Photo by Bruno

Dallas young professionals pride themselves on giving, and regardless of their passions, they can find a group that shares them. Although these budding philanthropists get together often, these seven fall events are must-attends for any young mover and shaker on the Dallas social scene.

Silent Disco, September 11
We’ve explained how this event got its name, and here is why you shouldn’t miss it. Henderson Avenue hot spot Candleroom comes to life when the Young Friends of Wilkinson Center enjoy cocktails, music, and fun until the wee hours of the morning. The event features six DJs, and if you haven’t experienced a silent disco, regardless of the cause, now is the time.

The Night in White, September 11
The One Society supports Children’s Medical Center, and this year the group is taking its signature fundraising event to the D.E.C. on Dragon Street. Expect food and drink and exciting silent auction and raffle items. Be prepared to dance the night away, thanks to Latin House Krew, and don’t even think about showing up in anything other than white.

Director’s Cut, September 19
Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell L. Anderson and his wife, Jacqueline, along with co-chairs Rachel and Michael Osburn, are hosting this one-time-only event in lieu of An Affair of the Art. It’s expected to include a special announcement by Anderson revealing the future direction of the Junior Associates’ annual fundraising initiatives. The location of the event is released only after ticket purchase, and it benefits the DMA’s teen education programs.

CultureMap Social: Innovation Edition, September 30
It’s a good thing our events speak for themselves, because details for this one are still under wraps. That said, you can always count on some new party tricks. Stay tuned for the big reveal on Wednesday, September 9. In the meantime, pencil in this young professional happy hour, which is going down at 129 Leslie in the Dallas Design District.

BubblyQ, October 22
There are few things better than an evening under the stars filled with endless champagne, oodles of food from Dallas’ best restaurants, and a stacked silent auction. This event, hosted by Young Texans Against Cancer, always draws a big crowd to Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. In 2014, YTAC raised $175,000 for Dallas-area cancer initiatives, and this year’s co-hairs, Sarah Groves and Katherine Vanlandingham, hope to make this year an even bigger success.

Milestones Luncheon, November 12
Each year, the Junior League of Dallas reels in an impressive speaker for this prestigious luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. In 2014, the ladies welcomed former first lady Laura Bush. This year, JLD keeps it in the family with special guest Jenna Bush Hager. The luncheon, chaired by Hollee Hirzel and Nancy Gopez, also is a chance for the league to recognize its Sustainer of the Year.

Dallas Autumn Ball, November 13
This annual party attracts young professionals who are passionate about supporting Reading Partners, an organization that works with Title I elementary schools to support students who are reading six months to two-and-a-half years below grade level. This exciting event at Hotel ZaZa features a top-shelf open bar, delicious bites, and the Emerald City Band.

BubblyQ 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.

Cameron Mug, Stephanie Murg, Paul Lee, Laura Lee
Photo by Bruno
BubblyQ 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.
Photo by Ren Morrison

Dallas young professionals take fundraising to new heights at first Flight gala

YP Charity Scene

What: Flight YPO inaugural gala

Where: Hall of State at Fair Park

The 411: Flight YPO,the young professionals group that supports Vogel Alcove, held its first fundraising gala at Hall of State in Fair Park. The sold-out event included dinner, dancing, and a raffle for such prizes as Jordan Spieth-signed memorabilia and an all-inclusive trip to Jamaica. The organization also handed out awards to Josh Webb, Flight YPO member of the year, and Lauren Halsey, board member of the year. The event raised more than $50,000, which aids Vogel Alcove in its mission to provide free, quality early childhood development services for Dallas’ youngest victims of poverty: homeless children from six weeks to 12 years old.

Who: John Gillis, Kathrine Brody, Anna Heald, Sarah and Ben Cornwell, Brian Allen, Evan Carter and Jonathan Richter.

John Gillis, Kathrine Brody, Anna Heald, Ben Cornwell, Sarah Cornwell, Brian Allen, Evan Carter, Jonathan Richter

John Gillis, Kathrine Brody, Anna Heald, Ben Cornwell, Sarah Cornwell, Brian Allen, Evan Carter, Jonathan Richter
Photo by Ren Morrison
John Gillis, Kathrine Brody, Anna Heald, Ben Cornwell, Sarah Cornwell, Brian Allen, Evan Carter, Jonathan Richter
Photo by Jason Voinov

Pretty young professionals give serious thought to Dallas derby fun

YPs in Action

What: Fifth annual Think Ahead Group (TAG) derby party

Where: Empire Room

The 411: For the fifth annual rendition of this TAG favorite, these young professionals eschewed typical derby-watching venues and instead welcomed supporters to the Empire Room in the Dallas Design District. Upon arrival, partygoers were greeted by a beautiful horse, so naturally they took pictures with their new four-legged friend before procuring the requisite mint juleps. Once the 141st Kentucky Derby had come and gone, the group danced away the afternoon to music by Petty Theft and strolled through the silent auction to bid on coveted items up for grabs. Since its inception as a young professionals group in 2009, TAG has raised more than $360,000 in support of Center for BrainHealth research.

Who: Julie Fratantoni, Justin Powell, Stephen Richman, Maggie Flagg, Courtney O’Callaghan, Stephen Stark, Samantha Olguin, Lakan Foster, Katherine White-Spunner, Taylor Brown, Kristen Carter, Andrew Matt, Kendal Kramer and John Jackson.

Anna Watkins, Helen Callan, Lucy Durbin, Kate Seale

Anna Watkins, Helen Callan, Lucy Durbin, Kate Seale, TAG Derby
Photo by Jason Voinov
Anna Watkins, Helen Callan, Lucy Durbin, Kate Seale
Photo by Clark Cabus

Dallas young professionals get lucky at their dearest derby party

Day at the Races

Derby day in Dallas means one thing for young professionals: parties, parties and more parties. And Lee Park Junior Conservancy exceeded all expectations during its seventh annual Day at the Races — themed, appropriately, “Lucky Number 7.”

Harry, the official Day at the Races horse, was there to greet charitable YPs upon arrival at Lee Park. And while attendees sipped mint juleps and champagne, Good Morning TexasJane McGarry and Lee Park patron Judy Pittman scanned the crowd of seersucker suits and larger-than-life hats, looking for best-dressed contenders.

Before the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” hungry attendees filled up at the build-your-own biscuit bar and gathered around the television to cheer on their picks. Guests — including Carmaleta Whiteley, Allison MacNealy, Jason Treu, Linda Snorina, Michelle and Chris Cummings, Scott Turner, Dean Driver, Blake Eltis, Aaron Carroll, Lori Lesniewski, Carey Barnes, John Willding, Sue Krider, and Laura Sparkman — were momentarily transported to Kentucky thanks to the elegant derby decor designed specifically for the event by Todd Events and Sandone Productions.

Once American Pharoah ran away with this year’s title, guests celebrated the victory with entertainment by Jordan Kahn Music Company and hand-rolled cigars.

Proceeds benefited the Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy, which helps to renovate, conserve and further develop the park so that Dallasites can continue to see it for the scenic, urban green gem that it is.

Micah Baker, Elizabeth Bautista, Kira Valentino

Micah Baker, Elizabeth Bautista, Kira Valentino
Photo by Clark Cabus
Micah Baker, Elizabeth Bautista, Kira Valentino
Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas

Young Dallas partiers get their fundraising on with help from Reckless Kelly

YP Power

When word gets out that the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas Young Friends are throwing a party, the young professional scene buzzes with excitement. And for good reason: This group has a track record of bringing in hot entertainment, great food and amazing auction items to help support this worthy cause.

This year was no exception, as hundreds of charitable YPs descended on The Foundry for a casual, cool concert featuring beloved Texas country crooners Reckless Kelly. Although this fundraiser has traditionally been a Friday night cocktail party and silent auction, current president Jenny Harris says the organization decided to blaze a new trail.

“We wanted to make sure we were keeping things fresh and fun, so this year we decided to shake things up and put on our dancing boots. Once Reckless Kelly was on board, we knew a laid-back Thursday night concert was the way to go.”

Event chairs Lizzie Duplantis, Margretta Wikert and Katie Crow welcomed guests to the eclectic outdoor venue to first enjoy appetizers and drinks while making their way around the silent auction tables. The list of items was a mile long, but our favorites included the Jackson Durham flowers-for-a-year prize and a trip to Vail. We may or may not have walked away with NorthPark Gold and valet passes. Oh the dangers of bidding while on assignment.

When it was time for Reckless Kelly to take the stage, partygoers grabbed a koozie of Texas beer and hit the dance floor for some toe tappin’ and two steppin’. Young Friends members went around to attendees — including Dan Harris, Julie Denham, Aida Reyna, Chris Talamantez, James Starcher, Stacy McElreath and Celeste Newton — to deliver cowboy hats, blinged-out glasses and other various party props.

The successful Foundry fête helped raise money and awareness to further Ronald McDonald House’s mission of meeting the needs of seriously ill children and their families.

Lizzie Duplantis, Margretta Wikert, Katie Crow

Lizzie Duplantis, Margretta Wikert, Katie Crow, RMHD Young Friends party
Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas
Lizzie Duplantis, Margretta Wikert, Katie Crow
Photo by Bruno

Real estate young guns bankroll Dallas shelter with fun casino party

YPs in Action

What: Real Estate Council Young Guns ninth annual Casino Night

Where: South Side on Lamar and Soda Bar at NYLO Dallas South Side

The 411: Young professionals on the Dallas commercial real estate scene put on their party shoes for the ninth annual Casino Night, an ’80s-themed evening with casino-style games, cocktails, raffle prizes and tunes from DJ Jason Esquire. But these guys played craps with purpose: to raise funds for this year’s Young Guns foundation project, Genesis Women’s Shelter. Their efforts will create a cleaner, more efficient and welcoming facility for hundreds of women and children victims of family violence — from fundamentals like electrical repair to enhancing the outdoor landscaping. The Real Estate Council Young Guns are commercial real estate professionals 35 and under who are driven by a common vision to develop relationships while promoting awareness and involvement in social, political and community issues that affect the city of Dallas.

Who:Megan Fortune, Liz Stutts, Lindsey Jamar, Ester Cox, Brad Barton, Brian Smith and Justin Goertz

Megan Fortune, Liz Stutts, Lindsey Jamar, Ester Cox

Megan Fortune, Liz Stutts, Lindsey Jamar, Ester Cox, REC Casino Night
Photo by Bruno
Megan Fortune, Liz Stutts, Lindsey Jamar, Ester Cox
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Revered Metropolitan Cafe in downtown Dallas will reopen with noted chef

Downtown News

A downtown Dallas restaurant is undertaking a revival: The Metropolitan Café, a breakfast-and-lunch spot at 2032 Main St. that closed in 2021 after 20 years, is being re-opened by former patron and fan Noemi Chiriac, with a new chef, redesigned interior, and menu featuring original dishes and new ones, too.

According to a release, the restaurant will open in late fall, and Chiriac will be assisted in her mission by chef Randall Braud, who was previously at Barcelona Wine Bar, where he earned a nomination in the 2021 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards for Rising Star Chef.

Braud has also worked at Dallas restaurants such as Mot Hai Ba and Bolsa Mercado, and previously did a Filipino pop-up that culled recipes from his own heritage.

Braud is creating a menu that weaves in original café classics plus artisan deli sandwiches; comforting, familiar dishes; and dishes that incorporate Noemi’s mother’s Romanian flare. She must be a fiery person.

Classic items staying on the menu include:

  • The Meeker Special - a croissant sandwich with egg, ham, cheese, tomato, cucumber, and scallions
  • The Denver Croissant - a croissant sandwich with egg, ham, cheese, green pepper, tomato, and onion
  • breakfast bagel sandwiches
  • panini
  • a daily special hot plate

"The Meeker Special is what kept me coming back to the original café," Chiriac says. "I love croissants, fresh cucumbers and scallions and this sandwich had all of that."

Chiriac first encountered The Metropolitan Café in the summer of 2021 while working as an engineer at Raytheon. On one visit in November 2021, she brought her mother and asked the owner if her mother could help cook. It was the cafe's last day, and Chiriac ended up buying it as a way to share some of her mother's one-of-a-kind Romanian dishes.

The 2,056 square foot space has been revamped with an art deco design playing homage to the time when it was built, in 1913.

The building was originally known as the Masonic Blue Lodge Temple until 1919 where it’s primarily remembered as The Western Union Telegraph Company building. This historic location is where both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby received telegrams. Ruby paid a visit to the Western Union just 5 minutes before shooting Oswald behind the building outside the Dallas courthouse.

The Metropolitan Café will pay tribute to both old and new Dallas giving customers a space to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and happy hour. The cafe will also be available to host private events and offer catering.

Spectacular new drive-thru Light Park will electrify Frisco for 2023 holidays

Merry & Bright

A dazzling new holiday lights experience is coming to Frisco, and the lights are switching on very soon.The Light Park, an immersive drive-thru attraction that claims to have "the longest light tunnel in the world," will debut at Riders Field on November 3 and run through January 1, 2024.

It'll be the second Light Park in Dallas-Fort Worth this season; the popular location at Hurricane Harbor in Arlington also will return on November 3. There are also Light Parks in the Texas cities of Selma, Katy, and Spring.

The Light Park is a described in a release as "a mile-long drive-thru spectacular" during which guests "witness millions of lights synchronized to an electric mix of music by DJ Polar Ice from the North Pole’s #1 Hit Radio station, K-GLO."

"Everyone (pets, too) can experience the magic of traveling through the longest holiday light tunnel in the world, rocking out to the coolest tunes, and kicking off the holiday season with the most Instagram Reel-worthy shots, for just one admission fee,” says Matt Johnson, co-creator of The Light Park, in the release.

That admission fee starts at $29 per vehicle (not per person). Tickets must be purchased online, in advance, with a reserved entry time. Admission varies per showtime (weekdays and weekends).

Although DFW has some longtime favorite drive-thru light experiences (such as Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie and and Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway), they became a hot trend during the "socially distanced" holiday season of 2020. Visitors to The Light Park must stay in their cars the entire time while visiting the park and while on the park property, organizers say. Guests are encouraged to bring their snacks to enjoy while in their cars or can pre-purchase some snacks and souvenirs.

The Light Park will be at Riders Field, 7300 Rough Riders Tr., Frisco. Hours will be: 5:30-10 pm (weekdays), and 5:30-11 (weekends and Christmas week).

More information and early-bird tickets are available on the website.

Where to play pickleball in Dallas-Fort Worth

Pickle Mania

In case you missed it, pickleball is big news in Texas. Rockwall hosted a televised tournament this summer and the national championships, scheduled for November, are now located in Farmers Branch. You can even rent people's private pickleball courts by the hour.

If you have yet to get on the court — or are looking for a spot to share your obsession with friends on a night out — here's a quick list of places to play in Dallas-Fort Worth:

Food and fun

Chicken N Pickle
Really amp up the social aspect of the sport with this hybrid, a chef-driven restaurant, multiple bars, lawn games, and several courts. Grapevine and Grand Prairie already have locations, with one planned for Allen next fall.

Courtside Kitchen
The first in Fort Worth, its motto is "carpe drink 'em." You can purchase a membership for priority court booking, or just kick back with some apps and watch others at play — especially during happy hour.

Fieldhouse USA
Find a little bit of everything here indoors in Frisco, including open play pickleball Monday through Friday with a $5 pass.

At Fault
Technically it doesn't open until the spring, but make a mental note now for this "elevated" indoor-outdoor facility that will boast 40,000 square feet of entertainment space.

Just here for the sport

Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas
Indoor and outdoor courts are available for both members and non-members of this JCC, which also has lessons and clinics. It's bring-your-own-gear, as a heads up.

Cole Park
A little Uptown gem of a park, it has converted some tennis courts into six pickleball courts (that are also lit for night play). You can't reserve the courts, so either get there early or be prepared to wait.

Fretz Tennis Center
Three outdoors courts feature open play Tuesday through Friday, with games on Saturday. Reservations are $5 per person for 90 minutes. The Dallas Pickleball Club also plays games here, if you're looking to join a league.

LB Houston Tennis Center
Another facility where reservations are $5 per person for 90 minutes, but it also offers an unlimited monthly membership and several leagues you can join.

McLeland Tennis Center
Don't let the name fool you — there are two dedicated pickleball courts and four hybrid courts at this Fort Worth faciity, plus free entry-level paddles and only $3 for professional demo paddles.

Oasis Pickleball Club
With 42 outdoor courts, eight covered courts, and two championship courts, it's no wonder this Rockwall club hosts lots of pickleball tournaments.

Samuell Grand Tennis Center
Clinics and open play abound on these four outdoor courts near White Rock Lake, and a family of four can purchase an unlimited multi-club membership for only $36 a month.

The Courts of McKinney
Monday through Wednesday, anyone — both members and non-members — can play pickleball on the six painted courts and also take advantage of onsite instructors during open play.

Tower Club
This may be a private, members-only club located on the 48th floor of the 50-story Santander Tower in downtown, but non-members can rent courts by the hour on "the highest pickleball court in the world." A nice bonus is that part of the rental proceeds benefit Bonton Farms, which is committed to combating the effects of poverty in South Dallas.

Don't forget to check your local recreation center website — chances are your area has pickleball courts now!