Jimmy's Food Store
Nick Rallo
Run by two Italian-American guys, third-generation owners; their mama makes the meatballs in the back. They make their own Italian sausage--hot, mild or how you like it. The wine selection is all Italian, all good and two bucks cheaper per bottle than the high-rent places. Every Italian condiment you can think of. People don't just come here from Plano. They don't just come here from Tyler. They come from as far away as Oklahoma City! You know why? Because they're New Yorkers, from Brooklyn and the Bronx, in particular, and they are starved for a grubby little joint with worn-out fixtures, homeless people out front and really, really great Italian groceries.

Urban Outfitters
When you hit your early to mid-30s, there are constant reminders that you're not 21 anymore. These include, but are not limited to, your waistline, your hairline, your preference for talk radio, your tendency to be offended by behavior you used to find hysterical and your reluctance to order more than six tacos at Taco Bell. But if you really want to feel AARP-ed out, creaky-kneed and cantankerously old, try shopping at Urban Outfitters. First of all, the sizes are all wrong. If you wear a medium, buy an XL there, because the kids are way skinny these days and like their clothes form-fitting. Also, be prepared to be mocked if you try to update your wardrobe and, say, you buy the male Capri pants because they look hip to you. Your poker buddies will not understand. Third, just take a look around. Not one of the girls and boys you see plunking down platinum cards looks older than 14, yet every one of them could buy and sell your ass.

Buffalo Exchange
The price of fashion takes its toll in many ways other than the slimming of that designer pocketbook of yours. "Chic" eternally revolves and recycles in a vicious, cannibalistic circle, and the constant struggle to remain in The Now seems all but insurmountable when everything ends up being (or actually strives to be) so five-minutes-ago. Short of taking a not-so-scenic thrift-store tour of North Texas--one that's decidedly more famine than feast--the options for the frugal fashionista have been limited, but the chain known as Buffalo Exchange succeeds in both remaking and remodeling even the most discriminating wardrobes. Set up in much the same way as a used record or book shop, BE specializes in the buy/sell/trade of threads that have worn out their welcome, without the hassle of sifting through shop-class ashtrays and incomplete Sesame Street puzzles. Be it the latest trends in street wear, a reinforcement of the tried and true or the funkiest of vintage statements, the clean Greenville Avenue outlet has a consistently organized and shifting stock, and it's quickly become an essential weekend stop.

To call David Broussard an artist in no way overstates the obvious. Just look around his shop high atop Central Expressway, adjoining the Premier Club. He is a sculptor who prefers working in steel, and his artwork--much of it encompassing religious themes--adorns the shop walls. He plays a spirited bass guitar and writes his own songs, the latest of which can be heard on the headsets he will gladly apply before or after shampooing. His haircuts are as skilled as his art: precise, well-designed and well-executed. Although he works on men, women flock to his scissors, and he will trim the children of his customers for the asking. They sense they are safe in his hands, although they are not quite sure what large metallic crosses and stars of David are doing in a hair salon.
Dallas Costume Shoppe
During a serious costume crisis, we visited the Dallas Costume Shoppe. We got great help and quite a bit of kitty lovin'. Skutr, a beautiful mix who looks part siamese and part short-haired Himalayan, greeted us at the door with a meow and a stretch. He accompanied us on our wig hunt, cutting figure eights through our legs and pawing for a scratch of the ears. The human assistance was quick and thorough, solving our costume woes, but it was Skutr who made us wish we had 10 more characters to dress, just so we could spend the day with the soft little affection-giver. Skutr is a master of promotions, making us determined to call again on the feline-friendly costume shop.

Put those hands up for the team of experts that can mend them like no one else. Doctors David Zehr, Arnold DiBella and Paul Rosco Ellis III compose said team, and it seems there's nothing they can't hand-le (sorry about that, but we just had to). These talented doctors/surgeons tackle trauma, sports injuries, pinched nerves, wrist injuries, vascular and nerve injuries, amputations, tumors and arthritis. And we thought we did a lot in a day. The special thing about these guys (Dr. DiBella is truly outstanding in this area) is that they explain things to patients until they understand. There's no quick diagnosis and exit, leaving the nurse to take over. The doctors take the time to show models, diagrams and demonstrations of injuries and are completely up front about what it will take to fix the problem. With parts as important to daily life as hands, that frankness and understanding are invaluable.

Usually, in Best of Dallas, we tell you where to find the good deals. But sometimes we just gotta tell you, look, these folks are the best, but it's gonna cost you. Pay it. It's worth it. That's the case with Silks Abloom. They're not the cheapest in town--far from it. But if you want a distinctive, stunning faux flower arrangement or greenery for your house, it's hard to do better than these folks. So don't blame us when you get the credit card bill, but do give us credit when your purchase earns you ooohs and aaahs.

Gotta love the work shirt. More specifically, we love the random name patches that adorn the work shirt. Vintage or new, the shirt should fit, but that's all we really require of it. It is, after all, all in the name. Petey, Mike, Renaldo, Tito, Leroy, Jessie, Martha. We found all of those and more at the little hole in the wall called Hollywood Five & Dime, located a few doors down from Bar of Soap on Parry Avenue. We've used them for place settings, party favors, gag gifts and on our clothing. While there, check out the teen pulp memorabilia, vintage-style sundresses and creeper shoes. The store holds enticements for those into tiki, rockabilly and punk (we still want those Sex Pistols magnets). But back to the patch. If you were born with a name you've struggled to hide for years, stop by Hollywood and pick out a new one to test out. After all, a seam ripper is a lot cheaper than a legal fee for the mutation of your moniker.

This one is as easy as it gets, since it appeals to the smallest subgroup out there: gays and lesbians who read comic books. Not too many people cater to that particular market. But Richard and the rest of the crew at Zeus not only do just that, they do it in style, with regular get-togethers at neighboring Mexican restaurant Ciudad for rainbow-flag readers. Both places work fine on their own (Zeus is one of the best comics shops in town, especially for people just getting into reading them; Ciudad's food is flip-out fantastic), but they're even better together.

We heard about one mom who was so desperate to cut her 2-year-old's hair that she took the scissors to him while he was asleep. Given that she wasn't a trained professional, and it was dark, and half the kid's hair was under his head pressed against the mattress, the result wasn't so great. We're not sure what happened after that, but someone saw a woman with a hair-impaired toddler buying knit caps at Baby Gap. Too bad she hadn't heard of Kids Kutz, started by two single moms who knew a thing or two about desperation themselves. Jackie Ricks, a licensed cosmetologist, and Martha Rehfeldt, a licensed barber/stylist, found themselves out of work in 1998 when Dallas' Little Things went out of business and their children's hair gig there was gone forever. Necessity being the mother of invention, Ricks and Rehfeldt opened their own place. Even if your kiddo isn't afraid of the haircut experience, there is still the "wriggle" factor to consider. Ricks and Rehfeldt put their moms' ingenuity to work with their scissors skills, providing elephant and tiger chairs for their small clients, and movies. "We instinctively feel the kids out," Rehfeldt says, "and decide how best to approach each one. We see the brave and boisterous, and the shy and scared. We've never had a bad experience yet." Word-of-mouth gets Kids Kutz most of its clients, and even some of PBS' Barney kids get coiffed there. Rehfeldt says the trend among 6- to 10-year-olds is the Harry Potter cut for boys, and the Olsen twins for girls. Kids Kutz has a regular chair for harried moms and dads who make the trip to Euless for the kids but need a quick trim while they're there.

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