It's the damndest thing. For 51 weeks a year, our staff scours Dallas looking for people doing bad and/or dumb things so we can tell you all about it. We work them like animals, and they're generally a pretty surly bunch. And then they surprise us with something like this, our Best of Dallas® 2014 issue. Who are these strange people, and where is this happy place they live? So many — very many, apparently — cool places to drink. So much fun shopping and dancing and music and culture. And the food. Who knew Dallas was such a gourmand's delight, and not just for tacos, burgers and 7-Eleven sandwiches, but for every sort of dish under the sun? Well, our writers did, and our readers did too. They sent us hundreds of tips about all the places that make the city a Big D-light. Looking through this year's issue, one thing's apparent: Our readers and writers have been out having a good time, and we weren't invited. Very funny, guys, but the jig's up. We've got the Best of Dallas® in our grubby editor hands, and we're stepping out. Those guys you see in the club doing the bus driver? Asking for ketchup in a sushi restaurant? Yeah, that'll be us. Let's par-tay. The Editors

You Dallas Observer readers out there really know how to have a good time, don't you? Gracious, so many ideas for great food, drinks, shopping, nightlife and culture in Big D. How do you fit it all in? Seriously, don't you people have JOBS? Don't you have to go to ... Sorry. Sorry. Just had a touch of envy there. What we meant to say is thank you, readers, for pointing us out to all the great places we really should visit soon to relax, and congratulations and thanks to the many Readers' Choice Contest winners who make this place a Big D-light. And there's more to come. If you don't see your favorite place on this list, stay tuned. We'll have plenty more to say about the Best of Dallas on our blogs.


FOOD & DRINK

BEST BAKERY
Bread Winners Cafe and Bakery
3301 McKinney Ave.
214-754-4940
breadwinnerscafe.com

BEST BARBECUE
Pecan Lodge
2702 Main St.
214-748-8900
pecanlodge.com

BEST BEER SELECTION
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
14999 Montfort Drive
972- 991-7093
beerknurd.com

BEST BLOODY MARY
Anvil Pub
2638 Elm St. 214-741-1271

BEST BREAKFAST
The Original Pancake House
2900 Lemmon Ave.
214-528-7215
originalpancakehouse.com

BEST BURGER
Twisted Root Burger Co.
2615 Commerce St.
214-741-7668
twistedrootburgerco.com

BEST CHEF
Stephan Pyles
stephanpyles.com

BEST CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK
Babe's Chicken Dinner House
1006 W Main St., Carrollton
972- 245-7773
babeschicken.com

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT
Royal China Restaurant
6025 Royal Lane
214-361-1771
royalchinadallas.com

BEST COFFEE SHOP
Mudsmith Coffee
2114 Greenville Ave.
214-370-9535
mudsmithdallas.com

BEST DINER
Norma's Cafe
1123 W Davis St.
214-946-2111
normascafe.com

BEST FOOD TRUCK
Easy Slider
easyslidertruck.com

BEST FRIED CHICKEN
Babe's Chicken Dinner House
1006 W Main St, Carrollton
972-245-7773
babeschicken.com

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT
Ziziki's Taverna
5000 Belt Line Road, No. 30
972- 233-1199
zizikistaverna.com

BEST HOT DOG
Angry Dog
2726 Commerce St.
214-741-4406
angrydog.com

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP
Paciugo Gelato
2115 Abrams Road
214-828-8777
paciugo.com

BEST INDIAN
Kalachandji's Palace & Restaurant
5430 Gurley Ave.
214-821-1048
kalachandjis.com

BEST ITALIAN
Campisi's
5610 E. Mockingbird Lane
214-827-0355
campisis.us

BEST LOCAL BEER
Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
2823 St Louis St.
214-888-3322
deepellumbrewing.com

BEST MARGARITA
Gloria's
214-303-1166
gloriascuisine.com

BEST MIDDLE-EAST RESTAURANT
Ali Baba
1901 Abrams Road
214-823-8235
alibabamedgrill.com

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
The Local Oak
409 N. Zang Blvd.
214-946-4625
thelocaloak.com

BEST PIE
Emporium Pies
314 N Bishop Ave.
469-206-6126
emporiumpies.com

BEST PIZZA
Il Cane Rosso
2612 Commerce St., No. 101
214-741-1188
ilcanerosso.com

BEST RESTAURANT FOR KIDS
Magic Time Machine
5003 Belt Line Road
972-980-1903
magictimemachine.com

BEST SALSA
Gloria's
3223 Lemmon Ave.
214-303-1166
gloriascuisine.com

BEST SANDWICH RESTAURANT
Jimmy's Food Store
4901 Bryan St.
214-823-6180
jimmysfoodstore.com

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
3520 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-521-4700
pappadeaux.com

BEST STEAKHOUSE
Bob's Steak & Chop House
4300 Lemmon Ave.
214-528-9446
bobs-steakandchop.com

BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH
Blue Mesa Grill
7700 W Northwest Highway
214-378-8686
bluemesagrill.com

BEST SUSHI
The Blue Fish
3519 Greenville Ave.
214-824-3474
thebluefishsushi.com

BEST TAQUERIA
Torchy's Tacos
5600 SMU Blvd.
972- 993-8226
torchystacos.com

BEST TEX-MEX
Chuy's Mexican Restaurant
4544 McKinney Ave.
214-559-2489
chuys.com

BEST THAI RESTAURANT
Royal Thai
5500 Greenville Ave. No. 608
214-691-3555
royalthaitexas.com

BEST VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN
Cosmic Café
2912 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-521-6157
cosmiccafedallas.com

BEST WINGS
Plucker's
5500 Greenville Ave.
214-363-9464
pluckers.com


NIGHTLIFE & MUSIC

BEST BARTENDER
Andrew Thompson, The Twilite Lounge
2640 Elm St.
214-741-2121
thetwilitelounge.com

BEST BLUES BAR
Poor David's Pub
1313 S Lamar St.
214-565-1295
poordavidspub.com

BEST CLUB DJ
DJ Sober
djsober.com

BEST DANCE CLUB
Lizard Lounge
2424 Swiss Ave.
214-826-4768
thelizardlounge.com

BEST DIVE BAR
Lee Harvey's
1807 Gould St.
214-428-1555
leeharveys.com

BEST GAY BAR
Round-Up Saloon
3912 Cedar Springs Road
214-522-9611
roundupsaloon.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR
Gloria's
3223 Lemmon Ave.
214-303-1166
gloriascuisine.com

BEST HONKY-TONK
Billy Bob's Texas
2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth
817-624-7117
billybobstexas.com

BEST KARAOKE
The Goat
7248 Gaston Ave.
214-327-8119
thegoatdallas.com

BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
Granada Theater
3524 Greenville Ave.
214-824-9933
granadatheater.com

BEST LOCAL MUSIC RELEASE
Don't Disconnect by Sarah Jaffe
sarahjaffe.com

BEST METAL BAR
Trees
2709 Elm St.
214-741-1122
treesdallas.com

BEST OUTDOOR PATIO OR DECK
The Truck Yard
5624 Sears St.
469-500-0139
texastruckyard.com

BEST ROCK BAR
Trees
2709 Elm St.
214-741-1122
treesdallas.com

BEST STRIP CLUB
The Lodge
10530 Spangler Road
972-506-9229
the-lodge.com


SHOPPING & SERVICES

BEST AFFORDABLE JEWELRY
Sam Moon Trading Company
11826 Harry Hines Blvd
972- 484-3084
sammoon.com

BEST DALLAS FASHION DESIGNER
Lucy Dang
lucydang.com

BEST DAY SPA
King Spa and Sauna
2154 Royal Lane
214-420-9070
kingspa.com

BEST EYEWEAR SELECTION
Warby Parker
2008 N Henderson Ave.
972- 426-7272
warbyparker.com

BEST FARMERS MARKET
Dallas Farmers Market
1010 S Pearl Expressway
214-664-9110
dallasfarmersmarket.org

BEST FURNITURE STORE
IKEA
7171 Ikea Drive, Frisco
888-888-4532
ikea.com

BEST HOTEL
The Belmont Hotel
901 Fort Worth Ave.
214-393-2300
belmontdallas.com

BEST GIFT SHOP
We Are 1976
1902 N Henderson Ave.
214-821-1976
weare1976.com

BEST GUN RANGE
DFW Gun Range
1607 W Mockingbird Lane
214-630-4866
dfwgun.com

BEST HAIR SALON
Avalon Salon
3699 McKinney Ave.
214-969-1901
avalon-salon.com

BEST HOME DECORATIONS AND ART
DFW M'Antiques
424 W Davis St.
214-941-4195

BEST MEN'S CLOTHING STORE
Culwell & Son
6319 Hillcrest Ave.
214-522-7000
culwell.com

BEST NAIL SALON
Onyx Nail Bar
4123 Cedar Springs Road, No. 109
214-599-0255
onyxnailbar.com

BEST RECORD STORE
Good Records
1808 Greenville Ave.
214-752-4663
goodrecords.com

BEST TATTOOS
Elm Street Tattoo
2811 Elm St.
214-653-1392
elmstreettattoo.com

BEST VAPING SHOP
Vape Lounge
2741 Belt Line Road, Carrollton
972- 416-5181
vapeloungellc.com

BEST VINTAGE CLOTHING
Dolly Python
1916 N Haskell Ave.
214-887-3434
dollypythonvintage.com

BEST WINE/LIQUOR STORE
Spec's
9500 N. Central Expressway
214-369-2800
specsonline.com

BEST WOMEN'S CLOTHING STORE
Milk & Honey Boutique
1906 N. Henderson Ave.
214-826-1700
milkandhoneyboutique.com


CULTURE & PEOPLE

BEST ART EVENT
Deep Ellum Arts Festival
214-855-1881
deepellumartsfestival.com

BEST ART GALLERY
Kettle Art Gallery
Kettle Art Gallery
2650-B Main St.
kettleart.com

BEST ARTS AND CRAFTS TEACHERS
Oil & Cotton
837 W 7th St.
214-942-0474
oilandcotton.com

BEST DISD SCHOOL
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts
2501 Flora St.
972- 925-1200
dallasisd.org

BEST EXHIBITION
Aurora Dallas 2013
dallasaurora.com

BEST FESTIVAL
Deep Ellum Arts Festival
deepellumartsfestival.com

BEST LOCAL ACTOR
Justin Locklear

BEST LOCAL ACTRESS
Liz Mikel

BEST MOVIE THEATER
Angelika Dallas
5321 E Mockingbird Lane. No. 230
214-841-4713

BEST MURAL
Robot vs. Dinosaur by Frank Campagna

BEST MUSEUM
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
2201 N. Field St.
214-428-5555
perotmuseum.org

BEST MUSIC RADIO STATION
KKXT-FM 91.7
kxt.org

BEST MUSICAL
Wicked

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD
Bishop Arts District
bishopartsdistrict.weebly.com

BEST NEW THING IN TOWN
The Truck Yard
5624 Sears St.
469-500-0139
texastruckyard.com

BEST NEWS RADIO STATION
KERA-FM 90.1
kera.org

BEST PARK FOR NATURE LOVERS
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
8525 Garland Road
214-515-6500
dallasarboretum.org

BEST RADIO TALK SHOW
Kidd Kraddick in the Morning
kiddnation.com

BEST PLAY
Barbecue Apocalypse

BEST THEATER COMPANY
Dallas Summer Musicals
dallassummermusicals.org

BEST THEATER DIRECTOR
Kevin Moriarty

BEST TV NEWS ANCHOR
Clarice Tinsley

BEST TV NEWS SHOW
Good Day on FOX


SPORTS & RECREATION

BEST BIKE SHOP
Richardson Bike Mart
9040 Garland Road
214-321-0705 bikemart.com

BEST BIKE TRAILS
White Rock Trail
whiterocktrail.org

BEST GYM
24 Hour Fitness
5706 East Mockingbird Lane
214-827-8700
24hourfitness.com

BEST HIKING TRAILS
White Rock Lake whiterockdallas.org

BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE
Tenison Park Golf Club
3501 Samuell Blvd.
214-670-1402
tenisonpark.com

BEST SPORTS BAR
Bryan Street Tavern
4315 Bryan St.
214-821-4447
bryanstreettavern.com

BEST SPORTS COLUMNIST
Randy Galloway

BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR
Dale Hansen

BEST SPORTS RADIO STATION
KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket
www.theticket.com

BEST YOGA STUDIO
Sunstone Yoga
2907 Routh St.
214-764-2119
sunstoneyoga.com

Three Links

Nobody is putting on the caliber of up-and-coming or underground metal and punk that Three Links is. Since opening last year, it's found a groove that Dallas didn't even know it was missing, one that contains all the most interesting shows toward the louder end of the scale. While Trees down the street puts on the more predictable metal, Three Links isn't afraid to take a risk on booking acts that are great but may not necessarily sell out the relatively small venue. It's the most valuable addition to Deep Ellum in a while.

Three Links

OK, we know we also named Three Links best metal bar, but what the hell. They're not all-metal all-the-time, and no one out there can compete with the consistent quality of rock shows hosted by Three Links these days — and that's no slight to other venues in North Texas. Helmed by the booking duo of Scott Beggs and Kris Youmans, who between them have logged more years in the music biz than they probably care to count, plus business partner Oliver Peck, Three Links rose from the ashes of La Grange less than 18 months ago, but all of that experience shows in the bands they land. Just in the past six months, they've brought in rowdy yung'uns like Diarrhea Planet, got a little weird with Bob Log, courted controversy with Perfect Pussy and snagged an almost-impossible-to-get name like British punk vets Sham 69. They also have the ska scene on lock-down. So step back, pretenders. Three Links is here to show us how rock music is done.

While it might not be a new bar, Twilite Lounge is the best up-and-coming new host of music in Deep Ellum. Stepping it up from hosting live music maybe once every week or so, now it's packed Wednesday through Sunday with DJs, live blues, jazz, folk, the best karaoke in town ... it's amazing what they can fit into such a small space, and the booking is impeccable. Also, it's always free to get in. Since it's started hosting so many concerts, Twilite Lounge has made everyone else around them up their game too.

Adair's Saloon

It isn't often that "best" and "free" coincide, but in the case of Adair's, that's the winning combination that has turned this place into a Dallas institution. On any given night of the week, you'll hear up-and-coming or established artists from Texas and beyond who are trying to keep country music alive. It may not have thousands of square feet for two-stepping or a fancy reputation, but there's no disputing the place in history that Adair's holds for Texas country musicians. On the walls, you'll find photos of performers who have gone on to immense success, like the Dixie Chicks and up-and-comer William Clark Green. The staff is down-home friendly and the food is perfectly good for this kind of dive bar. Most important, there are plenty of cheap drinks that are perfect for both putting a tear in your beer and hanging out with all your rowdy friends.

Baby Dolls Saloon
You've only been here a minute — barely enough time to fork over your $3 daylight cover, pull out a Dos Equis from the arctic beer bin at the entrance and pull up at the bar. And yet, she's already pulling up next to you, Zora from Portugal, curvy and sweet. Annoying? Maybe, if you come to strip clubs to gawk from a safe distance. But you're at Baby Dolls, tucked off Northwest Highway in Dallas' industrial/boob district, for what makes strip clubs interesting — playful conversation heightened by the safest kind of sex: the not-sex kind. Zora does it right, just lingering, chatting, no mention of the lap dance(s) she needs to give to make rent. You don't mention it either, keeping the inevitable conversation at bay while you and Zora debate the merits of the bartender's newly purple hair, and you steal peeks at one of the 7,000 TVs, all locked to ESPN, all portending fantasy-football doom. Soon Zora will have to take the stage; you'll be right here when she gets done, right? Yes! Maybe. Maybe.

The relentless and tireless Preston Jones of DFW.com is literally everywhere. There must be about six of him. If you tried to keep up with him at SXSW, you'd have needed a teleporter. We have no idea how he gets into all the shows he does, but we're more than a little bit jealous. We can't even get up in the mornings, let alone take in that many musical events in one day. We'd be stuck in a line somewhere, check our phones, and Preston's hanging out with Kanye and Jay-Z. How do you do it, Preston? Are you magic?

The Kessler Theater
Mike Brooks

If you interpret "best live music venue" as "best place to listen to live music," then the only winner in town has to be the Kessler Theater. Above all else it is a listening room: The acoustics and quality of the sound system are far beyond what anywhere else in Dallas has to offer. You'll be able to hear the smallest sound, the kind that gets lost in the mix in other places. That's not to say that other places don't know how to mix. They do. They're just not working on the same level as the Kessler, which is as good a place to listen as we've heard anywhere.

By their very nature, do-it-yourself venues tend to come and go quickly. Whether it's a house in East Dallas, a warehouse in Oak Cliff or some rotating combination of the two, staying off the radar is often integral to their survival — both from a standpoint of overexposure and trouble with the authorities. Yet these grassroots ventures are also aimed at cultivating a sense of community. These days, no one does that better in Dallas than Two Bronze Doors, which has been hosting poetry readings and living-room concerts since last April. Led by Natalie Jean Vaughn and her fiance, Jonathan Foisset, Two Bronze Doors was reportedly once the home of a psychic who did business out of the living room. Nowadays that living room is host to art exhibitions and, at quieter moments, the household dog. Located just a few hundred feet from the hustle and bustle of Lower Greenville, Two Bronze Doors aims to put down roots in the name of a thoughtful, expressive and locally driven way of life. Let's hope those roots are permanent ones.

Best Of Dallas®