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Marc Lee

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Exclusive peek inside Mediterranean landmark house for sale in East Dallas. An East Dallas-famous house near Casa Linda Plaza is on the market. Located at 1425 N. Buckner Blvd., it's a landmark estate sitting on 4.18 acres in the heart of Casa Linda Estates that went on the market in April. It's a grand old home built in 1925 or 1928, depending on who you ask, that's become a point of obsession for many East Dallas residents.

2. Hutsell mansion for sale in Dallas' Lakewood has beautiful vintage bathrooms. A famous and beautifully restored house in Dallas' Lakewood neighborhood is back on the market. Located at 6969 Lakewood Blvd., it's a classic Spanish eclectic design by architect Clifford Hutsell, that was only recently sold in 2021, and is now available for $1,649,000.

3. Where to eat in Dallas right now: 5 cool new restaurant discoveries. The arrival of August means a new edition of Where to Eat, CultureMap's monthly feature on best restaurants to try. The theme is new openings, but not just any run-of-the-mill newbie. These are new restaurants with a little twist. Here's where to eat in Dallas right now.

4. Girl Scouts unveil radical new flavor for 2023 cookie season in Dallas. The Girl Scouts are up to something radical: They're adding a new flavor for the 2023 season that's a spinoff of their trademark Thin Mints cookie. Called the Raspberry Rally, it's a thin, crispy cookie that looks and acts like a Thin Mints, with the same chocolaty coating, but instead of a minty center, it's infused with raspberry flavor.

5. Antoine's Foods, one of Dallas' oldest sandwich shops, has closed. A longtime Dallas sandwich shop has closed: Antoine's Foods, which had been doing good quality sandwiches on Harry Hines Boulevard for 42 years, served its final po'boy last weekend. Their last day in business was Saturday, August 13.

The home at 1425 N. Buckner Blvd. boasts Mediterranean-style architecture.

Marc Lee
The home at 1425 N. Buckner Blvd. boasts Mediterranean-style architecture.
Cathedral Italian Bistro

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 5 cool new restaurant discoveries

Where to Eat

The arrival of August means a new edition of Where to Eat, CultureMap's monthly feature on best restaurants to try. The theme is new openings, but not just any run-of-the-mill newbie. These are new restaurants with a little twist.

Here's where to eat in Dallas right now:

Atipico
The name means "atypical" and it's an accurate description of this independently owned restaurant from Mexico City that just opened at the Union building near downtown. It boasts a sprawling, ever-changing menu including bowls, salads, and entrees, catering to a variety of dietary preferences, plus juice, coffee, wine, and cocktails. For breakfast, there's the Atípico Bowl, with fruit and granola. At lunch, it's a sirloin burger stuffed with cream cheese, cheese fondue, arugula, and dried tomato. Dinner is fettuccine with a three-cheese blend of Roquefort, gouda, and parmesan served on artisan bread.

Autonomous Society Brewpub
New craft beer spot just opened in a charming little brick building in the Cedars District outside downtown. Autonomous is the brainchild of Dean Weaver, a home brewer for more than 30 years who has earned accolades and awards for his brand, called Deanitude, which makes European-inspired beers such as pilsners, saisons, IPAs, and porters. The brewpub is an outgrowth of that venture and will create a place where beer fans can enjoy his beers as well as those from other craft brewers, along with some bites.

Brentwood
New concept from Dallas-based Vandelay Hospitality Group is in the former Houston's location near Addison at 5318 Belt Line Rd. and picks right up where Houston's left off, with dishes such as a brown rice veggie burger, French dip, Prime rib, San Francisco ribeye, filet with tomato gorgonzola salad, and Durango chicken topped with salsa verde. They're aspiring for a "sophisticated lounge" vibe and that includes a dress code of sorts: collared shirts and pants for men, no hats, no tank tops, no overly provocative clothing, athletic wear, and flip-flops as too informal.

Cathedral Italian Bistro
New restaurant in Plano is from chef Luke Rogers, an energetic enthusiast who appeared on Food Network's Chopped. featuring housemade pasta, pizza, Italian entrees, steaks, and desserts. Signature dishes include Bistecca Fiorintina, a 38-ounce Prime porterhouse steak, veal osso bucco with creamy mascarpone polenta, vegan roasted cauliflower with garbanzo beans medley, and whole branzino, roasted in their stone hearth oven with succotash, caper butter, and charred lemons. There are cool garlic knots by pastry chef Daniel Rosales, served with wagyu beef tallow "candles," which Rogers calls just a different highly creative take on bread and butter.

LimeHoney Modern Mexican Restaurant and Bar
New fast-casual Mexican restaurant from a pair of industry veterans just opened at The Shire at CityLine, the mixed-use retail and office property in Richardson, where it's doing a lighter menu than your run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex or Mexican establishment. Dishes include Elote Ribs, Chicken Skewers, Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, Ceviche, Tuna Crudo, and Brisket Enchiladas featuring brisket from sister restaurant 42 BBQ Smokehouse + Market.

Photo by WJNPHOTO

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 8 most intriguing restaurants for June

Where to Eat

For the June edition of Where to Eat, CultureMap's monthly feature on best restaurants to try, we've assembled an intriguing assortment that includes newcomers, brand-newcomers, and one much anticipated returning favorite.

Here's where to eat in Dallas right now:

Au Troisieme
New restaurant in Preston Center is from Bobby Pollette, a caterer and private chef who has cooked everywhere from Hawaii to Aspen to Palm Beach. The menu uses classical French techniques, but with influences from all over, with a worldly sense of style. Dishes include halibut wrapped in mustard greens, then grilled, served on a corn sauce with baby turnips, and an innovative risotto starring cauliflower and smoked tomato. They're starting out gently, just lunch for now, featuring clever sandwiches such as a Reuben with kim chi, and a "Hawaiian Cuban," containing smoked pork, ham cured in-house, and house-made pickles, with dinner coming in the next few weeks.

The Beehive
Downtown Dallas gets a sweet new spot in the cute Mid-Elm Lofts building, also home to its sibling restaurant Sky Blossom, both owned by veteran restaurateur Salina Le. The menu is New American, but with lots of international touches. Tempting starters include fritto misto, tofu lettuce bowls, grilled pork bites, steak bites with Korean BBQ sauce, lobster bites in tempura batter with yuzu sauce, tuna bowls, and chicken karaage. Entrees include garlic pasta, rack of lamb, scallops, salmon buerre Meuniere, and filet mignon, and there's a serious commitment to dessert including banana tart, lava cake, creme brulee, and a dessert flight with chocolate mousse, matcha cheesecake, and pavlova.

Cafe HwaSan
New brunch spot in Plano strives to provide an authentic Korean cafe experience. They source their coffee beans from Onyx Coffee Labs and ceremonial-grade matcha imported from Japan. The menu features brunch and Korean-inspired dishes. including tacos, a bulgogi rice bowl, K-Town fried chicken tenders, udon noodles, pork dumplings, avocado toast, and eight burgers including one topped with kimchi. A favorite dish so far is the fab fusion fest chicken croffle and kimchi fries.

Darna Mediterranean Market
Worldly market and eatery just opened in the former Barnes & Noble space at Legacy West in Plano. Darna is from veteran restaurateur Yaser Khalaf (Mondo Pizza, Baboush in Dallas, Shawarma Bar in Fort Worth), and represents his celebration of the shops, cafés, street vendors and bazaars found in the Mediterranean. You can dine in, on dishes such as Greek feta fondue, pastrami hummus, and chicken kabobs; or else grab and go from a deli featuring ready-to-eat offerings as well as salad and sandwich stations where you can build your own, A coffee bar boasts pastries, desserts, and Turkish coffee, and a full-service alcohol bar offers craft cocktails, beer, and wine.

Douglas Bar and Grill
New BBQ restaurant in Snider Plaza is from Doug Pickering, former chef at Ferris Wheelers Backyard, along with partners Michael Sharp and Zach Warner, marrying traditional BBQ staples with Southern cooking and the occasional twist such as a brisket grilled cheese sandwich. It's a pretty simple menu. There are smoked meats, meat combo plates, meat sandwiches such as the Meat Sweats with brisket and turkey, and side dishes with meat such as beans with brisket and slaw with bacon. There's also a full bar with cocktails, beer, and even wine by the glass. No meat in the wine, sorry.

Ford's Garage
Florida-based concept is a burger-and-craft-beer concept inspired by Henry Ford himself, which just opened its first Texas location in Plano, at 3904 Dallas Pkwy. Ford's is a licensee of the Ford Motor Company, enabling them to use the company's iconic blue oval logo and other brand imagery. The Plano location is sculpted to look like a 1920s service station and is filled to the brim with Ford memorabilia, including vintage vehicles, fixtures, and gas pumps, as well as a Model T or Model A car suspended above the center bar. The menu is all-American with meatloaf, wings, onion rings, mac & cheese, and salads; burgers include a vegetarian option, served on buns branded with the Ford logo. A full bar includes craft beer with over 20 local and domestic options.

Hugo's Invitados
Dallas' West Village gets its Mexican back with the early June opening of Hugo's Invitados, taking over the space at 3699 McKinney Ave. formerly occupied by Mi Cocina. This is the second location; the first debuted in Las Colinas in 2018. The menu mirrors the Las Colinas location with dishes such as Mexican avocado toast, the "toast" being a corn masa patty topped with salsa roja botanera, avocado, and queso fresco, although they discontinued the hummus trio which was a great veg dish. Seek solace in innovative cocktails such as their cucumber serrano margarita.

Kalachandji's
Praise Krishna, Dallas' longest running vegetarian restaurant located at a temple in East Dallas has reopened its beloved self-serve buffet, following a grueling closure due to the pandemic. Founded in 1982, Kalachandji's serves vegetarian dishes from India, with a menu they quite diligently post daily, featuring items such as bok choy stir-fry, pakora with tamarind chutney, kidney bean curry, and kofta balls in tomato gravy. They're also skilled bakers with bread made in-house and always a nice dessert like rice pudding or vegan brownies. Service is sweet, and so is the famous courtyard patio in the center of the restaurant.

Photo by Kathy Tran

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 hottest new restaurants for May

Where to Eat

For the May edition of our monthly Where to Eat feature, there is really no choice about what the theme should be: newly opened restaurants. That's because Dallas is saturated right now with new openings, so many that they beg for a list. It seems like only days ago that we were throwing down another list of new openings — but it just shows what a high volume of newbies are opening.

Here's where to eat in Dallas right now:

Akira Back
Eponymous restaurant from award-winning chef and restaurateur Akira Back, a jetsetter who snowboards in Aspen and hangs out with the likes of Paris Hilton, opens on May 6 at The Boardwalk in The Colony, the first in the U.S. for this global chain. Akira Back serves authentic Japanese cuisine with a Korean accent, including sushi rolls and Kagoshima A5 Wagyu, the highest grade of Japanese Wagyu beef. The trademark dish is a tuna "pizza," a fusion feat with paper-thin slices of tuna "glued" onto a tortilla with mayonnaise. Beverages include sakes, including Akira Back's own brand, along with wine and cocktails.

Big Yummy Venezuelan Restaurant
Former food truck just opened in a former Subway at 16246 Midway Rd. in Addison, where founder Genesys Añez, a native of Venezuela, entrepreneur, and caterer, is serving amazing renditions of the food she grew up with, a perfect combination of homey-ness and polish. The menu includes sandwiches, arepas, empanadas, and sweet breads, and some dishes you don't find too often such as tequeños, cheese-filled breads, and cachapas, little corn pancakes.

Casa Rosa
After being dormant for more than a decade, venerable Dallas Tex-Mex that once ruled the Park Cities from its Inwood Village location, has been revived by Gilbert Cuellar Jr., at an address with its own storied past: the former El Fenix at 5622 Lemmon Ave. built in 1961. To properly evoke the spirit of the original Casa Rosa, Cuellar has brought back key elements people reminisce about, including the large murals. But also, the classic Tex-Mex — fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, quesadillas — for which Cuellar and his family (of El Chico fame) are known.

District
Northern California concept makes its Texas premiere on May 6 at the Village on the Parkway in Addison, in the former Mercy Wine Bar space, under the guidance of acclaimed Dallas chef and operating partner Aaron Staudenmaier. Menu focuses on seasonal and sharable dishes such as crispy squash blossoms filled with goat cheese; sweet potato pakoras; fontina & spinach arancini; and Moroccan-spiced lamb meatballs. The bar program is all about wine and whiskey, and the atmosphere is rustic yet refined.

Knox Bistro
This is not so much new as a rebranding: The former Up on Knox is now Knox Bistro, to properly acknowledge the input and vision of chef Bruno Davaillon, formerly of the Mansion and Bullion, who came on board last year. A release describes Knox Bistro as the full conceptualization of a French brasserie, a neighborhood destination for all occasions, with menu inspiration derived from Davaillon's native Loire Valley in France featuring dishes such as grilled salmon and bone marrow steak tartare.

La Pesca
Fast-casual restaurant in Oak Cliff from the owners of Yellow Rosa summons the Mexican Pacific coast with mariscos, micheladas, and a seafood market to come. The menu is influenced by different cities in Mexico including Sinaloa, Michoacan, and Veracruz, with dishes such as aguachiles, caldo de camarón, tostadas de pescado, and ceviche. They have eight varieties of Michelitros, beer on tap, wine, and margaritas. Service includes a BellaBot robotic server to deliver dishes, and they also have a pet-friendly patio.

Maple Street Food Hall
New concept in Dallas' Medical District features a collection of chef-driven food concepts including Asian, Mexican, healthy/organic, coffee, and a full bar. Located at 4711 Maple St., the enterprise was founded with a goal of serving hospital workers as well as diners seeking foodie adventures. Well-regarded restaurants that have already opened include Mai Eats Lao Kitchen & Tropical Juice Bar, famous for their red curry; and La Calle, specializing in tacos with handmade tortillas. There's also a full bar and a pretty patio.

Restaurant Beatrice
Just-opened restaurant in Oak Cliff from Zen Sushi chef Michelle Carpenter (and named for her grandmother), Beatrice features contemporary Cajun cuisine, paying homage to Cajun family traditions, rooted in Louisiana's culture and cuisine. Led by executive chef and New Orleans native Terance Jenkins, the menu includes duck & Andouille gumbo, fried chicken with pepper jelly, and a vegan gumbo made with an assortment of leafy greens. The restaurant is also selling "Aunt Bea's Pantry Staples" such as house-made pickles, jams, and rubs.

Swig
This drive-through chain from Utah debuting at Fairview Town Center on May 6, is here mostly as a curiosity. The chain serves fountain drinks with a twist, including their trademark-branded Dirty Soda, a combination of soft drinks with mix-ins that include cream and shaved-ice syrups such as tiger's blood. Dirty sodas have become huge in Utah because they're allowed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but more recently have emerged as a social media phenomenon, particularly on TikTok.

Van Leeuwen
Cult favorite ice cream from Brooklyn is making its Dallas debut at the West Village on May 7. Van Leeuwen's New York ice cream shops have earned a dedicated following for their artisanal approach to everything including using ingredients from like-minded acclaimed vendors such as Intelligentsia Coffee. They offer more than 40 flavors, some common like chocolate and cookies & cream, and some extra-gourmet like Earl Grey Tea. They're also known for their nondairy flavors, with a super creamy texture that makes them among the best vegan/nondairy ice creams on the market.

Sfuzzi

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 hottest new restaurant openings

Where to Eat

For this edition of Where to Eat, CultureMap's monthly feature on where to eat in Dallas — one launched in 2013 that has since been copied by others far and wide — we're focused on what's newly opened this spring.

Not included on this list are five restaurants we deemed "over the top" including three $uper-$pendy restaurants — Carbone, Sadelle's, The Mexican. Other newly opened restaurants also not on this list include Fiatto, Darkoo's Chicken Shack, and Odelay Tex-Mex. To put forth a list of what's opened this spring and not mention them would be remiss. So mention them we have.

Here's what's hot and new in Dallas for April:

Bresnan Bread and Pastry
Mom-and-pop bakery known for European-style baked goods opened its storefront in McKinney, at 301B E. Louisiana St., where it's selling its trademark breads, pastries, cookies, and pies. They were previously available at farmers markets and by weekly pop-ups at Brown Bag Provisions. They're open Thursday-Friday-and-Saturday from 7 am-2 pm, but owners Matt and Jenna Bresnan plan to eventually expand the hours.

Chicago Avenue Hot Dogs
Authentic hot dog (and more) spot just opened in Frisco, where it's already wowing Chicago natives with hot dogs, fries, and Italian beef sandwiches. Their Chicago hot dog comes with mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers piled onto a steamed poppy-seed bun. They also have a chili cheese dog, and a Maxwell Street Polish sausage grilled and topped with mustard and sliced grilled onions. The location boasts touches of Chicago culture including checked tablecloths and iconic street signs.

Crossbuck BBQ
New BBQ place from pitmaster Tim McLaughlin (Lockhart Barbecue) opened on April 4 in Farmers Branch at 4400 Spring Valley Rd. The menu features basics such as brisket, ribs, sausage, and turkey, as well as salmon and prime rib. An array of sides with neat French and Asian touches includes baked beans with soy-smoked onion and Anaheim chili; hominy with epazote and cotija; mac n' cheese with Vermont white cheddar cheese and smoked garlic; and miso honey slaw with miso, honey and pickled ginger.

Crushcraft Thai
Acclaimed Thai food place at the Quadrangle has relocated to another address at the Quadrangle, at 2688 Laclede St. #100, so that's kind of an opening. Originally opened in 2014, it's one of the only restaurants that survived an ongoing makeover at the Quadrangle, and that's surely good for the neighbors who can continue to enjoy Crushcraft's well-prepared dishes such as OG Phat Thai, drunken noodles, their prized khao soi, and lighter dishes such as yum gai chicken lettuce wraps — but in new festively-decorated environs.

Honest Taco
New concept with tacos, bowls, and cocktails from Hospitality Inspirado, the group behind Hugo's Invitados, opened in mid-March in the West Village, in the former Taco Diner space. They're into accommodating all diners with a particular focus on gluten-free. The Camarón taco has garlic cilantro-lime marinated shrimp, jicama, red slaw, and chipotle aioli. The Honest Omelette, available all day, can be made with eggs or egg whites, plus spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions, and choice of cheese. The menu also includes avocado hummus, brie cheese bites, guacamole, queso, and elote.

Hudson House
East Coast-inspired chain from Vandelay Hospitality (East Hampton Sandwich, Drake's) just opened a new location at 5904 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Irving. It's a sophisticated place with oysters, cheeseburger, French chicken with chicken breast & skinny fries, and butterscotch sundaes. They do a brisk brunch with lemon poppyseed buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compote, eggs Benedict with choice of ham, lobster, or smoked salmon, and Hudson sandwich with bacon, egg, American cheese, & avocado. This is their fourth location, following Highland Park, North Dallas, and Lakewood.

Project Pollo
San Antonio-based vegan fast-food chain opened its first Dallas location after more than a year in the making. Fried "chicken-less" sandwiches are their trademark, such as the Spicy Project, featuring breaded fried chikn with spicy garlic Buffalo sauce and ranch. Other winners include mac & cheese, loaded fries (topped with onion, jalapeños, and vegan queso), and a trio of burgers including the decadent Mushroom Impossible, with caramelized onion, beer-marinated mushrooms, and smoked Provolone cheese.

Sassetta
In fantastic news for downtown Dallas and Italian food fans everywhere, former Design District Italian restaurant re-opened at the Joule hotel on April 8, for dinner only at first, with the addition of lunch to follow. Under the guidance of chef Jason Zygmont, it's serving creative interpretations of modern and regional Italian cuisine, including tomato-braised meatballs, tuna carpaccio, stuffed castelvetrano olives, ricotta agnolotti, black spaghetti, tagliatelle bolognese, black pepper bucatini, and thin crust pizzas, with three-day fermented dough.

Sfuzzi
Iconic '90s Italian restaurant was revived by This & That Hospitality (Ferris Wheelers, Tiny Victories, Alice) who re-opened it on Henderson Avenue with upscale food and cocktails including the signature frozen Bellini, for dinner and weekend brunch. The menu is both nostalgic and modern, with wonderfully familiar and elegant items such as prosciutto & melon, filet with garlic-rosemary mashed potatoes, portobello mushroom fries, and a breakfast pizza with prosciutto, bacon, and a sunny-side egg.

Toussaint Brasserie
French-inspired restaurant and bar opened in February at the Renaissance Hotel Saint Elm Dallas Downtown at 1907 Elm St. Named for New Orleans writer, producer and performer Allen Toussaint, it observes hotel hours — breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily — with food that incorporates French and Asian flavors, plus NOLA-inspired cocktails. The menu features French staples such as steak tartare, steak frites with NY strip, roasted chicken, and an Asian-inspired lobster Thermidor.

Photo courtesy of Bizzy

New 'better burger' joint flips into this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

This Week's Hot Headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines.

1. Bizzy new burger joint from Dallas F&B mastermind will be unlike any other. There's an exciting new burger in the works, from acclaimed Dallas restaurant mastermind Mark Brezinski. Called Bizzy, it's a new concept that will embrace the "better burger" trend but in a fast-food setting, and it will make its debut in North Dallas on Montfort Drive, across from the old Valley View Mall and not unfittingly, right between a McDonald's and a Burger King.

2. The 10 top neighborhood restaurants in Dallas keep it close to home. CultureMap Dallas brings back the 2022 edition of its annual Tastemaker Awards, our culinary celebration shining a light on the top talent in Dallas-Fort Worth's restaurant and bar communities. We are launching a 10-part editorial series, starting with Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year. These are the places that are nearby, convenient yet good, and that often reflect the neighborhood in some way. Here are the nominees.

3. Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 Asian restaurant finds for March. For this edition of our monthly Where to Eat, we hand the microphone to what has become a priceless source of intel for diners in Dallas-Fort Worth: the Facebook page called Asian Grub in DFDUB. With the idea that not everyone is on Facebook or has the time to regularly comb through the page, this edition of our monthly column highlights some of the recent finds brought to light by the diligent members of the group.

4. 'World's most powerful woman' MacKenzie Scott gives $9 million to Dallas charity. Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott has gifted Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity $9 million, the largest unrestricted donation in its 36-year history, the organization revealed March 22. Scott — who is also well known as the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — donated to Habitat for Humanity International and 83 of its U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations in a grand sum of $436 million.

5. In-demand Dallas designer expands with colorful new boutique in NorthPark Center. A Dallas fashion designer with a well-established flagship in West Village is branching out to another premier shopping destination: NorthPark Center. Nicole Kwon has soft-opened a second location of her eponymous boutique on the second level between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, across from Eataly.

Behold the veggie stack.

Photo courtesy of Bizzy
Behold the veggie stack.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Texas hot spot hooks No. 1 ranking as best college city in America

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows.

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the No. 1 college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside in Austin, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169).

Dallas landed well down the list in every category: wallet friendliness (226), academic & economic opportunities (168), and social environment (147).

Fort Worth fell even farther down the list in the same categories: wallet friendliness (242), academic & economic opportunities (201), and social environment (149).

Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Christmas spirit is in full swing, with all but one of this week’s events being holiday-themed. Check off pics with Santa for both the family and fur babies; take a Christmas cocktail-making class; sample holiday spirits from around the world; and stroll acres of candlelit walkways while indulging in holiday hors d’oeuvres and drinks – just to name a few. ‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 6

Caymus Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Decadent four-course meal features pairings with wines from award-winning Caymus. Courses include Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp, Rigatoni Al Forno with Chicken, Filet & Scallop Spiedino with Mashed Potatoes, and Crème Brulée, paired with Caymus wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Conundrum Red Blend. The dinner is $75 starts at 6:30 pm. For the Dallas location, reserve here, and for Plano, reserve here.

Fontodi Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina Verace
The Dallas Arts District Italian restaurant will host a five-course dinner paired with wines from Fontodi, a producer located in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Courses will include beef carpaccio, butternut squash cappellacci with brown butter and sage, porchetta di Pienza with marble potatoes, Wagyu New York strip tagliata with porcini mushroom and butternut squash, and apple crostata. Dinner begins at 7 pm and is $175 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, December 8

Santa Paws at Texican Court Hotel
The Irving hotel invites furry friends and their humans to pop by for photos with Santa and complimentary hot apple cider and s’mores by the fire. Santa will be available for pet photos from 5-7 pm. Also enter to win a “Pups Night Away” overnight stay. Don’t miss the hotel’s pocket tequila bar, Salt, for new holiday cocktails in jolly keepsake glassware.

Reindeer Games Bar Crawl
Here’s a holiday bar crawl that spans beyond just drink specials. Participants get their money’s worth with a night of mini golf, axe throwing, unlimited video games, a chartered “sleigh bus,” and a pizza buffet. Start at Another Round and make stops at Flashback Retro Pub, LoneStar Axe Dallas, and Sylvan Avenue Tavern. Participants will also get a beer or seltzer at each stop. Tickets are $150 per duo, and the crawl will run from 6:15-10:30 pm.

Holiday Spirits Around the World at Hotel Vin
Sample an array of global spirits during this tasting experience at Grapevine’s Hotel Vin. Spirits to be served include Montenegro Italian liqueur, The Dalmore Scottish whiskey, Komo tequila, and Horse Soldier bourbon. Each spirit will be paired with globally-inspired bites. The tasting is $50 and will begin at 7 pm.

Friday, December 9

Cocktails by Candlelight at Old City Park
Candlelight will feature more than 13 acres of holiday cheer with decorated buildings, carolers, craft vendors, and candlelit walkways in Old City Park. Its 50th edition is set to begin on December 10, but adults only can get a sneak peek the night before during Cocktails by Candlelight, which comes with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Shaken, Not Stirred, Holiday Cocktail Class at Elm & Good
The modern American restaurant inside the Kimpton Pittman Hotel will host a holiday cocktail class great for groups looking to make spirits bright. Elm & Good’s lead mixologist Indy Acevedo-Fowler will guide guests through creating three cocktails: a cranberry margarita, peppermint espresso martini, and sangria rosa. Guests will also receive a branded take-away gift. The class is $35 and will begin at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 11

Brunch with Santa at the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria
Meet the big guy himself while indulging in brunch dishes during this family-friendly Sunday Funday. Tickets are $25 for adults (includes one mimosa) and $15 for kids 3-12. Children will get to meet Santa and take family photos. Brunch will run from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Monday, December 12

12 Days of Thompson
The Thompson Hotel Dallas will spread Christmas cheer with 12 days of daily holiday activations. The festivities start Monday with Home Alone, S’mores & Sips, a movie night with cocktails themed after the Christmas classic, a s’mores bar, and movie screening amid downtown views. The price is a $15 charitable donation. Doors opens at 5 pm with the movie to start at 6 pm. Other 12 Days of Thompson events range from a pie-baking class and cookie decorating to brunch with Santa and Holiday High Tea. See the complete calendar of events here.

Dedicated volunteers extract Spaghetti Warehouse trolley from Dallas' West End

Trolley News

Thanks to a dedicated team of conservation-minded folks, the vintage trolley from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End has been moved to a temporary new home: in a warehouse at Orr-Reed Architectural Co., the salvage store just south of downtown Dallas, which will provide a safe space for the vehicle while it undergoes a restoration.

A permanent home is still TBD, but Orr-Reed will be housing the trolley for at least the next 12 months.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar got a bid from an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was donated to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association in Old East Dallas who wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights.

Orr-Reed is providing the space and backup manpower for free.

"The first time it went on the auction block, I wanted to buy it because I'm obsessed with keeping the city’s history," says Orr-Reed owner Hannah Hargrove. "Dallas is known for tearing things down and replacing it with bigger and better things, but 'bigger and better' only lasts 50 years. Since we have the space, we wanted to be helpful in providing the trolley's next chapter of life."


spaghetti warehouse trolley A team unloads the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley into a warehouse at Orr-Reed.Johann Huebschmann

The move
JD Middleton, who builds out restaurants and bars for his "day job," oversaw a team of volunteers who broke the trolley down into pieces and transported it to the new location.

"My buddy JJ Velez and I saw it in the news, we both had a personal connection," Middleton says. "My grandfather drove the trolley, it's possible he drove that one, while JJ had seen it when he was a little kid, after the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas."

With another friend, Randy Lasiter, assisting, they volunteered to do it on a 100 percent volunteer basis. For the past six months, they've been going there in the early morning, before heading to their regular job sites.

"We do a lot of crazy things for customer requests, and this was right up our alley," Middleton says.

This entailed cutting the exterior into parts: removing the front and back "nose pieces," breaking down the body of the trolley into panels, then splitting up the chassis foundation — like a vertebrae that they cut up, to be reassembled by a welder.

Middleton says that Uncle Dan’s Pawn Shop donated saw blades and trailers and other equipment, as did Frida's Social Club on McKinney Avenue, who provided a big trailer and truck to haul it over to Orr-Reed.

Middleton assembled a group of friends who spent four hours on December 3, loading the trolley piece-by-piece onto trailers, then unloading it at Orr-Reed. He's also volunteered to help restore it.

"There's some rusting on the inside, it's like an old Ford Model-T that's been sitting in a garage," he says. "We'll get it sand-blasted and primed and painted, then put it back together again."

Their work is saving the Junius Heights Historic District hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's like an art project for us, and we're getting the opportunity to help take care of history," Middleton says. "JJ ate there when he was a little kid, and he'd like to take his kid to see it when it's finished. That’s why we're doing it."


Spaghetti Warehouse trolley Spaghetti Warehouse trolley, in pieces.Johann Huebschmann

The new home
The Junius Heights group does not yet have a permanent home for the trolley, nor a plan for how it will be managed or maintained. Details details.

For now, it resides in Orr-Reed's "dry house" — a warehouse they've used for overflow and for items that need to be kept out of the elements such as big furniture items, casement windows, and things that cannot get wet.

Hargrove and her staff built shelving and redesigned the warehouse to make it work.

"It'll definitely affect our day-to-day routine — there's a giant cumbersome trolley that's taking up space — but it’s worth it," Hargrove says. "If we hadn't done it, they would have had to spend a lot of money on storing it rather than restoring it. I'm a keeper of history, it’s my duty, although I've never done anything on this scale."

"We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it because someone has to," she says. "I feel like I'm doing the right thing."