Tired of Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville? Sick of getting hit up for change, paying eight bucks to park and constantly watching for muggers? Then head up Interstate 35 a piece and enjoy a night on the Denton town square, where the parking's free and the streets are considerably safer. For starters, we'd suggest a slice or two of delicious J&J's pizza (118 W. Oak St.). Follow that up with a shake at Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain (117 W. Hickory St.), which you can work off with a stroll on the grounds of the picturesque courthouse. Finally, take in a show at Hailey's, Dan's or the basement of J&J's; there's bound to be a good one somewhere. If all else fails, keep your eyes peeled for a kid or two busking on the sidewalk.
Lakewood Texaco
If you're driving on Lower Greenville and notice you're being tailed, head for the corner of Skillman and Live Oak streets, where you'll find the Lakewood Texaco, favored on-duty pit stop of the East Dallas cops. Owners Issa and Lena Boeuri have firmly entrenched their station in the hearts of the local community, in the process creating a virtual Shangri-la for cops--full of doughnuts, coffee, magazines and good conversation. If your night ever goes bad, you'll probably be glad they're there--we might, however, suggest you think twice before purchasing that newly stocked issue of High Times in their presence.
John McCaa is a serious person. He has a master's degree in politics from the University of Dallas (not easy to get) and has been at WFAA since 1984, with a solid history of street reporting behind him. But look, how do you judge news anchoring, as opposed to news news? Let's be honest, McCaa is this year's best anchor because he has the best knitted-brow expression of somber authority and the best end-of-newscast chuckle. That's what you call range in the anchor biz. He also does those voice-over previews at the beginning of the newscast with just the right amount of energy, meaning he doesn't sound bored but doesn't sound like a used-car guy hawking repos either. We don't want to go on too much about the others who didn't make it in this category. Tracy Rowlett at Channel 11 was close, but his pompadour has been a little flat lately. Clarice Tinsley and Jane McGarry--their cute wore off awhile back. Karen Borta--still too cute. We know one thing: Nobody better put us in front of that camera. Don't even try. Did you hear that? We dare you. Try it. Just once.
Jake's Old Fashioned Hamburgers
One of the few good things about working near Uptown is the people-watching, and restaurant employees are no exception. Judging by the waitstaff, the interview process at the Uptown Jake's must include a visit to Tigger's tattoos--we haven't seen this many dolphins, rainbows and butterflies since we caught that IMAX movie with the Sting soundtrack. If you'd like to see what these comely young ladies might look like after 10 years and three kids, we direct you to the former Jake's (now Jakk's) on Garland Road.
Outlaw country and baseball chat--what's next, an award for our fave bait shop? Not really, and this shouldn't insinuate that other genres aren't doing well on Dallas' dial; the heated battle between KBFB-97.9 FM (The Beat) and KKDA-104 FM (K104) is good news for mainstream rap fans, and KNTU-88.1 FM delivers more worthwhile, bop-era jazz than most stations in the nation. But this year's winners aren't just the best of Dallas--they're what you'd least expect in this plastic city. Longtime local jockey Alan Peck Sr., decades past his days at trailblazing country station KBOX, continues to lead The Range with its self-professed brand of "hard country" that proves no cut is too deep, from Ray Stevens' "Ahab the Arab" to Sorta's "Party's Over" and every Texas swing gem in between. And in spite of The Ticket's growth this year, boosted by the all-sports station's official partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, the no-B.S. attitude that has won over legions of dedicated P1s hasn't softened, which means The Musers' Gordon Keith is still screwing around as The Fake Jerry Jones and The Hardline's Mike Rhyner won't stop calling Bill Parcells "The New Jersey Con Man" anytime soon. The station touts that its listeners "hang out" with the hosts, and that's exactly what it feels like to hear the guys deliver hilarious, self-deprecating material about everything from spelling bees to Parcells' "fupa" (not to mention their weekly recaps of on-air screw-ups, the kinds most other stations would prefer to ignore). Talk and country radio that isn't cheesy and contrived doesn't just exist in Dallas; it thrives.
Granada Theater
Some moms may go for Kenny G., but ours is way cooler than that, a veteran of more kick-ass concerts than you youngsters can even dream of. Unfortunately, Mom just can't party like she used to. Luckily for her there's the Granada Theater, booked solid with mom-friendly acts and shows that end by midnight. It's also non-smoking, which, let's be honest, is really a plus for everyone. Throw in reserved seating, easy parking and some cleverly named menu items and you have a recipe for a middle-aged woman dancing in the aisles.
Want to know what's going on politically in the southern sector? Or all the sectors, for that matter? Well, heck, you've got the top elected official in southern Dallas talking about it every week on the radio. Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price spices his show with humor and leavens it with uplift, but then he also just goes off the deep end sometimes telling it like it is--like he says it is, anyway--about Dallas politics. Liberation Nation provides smart and valuable insights into an important part of the city, and it also makes for some highly entertaining listening.
Since we take pride in celebrating local failures, we're honored to shine our Best of spotlight on Frank Hejl, the former KNTU DJ who hasn't seen a microphone with proper wattage since May. The creator and voice behind Frequency Down lost his job (an unpaid one, no less) after airing an uncensored version of "Shake It Off," a song by Ninja High School complete with the FCC's least favorite F-word (no, not "fandango"). We call B.S. on the firing . The accident was aired late on a Sunday night, and Hejl was our favorite kind of DJ: funny, smart in interviews and with a show full of good, local musical choices. But the Frequency is down for the count, as Hejl now has a new project: a stand-up comedian/band series called Mix Tapes and Baby Fights. And in spite of our bloodlust for failure, all hail Hejl's and MT&BF's success.
As you pass over the traffic on Dallas' clogged freeways, lower your paper for a second and just look at them down there, sitting in their cars, spasmodically inching along as you zoom past overhead. Then thank us for telling you to take the Trinity Railway Express from Dallas to Fort Worth's gleaming T&P station. The ever-growing popularity of this line may be linked to the blossoming appeal of downtown living; downtown Fort Worth, that is. It also may be that the trains are invariably on time to the minute, 65 of them from Union Station to the heart of Fort Worth's vibrant central district. And at $4.50 a ticket, not only is it faster than driving, it's also cheaper.
Dallas is famous for its abundance of surgically enhanced beauty, and most Uptown lunch spots offer plenty of reassurance that the reputation is well-deserved. But among narcissists there are also purists, those willing to spend their lunch hour at the gym in pursuit of the perfect body. So where do those die-hards line up for healthy takeout after their workout? Eatzi's phenomenal gourmet salad bar, that's where. It's worth eating at the tables outside to see the dizzying array of pulchritude flouncing in and out. Is that hunger that's making you feel faint, or lack of blood to the head?

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of