Best Burger at a Place Where You May Spot Robert Jeffress

St. Paul Cafe

St. Paul Cafe

Just off St. Paul Street, nestled at the foot of First Baptist's Godly megalith, there is a café whose burgers are eminently passable — quick, flavorful, reminiscent of some competent greasy spoon. Bun, meat, cheese, onions, tomatoes, mustard. They're not going to compete with the gourmet burgers at Local or The Grape. On a weekday at lunch, however, they will certainly do. They're not even close to being the bright spot in the dining experience. To top it off, we recommend stepping into First Baptist's well-lit lobby and circling the scale model of its remod, a monument to God only Texans could conceive of. Keep a weather eye, because, if you're lucky, you might catch sight of a busy gay-condemning, GOP-loving Reverend Robert Jeffress speed-walking through the church, resembling a well-dressed, incredibly affable wood sprite. This man is, at the very least, among the most powerful religious figures in the state. Now, your visit to St. Paul Café is complete.

Jonathon's Oak Cliff
Sara Kerens

We cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to, um, "pre-game" before eating Jonathan's chicken and waffles. This is the ultimate stoner food: a sublime crossroads between sweet and salty. Sure, you can enjoy them in sobriety, but the enhancing effects of a certain herb make eating this dish a bit like slipping into a warm cocoon made of fluffy Belgian waffles topped with crispy fried chicken and smothered in jalapeño gravy. Only you don't emerge from this cocoon, metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly. Rather, you'll transform into a supremely satisfied, tranquilized sloth, waddling ever so slowly to your car while questioning the wisdom of consuming the entire dish.

Oddfellows
Kathy Tran

Drink Oddfellows' house-made bloody mary and you can skip brunch. True to Oddfellows' rustic chic, it only makes sense that the BM, like everything else on the menu, tastes farm-to-table. Served in a mason jar and garnished with pickled okra, celery and olives, its flavor is sweet, peppery and redolent of fresh vegetables. Just try to drink only one. Of course, what is brunch if not an invitation to day drink. Right? RIGHT?

Zaguán World Bakery and Café

Think of the arepa as a grilled cheese sandwich made with two fluffy corn cakes, but toss in an angelic choir singing "hallelujah" as your mouth and belly radiate a warm, happy glow. That's the arepa at Zaguan: fat, fluffy corn tortillas with kernels of sweet corn, gobs of oily cheese and, if you like, a pile of flavorful ham or shredded chicken or beef. Dump salsa all over the top of the arepa and get messy, or apply after each bite. It makes for a great lunch so long as you can resist the impulse to curl up under your desk for some postprandial hibernation.

Avila's Mexican Restaurant

No matter how broke you think you are, you can afford to eat lunch at Avila's. Skip the iced tea or Dr Pepper, order a water and stick to the lunch menu. It's pretty standard-issue, but Tex-Mex is Tex-Mex; get out of the way and, as Ron Washington might say, let it do what it do. Try the cheese enchilada drowned in chile con carne, throw in a crispy beef taco and some of that burn-your-face-off salsa they serve, and be happy. If you're one of those chalupa or soft cheese taco weirdos, they got that too. Best part of all, of course: You can walk out of there for less than eight or nine bucks, depending on how shameless a tightwad/how hard up you are.

Local

Is it possible to want to make love to a cauliflower? Well, yeah, there are probably a few websites devoted to the subject — there usually are — but even for normal people, Local's amuse bouche, a cauliflower mirepoix, might be worth the risk of serious injury and professional/legal consequences. The only problem is that the small dish of silken, simple puree, spiked with a bit of heavy cream, is too small, especially if you want to take a bath in it, like we did.

Taco Joint

It's best to start your morning off with a kick. At least that's the belief of Taco Joint fans, who love to smother their breakfast tacos with a condiment praised the city over. Try it out: Ask a random stranger what goes best on a bacon and egg taco and the response will likely be "Jalapeño ranch at Taco Joint, duh." In fact, there are probably very few foods that the condiment wouldn't flatter. The savory ranch is light and the jalapeño kick chases off any trace of a hangover from the previous night's damage, no matter how severe.

Society Bakery
Society Bakery

Many local bakeries perpetrate petits fours, but none stack up to Lower Greenville's Society Bakery. Their version of the confectionery classic delicately stacks moist layers of cake small enough to fit between your thumb and index finger and spreads on a dense layer of rich, buttery icing. The petit four is one of the many pastries Society Bakery has mastered, but when you're jonesing for a small cake fix, nothing's better than this tiny dessert. It's not recommended that you attempt to consume the pastry in just one bite, but you probably will try. Just brace yourself for the ensuing sugar rush and remember: You are not the Great Cornholio.

Rosemont

When a chef who's normally responsible for an impossibly smooth vegetable soup — as Tracy Miller is at Local — turns her attention to a simple bowl of oatmeal, coffee and doughnuts, the results are fantastic. The oats are that steel-cut Irish variety that requires you to chew a little before it warms your belly. The coffee is as black as pitch. The doughnuts are dropped to order from handcrafted batter. This is the standard American breakfast hopped up with great ingredients and good technique. If breakfast is not your thing, then come for lunch. Whether you order a crusty fried fillet of fish turned into a sandwich with butter brioche and tartar sauce or a BLT with heirloom tomatoes as gold as a summer sun, you know your meal will be a good one.

Having children is one of life's great blessings until it comes to eating out at restaurants, where they turn into small maniacs set on ruining the dinner of everyone in earshot. For the most part, society seems happy to relegate parents and children to a fast food playground until the kids come back with some manners. For those for whom a value menu won't suffice, there's the Dream Cafe located in Uptown. The patio comes with a moderate playground with a jungle gym and playhouse. It's big enough to keep the kids occupied for an hour or so while you enjoy chicken and waffles in sweet peace.

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