Best Place to Park Your 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible 2012 | Keller's | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Best Place to Park Your 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible


On a sunny Saturday afternoon, there's only one place to park your presidential convertible: Keller's Drive-In. On the west side of the building that's responsible for Dallas' most popular take-out burger on a poppy seed bun, you might not feel comfortable hanging out with the motorcyclists who have come to show off their hogs. But on the east side, you'll be the envy of every classic car owner in Dallas. The owners of classic Chevelles, Mustangs, Chargers and other shiny sports cars congregate each weekend and sip on Coors Lights in between burger orders while talking paint jobs, engine configurations and plenty about the good old days. Say hi to Shirley, the waitress who's been taking orders since the place opened 46 years ago. Grab yourself a burger and connect with the blue-collar vote. Watch out for mustard on your chin, and remember, you're in Dallas. Maybe leave the top on your convertible closed.

Some bartenders gripe about customers who aren't sure about their orders. It's hard to blame them when someone comes up to the bar and leans over the beer taps to ask what's on draft. Other bartenders, though, take pride in being beer sherpas. They relish in the opportunity to introduce another newbie to their perfect malted match, in hopes of inducting another hophead. Union Bear's bartenders have this shtick down, pouring shot glass after shot glass of local and national brews when someone seems like they're not sure what they'd like to order. Take your time when ordering a beer here. The barkeep wants you to find your perfect beer just as much as you do. Fold in Dallas' best fried chicken sandwich, a great indoor/outdoor bar and plenty of patio seats, and you have a great spot for an extended beer session.

Eating hot dogs is as important as kissing babies on the campaign trail, but you need to be careful. Too many tube steaks and you'll risk popping a button on that new three-piece suit. Hot dog photo ops must be chosen wisely and there's no finer opportunity in Dallas than St. Pete's chili dog, with a load of chili and mound of cheese. St Pete's uses local links from Rudolph's Butcher shop, right down the street. Now you can show your support of local small businesses while you convince your constituents of your blue-collar appeal. Just don't pick up that knife and fork. Wool suits be damned, you have a humble image to uphold. You're a candidate of the people.


Thai food in America is mostly relegated to a take-out affair, stuffed into white Styrofoam containers to steam away into limp incarnations that hardly evoke their original counterparts. When Bambu opened in Richardson, though, the ubiquitous ethnic chow became more than worthy of a sit-down meal. It may be the enthusiastic staff as much as the plates themselves that make for compelling eating in this stylish but predictable dining room. A velvety tom kha gai soup sings with heat and kaffir lime leaves, and a spicy duck curry is heady and addictive. The staff is more than happy to help you pick out a dish that suits your taste, but be sure to let them know you're an adventurous diner. The specials here are worth your attention, and the owners, who previously owned a sushi restaurant, have a special talent for working with seafood.

Texas convention says everything should be ridiculously big. Dallas convention is that all dessert should be sweet. The two combine to result in portions the size of a The Rock's forearm, chocolate that's cloying and fruit that's so saccharine it tastes like a plastic-wrapped freeze pop. It doesn't have to be this way. In Highland Park, a young Italian chef is breaking this convention one dessert plate at a time. Try the semifreddo to see what we mean. The respectably sized quenelles of light, airy, kinda-frozen sweetness still let the lemon flavor shine. Think of that cold glass of lemonade you bought for 10 cents on a hot summer day back when you were a kid. Remember the melting ice cubes. Remember the tartness. Now turn the volume up to 10 and add some blueberries to the memory.

Taryn Walker

It's not much to look at. The small house turned Thai restaurant wears more than 30 years of service on its siding. The dining room is plainly decorated and dim, and the carpet and printed menus have done their share of duty as well. That's all part of the charm, though. While most people view Bangkok Inn as a place to call in an order for pick up, the restaurant is also a BYOB treasure that's mostly undiscovered. People know about the spring rolls, corn patties and excellent curry, but they don't seem to realize that Thai food is the perfect pair for hoppy India Pale Ales. While most Thai restaurants saddle you with a bland Asian lager and call it a day, Bangkok's warm welcome to outside brews allows customers to enjoy perfect beer pairings that are otherwise impossible unless you take the food home.

Because you're tired of deviled eggs, that's why. Sure, you loved them when your mom made them at home to bring to picnics and tailgates. You loved them when they appeared on a bar menu all retro-like, too, but now that seven versions are sold at every Southern-fetishizing soul food and gastro-whatever in Texas, the snack is in danger of jumping the shark forever. Pickled eggs possess everything deviled eggs lack, with a vinegary brightness and old-school appeal that's right at home on Ten Bells Tavern's shelves next to the liquor bottles. This is the quintessential bar snack hiked up by a chef who takes his pub grub seriously. Try the onion and vinegar version if you want to be a traditionalist, but curry jalapeño eggs tinged with turmeric are twice as good. Don't pass on the medallion of weathered green chiles floating in the jar next to your prize. They were fresh when they were added, and now they're the best pickled jalapeños you'll ever consume.

A Sunday brunch at Vickery Park is a rite of passage for some, but it's the little things that count. Like their ketchup, which is accented with Sriracha and makes french fries disappear with relative ease. We support any restaurant that skillfully uses a condiment to enhance a condiment.

Beth Rankin

Forget the so-called dark night of the soul. The real hour of spiritual blackness hits about 11 a.m. on a Sunday after a long night of drinking. That's when the big existential questions hit: Why? How long must suffering be endured? And holy shit, did I really drink/ingest/screw that? Take your broken essence and throbbing head to The Grape, where life affirmation comes in the form of a fried chicken patty covered in cheddar cheese, served on a jalapeño-cheese biscuit that is neither too dry, nor too soft. The Grape may be known best for its burgers, but on a Sunday morning, it's busy doing God's work.

Carnival Barker's ice creams are handmade in Deep Ellum one and a half gallons at a time, in wooden buckets with all natural ingredients, no fillers, no preservatives and way less air than the big names. It's all done in a super-strict commercial kitchen by a guy who went to Ice Cream U. in Pennsylvania to learn how. The flavors, from Fat Elvis to Vodka Nutella, are absolute knock-outs. The best place to find it to take home is Bolsa Mercado in Oak Cliff, and it's served at Bryan Street Tavern or City Tavern in Dallas.

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