Best Place to Buy Highland Park Cast-Offs 2008 | Salvation Army Family Store | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

If you have Park Cities taste and a West Dallas budget, spend a Saturday walking the aisles of the Salvation Army Family Store (formerly called "thrift store") that splits the geographical and socio-economical difference between the two 'hoods. A mere 10 minutes from Highland Park, the store offers high-quality threads and furniture at jaw-dropping prices. The old concert T-shirt selection is pitiful; the men's shirt selection reveals a general preference for polo and golf over heavy metal. But Brooks Brothers suits for under $50 and huge leather couches for $200 more than make up for the lack of hipster garb. Check periodically, as you never know when a Parkie is going to send the hired help over with a Bentley-load of last season's fashions.

Danny Fulgencio

North Haven is a no-brainer when it comes to one-stop shopping for your entire garden and landscaping needs. It combines three things that everybody loves: affordable prices, great selection and a knowledgeable staff. From trees to shrubs, grasses to herbs, vines to roses and annuals to perennials, they've got it all. North Haven also has weekly specials, and if somehow they don't have what you need, they'll get it for you. No gardening question is too dumb or too detailed, as the staff is equipped to handle customers looking for basic knowledge or those seeking extensive information. It all adds up to a tremendous experience, which usually ends up with you at the checkout hours later with a cart full of plants.

It's the warehouse of fetish wear: Thousands of square feet of masks and hats, bondage bracelets and harnesses. From thumb cuffs to full-body suits, Leather Masters can whip you into the kinky outfit of your wildest desires. Nobody judges, nobody really cares which way you bend. Clean, well-stocked and well-staffed, this outlet for the outlandish can't be beat for brand-spanking-new spank fashion.

If you need an escape from rush hour traffic, piles of work at the office or the colicky kiddos at home, Dallas Yoga Center is an oasis of calm. Housed in a drab, '70s-style office building located by the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (hey, yoga can help with those probs too), this yoga spot is entered through a lobby filled with bronze Buddhas, meditation chimes and fashionable, movement-friendly garb for sale. The center offers a range of classes, including ashtanga, Iyengar and vinyasa styles of yoga, as well as special workshops and teacher training. Take a deep breath, get into the downward-facing dog position and feel your stresses eased. It's the healthiest way to get bent into shape.

Best Place to Get Your Deaf, Dumb and Dork On


Not gonna lie: If you've never been, the idea sounds both sketchy and cheesy. Says the Web site, it's "the country's crunkest place to buy and sell new and used movies, music, videogames," where, so happens, they buy and sell used Wiis for $260 without pocketing a dime. Right, the Wii—still hard to find—retails for more than $300. But their salespeople are upfront about their Wii empire: They buy high and sell low in order to attract folks to the inventory of videogames, new and used, which are but one small piece of an enormous, glorious puzzle that, no kiddin', might just be the future of idiocracy in the best possible sense. Really, imagine: GameStop meets Tower Records meets Blockbuster meets Collectors Records meets CD World meets Apple Store meets Movie Trading Company meeting a former Michaels location also stockpiled with rock T-shirts, posters and, no kiddin', cheaply priced vinyl through which collectors sort through every weekend. Sorry if that's a bit rambling, but we spent a recent weekend in there, and the mind still reels just as the ears still ring from all the videogame demos and screening stations and classic rock coalescing into a single, impenetrable wall of noise.

Best Place to Go If You Insist on Feeding Your Animals

The Lucky Dog Barkery

See, we don't want to tell you too much about our animals—four cats, let's say, and an aging yellow Lab once overcome by a stroke mid-stride. We don't treat 'em like we do the boy; ain't our children or nothin'. But, sure, they have special dietary needs—cats especially, little furry mess-makers. Vets never do right by our brood, even the best. So the other day we stumbled across The Lucky Dog Barkery, a lumberyard's worth of general store catering solely to cats and dogs and anything else that'd like to gnaw a tusk-sized rawhide or a flatted pig's snout that lands to the floor with a tinny thud. Owner Marsha Lindsey recommended changes to our cats' and dog's diets—steered from the vet's dry grains and toward a wetter, more organic diet. And, yeah, the gadgets are fun, but we come for the food in barrels and bags that make our animals like us just a little more than they loathe us.

As you step onto the porch of the old purple house nestled at the edge of a residential area on Bell Avenue, the smell of strong, sensual incense wafts over you. When you enter the house, you will find all manner of aromatherapy/ambience items: candles, stick incense, sprays, and even smudge bundles and sweetgrass braids. But what will really bowl you over is the selection of herbs and herb mixes in the back room. No need to search the Internet for an obscure ingredient for that full-moon ritual you're planning—The Labyrinth has more than 400 types of herbs and blends (including one that's marked "smoking blend") to suit the needs of any maiden, mother or crone who comes through its door.

In last year's best-of issue, we awarded Billy Reid's sole Dallas location, in NorthPark Center, the award for Best Dressy Men's Clothing Store We Can Afford. Sorry, we were so totally wrong about that. Because, see, that was before we finally got our sorry, retail-paying asses over to the Billy Reid warehouse sale, which occurs, more or less, every February and August, when the clothes go for pennies on the pennies on the dollar. Boots for which we once paid $395 walked out the door for less than a hundred; a $500 sports coat we once eyed longingly went home with us for $95, hot damn; and pearl-snap shirts that usually go for somewhere 'round the $165 mark were priced to move, move, move at $38, which doesn't even take into account the $24 cashmere sweater and $18 tie and $38 linen pants also hanging in the closet, lucky us. Don't tell, but the prices were so good we picked up doubles of our fave shirts, in case one gets ruined by all the drool. And ladies, this goes for you too—double, actually, because Billy Reid's women's clothes are even better than the men's. Paying retail—why didn't we listen to our grandfather? Jeez.

Should your running shoe feel soft and cushiony or firm and supportive? What's the proper way to lace up? This shoe feels snug—should I go up a size, or do I need a wide width? Good luck getting answers from the teen working in shoes at your local department store. "Uh, Nikes look cool," is about what you should expect in the way of running shoe advice until you go to Luke's Locker. A visit to the second-floor shoe department at Luke's begins with an analysis of your gait, in which the salesman determines how your feet pronate (i.e. how your foot impacts the ground). Based on that information, a measurement of your foot size (we were surprised to find out we should be wearing both a half-size larger and a wider width) and other info, several pairs of running shoes are presented. You can test these out on the faux indoor track at Luke's. We stretch our arms over our head as the crowd cheers, and the finish line ribbon breaks against our chest like a scene from a movie. Re-enacting scenes from Chariots of Fire may draw strange looks from the clerks, but we'll gladly buy shoes from a store that makes us feel like champions.

Looking at recreational vehicles under a hot Texas sun is no treat. So you'll probably be attracted to FunTime RV first of all because they have a large, air-conditioned showroom full of fifth-wheels and travel trailers. But while you decide how much you can afford to blow on a rolling home, you're sure to notice airplanes dogfighting with velociraptors and other nearly life-sized dinosaurs towering over rows of RV plumbing parts and trailer hitches. There's also a mural that depicts, among other things, a dino eating a shark (how badass is that?). If you don't dig on the 'saurs (God help you), there's also a huge fish tank with bass and other monster fish. And, oh yeah, don't forget about the RVs; the salespeople here are helpful and low-key.

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