The definition of diner is a little vague, but by our reckoning any place that describes its menu as home cooking and serves pot roast, meat loaf and a smothered chopped steak is in the ballpark. You know, it's the sort of place you take grandma to on Mother's Day. The String Bean in Richardson has hit all those marks since '77 with its large menu of homestyle American favorites from burgers to soups to grilled salmon. It's unabashed comfort food without any fussy touches trying to turn it into something ... ugh ... "elevated." Fresh, hot, familiar, well-executed and it makes us think of Mom: that's elevated enough for us, and The String Bean in Richardson hits all those marks.

Angie Quebedeaux

The fried bologna sandwich at Hillside Tavern is not the Oscar Mayer bologna sandwich you ate as a kid. And for that, we're thankful. In this masterpiece, you will find thin layers of pecan smoked mortadella topped with melted American and provolone cheese, placed between two thick slices of grilled white bread and coated in a secret sauce with shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes and Zapp's dill pickle kettle chips. It's the closest Dallas will ever get to Turkey and the Wolf's famed fried bologna sandwich in New Orleans.

Alison McLean

Tiffany Derry is the James Beard-nominated chef responsible for Roots Southern Table, a Southern-inspired field-to-table. full-scale restaurant that wants to remind you of its homestyle roots. The menu boasts green tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, grits, gumbo and cornbread, but the crown jewel is the duck-fat-fried whole chicken that is brined and fried to a golden crust with a perfect level of crispness. It comes with biscuits and a bottle of hot sauce. Juicy, delicious, full of Southern love, this can feed two to four.

Danny Gallagher

Now that gamers are getting older, they can afford to pick up the check. So it's only natural that businesses like restaurants would cater to this new economic base. Farm+Feed in The Shops at Legacy North in Plano has taken full advantage of this new demographic The whole place is designed to be accessible and appealing to players of all types, from the food on the menu to the décor on the walls. Guests can reserve a booth or grab a table or stool in the bar and order delightful takes on gamer grub with fresher ingredients. They can eat, drink and play games on pretty much every modern-gen console and even reserve a PC if they're looking to up their rank in Valorant or League of Legends. A wide selection of board games is available for a small fee. Even the restaurant's venue is designed to be a holy shrine to the gods of gaming with its green computer character screen and the Easter eggs hidden throughout.

Alison McLean

This British-inspired pub is particularly appetizing because of its proximity to American Airlines Center. There's free parking for patrons, making it a great spot to zip in before a concert or game for a drink and stack of the Reuben fries, which are thin, crispy fries piled with the A Bar N house-brined corned beef, Swiss mornay and dressing. Beer-battered cod with hand-cut chips is served with a whiskey barrel-aged malt vinegar. The happy hour deals are solid. If you have room, get the whiskey toffee cake with a Jameson anglaise.

Hank Vaughn

The original Montes Burritos is a full-service restaurant in Whitney, but if you're out and about in the farthest reaches of North Dallas and need fuel for both your car and your stomach, drop into this Shell station and grab a couple or three of their inexpensive and satisfying freshly made burritos. Barbacoa, chorizo and breakfast selections await you.

Hank Vaughn

Hidden in a small business park near Love Field, this Persian restaurant is perhaps one of the best hidden gems in Dallas. Samad greets everyone and has developed relationships with many regulars during the 30-plus years he's been in operation. There are kebabs of ground beef and chicken grilled to order, served with rice and grilled tomatoes, but the lamb shank is what brings folks back. It's served in a bowl filled with the natural juice of tenderly braised meat, which falls off the bone revealing moist and delectable lamb goodness with aromas to match.

Joseph Woodley

When the Nashville hot chicken trend rolled into Dallas several years ago, we scoffed. Tennessee is the Volunteer State, not the Muy Caliente State, and this is Texas, the eternal home of pepper bellies. So we headed off to one of the new "hot" joints and ordered the hottest they had, looking smug. After we woke up and could see again, we understood: What those Tennessee folks are volunteering for are medical experiments involving pain tolerance. So, they know hot, and they damn sure know how to fry up a chicken. Hattie B's nails it with a crunchy crust that doesn't overwhelm the bird with breading. It's moist but not greasy, the non-lethal spices bring out the flavor of the meat and the pieces are plump. They offer bone-in and tenders along with a chicken sandwich and Southern-style sides including greens, baked beans and black-eyed pea salad. We can't tell you about the hottest of their six heat levels ... because we're cowards. Apparently it's a religious experience, as we've seen people at other tables jump up and say the Lord's name.

Courtesy of Urban Tadka

A sign on the front of the building says "A Tradition From India," and Urban Tadka delivers. The inconspicuous restaurant in Irving specializes in Punjabi food, which encompasses a wide variety of breads, curries and rice-based dishes. Try the specialty saag paneer, a dish that comes with marinated cheese cubes dunked in a spinach-garlic paste, or the goat curry, a rich tomato-based gravy mixed with goat meat. There's no doubt that your palate will experience the full traditional Indian experience here. It might be a blessing that the restaurant no longer offers a lunch buffet; it's hard to stop eating once you've started.

Alison McLean

It's been a good year for Italian food in Dallas. A number of big-name places have opened, but at the end of the day, you can't go wrong with this cozy and charming corner spot downtown with Neapolitan pizzas from the owner-chef who is a Naples native. Also, don't miss the from-scratch pastas, including the lasagna Napoletana. It's made with smoked mozzarella, meatballs and ricotta and is available only on Friday and Saturday. Or go for the ziti alla Genovese, a quintessential Neapolitan pasta dish. Try to snag a seat so that you can watch the massive pizza oven.

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