Dallas is not, on the whole, a walkable city, but there are many strands that cater to pedestrians. As the heat subdued, I decided to see how foot-friendly McKinney Avenue was on this past sunny, Saturday afternoon. I started at Fitzhugh around noon and wandered south, checking in at several places along the way.
Lumi Empanada and Dumpling Kitchen was quiet, despite filling the street with smells more reminiscent of pastries than potstickers. Primo's and Breadwinners were bustling with lunch and brunch crowds. Both restaurant's had lists of names at the front door, and the hostess of Breadwinners belted party names over a sound system that poured into the street. Not exactly soothing, but effective.
These places have been mainstays on McKinney, but new spots will be opening soon. Across the street from Breadwinners, at One McKinney Place, Private Social was continuing its build-out, sanding drywall and installing fixtures, while the Del Frisco's Grill started its initial effort next door. Both restaurants have plenty of work to do before they start service. Private Social should be open in two weeks or so. Del Frisco's is further behind.
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Further down, Frankie's and Christie's were all out jumping, catering to the college football crowd. A sea of gold and purple poured onto the patio at the McKinney Avenue Tavern despite banners indicating this was an Ohio State hang, and Idle Rich's porch was starting to fill, too.
The Liar's Den may be no more, but the building that housed the recently shuttered bar had a new coat of paint and carpentry. A banner promises the Den Bar and Grill and a Rumors Lounge.
It wasn't until I got to the Black Friar that I found a stool that suited me: across from Austin, who was working the bar, and next to a bearded drinker taking a break between shifts at the Stoneleigh. We talked top-5 worst bar shots and muscled through our first drinks of the day while I picked at a basket of chips and hatch chili salsa alongiside a dish of chunky queso. In the evenings the Black Friar can be packed with amateurs, the bartender told me, but on this Saturday afternoon, I had the place mostly to myself.
It's nice to ditch the car (or bicycle in my case) and assume a slower pace every once in a while. On your feet, you can dip in and out of places easily, lingering when a scene suits you and moving on when things feel off, with no worries about valets, parking meters and tickets (or even bicycle locks). With the weather as it is, I'll be looking for a lot more strands to meander.