Best Eyewear 2011 | American Eyewear | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Remember those awful, dated glasses your mom and dad used to wear? Remember when you thought a giant pair of aviators or a set of Euro-styled teeny-weeny specs flattered your face? We hate to break it to you, but the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. By that we mean those glasses on your face would make Mom and Dad proud. Seriously, tiny half frames are not a good fit on a American-sized melon head. You need help, and American Eyewear is there for you. With hundreds of styles to choose from by designers like Oliver Peoples, Gucci, Prada, Armani and Paul Frank, the staff at this 30-plus-year-old independent shop can guide you to something stylish that fits properly. Located on Preston near Northwest Highway, it's not the cheapest eyewear shop in town, but really, Waldo, you wear these things on your face every day. Maybe it's time to splurge.
Have you seen the camping plates, cups and even cooking implements that unsnap and fold down flat like a piece of paper? What about the thing that's a compass and a waterproof matchbox all in one? Do you have one of those little metal things that's flat and fits in a shirt pocket, but it unfolds into a mini pellet stove that can boil a cup of water? But not in the paper folding cup. That could be bad. Most camping departments in bigger stores have a shelf of these partially useful eccentric outdoor gewgaws, but Whole Earth has the complete collection in its back room. Just looking at this stuff is the next best thing to actually camping.
Dallas potter David Day throws traditional terra cotta flower pots, whitewashed and stamped with their weight and city of origin (Dallas), ranging from one and a half to 12 pounds per pot in a variety of classical shapes. The whitewash gives them an especially timeless aura. Day learned his craft as a demonstration potter at Old City Park, then moved to the Cedars and set up his own full-scale studio. He works now at what he calls a "real job" during the week but continues to throw pots in his spare time. The management at Redenta's says the supply of David Day pots is sometimes a little spotty, but the pots are so special that people are happy to get on a list to wait for them.
Didn't say cheapest, did we? Micro Center usually has very competitive prices for computers and peripherals of all kinds, but the big thing here is "knowledgeable." That's important if you're trying to find a computer store where the employees know one single thing about the stuff they're selling. Or what day it is. Micro Center has the kind of sales people you have to wait in line to talk to sometimes because they're so busy solving everybody's problems. The point is, they know how, so it's well worth the wait. You can save money at this place just by not buying the wrong stuff and burning gas taking it all back six times. They also have a major service department.
If you ever frequented the old location in the Victorian houses on Fairmount where Uncommon Market did business for 40 years, you're in for a big surprise. The new location, in a vast airy warehouse on the edge of the Design District, is open and accessible but still manages to preserve that wonderful sense of discovery and surprise as you maneuver from room to room. The core attraction is the same — one of the region's most exhaustive stocks of antique decoration, hardware, furniture and props gathered from all over this country and Europe. Where else could you go and choose from four dozen different antique leather suitcases? Where else is there an entire warehouse space full of antique lighting fixtures? Or multiple retired 12-man rowing shells? It's so uncommon.
Surrounded now by the medical research community and a sea of apartments, Southland Farm Store survives from a much earlier era when people nearby still kept small animals and even horses and cattle. For decades the store did well by converting to birding and pet supplies and organic gardening supplements. Now with the rise of urban backyard chickens, community gardens and other types of big-city DIY agriculture, Southland may be in sort of a sweet spot. They still have big animal gear, especially for horses, and there are still people behind a counter right up front who know what they're talking about, just like in feed stores out in the country. But at Southland it's a little different spin: how to be a farmer in the city. That's what you call a specialized niche, and they're in the middle of it.
With a tire shop on seemingly every block, West Davis Street in North Oak Cliff is the place to be if you have a knack for predicting a blowout. Chances are you'll be close enough to a garage that you won't even have to mess with a spare. Some of them are cash-only, but as long as you can fish $20 from your wallet you'll probably be good if you don't mind settling for a used tire. Yeah, there may not be a 60,000-mile warranty, but you've got the peace of mind that comes from knowing you could replace the tire four or more times before you reach the price of one new tire at a national chain. We've heard some of the white yuppies new to the area gripe about the preponderance of such garages — which are mostly Hispanic-owned — as "eyesores," which strikes us as nauseatingly classist, if not downright racist. We think they're vital neighborhood employers serving those who can't drop a couple Benjamins every time a tire starts to go bald.
When a couple of teens walked into Oak Cliff Bicycle Co. hoping to sell a bike they claimed had belonged to their grandfather, Ean Parsons (no longer with the company) and Jeremy Ordaz could have made a quick buck by lowballing the sellers then turning around and selling it out of their shop. Problem was, they recognized the bike and knew it belonged to a young neighborhood boy, not anyone's grandpa. Rather than back down from a couple of rustlers, one grabbed the bike and the other followed them outside, snapping pictures that were later posted online. In fact, the publicity led to a customer recognizing one of the culprits as a neighbor, whereupon he gave the boy the opportunity to make it right. If we truly are on the verge of apocalypse, we'll need more brave citizens like these to help maintain order in the ensuing anarchy. If not, well, they're just good examples of how small-business owners can shape the character of their neighborhoods for the better.

Best Place To Get Your First (Or Last) Tattoo

Elm Street Tattoo

With doom on the horizon, there are a few things that most any red-blooded American will want to do before curtain call (if they havent already). One of those always wanted to list items floating in peoples buckets is to get a tat, dammit. Most seasoned doomsayers probably already have some permanent markings upon their flesh, but for those who havent made the commitment yet (its never too late for your first ink), high-tail it down to Deep Ellum and allow one of the many talents on staff at Elm Street Tattoo to style a commemorative doomsday piece, while you still have a mortal coil to bear it. Artists and co-owners Dean Williams and world-record holder (for most tattoos given in 24 hours) Oliver Peck will insure that youll never forget your first time under the needle ... or your last.

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