Defining a dive is never easy. It's open to debate, for example, whether a dive bar should serve more than bags of chips or bowls of stale nuts.
Therefore, creating this list involved a bit of craftsmanship. We decided to exclude taquerias, barbecue joints and established Mexican destinations such as Ojeda's and Avila's. We didn't know what to make of Mai's, so we scratched it and all the storefront Vietnamese spots, too. Then we discounted anything with the word "Diner" in its name--a whole different category, you understand. And, lastly, we barred Allgood Cafe and other far-too-clean spaces.
Yet, as you will see, we included a few spots that aren't rightly dives but serve better food than their surroundings would normally promise.
We admit up front there may be flaws in this approach. With all that in mind, we present the top ten food dives:
10. Midway Point
How long has this place been around? Quite a while, and they're still serving thick burgers, meaty sandwiches and such. Since Dallas became a smoke free city, you can also smell all that sizzling, beefy grease. (12801 Midway)
This Deep Ellum joint is almost legendary. Because of its stature and line up of live entertainment, it is hard to commit it to dive status. Then again, there are those filthy, hand scribbled walls and the ever popular burgers. (2624 Commerce)
Yeah, this grease pit isn't in Dallas. But it's not all that far from Midway Point...besides, the spattered walls, ultra casual guests and menu of heavy breakfast fare, chili, chicken fried steak and bad coffee certainly qualifies it for a spot on the list. (14925 Midway, Addison)
That pillock from that TV show almost ruined this cinderblock pizza haven. But it wasn't Louie's fault, so we'll forgive the place. Once amongst the city's top pizza spots, it still ranks up there somewhere. (1839 N. Henderson)
The city's best burgers cooked on a crusty old grill--and there's no real need to say more. Wingfield's borders on the rare destination dive category. (2615 S. Beckley)
5. The Loon
Not only is this an eyesore on the edge of West Village--for which it deserves respect--The Loon also has a reputation for strong pours. Granted, after a few of these almost anything tastes good. But they serve surprisingly decent apps and entrees. (3531 McKinney)
4. Lakewood Landing
Billing itself as an "upscale dive" turns some dive aficionadoes off. Yet it's unfair to discount a place that seeks unpretentious pretense. All those $30,000 millionaires need a spot to hang, after all. And they serve up some pretty fair Tex-Mex and a popular burger. (5818 Live Oak)
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3. Cock & Bull
Once again, the Lakewood location makes it difficult to justify, in dive terms. On the other hand, there are cobwebs clinging to the ceiling and a patina of drippings and smoke. Plus they try to do more than just a good burger, and often succeed. (6330 Gaston)
2. The Old Monk
Here's where we really start treading into iffy territory. The Old Monk is a longtime destination pub. But it deserves a visit for its food service, as well. We've awarded their kitchen with Best Bar Food on several occasions. Calamari, onion soup, mussels...(2847 N. Henderson)
1. Vickery Park
Yeah, not a dive bar. It's hard to include places like the Cock & Bull and discount this rustic space, however. Just across from The Old Monk and quite similar in flavor--except the menu includes more flair: pulled pork, rosemary chicken, blackened salmon and even a ribeye. (2810 N. Henderson)