Orbs of freshly made dough chug along the lustrous metallic conveyor belts of Marquez Bakery and Tortilla Factory's enormous tortilla-making mechanism, polka-dotting the chainlink pathways as they're flattened, baked, and morphed into the eatery's trademark fare. The chefs at the family bakery load the disks with traditional Mexican meats, such as chorizo and chicharrón, by hand, whisper "goodbye" to each morsel, and send them off to catered events or the onsite restaurant. They also sate sweet teeth with meticulously constructed custom cakes, harking back to founder Jose Marquez's legacy of selling donuts, pies, and sweet bread from his own home.
The chefs at Jade Dragon picked up a number of tricks in their homeland of Hong Kong. This explains why their fried shrimp is so delightfully crispy, why their tofu is always steamed to perfection, and why their hot-and-sour soup strikes a perfect balance between its flavors. Jade Dragon doesn’t stick to food from Hong Kong, however. Many of the restaurant’s most popular dishes hail from the mainland, such as the savory lo mein noodles and fiery Szechuan beef. Added doses of authenticity come from the vivid Asian artwork on the dining room’s walls and the actual dragon that fuels the kitchen’s ovens.
Larry Walker knows seafood. The co-owner of The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake has sought game fish in more than 20 countries across the world and some of his greatest catches even adorn the eatery’s walls, including a massive black marlin that he snagged near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These maritime touches fit right in at a restaurant that floats atop the surface of Joe Pool Lake and serves a menu of pan-regional seafood dishes.
In addition to making shrimp gumbo and New England–style clam chowder, the chefs also create Tex-Mex fish tacos and beer-battered fish and chips. The selection even includes a handful of Southern staples from the land, such as barbecued brisket sandwiches and chicken-fried steak.
With the waters of Joe Pool Lake lying just beyond its walls, The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake features an outdoor patio area overlooking the surrounding shoreline. The eatery keeps diners engaged by hosting live entertainment in the form of bands and DJs, which get crowds up and dancing beneath the festively colored lights strung above the outdoor tables.
An autumn harvest fair. A Memorial Day celebration, punctuated by a 21-gun salute. A kids' summer camp complete with archery, swimming, and a meet-and-greet with a friendly raccoon mascot. These are just a few of the events hosted by Grand Prairie Parks & Rec, a department that has garnered a Gold Medal from the National Recreation and Parks Association. Its recreational facilities––including a pool with an aquatic climbing wall––and frequent social events bring the city together year round. Under the bright sun or starry skies, visitors can dance at a concert in the park, rather than just dancing to the rhythmic creak of a swing set. For longer excursions, the 791 lakeside acres of Loyd Park feature 221 campsites replete with cabins, picnic areas, and trails. There, visitors can paddle out on the water in a rented kayak, play a game of volleyball, or sleep overnight under the stars.
The “giant slices” at Pizzaiolo's Pizza & Pasta are not named lightly—they’re so big, they require two plates to hoist their cheesy mass. This emphasis on quantity extends to the eatery’s New York-style pies, which range from 16 to 30 inches in size. Sprinkled with toppings such as chicken and jalapenos, the pizzas are tailored to each order, satisfying the needs of vegetarians, carnivores, and elusive omnivores alike. Calzones, meatball subs, and daily pasta specials round out Pizzaiolo’s smorgasbord of Italian staples.
Light streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of Glazed Doughnuts & Cafe, glinting off cushy high-backed chairs and sleek wooden tables before mingling with the crystals in the ornate chandelier. Before taking a seat or levitating next to the bookshelf, customers can peruse the mouth-watering menu, selecting treats including tantalizingly fresh scratch-made doughnuts, croissants, and muffins, carefully stacked sandwiches, and draughts of energy-boosting coffee.