Photo courtesy of Smilebooth

We can’t even remember a time when there were no photo booths at parties. And some of the best memories are captured when people let loose for these digital cameras.

There was a lot of fun to be had at the inaugural CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, when hundreds of Dallas foodies invaded Seven for Parties in the Design District to sample culinary creations from the best restaurants in the city. Diners joined restaurant industry insiders and Tastemaker Award nominees to honor the leaders of the local food and beverage scene.

Smilebooth was onsite to document the Herradura tequila-fueled revelry. Flip through the slideshow for a taste of the good times.

smilebooth, dallas tastemaker awards
Photo courtesy of Smilebooth
Photo by Sylvia Elzafon

Foodie fans worship Dallas restaurant royalty at CultureMap Tastemaker Awards

Chefs & Scenesters

Hundreds of hungry guests made their way to Seven for Parties in the Design District to raise a glass to the 2014 CultureMap Tastemaker Award winners — and to savor creations from the best restaurants and bars in Dallas.

To get warmed up, attendees — a mix of foodies, restaurant industry insiders and award nominees —stepped into the SmileBooth to snap a few party pics before heading into the food-and-drink extravaganza. Is this what heaven is like? We’d like to think so.

For drinks, partygoers got to choose between Herradura tequila cocktails created exclusively for the event by the Best Bartender nominees; a selection of wines from the Abigail Adams portfolio; and craft beer from Alaskan, Odell Brewing Company and Real Ale. Event partner Herradura even had its own tequila tasting lounge.

DJ Sober and DJ Tony Schwa kept the party hoppin’ while an artist from Pinot’s Palette created custom portraits of each Tastemaker Award winner. But let’s get to the food already, shall we?

Participating restaurants included award nominees Dive Coastal Cuisine, The Grape, Barter, Bite City Grill, Chino Chinatown, Sundown at Granada, The Rustic, Meso Maya, Savor and Kate Weiser Chocolates. Among the talkers were Barter’s deviled egg with micro stick of bacon and truffle-infused baby pancake topped with whipped cream and maple syrup, beef carpaccio on toast from Bite, Sundown’s vegan gumbo, and Weiser’s almost-too-pretty-to-eat creations. FluffPop Gourmet Cotton Candy and HotPoppin Gourmet Popcorn also helped with the sweet stuff.

Spotted in the crowd were judgesKent Rathbun, Jon Daniel, Beth Adams and Chad Houser; nomineesJohn Tesar, Barbara Werley, James Tidwell, Laurel Wimberg, Andrew Dilda, Patrick Stark, and Tiffanee and Richard Ellman; and industry types Jack Perkins, Lucian LaBarba from sponsor FreshPoint and Scott Gottlich.

And as if anyone could still manage to eat one more morsel, guests were gifted Hypnotic Donuts and Noble Coyote coffee on their way out the door — a combo that made for the perfect morning-after breakfast.

Like any CultureMap party, we were sad to see it end. But because we are glass-half-full kind of people, we choose instead to look ahead to the next event. We will see you there.

Karl Siebert, Louise Siebert, Linda Snorina, Sinan Gurman

Karl Siebert, Louise Siebert, Linda Snorina, Sinan Gurman, CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards
Photo by Sylvia Elzafon
Karl Siebert, Louise Siebert, Linda Snorina, Sinan Gurman
The Grape

Tastemaker Award winners represent the absolute best in Dallas dining

Meet the Tastemakers

For weeks we have been introducing you to the nominees in our first CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, a celebration of the talent in the local food and drink community. Our mission is to shine a spotlight on the people making the city's restaurant scene special and honor their innovation, energy and creativity.

Our editors selected the nominees, and a panel of experts chose the winners — except for Best New Restaurant, which was determined by our readers — whom we toasted at our big event on May 6.

Join us in congratulating the 2014 Tastemaker Award winners:

Best Rising Star Chef: Brian Zenner and Eric Dreyer (tie)

Fearing's chef de cuisine Eric Dreyer worked at a number of luxury hotels prior to his arrival at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, in 2007. He also holds the crown of Dallas' Hottest Chef, as bestowed by Eater in 2013. Dreyer shares this title with Brian Zenner of Belly & Trumpet, who also spent time in a luxury hotel kitchen, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. He was on the opening crew at sister restaurant Oak before taking the helm at Belly & Trumpet.

Best Pastry Chef: Nicolas Blouin

Nicolas Blouin, who started working at a bakery in his hometown of Toulouse, France, when he was 15, has bounced back and forth between America and Europe, from a series of Michelin-starred restaurants in Switzerland and France to the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He currently presides over pastry at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Best Brewery: Deep Ellum Brewing Company and Rahr & Sons (tie)

Founded by John Reardon in 2011, Deep Ellum Brewing Company snagged a spot in the historic neighborhood ahead of its current revival. DEBC brews about a dozen different beers a year, including seasonal selections such as chocolate cherry stout. What's fun about this category is brewers on both sides of DFW earned the distinction. DEBC is joined by Fort Worth's Rahr & Sons Brewing Company, which is nothing less than legendary. Opened by Fritz and Erin Rahr in 2004, the brewery showed how it's done, with good beer, epic tours, and mentoring to local brewers such as Lakewood and Martin House.

Best Bar: The Mansion Bar

Like the hotel and restaurant in which it resides, the Mansion Bar is a class act. It has an intimate, European feel, which makes it a wonderful spot for a nightcap or an illicit rendezvous. It also appeals as much to visitors as it does to the locals — both of whom appreciate its people-watching opportunities.

Best Bartender: Michael Martensen

Michael Martensen has had a hand in many of Dallas' great cocktails bars — Cedars Social, Smyth — and he prides himself on his ability to "sift through the BS" to help cultivate talent in the local restaurat scene. The guy who favors vermouth on the rocks with a twist of orange is at it again with Proof + Pantry, the new concept going into One Arts Plaza.

Best Sommelier/Beverage Director: Barbara Werley

Barbara Werley is one of only 17 female Master Sommeliers in North America. As wine director for Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, she's responsible for its world-class collection of more than 33,000 bottles of wine. The Culinary Institute of America grad began her career in such notable kitchens as the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, so she has a unique knowledge of both food and beverage.

Best Neighborhood Restaurant: The Grape

The Grape not only graciously serves its neighbors, but it also draws crowds from well beyond its Greenville Avenue address for its creative bistro-style fare and legendary brunch-time burger. A longtime Dallas favorite for its romantic ambience and impressive wine list, The Grape feels both familiar and fresh, thanks to owners Brian and Courtney Luscher, who know how to appeal to everyday and special-occasion diners.

Best Chef: David Uygur

When he opened Lucia in late 2010, David Uygur not only became the local critics' favorite, but he also attracted the national spotlight for his interpretation of Italian food. Although his specialty is charcuterie — in particular the nduja crostini — rustic, hand-made pastas and hearty meat dishes should never be missed. Uygur is serious and a serious artist, making robust pleasures on the plate.

Best Restaurant: Lucia

Lucia is the kind of restaurant everyone wishes he had: small and personal, with a quaint atmosphere, excellent wine list and exciting seasonal menu. While husband David Uygur creates his masterpieces in the kitchen, wife Jennifer solidifies the dining experience with her sophisticated wine selections. Even years after opening, there is still a month-long waiting list for a table. No diner complains about it, and no other Dallas restaurant can claim it.

Best New Restaurant: Barter

Owners and brothers Patrick and Michael Halbert consulted with Fort Worth star chef Tim Love for the menu, but Rising Star Chef nominee Andrew Dilda is the one behind the wheel at this Uptown hot spot. With its emphasis on snacks, pick-up items like tacos and a tiki-themed Sunday brunch, Barter skews younger than its predecessor, Private Social. And it works.

Best Neighborhood Restaurant: The Grape

Wine dinner at The Grape on Lower Greenville in Dallas
The Grape
Best Neighborhood Restaurant: The Grape
Lucia Dallas/Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucia-Dallas/118749384831092]

Best restaurants in Dallas rule Tastemaker Awards with glory and style

Tastemaker Best Restaurants

The final hour has arrived for our first CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards. After weeks of celebrating the talent in the Dallas food and beverage industry, we've reached the last and most dynamic category of all: best restaurant.

These are the classics that have proven over time that they're the cream of our crop. They join an exhaustive survey of all manner of F&B pros: pastry chefs, most promising rising stars, top breweries and most charming bars. We've chatted up the best bartenders, lauded the best sommeliers and bowed to the area's best chefs. We've visited a spell with the best neighborhood restaurants.

And, thanks to your votes, we've narrowed down the contestants in our best new restaurant tournament. We'll reveal all the winners at our big event on May 6.

Here are the nominees for best restaurant in Dallas:

Chef Kent Rathbun's first restaurant, where he made his mark as an important chef, has it all going on: a smart location in the Knox neighborhood, chic decor, nifty bar, Pacific Rim-accented cuisine, stellar desserts, progressive cocktail program and fun cooking classes. It was years ahead of its time when it opened in 1999, which is why it remains meaningful 15 years later.

Belly & Trumpet
What initially seemed to be nothing more than a trendy stepsister to the critically lauded Oak in the Dallas Design District has emerged as one of the city's most liked restaurants. A casual yet upscale atmosphere plus an address in the center of Dallas' Uptown district give Belly & Trumpet an edge, but it's the excellent globally inspired food of chef Brian Zenner that draws them in.

The impeccably appointed Ritz-Carlton, Dallas wisely provides a platform for chef Dean Fearing to showcase his tooled leather cowboy boots, incredible charisma and, most important, his elegant yet down-home menu. Fearing knows Dallas diners, and he knows great food.

Rocketing to the top of Dallas' dining scene in a year, FT33 is the foodie pick du jour, from its Design District address to its au courant food. Colorful, tattoo-sporting chef Matt McCallister approaches his food with intensity and has brought to Dallas such international culinary trends as the messy-plate look and molecular gastronomy.

Bishop Arts gem is the restaurant that everyone wishes he had: small and personal, with a darling atmosphere, diligent attention from the owners (husband and wife David and Jennifer Uygur), excellent wine list and an exciting seasonal menu. No wonder there's a month-long waiting list for a table.

Mesa is like the Mexican version of Lucia, another family-run operation with its carefully crafted food, creative cocktails and beautifully fabricated decor. Raul and Olga Reyes have devised a menu that feels familiar yet new, with the best surprise being how uniformly excellent it all is.

Mot Hai Ba
Though intentionally casual, Mot Hai Ba is no less serious than its fellow nominees. Chef-owners Colleen O'Hare and Jeana Johnson have brought a new style of authentic, Hanoi-style Vietnamese food not seen elsewhere, and they're doing it with all of the care you'd expect from their 4-star backgrounds.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Despite changes in ownership and changes in chef (Bruno Davaillon is currently in charge), the Mansion has stayed the course. Grand, elegant but not stuffy, well-mannered, unflinchingly perfectionist, the Mansion has not simply prevailed, but hewed to a standard of excellence that's unique.

Spoon not only represents the taming of fiery chef John Tesar, it has also brought a new level of seriousness and acceptance of seafood to our steak-happy town. Comparisons to New York's classic seafood restaurant Le Bernardin are on the mark, in more ways than one.

Tei An
However you describe Tei An – Japanese restaurant, noodle house, sushi spot – it doesn't begin to get to the profound creativity and refined culinary sensibility of chef Teiichi Sakurai. Soba noodles made onsite are a good starting point. If you're a regular, he'll treat you to hand-made dishes designed expressly to your taste. A Dallas treasure.


Come celebrate the Tastemakers with us on Tuesday, May 6, at Seven for Parties in the Dallas Design District. To learn more about the event, including information about our beneficiaries, judges, participating restaurants and ticket sales, visit our Tastemakers website.


Prosciutto with melon, arugula and extra virgin olive oil at Lucia restaurant in Dallas
Lucia Dallas/Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucia-Dallas/118749384831092]
Photo by Robert Bostick

Best neighborhood restaurants in Dallas bring comfort to Tastemaker Awards

Tastemaker Best Neighborhood Restaurants

We're counting the days until the climax of our first CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, where we celebrate the movers and shakers of the local food and beverage industry.

We hope you've enjoyed getting to know the city's sharpest sommeliers, best pastry chefs, brightest rising stars, buzziest breweries and friendliest bars. We've talked shop with the best bartenders and worshipped the best chefs. We've encouraged readers to cast their votes for the best new restaurant.

All of the winners will be announced at our big event on May 6.

Now we get to one of our most favorite categories: neighborhood restaurants. These are the places that win your heart not only for the fine meal they dish out, but also for their dependability, non-judgmental mien and comforting familiarity. It's like being at home — but better.

Here are the nominees for Best Nneighborhood Restaurant:

Supremely practical Italian deli-restaurant comes from Julian Barsotti, chef-owner of Nonna, as an homage to his ancestors' sandwich shop in New York. His goal is to celebrate Italian-American food traditions and to make as many items in-house as he can. The neighbors love: spaghetti with Italian meatballs.

Dive Coastal Cuisine
Casual but upscale restaurant in Snider Plaza from Franchesca Nor fits into the neighborhood perfectly, with its fresh, healthy vibe. Menu offers turkey burgers, seafood, salads, light sandwiches and vegetarian options. The neighbors love: ahi tuna wrap.

Pioneer in Bishop Arts helped set the stage for ensuing gentrification. Refined and distinctly Southern, the restaurant does homey dishes such as shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, and chicken and waffles. The neighbors love: prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with walnuts and blue cheese.

The Grape
Dallas' original neighborhood restaurant with impressive wine list manages to draw a clientele from beyond its Greenville Avenue address. Owners Brian and Courtney Luscher have done more than merely keep the flame alive; they make it burn brighter than ever. The neighbors love: Sunday brunch burger and mushroom soup.

Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House
With original chefs Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare no longer involved, this East Dallas burger bar is less about the food and more about the stellar beer list. But perhaps no restaurant on this list is more revered by the folks nearby. The neighbors love: Pepper bomb burger with harissa sauce and chipotle cheddar.

Le Bilboquet
Transplanted bistro from New York does fancy French classics such as steak au poivre, not always well, in Travis Walk. But hello, this neighborhood's not about eating; it's about being seen on the patio. The neighbors love: fish with fennel and tomato.

Neighborhood Services
Chef Nick Badovinus' mini-chain even has "neighborhood" in the name of his upscale rendition of a neighborhood restaurant. Between the glossy-yet-hip scene and robust food, Badovinus has his finger on the pulse of Dallas diners. The neighbors love: chicken liver mousse.

R+D Kitchen
Little sibling of Houston's is smaller and less proper, with a streamlined California ambience and vaguely healthy menu that fits its Preston Center address to a T. Nicely lit bar serves its pretty clientele well. The neighbors love: Asian chicken and noodle salad.

Urban Crust
Upscale pizzeria was an early settler in old downtown Plano. Good wine list, above-average pizzas and an unfussy atmosphere keep 'em coming, despite new competition such as Lockhart Smokehouse. The neighbors love: Black and Blue pizza with sirloin, caramelized onions, blue cheese and basil pesto.

Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House

Patio at Goodfriend in East Dallas
Photo by Robert Bostick
Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House
Photo courtesy of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Tastemaker Best Sommelier nominees fill our Dallas wine glasses to the brim

Tastemakers Best Sommeliers

The anticipation continues to build for our first CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, where we celebrate the movers and shakers of the local food and beverage industry.

We've covered many categories so far, from the city's pastry chefs and rising stars to the best breweries and bars. We've profiled the best bartenders and paid homage to Dallas-Fort Worth's best chefs. We've asked readers to help determine the best new restaurant, and we'll reveal all the winners at our big event on May 6.

This next category celebrates the elegant sommeliers, who've wowed us with their mastery of the noble grape. Like wise matchmakers, they assess our preferences and budget, then cross it with our dinner orders to find just the right complimentary sipper.

Meet the candidates for Best Sommelier/Beverage Director:

Michael Flynn, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Having served nearly 20 years as a wine director or sommelier for fine-dining restaurants across the country, Flynn came to the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in 2007. He's been nominated three times for the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Wine Service Award, and he has an advanced diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He oversees the wine lists and beverage menus in the Mansion restaurant, chef's room and bar, and he is also responsible for wine service, staff training, wine pairing menus and wine tasting events.
Makes his mark: He's successfully demystified the wine process by hosting informal wine chats at the Mansion every Thursday night at 6:15 pm. They're $35 and require no reservations.

Hunter Hammett, Pyramid Restaurant

Prior to joining the Pyramid, Hammett was sommelier at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. He currently directs the wine program for Pyramid Restaurant & Bar at the Fairmont Dallas hotel, where he seeks out unique varietals, orchestrates menu pairings and familiarizes the staff with the extensive wine cellar. His Grape Expressions series explores underrated varietals and growing regions from around the world.
Makes his mark: He creates his own liqueurs, which are now prominently featured on menus throughout the Fairmont Dallas.

Gina Gottlich, Bijoux and Second Floor by Scott Gottlich

Gottlich earned her bachelor of arts from the University of North Texas while working in restaurants, including a stint at the Capital Grille, where she began to refine her talents in pairing wine with food. She and her husband, Scott, opened Bijoux in 2006, and Second Floor at the Westin Galleria Dallas in 2008. In addition to helping run the restaurants and oversee the wine programs, she also hosts sessions spotlighting wines from different regions paired with canapes from the chef.
Makes her mark: She has always been a champion of French wines, even when they weren't in vogue.

Courtney Luscher, The Grape

A native of Highland Park, Luscher is renowned for her skills as a manager and hostess, honed at restaurants such as Dakota's and Routh Street Brewery, where she met husband Brian, chef and co-owner at The Grape. In addition to running the front of the house, she is also a Level I Sommelier and handles the Grape's long-legendary wine list.
Makes her mark: She has established an incredible wine-by-the-glass list whose scope and boutique appeal has almost no peer.

James Tidwell, Four Seasons Resorts

A graduate of Louisiana State University as well as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Tidwell is beverage manager and sommelier at Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving. After much study, Tidwell passed the Master Sommelier examination in 2009. He's a published wine writer and a popular participant in judging competitions.
Makes his mark: In 2005, Tidwell co-founded the Texas Sommelier Conference, an annual event that draws wine professionals from around the country to participate in seminars by leaders in the wine industry.

Barbara Werley, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

One of only 17 female Master Sommeliers in North America, Werley has been beverage director at such prestigious institutions as The Greenbrier luxury resort. In 2007, she joined Pappas Bros. Steakhouse as wine director, where she's responsible for its world-class collection of more than 33,000 bottles of wine, including one $70,000 3.0L bottle of Romanée-Conti Grand Cru, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Makes her mark: As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who began her career in the kitchens of such notable places as the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago and the Jockey Club at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., Werley has a unique knowledge of the food part of F&B as well as beverage.


Come celebrate the Tastemakers with us on Tuesday, May 6, at Seven for Parties in the Dallas Design District. To learn more about the event, including information about our beneficiaries, judges, participating restaurants and ticket sales, visit our Tastemakers website.

Barbara Werley

Dallas Master Sommelier Barbara Werley
Photo courtesy of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Barbara Werley
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3 Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023

Elite entrepreneurs

Twelve of the country's 100 most successful female entrepreneurs live in Texas this year, and three of them call Dallas-Fort Worth home. So says Forbes in its 2023 list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, released June 1.

"Bolstered in part by a rebound in the stock market, [the richest 100 female entrepreneurs] are cumulatively worth a record $124 billion, up nearly 12% from a year ago," says Forbes.

To make the Forbes list, women had to garner wealth on their own, rather than by inheriting or winning it.

Texas' wealthiest women have made their fortunes in fields ranging from home health care, insurance, and aviation logistics to jewelry design, dating apps, and running the show at SpaceX.

The three female entrepreneurs from North Texas who appear in the elite club of America’s richest self-made women (and their national rankings) are:

  • Robyn Jones, No. 29, of Fort Worth. Her net worth is estimated at $830 million. Jones is founder of Westlake-based Goosehead Insurance Agency LLC. She started the property and casualty insurance agency in 2003 after being frustrated with her truck-driver husband's "road warrior lifestyle," Forbes says. He joined her in 2004 and they took the company public in 2018. It has nearly 1,000 franchised offices.
  • April Anthony, No. 34, of Dallas. Forbes puts her net worth at $740 million. She founded the Dallas-based home health and hospice division of Encompass Health Corp and sold it for $750 million to HealthSouth. In 2022, she was named CEO of VitalCaring, a home health and hospice care firm.
  • Kathleen Hildreth, No. 44, of Aubrey. Her net worth is estimated at $590 million. Hildreth is co-founder of M1 Support Services LP, an aviation logistics company based in Denton. A service-disabled Army veteran, she graduated from West Point in 1983 and was deployed all around the world as a helicopter pilot.

The nine other Texans who appear on the list are from Austin and Central Texas. With an estimated net worth at $4.8 billion, Thai Lee, of Austin, remains at the top of the list in Texas, and ranks No. 5 nationally.

She falls behind only No. 1 Diane Hendricks of Wisconsin (co-founder of ABC Supply, $15 billion net worth); No. 2 Judy Loveof Oklahoma (chairman and CEO, Love's Travel Stops And Country Stores, $10.2 billion); No. 3 Judy Faulkner of Wisconsin (founder and CEO, Epic Systems, $7.4 billion); and No. 4 Lynda Resnick of California (co-founder and co-owner of Wonderful Company, $5.3 billion) among America's richest self-made women.

For some additional perspective, Oprah Winfrey lands at No. 13 on the list for 2023. The TV titan (and most famous woman on the planet) has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, Forbes says.

Austin's Lee, a native of Bangkok who holds an MBA from Harvard University, is founder, president, and CEO of SHI International Corp., a provider of IT products and services with a projected revenue of $14 billion in 2023. Fun fact: "Lee majored in both biology and economics," Forbes says, "in part because her English was less than perfect and she wanted to avoid writing and speaking in class."

The remaining eight Texas women on the list are:
  • Gwynne Shotwell, No. 27, of Jonesboro (Coryell-Hamilton counties). Her net worth is estimated at $860 million. Shotwell is president and COO of Elon Musk's SpaceX. She manages the operations of the commercial space exploration company and owns an estimated stake of 1 percent, Forbes says.
  • Lisa Su, No. 34, Austin. Forbes pegs Su’s net worth at $740 million, tying her with April Anthony of Dallas. The native of Taiwan is president and CEO of Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices.
  • Kendra Scott, No. 47, of Austin.Forbes says she has amassed a net worth of $550 million as founder of Kendra Scott LLC, which designs and sells jewelry in more than 100 stores (and is worth $360 million). The celebrity entrepreneur is also a judge on TV's Shark Tank.
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, No. 52, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $510 million. Herd is co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. She owns a 17% stake in Bumble and became the youngest self-made woman billionaire after it went public in February 2021.
  • Paige Mycoskie, No. 73, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $380 million. Mycoskie created founded her 1970s-inspired California lifestyle brand, Aviator Nation, which took off during the pandemic and now has 16 retail locations across the U.S. If the name sounds familiar, that's because she'sl the sister of TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, with whom she competed on TV's The Amazing Race.
  • Imam Abuzeid, No. 77, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $350 million. Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, which she started in 2017 to help alleviate America's nursing shortage. Forbes describes it as "a souped-up version of LinkedIn for nurses." Abuzeid is one of only a handful of Black female founders to run a company valued at more than $1 billion, Forbes notes.
  • Julia Cheek, No. 92, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $260 million. Cheek founded at-home testing company Everly Health in 2015 "out of frustration at having to pay thousands for lab testing to diagnose issues related to vitamin imbalance," Forbes says. It got a Shark Tank deal with Lori Greiner and is now worth roughly $1.8 billion.
  • Belinda Johnson, No. 96, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $250 million. Johnson was Airbnb's first chief operating officer and led many of its legal disputes. She stepped down from that role in March 2020, Forbes says, and left the company's board in June 2023.

Plano sizzles with hot music and cool pools all summer long

Fun in the Sun

The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and you're all ready for some summer fun. Plano's where it's at, with everything from concerts to happy hours on tap this summer.

Dive in
From Memorial through Labor days, take a refreshing dip in 168,000 gallons of saltwater that's shaped like the great state of Texas. This membership-supported community pool (there are tourist passes available) features a diving board, two water slides, and an island with a shallow "South Texas" wading area for the little ones. Picnic tables, a beach volleyball court, barbecue grills, and a snack bar complete the experience.

C'mon, get happy
Head to Legacy West for its monthly sip-and-shop Happy Hour Hikes, where you can sample beer, wine, cocktails, and food; receive exclusive offers at shops and restaurants; and enjoy entertainment throughout the Legacy West neighborhood. There are also photo opps, featured local artisans and nonprofits, and a chance to win a $300 gift basket to your favorite store.

The hikes happen from 6-9 pm the first Thursday of the month, aka June 1, July 6, and August 3 in the summer. Participants must be 21 and up, and groups of 10 or more get a discount by emails happyhourhike@lot32.com.

Tasty tunes
From Monday night karaoke to a concert lineup that includes all your favorite genres of music, live music at Legacy Hall is a rockin' good time. Check upcoming acts here, and then arrive early to enjoy dinner from nearly 20 eateries and craft cocktails from five-plus bars.

For an even more elevated experience, reserve a Balcony VIP Lounge (21 and up only) and enjoy dedicated cocktail service, soft seating, and the best view of the stage. Fridays and Saturdays also come with free admission to the Late Night After Party on the third floor of Legacy Hall in High Bar.

First-rate Fourth
America's birthday is a big deal in Plano, beginning with a free patriotic concert on July 3 at 7 pm. Plano Community Band will be playing in Haggard Park in the Downtown Plano Historic Arts District.

On the Fourth itself, cheer on — or walk in! — the Rotary Clubs of Plano 4th of July parade at 7:30 pm. The route travels along Spring Creek Parkway in between Collin College and the Red Tail Pavilion, and you can sign up to participate here.

The parade is smack in the middle of Plano's All-American 4th, a free festival that starts at 6 pm and features a kids’ zone sponsored by Champion Energy Services and a fireworks show beginning at 9:30 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and coolers are welcome, with food and beverages available for purchase from onsite vendors — sorry, no pups allowed.

Staycation vibes
With all this fun on the agenda, you'll want to stay more than a day. Immerse yourself in Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel's "West of Zen" culture, with gorgeous artifacts hidden away in every public corner, and the menus for both beverage and food offer a bold take on Asian fusion.

Dine in the main restaurant, ŌMA, grab a quick bite at the quaint Texas Teahouse & Marketplace, or dip into The Whiskey Moon Bar + Lounge to sample its impressive selection of American, European, and Asian whiskeys.

Enjoy DJs on the pool deck every Saturday afternoon during the summer or live music at Whiskey Moon every Saturday evening — see a lineup here.

Speaking of the rooftop pool, you can now book private cabanas through Resort Pass and stay shady all summer long.

See all your Plano accommodation options here.

Happy Hour Hike at Legacy West

Photo courtesy of Happy Hour Hike

Join the Happy Hour Hike the first Thursday of each month.


For a complete guide to Plano, head to www.visitplano.com.

Japanese-style 'sandos' pop-up finds permanent home in downtown Dallas

Sando News

A popular sandwich pop-up has found permanent quarters in downtown Dallas: Sandoitchi, which serves Japanese "sandos" with creative fillings, will move into the space near the Joule at 1604 Main St., next to/under the Joule Hotel. It's the space that was previously occupied by La Tarte Tropezienne, the French bakery that closed in 2021.

Sandoitchi has already started to use the space for pop-up events, with a remodel in the works for later this year, says spokesman Keith Tran.

"We've had a great partnership with Headington Companies, who own the space, for more than a year, doing pop-ups at Midnight Rambler and at the Eye Ball," Tran says. "Their marketing team has been working to bring energy to their spaces and this gives us the benefit of having a permanent location."

Sandoitchi was founded in 2020, part of a wave of pandemic foodie pop-ups, but has persevered long past the pandemic both with its consistency and its ever-evolving menu of trademark sandos and other Japanese eats.

Their sandwiches are served on soft, rich milk bread, with fillings that include egg salad, Nashville-style hot chicken, pork katsu, and even Japanese wagyu topped with caviar, as well as dessert sandos filled with fruit and cream.

Their branding and packaging are sharp: The sandwiches are trimmed neatly, like finger sandwiches, and come in cute little boxes that display the ingredients winningly.

They also come with serious culinary firepower: Chef Stevie Nguyen worked at Uchi in both Dallas and Houston before heading to New York where he worked at Momofuku Ko, the two-Michelin-starred crown jewel in superstar chef David Chang's culinary empire. Nguyen shows off his techniques in a number of ways, including by using three different egg preparations to make his egg salad and coating the chicken with an umami-packed "wet shio koji solution."

They use social media skillfully and have won legions of fans, not just in Dallas but also at road-trip pop-ups to the West Coast and cities such as Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City.

They plan to continue doing pop-ups — for example, they have one this weekend in Orange County, California. But there's something to be said for having a home.

"Our model was built during and post-COVID, but with the return to normal, it's tougher to find spaces to host pop-ups," Tran says. "Our team includes high-end chefs with strong pedigrees who continue to evolve and remain creative, and we want to have a home base."

The location will definitely require some retrofitting; they'll start serious renovations at the end of the summer. In the interim, they're hosting pop-ups at the space, usually on weekends, over the next month or two.

"We've been experimenting, we recently tried doing breakfast — it's been a valuable opportunity to gather data on what does well," Tran says.


Eric Sandler contributed to this story.