Shopping & Services

  • Best CD Store (Used)

    CD World

    Our experience with other stores that sell used CDs has been drought or flood, depending on who's been in lately to sell or trade. CD World's selection may not be of ark-requirement proportions every visit, but we've yet to leave empty-handed. The racks are divided by category and are in alphabetical order by artist with new, used and import CDs… More >>
  • Best CD Store (New)

    Good Records

    Good Records is exactly what you'd expect from a store run by a bunch of local musicians: the latest indie label offerings, early-release copies of local records and the entire catalogs of seminal artists. From imports of alternate versions of Radiohead's latest to the aural history of Bedhead, they're all carded on the yellow shelves lined with colored lightbulbs. And… More >>
  • Best Health-food Store

    Ann's Health Food Center

    As the organic health-food business becomes increasingly corporate (see Whole Foods' shareholders), the real thing is alive and well in the heart of Oak Cliff. For 24 years, Ann Munchrath has dispensed vitamins to undernourished Cliff dwellers. In 1998 she, along with son Matt and other family members, took a leap of faith and opened an organic grocery store that… More >>
  • Best Used Video and DVD Store

    Movie Trading Co.

    Back when the Trading Co. first opened its doors some two years ago, it was possible to peruse its racks and stumble across the rare and valuable oddity--say, the Criterion Collection This is Spinal Tap or The Usual Suspects, which was then out of print. It's a little harder to find such gems now that everyone, including your mom, has… More >>
  • Best Place to Put Money in a Jukebox

    The Elbow Room

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know. The Stoneleigh P has a better jukebox; says so in our 1997 "Best of" ish. So does the Metro Diner just down the street from the Elbow, at least if you like Muddy Waters with your coffee and smokes at 3 a.m. So do half a dozen other joints around town. It all depends on… More >>
  • Best Tamale Shop

    La Popular

    We took French in high school and regret it. Because while finding someone who speaks English at our favorite tamale shop is a hit-or-miss proposition, finding someone who speaks French is damn near impossible. No matter. We can usually hold up our fingers or clop our hooves to indicate how many beef, chicken and pork tamales we want. These are… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Rib Eye

    David's Meat Market

    For 19 years at this location, David and Pat Harris have made us happy to be a carnivore. We pay about $10 per pound for rib eye, about the same as we'd pay at our local grocery store, but the rib eye from David's delivers a flavor beyond compare. That's because he sells choice, corn-fed, aged Iowa beef (the stuff… More >>
  • Best Seafood Market

    TJ's Fresh Seafood Market

    Seeing as how Dallas is landlocked, it makes sense that the owner of TJ's is from Virginia Beach. Caren Alexis and her husband, Peter, bought the joint two years ago (it has been in operation since 1989). TJ's offers a regular daily menu of 17 varieties of fresh, raw fish, including sushi-grade tuna and swordfish. If there's something else with… More >>
  • Best Olive Selection

    Whole Foods Market

    Other than during the "Tour Olive," when they give 'em away, this well-established market asks $6.99 a pound for any of its 24 or so varieties, mixed as you like. A few favorites: Alphono marinated in wine; Catalan with fennel and lime; pitted Nicoise, and pitted Greek kalamatas. … More >>
  • Best Eggery

    Mahard Egg Farm

    Why do we drive two hours round-trip to Prosper, Texas, to buy a couple of dozen eggs every month? Because we have too much time on our hands, frankly. But also because we like our eggs fresh. Know the following: Mahard is family-owned and the 10th-largest egg producer in the country, with something like 3 million white leghorn hens busily… More >>
  • Best Take-home Dessert

    Dallas Affaires Cake Co.

    For those of you who don't know how to cook, we understand why getting invited to a potluck dinner couldn't be more of a pain. Oftentimes, dessert seems like the best course to bring: After all, you can only bring chips and dip so many times, and there's no way Ramen noodles are going to make the cut as an… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Pie

    Old Mill Inn

    Jack Moore doesn't care whether you call him "chef" or "cook," so long as you use the word "tasty" when describing the pies he's been cooking for 35 years. He does them all--chocolate, apple, pecan, coconut and a variety of cobblers--but his specialty is his sweet potato pie. "Been cooking 'em for a long time," he says, "and have never… More >>
  • Best Record Store That Doesn't Sell Records

    Virgin Megastore - CLOSED

    A friend dragged us to the new Virgin Megastore, which opened in September. In the parking lot, we boldly declared to everyone within earshot that we'd never buy a CD in that unholy place. No, sir. We were far too cool to shop for our Sleater-Kinney in a theme park. Down with The Man. And so on. Then we stepped… More >>
  • Best Wholesale Miniature Pie Place

    Darrell's Sensational Pies!

    If there is any truth in advertising, it certainly would apply to Darrell's Sensational Pies!, a wholesale pie company that distributes 32 flavors of these single-serving treats through 18 Dallas locations including Two Sisters Catering, Snappy's Catfish and Burger House. From the traditional apple and cherry to the more exotic pumpkin pecan and chunky peanut butter chocolate, these tidy four-and-a-half-inch… More >>
  • Best Wine/Liquor Store

    Sigel's Fine Wines & Great Spirits No. 1

    Smaller specialty stores have better and more thorough wine selections, and froufrou grocery stores have more eclectic stocks of microbrews, but two things count in a good liquor store: convenience and sauce. That's why you can't go wrong with this Sigel's location across from Old Town. An empty bottle's throw from Central Expressway, this ample store thankfully arranges its stock… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Kitchen Gadgets as Seen on TV

    Sur La Table

    There's more than one way to juice a lemon. And watching the plethora of culinary programs on KERA and Food Network, you can glimpse them all: the old-fashioned glass citrus juicer, Martha Stewart's wooden reamer, Stephan Pyles' aluminum Mexican lemon juicer. All are available at Sur La Table, as are tons of other gadgets used daily by the celebrity chefs… More >>
  • Best High-end Kitchen Appliances

    Kitchen & Bath Kings

    Want a stove with enough oomph to melt your pots and pans? One with a door so stout you can stand on it? Industrial-weight kitchen stuff is, er, hot, and great for reheating leftover takeout food. These guys have it in spades--refrigerators that look like they've been yanked out of catering services, dishwashers so quiet you have to put your… More >>
  • Best Place for Dinner-Party Supplies

    Crate & Barrel Outlet

    Dinner parties are stressful enough without worrying whether some bozo is going to break one of the Depression glass goblets you inherited from Great-Aunt Nona. Save the worry for the menu and restock your pantry with discontinued and overstocked glassware from Crate & Barrel. The prices are minuscule compared to the chain's regular merchandise (we recently picked up some classic… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Gilbert's Delicatessen

    Hidden among the lox and bagels and knishes and white fish salad and potato pancakes and a dozen other dishes that are done New York-right here is a sandwich that only repeat customers at Gilbert's are menu-savvy enough to order. It's the meatloaf sandwich, and it must be ordered on rye bread with brown gravy on the side. It's tender,… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Bunch Without Spending a Bunch

    Marioly's Wholesale Flowers

    Almost every inch of the sidewalks around the tiny space inside Marioly's shop is filled with fresh cut flowers available by single stem or in bushlike bouquets. It's like a flower market scene from My Fair Lady only without Audrey Hepburn singing "Wouldn't It Be Loverly." And though carnations, roses and the like are available in florist quality at about… More >>
  • Best Place to Wax On

    Er'Go Candle Outlet

    Er'Go's outlet just off Stemmons and Motor Street proves there's never enough of a good thing. Only open on Saturdays, the candle retail company's outlet offers a variety of sizes and scents at about 50 percent off store prices. Though not all scents are available on a given day in every size, it's still the easiest way to find a… More >>
  • Best Place to Score Some Herb

    Dallas Farmer's Market

    The downtown farmer's market has more to offer than picking up fresh fruit, browsing potted plants and gawking at expensive wooden furniture. Several of the shed vendors also sell potted herbs ready for planting in the garden or in a terra-cotta strawberry jar. From lemon mint to Italian cilantro, single pots to gallons, the herbs are healthier and less expensive… More >>
  • Best Massage Therapist

    Rose Ernst

    We are not talkin' anything but registered massage therapy here--the kind that can promote circulation, reduce stress and possibly build the immune system if your belief system will take you that far. Rose Ernst has been quietly plying her trade in Lakewood for the last 20 years, using aromatherapy, a deeper variation of Swedish massage--whatever works to get more flexibility… More >>
  • Best Bookstore (New)

    Barnes & Noble SMU Bookstore

    You know how these big new bookstores do us. They open with all kinds of promise; they're fancy; they have real book people working there. That lasts about six months. Then it goes downhill; they hire idiots, and it's like everything else: Nobody knows nuthin', they ain't got it; go back to where you came from. The difference here… More >>
  • Best Citizens Band Radio Shop

    Bonnie & Clyde's CB & Stereo

    If you're going to go ahead and drive around all day like that, then you need to go and get yourself a good CB radio. The Smokey and the Bandit stuff is ancient history. CB's serious now. With a halfway decent setup, you can listen to serious truckers talking about the road, and you can talk to them yourself, seriously.… More >>
  • Best Computer Store

    Tran Computer

    Follow rabbit trails through mountains of used monitors, rows and rows of pre-owned processors, stacks of second-hand software, all of it at ridiculously great prices. There are even barrels of brand-new modem cards at a tenth of what they would cost at the big places. And at the other end of Tran Computer is a fix-it department. A window on… More >>
  • Best Toilet Seats

    Teter's Faucet Parts Corp.

    Anybody can sell you a toilet seat. But what if you have special toilet seat issues? What if you're looking for a certain retro toilet seat palette? Only at Teter's are you going to find an entire rogue's gallery of Toilet Seats of Yesteryear. They've got toilet seats in "Manchu Yellow," "Surf Green," "Aegean Mist," "Twilight Blue," "Bermuda Coral," you… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Urban Outfitters

    Ahab Bowen

    If you're too lazy to schlep to all the various thrift stores in town and don't mind spending $10-$15 on an old T-shirt, Ahab Bowen is your place. People acted as if it were the second coming when Urban Outfitters moved into the upscale Mockingbird Station strip center, but a better and cheaper alternative has been on Boll Street for… More >>
  • Best Place to Be Perfectly Frank


    Paul Frank, that is. Don't know who he is? Ask any teen or young woman. The designer of apparel and home décor is the beloved creator of Julian the Monkey and other cute cartoon creatures such as giraffes, frogs and elephants. He may sell his T-shirts, backpacks, anklet socks, journals and purses to several sources--Fast Forward, Gadzooks, Pacific Sun and… More >>
  • Best Competitive Rivalry

    Condoms To Go, Condom Sense

    Two condom stores sit nearly side by side at the intersection of Greenville and Lovers Lane. While Condoms to Go is a Greenville Avenue mainstay, Condom Sense popped up more recently. What does it say about your neighborhood when two condom/sex-toy stores go mano y mano there? We're not exactly sure but definitely prefer to have condom stores than strip… More >>
  • Best Place to Outfit a Ski Trip

    Doug and Lynda's Ski Shop

    The best place to shop for ski clothes in Dallas is in McKinney. Has been since 1979. That's when Doug and Lynda opened what their son and current owner Brad now claims is the largest ski shop in the area (13,000 square feet) dedicated solely to winter sports (skiing and snowboarding). With skiing so damn costly, the shop caters to… More >>
  • Best Hobby House

    Bobbye Hall's Hobby House

    So much of this "Best of" business is subjective, but about Bobbye Hall's we can objectively state the following: Bobbye Hall's Hobby House is the best hobby house owned by a 92-year-old woman named Bobbye Hall who still comes to work every morning at 9. Additionally: Hall's is the only full-service hobby house in the city. Other places may stock… More >>
  • Best Oddball Extravagance for Giftgiving

    The Nest

    The Nest is tangled with pricey whimsy crafted by local and other artists. You'll find dazzling blown glass ornaments, painted furniture that should only be approached under black lights with the aid of hallucinogens, iron/steel works (things to stick in the ground and all that), candles that smell like a grandmother's dressing table and magic wands that don't vibrate. Plus,… More >>
  • Best Gift Store

    Mark & Larry's Stuff

    The thing we like most about Mark & Larry's Stuff is the vast selection of unusual greeting cards. We were particularly delighted to find one that featured a medical-like photograph of an anus. It was perfect for the boss. It also carries cool magnets with bizarre cartoons, political statements, film icons (including scenes from John Waters' films). This store also… More >>
  • Best Bookstore (Used)

    Half Price Books

    With its huge selection, its reasonably nice shopping environment and half-decent coffee in the restaurant, this is the place to try before, which, by the way, is a great place to find used books. The last time we hunted for an out-of-print gem, Sebastian Japrisot's One Deadly Summer, even Amazon couldn't deliver. But there it was on one of… More >>
  • Best Watch Repair

    A Jewelry Place - CLOSED

    Like our high school prom date, A Jewelry Place isn't much to look at, but it gets the job done. And quickly. We have visited this 3-year-old store on several occasions with watches in various states of disrepair. Each time, the problem was solved while we waited and so inexpensively that we had to ask twice to make certain we'd… More >>
  • Best Women's Shoe Store

    Dillard's at NorthPark Center

    A recent expedition in search of some comfortable sandals uncovered something that was otherwise unavailable elsewhere: a sharp-looking new design from Ecco, a British company that specializes in shoes made to be walked in. (Imagine that: women's shoes that are meant to be walked in for sale, here in Dallas!) The helpful salesman said the shipment was brand-new and in… More >>
  • Best Resale Clothing

    My Secret Closet

    Stuck in between a Kroger food store and a Mama's Pizza, the adventurous can pick up a little Armani sweater for a fraction of the original price. Sometimes, the garment hasn't even been worn. The owners of this place have a good eye. They arrange sleek threads in a way that even the not particularly skillful shopper can spot a… More >>
  • Best Women's Clothing Store


    Let's get right to the point. You will find no Escada here. For those of us who have tired of that Dallas (think Highland Park) look--brightly colored suit, big hair--we want to commend any retailer who has tried to inject some style into the Dallas fashionista's mindset. At the 8,000-square-foot store, about one quarter of which is devoted to women's… More >>
  • Best Men's Clothing Store

    Pockets Menswear

    Walk into this 6,000-square-foot mecca to good men's design with no particular longing to keep your billfold intact. For $1,600, you can get yourself in head-to-toe (we're talking shoes, too) Ermenegildo Zegna, the store's top-of-the line Italian designer who is based in Milan. For the younger man without so much cash on hand, the store has off-the-rack merchandise starting at… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    Artistik Edge Salon

    One client calls it "a party every time you go." This hip salon, which recently moved to a new location, offers a calm, relaxing atmosphere and never a bad haircut. The stylists work with long- and short-haired patrons to get the best fit even if you don't want to go with the most extreme look of the day.… More >>
  • Best Men's Barber

    Culwell & Son Grooming Room

    Forget the $45 styling jobs. The $12-$22 cuts at this Park Cities mainstay are sharp enough for the Perots, Hunts and Meyersons, so why not for the junior exec who needs a weekly trim, or out-of-work dotcommer who needs a real job? In business since 1972, the shop's 15 barbers offer a dry clipper cut for $12, a layered cut… More >>
  • Best Place to Shave Your Head

    Lakewood Barbershop

    It's hot in Dallas. Duh. And, even running from air conditioner to air conditioner, it's still tough to beat the heat. Best way? Shave your head. This is good for the ladies, too. We hear the Sinead O'Connor look is making a comeback. When you get around to it, make sure to stop by the Lakewood Barbershop, a throwback to… More >>
  • Best Place to Shop for Weird Relatives

    The Nest

    This is a fine, folksy-eclectic gift store in the thriving Knox-Henderson area. Most of everything is in pastels or unadorned metals. Be sure to check out the store's unusual chess, backgammon and Chinese checkers sets, plus oddball items like a brightly colored grandfather clock (or was that a grandmother clock?) and dressing-room mirrors bordered by hippie slogans. It's a good… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Scooter

    Italian Motorsports

    Why not dump the SUV (where's the "sport," anyway?) and buy a scooter? No sudden rollovers. No history of tread separation. No sneering looks or cards on your windshield asking, "Why is your vehicle so big?" or unwanted stickers on your bumper saying, "I'm ruining the planet, ask me how!" Stop the highway arms race and hop on a cool,… More >>
  • Best Independent Bookstore

    Maxwell Books

    Looking for a place where a friendly staff actually reads the books they sell and will suggest something other than what's on The New York Times' best-seller list? Maxwell Books has been fighting the good fight against the warehouse chain stores and cluttered used book places since 1986 and is alive and doing quite well, thanks. The selection of hardbacks,… More >>
  • Best Furniture Store


    If Fred Flintstone needed to redecorate the cave, this would be the first place he'd try. Huge rough-hewn log beds, dressers that look like nicely stacked woodpiles, candlesticks made out of hefty iron spikes. The cowboys 'n' Indians air of the place and the mixture of cabin, ranch, cottage and Southwest styles give this Park Cities veteran a lighthearted, on-vacation… More >>
  • Best Strip Mall

    Mockingbird Station

    This mixed-use development is a strip of über-contemporary industrial design with an angular vertical emphasis containing luxury lofts, shops (Virgin Megastore, Urban Outfitters, pictured above, Bath & Body Works and more), restaurants (Cafe Patrique, Cafe Express, Rockfish and more) and the eight-screen Angelika Film Center & Café that features art films. This is a strip mall urban village industrial collage… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Button

    Pursley Discount Fashions

    No place in the metroplex, maybe the universe, has the selection of buttons that you'll find at Pursley Discount Fashions. From designer to your everyday plastic, all sizes and shapes, ranging from 2 cents up. There are tens of thousands to choose from. If you sew and are looking for notions, this place is like a trip to Disneyland. While… More >>
  • Best Outlet Store

    Nordstrom Rack

    Outlet stores being what they are--discounted, picked-over merchandise that didn't sell well the first time around--it's hard to gush about this genre of retail. But Nordstrom brings in its goods fresh from its main stores several times a week, and the discounts are deep enough to make being slightly out of fashion, fashionable. The Rack is a Nordstrom-in-miniature, selling… More >>
  • Best Rug Cleaner

    Rugs to Riches

    You can try all the discounts and chains. But when you have cleaning residue mucking up your carpets, call these guys. They don't stop until the water from their machines runs clear and your carpets are clean. And, well, that's what rug cleaners should do. Right? Clean your rugs. See the reason they are designated "best"? Good. Then have your… More >>
  • Best Organic Gardening Store

    Rohde's Nursery

    For those of you who wouldn't think of squirting even every now and then from a bottle of WeedBGon, this is the store for you. They know how to do everything the right, organic way. Compost your hearts away, and pick up your ladybugs and a few good plants while you're at it. … More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Lakewood Hardware

    Just the right size (pretty darned big but not overwhelming), owned and run by a family, easy to get to (Abrams and Gaston), the right mix of staff (grown-ups who know stuff, kids to load your car): Lakewood Hardware is still the best. You will almost never leave without the gizmo you need. You will never leave mad. Some people… More >>
  • Best Place for Deep Ellum Purchases

    Henry Street Market

    There's no downtown-area grocery store, a major albatross for development hopes in Dallas' near-abandoned skyscraper zone. Adventurous urbanites downtown and in Deep Ellum must slog the distance to faraway groceries to stock their fridges and pantries. At least there's Henry Street Market. Lacking the requisite beer, lotto or cigarette come-ons in its front windows, you may overlook this humble Deep… More >>
  • Best Place to Improve One's Living Space

    Home Concepts

    After you sign your apartment lease, do not pass go and collect $200. Instead, point your large automobile toward Deep Ellum and cruise over to Home Concepts, the one-stop shopping location for futons, CD racks, couches, lights, computer desks and whatnot. The eclectic and large selection of merchandise is very affordable and not at all stodgy. Also good for decorating… More >>
  • Best Criminal Defense Attorney

    George Milner

    Sure, you've got your young bucks, trying to get to the top of the courthouse food chain, winning trials and making names for themselves on the backs of baby prosecutors who are still cutting their teeth on DWI cases. But there is something reassuring about choosing George Milner to represent you. No one can evaluate a case as well as… More >>
  • Best Market & Sausage Factory

    Rudolph's Market & Sausage Factory

    This is the real thing. An original. In business for more than 100 years, Rudolph's looks like a meat market should--big and echoing--and has enough fine aged beef and sausage on hand to gag a tiger. In the long L-shaped counter are strip steaks and made-on-the-premises sausages that are wholesaled to barbecue joints across the state. The filet mignons--cut as… More >>
  • Best Scorched Earth Litigator

    Chris Weil

    There are lawyers you hire to negotiate your way out of a bad situation and lawyers you hire to fight your way out; Chris Weil definitely falls into the latter category. Within the legal community, some attorneys believe Weil only knows one speed: pit bull. But the truth is he is legally astute, a fine orator, and he mostly gets… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Converse All-stars

    Academy Sports & Outdoors

    When Converse announced it would no longer be manufacturing its Chuck Taylor All-Stars in the United States, we immediately began scouring the Internet for boxes of optical-whites size 13, lest we end up wearing inferior imports. Turns out we need only drive to this Academy location, off Forest and North Central Expressway, which stocks dozens of pairs for a mere… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn to Ride a Hog

    RiderCourse Center

    Been wanting to say to-hell-with-it-all and hit the open road on your Harley? Not a good idea until you've had the Motorcycle Safety Foundation-approved course taught by certified instructors Andy and Doll Long. For $145 you get three hours of classroom instruction on a Thursday evening, then an all-day Saturday and Sunday session in the parking lot of a nearby… More >>
  • Best Florist

    North Haven Gardens

    The next time an occasion arises, order a basket of plants and blooms from this shop. Neither you nor your recipient will be disappointed. The arrangements offer the most expressive, lasting value for the money. … More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Native Texas Plants

    Kings Creek Gardens

    If you're an organic gardener, Texas-style, a trip to Cedar Hill will be time well spent. Looking for that perfect Abelmoschus moschatus (silk flower) or Rudeckia Herbstsonne (with giant lush leaves like you won't believe)? This is the place. And, if it's a backyard water garden or pond you're wanting to fill with plants, the folks here will tell you… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Top-of-the-line Kilt

    Highland Moon

    If you've got Scottish blood and find yourself in dire need of the lowland "tuxedo" of your native land, all you need to do is call Barbara and Charlene McGowan and schedule a visit to their in-home shop in Arlington. Their kilts, commissioned from a kilt-maker in Scotland, are the real deal and come with all the accessories--the sporran (leather… More >>
  • Best Consignment Store

    Changing Places Inc.

    We troll all over town for steals and like this place best because of the high quality of the resale items. The staff is pleasant, un-pushy. The atmosphere is clean. The prices are reasonable. Make sure to negotiate at the front desk, because they'll usually knock off 10 percent just because you had the nerve to barter.… More >>
  • Best Hand-crafted Jewelry

    Ole Moon & Other Tales

    The Ole Moon has some of the most inspired hand-crafted jewelry you're likely to find anywhere. Constructed of silver, gold and semiprecious stones, this collection of bewitching baubles, bangles and chains is designed by skilled artisans with a sharply focused eye toward distinctive display. … More >>
  • Best Adult Pamperers

    Spa Nordstrom

    From the soft, soothing voices to the plush robes and slippers, scented foot mists and cups of herbal tea, everything in this quiet, peaceful spa is first-class. Offerings include a three-hour aromatherapy "double body treatment" featuring exfoliation, body wrap, scalp treatment and full-body massage, or go for the all-day, six-hour respite that compounds these pleasures with a facial, sports manicure… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Pet

    Operation Kindness

    While bringing home a brand-new kitty or pup is always joyous, the task of finding one usually requires grim trips through various shelters, in which brown and green eyes beckon, "Buy me or I die" from behind steel bars. Of course, the animals at the city's shelter and the SPCA are worthy of saving, but buying a pet there simply… More >>
  • Best Place for a Mystery Fix

    Texas Mystery Readers, Borders

    Open to the public, this enthusiastic group of mystery readers gathers on the third Sunday of each month (3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) to explore every creepy nook and cranny of the mystery genre. There are visiting authors, book reviewers, collectors, forensic experts and literary agents who drop in to share their expertise and love for a good mystery. The… More >>
  • Best Pet Tarantula Emporium

    Pet Land

    They come in more sizes, colors and hairstyles than your average Deep Ellum clubber. Some even sleep in their own custom-designed, hand-woven silk hammocks. Plus, you can teach them to fetch crickets--available by request.… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Dallas Museum of Art

    Skip the chains and find something unique for your young'un. They have both educational and the just-plain-fun variety of playthings at the museum's colorful store. If you take the tykes, you'll have to steer them clear of the fine blown glass and objets d'art. But you might even inject a little culture into their pea-sized brains at the same time… More >>
  • Best Kids' Bookstore

    The Enchanted Forest--Books for Children

    It may not have all the amenities of the Big Bs (Borders and Barnes & Noble), but if you parents can defer your double espresso cravings until you get to Starbucks, there's a little shop around the corner that can service your children's literary needs without the faux community atmosphere of one of the book chains. The shop's mom and… More >>
  • Best Kids' Clothing Store

    Kid Biz

    Chain stores are a lot like chain-smoking. They are as addictive as hell. That's why it's great to celebrate an independently owned establishment that has found success and is not the Gap. Carrying tried-and-true clothing lines like Flapdoodles as well as funky, pint-sized versions of clothes mom and dad wear, this North Dallas business does amazing business with its end-of-the-season… More >>
  • Best Kids' Shoes

    Stride Rite

    What makes this Preston Center location a veritable institution for children's walking wear are soft-sell salespeople, a snazzy selection and all the lollipops you can grab as a reward for good behavior. That's your kid's, not yours. A small play area with toys and TV can entertain those extra children who have been momentarily put on hold. Or plan for… More >>
  • Best Kids' Photography

    Kiddie Kandids

    Let's say little Junior just won't sit still for that pricey photo session you've arranged with Gittings. Let's say you decide to give it one more try and you drop into Kiddie Kandids, where walk-ins are always welcome. Junior is wowed into stillness by one of their many backdrops and props--an oversized flowerpot, a neighborhood fence and a bevy of… More >>
  • Best Place to Relive Your Childhood

    Froggie's 5 & 10

    Imagine being a child again, only with money of your own. No more allowance; no more begging Mom for a dollar. No more promising to go to bed on time, do the dishes, take out the trash...Now just whip out the credit card and start filling your adult-sized arms with everything you wanted as a child. Froggie's 5 & 10… More >>
  • Best Toy Store for Grown-ups

    Zeus Comics and Collectibles

    We've had plenty of arguments about whether or not Zeus is the best comics store in town, and we still think if you've never read a comic book before or haven't since you were a kid, this is the best place to start. Owner Richard Neal and the staff don't sit around engaging in impenetrable fanboy discussions, like who was… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Koi

    Creative Water Gardens

    Awhile back, we got it into our heads that we would enjoy a small pond in our back yard. Maybe a modest waterfall. A couple of fish. Surely, we figured, even a klutz like us could handle a simple project like that. Well, we were wrong. Weeks later, after multiple trips to Home Depot, we were enjoying a black, fetid… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Birkenstocks

    Heart and Sole

    Bridget Barfield was a teacher for many years but quit her job over frustration with her administrators. Eventually, she found herself at one of those career counseling services that uses a personality test to recommend what course in life for which one is best suited. The test said she should sell shoes. And that is how Heart and Sole came… More >>
  • Best Comic-book Store

    Titan Comics

    A few months back, the fine owners of Zeus Comics and Collectibles in Turtle Creek Village took umbrage at our insistence that Titan Comics is "the only comics shop that matters." Hey, we can see why they'd be a little unhappy--you don't advertise in a paper expecting it to label your establishment a moot point--but hear us out. Now, Zeus… More >>
  • Best Free Advice

    The free advice guys

    One weekend last spring, we were riding our bicycle around White Rock Lake with our faithful wife and our sometimes faithful toddler son when we chanced to see a well-made sign standing in the grass, along the lake's shore. The sign read, "Free Advice." Near it sat two men in comfortable lawn chairs. Between them, on the ground, was spread… More >>
  • Best Place to Score Fox Urine

    Mesquite Feed & General Store

    We aren't picky about where we get our hay or our burlap sacks. We'll buy our pot-bellied pig chow from any Tom, Dick or Harry who stocks the stuff. But fox urine is an entirely different matter. We won't buy it from just anyone--mainly because just anyone doesn't carry it. Fox urine is one of those commodities that can only… More >>
  • Best Store That Blows

    The Fan Man

    Jim DeNoyer isn't the original live-action Fan Man. Think of him as playing Dean Cain to the George Reeves who started the business back in the late '70s. DeNoyer didn't don the tights and cape until 1994, when he bought the business. Now The Fan Man carries more than 400 antique, restored and reproduction fans in his modest Lakewood shop.… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    Premiere Video

    Still the best video rental joint in Dallas, no one compares to Premiere Video--which is what makes it, duh, premier. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, the store is easy to browse, and there's a good chance they have the hard-to-find video for which you've been jonesing ever since that artsy dude at the office embarrassed you by saying, "Oh,… More >>

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