Tillman's Roadhouse

Although there are several notable dining spots in the Bishop Arts District, Tillman's Roadhouse—an Oak Cliff staple since it opened as Tillman's Corner in 1992—is one that's sure to lasso you in. The décor and menu are about as Texan as it gets, which is nice for those of us who, well, love Texas. You see, Tillman's knows Texans can be picky about things as simple as mac and cheese, so it went the extra mile to ensure folks don't drop five bucks for something that tastes like the crap you can buy at the store. Nope, they turned simple into stellar with a white cheddar that will make you wish you hadn't agreed to share.

Cafe Izmir

You won't find many bottles of Listerine in the bathroom of a restaurant, but after a taste of the hummus at Cafe Izmir, you know exactly why it's there: The hummus is packed with so much garlicky goodness that only a true aficionado can appreciate it. But rest assured that if the garlic is too much for you, "date night" hummus is available, and it's the same blend of sesame seed butter, whipped garbanzo beans, olive oil and spices that makes the regular hummus so smooth, creamy and delish. And if you really want to impress your date, bring them by during one of the many art shows at Cafe Izmir. Just don't forget a swig of the Listerine on your way out.

Society Bakery
Society Bakery

This is no boutique cupcake—it's not your wedding cake, there's no handmade paper wrapper and it won't even cost you six bucks. These cupcakes look great, but they look natural—a little uneven around the frosting, one lip of the cupcake spilling over a little more than the other. The frosting may stick to the wax paper in the box. This is what cupcakes do; go ahead, lick the paper. Society holds food drives, collects clothes donations and gives to charity—so even if three cupcakes in one sitting is a bad idea for you, your purchase is probably helping someone in need. You want the red velvet; the chocolate, loaded down with peanut butter frosting; and then one more, a wild card—a whoopie pie or banana chocolate chip. Take comfort knowing this is no fad. It's how cupcakes were meant to be: a little lumpy on one side and eaten by the boxful.

Pappas Brothers Steakhouse

Dallas is known for its houses of steak, great big palaces of mahogany, marble and tucked leather inviting beefeaters to engage in the overtly masculine ritual of flesh searing, tearing and eating. Despite the economy, many seem to thrive—you can tell as much from the hordes of businessmen who cluster around white tablecloths, platinum cards at the ready, as they feast on juicy prime rib-eyes. And no place serves up this marbled magic better than Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, although the competition for the next great steakhouse remains fierce. Yet year after year, the Bros.' service is unsurpassed, their dry aged beef butter-tender to the knife, their wine list best of class. Little more can be expected of a steakhouse unless your need for sides is equal to your need for protein. Then it's the beefsteak tomato and onions, the shrimp remoulade and the mount of onion rings for you. And just in case that bone-in prime rib-eye weighing in at 22 ounces by some stretch of the stomach isn't enough to sate your appetite, there's a to-die-for dessert menu—the Key lime pie being a mega-must.

AllGood Cafe
Nick Rallo

In August, the AllGood Café celebrated 10 years of bringing its Deep Ellum regulars the Austin dining treatment, which, as the menus proudly proclaim, thankfully comes "without having to go through Waco!" But while we sure do enjoy the Austin vibe, the collection of concert posters that cover the walls and the adorable mass of origami birds that hang from the ceiling, there's a very specific reason why we keep returning to this Main Street mainstay: The chicken-fried steak is the best in town. For just 12 bucks, the AllGood offers you a cooked-to-perfection strip steak covered with just the right amount of batter—not so much that it's overwhelming and not so little that you barely notice that it's there—and then splatters a healthy portion of white gravy on top. Oh, and the best part? You also get two sides.

Burger House

This category could so easily go the frou-frou fry way, whether they be the thin crunchy matchsticks at Urbano or Toulouse, the salt & vinegar fries at Oceanaire or the chips served with malt vinegar at just about any bar with the word "tavern" in its name. But it's the good ole reliable "Jack fries" at the original Burger House—the one that since 1951 has kept frat boys belching through finance class—that we wish to celebrate. Their secret seasoning—a kinda of garlicky, peppery, salty, Greeky something—begs the fries be bought at first whiff as you enter restaurant space and place your order at the window. Their bet-you-can't-eat-just-one goodness only gets multiplied when you order a double cheeseburger that tastes of the same smells as the fries. Ketchup is a must on both.

Big E's Food and Beverage

Since opening in April, Big E's Food & Beverage has transformed itself from your average beer, toothpaste and snacks shop into a great place to grab lunch with its addition of a deli. This should ensure that the old building at the corner of Gaston Avenue and Oak Street doesn't sit vacant as it had for months following the short-lived occupancy of Discount Master Kevin's Corner. Meatball subs, Frito pies and chili dogs are just a few of the daily specials offered, and the cold sandwiches make you wonder why you've ever wasted time waiting in line at Subway. Not only is the food better than chain stores, the prices are nifty too—$4.50 for sandwiches or $6.50 with chips and a 32-ounce drink. Big E's variety of breads, meats, cheeses and veggies are enough to concoct just about anything your heart desires—even a PB&J, should the mood strike you.

Royal Thai
Royal Thai
Twisted Root Burger Co.
Twisted Root

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