Best Place for Breakfast 2019 | Tia Dora's Bakery | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Kathy Tran

Here's how our logic worked when we made this choice: The best breakfast in Texas is a breakfast taco, and the best breakfast tacos in Dallas come from Tia Dora's Bakery. Served on big, fluffy flour tortillas made from scratch, these tacos feature consistently strong fillings; opt for eggs and chorizo, maybe, but don't miss the machacado. It doesn't hurt that they're among the biggest breakfast tacos in town, either. You'll want seven or eight, but you only need two, especially since Tia Dora's also has shelf after shelf of pan dulce just begging to come with you in a to-go bag.

Beth Rankin

The only thing better than a small, dense rock is a larger, thinner one with more eggs in it. Fresh crêpes are immeasurably better than Grandma's pancakes from a box, and Whisk Crêpes at Sylvan Thirty makes the best crêpes in town. In the cozy faux-provincial restaurant, Whisk's French impersonators crank out crêpes in many varieties, savory and sweet. You could order sweet and pretend it's OK to eat dessert at 2 p.m. — perhaps with butter and strawberries, even chocolate syrup — or try savory with chicken, mozzarella and pesto. Either way, it's up to you to build your crêpe from their expansive list of ingredients, and in just a few minutes, a hot, neatly folded treat will find itself at your table and in your mouth.

Kathy Tran

Like craft beers, craft burgers aren't exactly in short supply. This is precisely why Off-Site Kitchen's classic quarter-pound creations deserve a moment in the spotlight, now, more than ever. A burger haven with the charm of an old-school greasy spoon, Off-Site turns out burgers made with Angus chuck that's ground in-house and cooked to juicy perfection. Standard toppings include flat-top onion, lettuce, tomato and pickle on a brioche bun. But for those who just can't help themselves, there are "funky-fresh" options, such as Peanut Butter & Bacon and Teriyaki & Pineapple.

Caffeine addiction is for the nocturnal college student and the harried professional. Or the jilted lover, if you take jazz singer Sarah Vaughan's words: "My nerves have gone to pieces. My hair is turning gray. All I do is drink black coffee since my man's gone away." With its two locations in Deep Ellum and Highland Park, San Antonio-imported Merit Coffee washes away its "third wave" competitors, delivering superior java for whomever craves it. Represented by a train conductor's presentation lantern, it illuminates a way forward in Dallas. By directly sourcing beans from farmers and roasting them to perfection, Merit serves up memorable espresso like "La Falda" from Colombia, with tasting notes of red apple, marshmallow and cocoa powder, or filter coffee like "Larcho Torka" from Ethiopia, with tasting notes of lemongrass, star fruit and raspberry.

Scott Reitz

There are those of you who are satisfied with knowing the best coffee shop in town, and we suppose that's fine, but why be basic when you can be not basic? "Third wave" refers to a developing interest in viewing coffee like fine wine or cheese, where specific flavors are labeled through tasting notes and greater effort is put into brewing the perfect cup. Houndstooth Coffee at Sylvan Thirty, our favorite of three Dallas locations, impresses with its excellent coffee, superb service and pleasant setting, where four gleaming white "seraphim" rule the counter, waiting to prepare your flawless pour-over, and the friendly tatted baristas chirp cordially with customers. There's copious seating inside, and even a dog-friendly patio. Real Texans won't choose to miss out on a trip to Houndstooth, even if all you're willing to try is a (great) vanilla latte.

Matt Peterson at Plano's Matador Meat and Wine is everything you would expect of a butcher: ruddy complexion, stocky build, crushing handshake. His old-school butcher image is underlined by his goal of offering high-quality meats at a retail level. All of his dry-aged, Angus-certified USDA Prime steaks come from a small, family-owned packing house in Nebraska that processes cattle from no farther than 150 miles away. For next-level tenderness, he sources wagyu cuts from Snake River Farms. Free-range chickens that are never supplemented with preservatives come from a private farmer an hour outside of Dallas. Berkshire pork? He has that, too, along with housemade sausages in natural casings that are free of curing salts.

After 32 years of stocking office break rooms with gourmet beans, Parks Coffee now has a coffee shop called the Roastery as part of its new 50,000-square-foot roasting facility that includes a coffee lab and event space. Owner Randy Parks started Parks Coffee as a wholesale distribution center from his Carrollton garage and started roasting his own beans in 2003. The company's newest space has the capacity to roast more than 10 million pounds of coffee per year, a process visible through a window in the cafe. Coffee fans can get in even closer with a one-hour, farm-to-cup tour that includes single-origin coffee tastings and pastries from La Casita Bakeshop. In addition to sandwiches from BIRD Bakery and La Casita's cruffins, the cafe offers 20 varieties of roasts, including creations from the baristas — all of whom are ready to talk about tasting notes.

Catherine Downes

When your knife cracks through the crust, remember it's made of shards of Ruffles potato chips. Chef Tom Jones — it's not unusual to be in love with his CFS — touts seven secret ingredients, but broken Ruffles chips as a crust and a good, salty-peppery cream gravy are all we need. Before frying, Jones lets his steak sit like a king in a buttermilk bath. In one of the few ways he serves his CFS, it comes with a scoop of garlicky mashed potatoes and buttered Texas toast. Say adios to cynicism and darkness — this chicken-fried steak is the light.

Like it or not, many adults reproduce in the form of kids, and in order to get them to grow out of the screaming, overactive hellions they can be, we must feed them, preferably in places with good food and kid-friendly distractions. Arepa TX has both: delicious, healthy and affordable sandwiches on corn flour dough, along with an entire back room dedicated to kids with toys, a chalkboard and TVs to boot. No one back there is going to confront you if your kid accidentally bumps a chair, and there won't be any dirty looks when plates go flying off the tables. Everyone understands, so it's easy to relax, especially during happy hour on Monday through Thursday when an arepa and a glass of beer or sangria will only set you back $10, making it possible to still send the hellions to college one day.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Tiny Victories has been getting major wins since they opened their doors in the Bishop Arts District. As many Dallasites aimlessly search for the perfect watering hole, Tiny Victories continues to serve the specials straight up. The cozy spot not only offers $7 classic cocktails on Tuesdays and drink names that'll give you a chuckle, they're open until 2 a.m. during the week.

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