The Dickey?s Barbecue Pit sign may be ubiquitous today as a spot for good ole? Texas barbecue, but when Travis Dickey first opened his Dallas shop in 1941, the sign had to share space with advertisements to help pay rent. In the 70 years since then, the Dickeys have done well for themselves, with their initial store spawning a slew of franchises throughout the country. Though the barbecue at each outpost is no longer under the hand of one of Dickey?s descendants, each shop still smokes their own meats in-house to create the signature Texan flavor that infuses their briskets, pulled pork, and fall-off-the-bone ribs.
Meals can come in any size, from the a la carte sandwiches to platters that incorporate a chosen number of meats with a buttery roll, a pickle, ice cream, and two homestyle sides. Whether serving up their dishes in the dining room or packing them up for take-away or catering, the staff ensures that each client gets a taste of Texas home cooking without the hassle rubbing every dish on a campfire crock-pot.
At Señor Camaron, chefs season fresh fish fillets and tender steaks with poblano peppers, tamarind, and cilantro. The menu's Mexican seafood tastes mirror the eatery's beachy decor—patrons sit in palm and leather seats under wall-mounted sharks, colorful flags, and lifeguards who enthusiastically blow their whistle every time someone cleans their plate.
Pubs earned their reputation as after-work watering holes filled with comforting drinks and food, but at Pappy's Corner Pub, this welcoming atmosphere isn’t limited to the hours after the whistle blows. Beginning at 7 a.m. every day, its chefs start cooking up breakfast items such as the Lucky 13, an epic feast of potatoes, three pancakes, three sausage patties, three strips of bacon, and three eggs any style.
At 1 p.m. the pub switches over to its regular menu, which includes a chili cheeseburger served open-faced and 1 pound of tater tots served on an equally delicious doctor's scale. As diners eat their fill, they can also take in entertainments such as trivia and live music, depending on the evening. No matter the day, daily drink specials and a generous assortment of bottled and draft beers fill pints until 2 a.m. each night.
It's not too unusual for a superhero or princess to stop by in full costume to delight the children at Cool Beans Playhouse. But the spot wasn't just built with little ones in mind—it's a combination café-playspace that parents and kids to enjoy together.
Kids age 6 and younger skip past surrealist tree sculptures to clamber up the twisty stairs into the clubhouse before careening down a shiny slide. In the Pretend Play area, a tiny kitchen and grocery store allow kids to play their favorite game—trying to shop within the pretend food budget of their pretend household. Meanwhile, a Quiet Play area is stocked with books and games. While their brood plays, parents sip fresh-brewed coffee drinks, and during breaks, families can refuel together on the café's healthful fare, including salads, wraps, and smoothies.
A decades-old recipe, dating back to the early days of Justin's Pizza, gets a hearty workout every day—each batch of dough and every ladle-full of sauce is made from a recipe that first sprung to life in the ‘70s. Fresh, flavorful toppings enhance the classic, time-tested pizzas, with traditional offerings standing alongside more unusual entries, such as sauerkraut and double-crust. As guests chow down on the savory pies, bottled and draft beers stand ready to quench thirst, ranging from Fat Tire and Corona to the Dollar Beer, which costs $1.
Though Black Bottle Brewery hosts guest drafts on its lengthy line of taps, its own creations are immediately recognizable by the matte black bottles that serve as handles. These beers bear names matching the oddball humor of their creators, such as the "Mexican Hipster," an IPA aged in tequila barrels, and the "Social Insecurity," a low-alcohol Belgian session ale. The brewers may be seen tending to the fermenters in fake mustaches and Batman briefs, but their craft is entirely serious, extending to the use of a true copper kettle and locally sourced ingredients. The brewpub's menu shows off a similar level of artistry, from the savory flavors of a meat and cheese plate to the pure efficiency of a fresh-shucked oyster immersed in a shot of the house's beer.