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Eddie Deen's BBQ is practically an official ambassador for East Texas home cooking. Founded by a Wills Point native, the company has used its tender brisket, jalapeno-spiced kielbasa sausages, baby-back ribs, and classic sides to represent the state. After feeding thousands of guests at Governor George W. Bush's gubernatorial inauguration in 1995, Eddie Deen's was called on to feed the masses again in 2001 at one of then-President Bush's inaugural balls in Washington, D.C. The restaurant's brand of barbecue was even exported to the U.S. embassy in Bern, Switzerland, to bring employees a taste of home.

Feeding people isn't the only way that Eddie Deen's BBQ does good. The company regularly donates to local and national nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, and others. And founder Eddie Deen personally contributes to the southern Dallas community by leading classes for new parolees that help empower and inspire them to be productive members of society.

11139 South State Highway 205
Rockwall,
TX
US

The décor at The Yellow Rose can be deceiving. With its white trellised and exposed brick walls, patio furniture, and upstairs hidden behind a white fence, the interior might make you may feel as though you’re at an elegant party on a friend’s back patio. And you wouldn’t be far off the mark, because owners David and Malinda Jacobs consider all their guests their friends, whom they invite in for their tasteful tea ceremonies and dinners. The chefs prepare artfully displayed café fare that varies depending on the time of day, from stacks of waffles dusted with powdered sugar and a choice of fruit to grilled salmon salads drizzled in a pomegranate vinaigrette and the saucy blacked chicken alfredo that can be scooped up with a side of garlic toast. The shop also presents signature desserts, including housemade cookies, pies, and the only kind of pudding that can be prepared in a toaster: bread pudding.

206 North Fannin Street
Rockwall,
TX
US

Servers deliver handmade sushi rolls and authentic Japanese fare to diners seated outside on Sushi Saikou's patio on the harbor. While the restaurant serves reliable mainstays such as california sushi, they also exercise their creativity with the inventive Longhorn roll, stuffed with yellowtail, crab, and habañero caviar. Additionally, the restaurant's BYOB policy allows patrons to tote their own bottles of wine or homemade cashew milk.

2109 Summer Lee Drive
Rockwall,
TX
US

Restaurant Ava is a contemporary American restaurant with a clean, straight forward approach to cuisine and an emphasis on local and American ingredients

108 S Goliad St
Rockwall,
TX
US

For centuries the world has wondered how to combine a bakery, coffee shop, and disc-golf center. In Rockwall, three businesses decided to put the matter to rest with The Life House, which engenders a healthy community with its triple hit of organic baked goods, house-roasted coffee, and disc golf. When Fresh Life Foods founder Katy Standifer’s sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Katy saw links between processed foods and her sister’s condition. With her mother, Lynda Ahlen, she began baking organic pastries and breads for her family before expanding the practice and selling the tasty goods to the community.

Elsewhere in Rockwell, home roaster Jeremy Standifer was testing his careful eyes, nose, and second nose on custom-roasted organic coffee beans that would eventually become the staple of FLF Organic Coffee. Jeremy's aromatic coffee made an ideal pairing for Katy's sweet and savory fare, which ranges from empanadas to loaves of cinnamon-swirl bread, so the two combined their practices. What makes The Life House rare, though, is what customers discover when they venture outside. Jeremy's love for disc sports led him, along with fellow roaster Chris Kelley, to found Life Disc Sports, which hosts camps and clinics and sells gear. Outside the café, their nine-hole course challenges experienced and novice players before they venture back inside to fling pastries into their mouths.

506 N Goliad St
Rockwall,
TX
US

Though Luna de Noche's menu doesn't stray far from its Mexican roots, the restaurant’s chefs introduce nuanced flavors in all their dressed-up versions of Tex-Mex classics. As staff members make guacamole tableside for patrons, they may add unique ingredients such as pecans, creating a dish that is as distinctive as it is traditional. Even the margaritas—served frozen, on the rocks, or from a hose—build on the classic recipe by incorporating ingredients such as Kahlúa, fresh jalapeño juice, or housemade sangria.

2095 Summer Lee Dr
Rockwall,
TX
US