also be martinis and hurricanes, and a locker program with special perks.

Decor includes amber chandeliers, white stucco walls, authentic Mexican blankets, and 12 “marker plaques” around the restaurant to give people a chance to explore like they’re at a museum.

The 11,000-square-foot dining room seats 420 while a 20,000-square-foot patio seats another 450. Three bars include “The Beatle Bar” with a circular bar said to have originated from The Beatles’ local Cavern Club in Liverpool.

They'll be open for dinner Monday-Friday and brunch, lunch, and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays.

A Bennigan's-inspired list of all the Monte Cristo sandwiches in Dallas

Sandwich News

In the world of sandwiches, the name Bennigan's brings to mind one thing: their world-famous Monte Cristo. Many fans were thusly elated back in February 2023, when the chain revealed that the sandwiches could be ordered through its Bennigan's On The Fly ghost kitchen concept.

The sandwich — featuring wheat bread layered with ham, turkey, Swiss & American cheeses, battered and fried, and served with a side of preserves (most often raspberry but often lingonberry) — boasts a collision of sweet, savory, and cheesy that seems to satisfy a craving shared by many.

But Bennigan's is not the only Monte Cristo in town. There are all sorts of Bennigan's knockoffs as well as Monte Cristos that have become classics in their own right. Whether it's the influence of Bennigan's or not, the Monte Cristo is kind of having a moment. The State Fair even has one for 2023.

Here’s a comprehensive list of other places to get a Monte Cristo in DFW. Note: This list does not include any of the various Croque Monsieurs and Croque Madames found around town at places like Toulouse, La Madeleine, Mixtitos and more.

BoomerJack's Monte CristoBoomerJack's Monte Cristo - said by many to be the closest to Bennigan's.BoomerJack's

BoomerJack’s Bar and Grill: Monte Cristo sandwich, $13
Sports bar chain with 17 locations across Dallas-Fort Worth, with wings, burgers, drink deals, and wall-to-wall TVs.

This Monte Cristo is said by many to be strikingly similar to the Bennigan’s classic: Deep fried with Swiss and American cheese, it's served on Wheatberry bread (a nutty, chewy, slightly sweet whole grain bread), with powdered sugar and preserves. It's a valiant effort to recreate the Bennigan’s classic, but sticklers should note that they quarter their sandwich, instead of halving it like Bennigan’s.

Armoury D.E.: Benny Houdini, $15
Low-lit exposed-brick Deep Ellum bar serves craft cocktails, Hungarian goulash, traditional Hungarian fried flatbread, and fried meatballs.

Chef spin on the Monte Cristo has house-smoked turkey, ham, Swiss and cheddar cheese, but also Hungarian bacon, which is pork fat that has either been salt or smoke-preserved (Armoury’s is smoked). The whole thing is fried in funnel cake batter and served with lingonberry sauce for a sweet and highly comforting sandwich. Perhaps the best part is that the kitchen is open until 1:45 am every day – night owls rejoice!

Crafty irishman Monte CristoMonte Cristo sandwich at Crafty Irishman.Crafty Irishman

Crafty Irishman Public House: Monte Cristo sandwich, $17
Downtown Dallas pub owned by a Dublin native features Irish whiskeys, scotch, and bourbon, plus burgers, wings, and Irish classics: Scotch eggs, Irish bread pudding, and a traditional Irish breakfast with bangers and black & white pudding.

Unsurprisingly, you'll find some Irish touches on this Monte Cristo: There's smoked turkey, ham, Wexford cheddar, and Swiss, on sourdough bread. It's dipped in beer-batter, giving the outer shell an extra-satisfying texture and golden-brown hue. Dusted with powdered sugar, with raspberry preserves. Pair with a nice Guinness for the ultimate experience.

Note: The same basic sandwich is served at Crafty Irishman's siblings: Cannon’s Corner Irish Pub in Oak Cliff, or the new Patrick Kennedy's Irish Pub downtown, or The Playwright Irish Pub in Dallas' Arts district where it's only $12.50.

The Biscuit Bar: Monte Cristo, $8.80
Fast casual DFW chain serving – you guessed it – biscuits has six DFW locations from Deep Ellum to Fort Worth, with biscuit sandwiches, tater tots, salads, and cocktails. Two locations (Deep Ellum and Arlington) serve coffee from DFW chain Ascension Coffee.

At $8.80, TBB’s Monte Cristo is a bargain and is also the sweetest on the list. You’ll find the usual smoked turkey + ham + Monterey jack cheese, but done biscuit-style, with their twist of French toast: biscuit halves dunked and pan fried in vanilla custard. Served with strawberry preserves, some liken this sandwich to the Bennigan’s classic, while others conclude that it’s just too sweet.

Ida Claire Monte CristoIda Claire Monte Cristo definitely has the drippy cheese factor covered.Ida Claire

Ida Claire: Monte Cristo, $15.50
Part of the Whiskey Cake Holdings group (Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, Sixty Vines), Ida Claire specializes in Southern dishes like shrimp & grits and fried green tomatoes.

Ida Claire’s Monte Cristo is one of the more savory options and does some surprising variations on the classic recipe. Southern country ham and peppered bacon with aged white cheddar are served on thick brioche French toast, and grilled, not deep fried. While still dusted with powdered sugar, the house-made apple jam is more peppery and savory than the typical berry preserves.

Vickery Cafe: Breakfast Monte Cristo, $13
Retro-style diner near TCU in Fort Worth serves morning staples like Texas-shaped Belgian waffles and a five-meat omelet. Make sure you come hungry (or at least hungover).

Similar to Ida Claire, this Monte Cristo comes on brioche French toast and swaps out the more common turkey for bacon. Ham, Swiss cheese, and fried eggs finish it off and it’s topped with powdered sugar and cut into quarters. It’s served with chipotle raspberry jam for an extra kick, and includes one side, which most popularly seems to be hashbrowns – what a dream!

Cheddar's Monte CristoCheddar's Monte Cristo: almost as tall as it is wide.Cheddar's

Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen: Monte Cristo, $15.95
Irving-based chain with more than 90 locations including seven in the DFW area is noted for homey dishes like chicken pot pie.

The Monte Cristo served by Cheddar's is a love-it-or-hate-it deal with fans and detractors debating its merits. It's a strange bird, distinctive for its bulky shape, with its smoked ham, turkey, and two cheeses stacked high but not wide. They promise it's "hand-battered," then deep-fried, served with the standard raspberry preserves and powdered sugar.

Vida Cafe Monte CristoVida Cafe's vegan version of a Monte Cristo sandwich.Vida Cafe

Vida Cafe: Monte Cristo Panini, $15
Vegan Italian spinoff of Belenty’s Love Mexican Vegan Restaurant features pastas, minestrone, and Italian staples, plus baked goods and brunch.

Fort Worth restaurant does a vegan rendition of the Monte Cristo with vegan ham they say they make themselves, and vegan cheese similar to the Chao label; they won't say what brand name they're using but it has the same melty consistency as Chao. It's served on French toast, stacked tall at three slices, and has a touch of heat. Powdered sugar and agave syrup.

State Fair of Texas Monte CristoState Fair of Texas is getting in on the Monte Cristo action.SFOT

State Fair of Texas: Fried Monte Qristo
In recent years, the annual State Fair of Texas has transformed its food program into a moderately trendy event and right on cue, it'll make its 2023 debut on September 29 with a Monte Cristo as one of its 40-plus new options.

Their Texas BBQ spin on the sandwich is served up by Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ and comes layered with brisket, American cheese, smoked turkey, and Swiss, fried, powdered sugar, and raspberry chipotle BBQ sauce.

Ol' South Pancake House: Big Tex Cristo $9.99
Beloved Fort Worth restaurant with diner food and low prices is a favorite for all walks of life.

Speaking of the State Fair, that's the inspiration for Ol' South's entry into the Monte Cristo field. Called the Big Tex Cristo (and hats off to them since the SFOT is quite litigious about its various trademarks), it's a triple decker sandwich with turkey, Swiss, American, and mayo, and their special touch: Dipped in their buttermilk batter, for a springy, pancakey outer shell. Powdered sugar and lingonberry preserves.

Snooze an A.M. Eatery: Monte Cristo Brioche Toast $15.25
Buzzy, boozy breakfast-and-brunch chain from Denver with six locations in the DFW area.

Just announced for fall '23 is Snooze's Monte Cristo Brioche Toast: like a deconstructed version featuring French toast dipped brioche smeared with raspberry pepper jam, with Havarti and Gruyere cheeses, shaved ham, sunny-side egg, prosciutto, with a side of raspberry pepper jam and a salad. On this list because it's trendy.

Seven Mile Cafe: Monte Cristo sandwich $18.50
Small locally owned funky-upscale chain from Denton specializes in bodacious breakfast and brunch, and is a particular favorite among vegetarians and vegans.

Seven Mile recently added a Monte Cristo to the menu, and it's a creative and decadent rendition. Brioche bread gets stuffed with Canadian bacon, turkey, and smoked Gouda cheese; then dipped in their French toast batter, fried, a dust of powdered sugar. They serve it with blackberry coulis, vanilla Anglaise, and a fruit cup.

Dallas' Crow Museum of Asian Art names new curator ahead of second outpost opening

arts news

The Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas has found its new curator. Natalia Di Pietrantonio, Ph.D., hails from the Seattle Art Museum and was selected after a nationwide search.

There, she served as inaugural curator of South Asian art, caring for the museum's South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Islamic art collections while also serving as an affiliate art history faculty member at the University of Washington.

Di Pietrantonio arrives just as the Crow Museum is preparing to debut a second museum next fall.

Designed by global architecture firm Morphosis, the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Athenaeum is being constructed as part of a 12-acre cultural district on the UT Dallas campus.

Over the next year, the 38-year-old curator will work closely with architects, interior designers, academic faculty, and museum staff to select the artworks that will be on view when the new museum opens its doors. She will also guide the 10,000 square feet of gallery space at the original Crow Museum, which was founded in 1998 and is in the downtown Dallas Arts District.

In addition, Di Pietrantonio will serve as a faculty member in the arts department at UT Dallas.

“Natalia brings a wonderful vision, a fresh and energetic perspective, and a proven track record in elevating Asian American art and culture in compelling ways,” says Amy Lewis Hofland, senior director of the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas. “With her background in South Asian and Islamic art, she also will help build the Crow Museum of Asian Art collection, strengthening it to better reflect the growing diversity of our region.”

A first-generation Mexican American whose first language was Spanish, a release says that "Di Pietrantonio brings over 10 years of professional and academic experience, ranging from highly lauded museum exhibitions and university cultural events to innovative collaborations and unique community outreach experiences."

From 2014-15, she served as a Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow for the Islamic department at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. She is multilingual and speaks Spanish, Persian, Urdu and English.

At the Seattle Art Museum, she harnessed her expertise of modern and contemporary art to curate two diverse exhibitions: "Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time" (January 2022), which focused on the body and female representations in South Asia; and "Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water" (March 2022), which addressed climate change and water access.

During her tenure at the Seattle Art Museum, she grew their South Asian collection by 25 percent. She also was the lead curator on the mid-career retrospective of the performance artist Anida Y. Ali that debuts in January 2024.

Recognizing that North Texas has one of the fastest-growing Asian American populations in Texas, Di Pietrantonio is excited to pursue exhibitions and programs that are topical both locally and globally to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. She also intends to bring performance art into the cultural mix at the Crow Museum.

"As the Crow Museum embarks on a new era with a second museum on the horizon, I am honored to be part of its storied history known for dynamic and innovative exhibitions and programs,” says Di Pietrantonio. “My first major goal is to learn more about the North Texas region — from UT Dallas students and museum supporters to neighborhood organizations and our increasingly diverse populations — so I can help align and tailor the museum programs for its communities.”

In 2018, Di Pietrantonio completed her Ph.D. in the history of art at Cornell University, studying under the contemporary artist Iftikhar Dadi with a focus on calligraphy and book arts. Prior to that time, she received a master’s degree in South Asian studies from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of California, Davis. It was during her years at UC Davis that a dynamic professor introduced her to Islamic art and ignited her interest.