Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Steak and Seafood | Chicago-Style Chophouse Atmosphere | Freshly Baked Popover Starters
While You're Waiting
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Select a predinner drink from the dizzying selection of draft beers at Flying Saucer (14999 Montfort Drive).
After: Head down the street to Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar (4980 Beltline Road) for a night of dancing to the ivory-tickling tunes of A-list pianists.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Kenny’s Burger Joint (1377 Legacy Drive, Suite 120, Frisco, TX), where the owners of Kenny's Wood Fired Grill shift the spotlight to handcrafted burgers.
Though chef Daniel Nemec specialized in classic French cuisine at the Texas Culinary Academy, his heart lies in the smokehouse. As the leader of Woodfire Kirby’s kitchen, he draws from his experiences growing up in Corpus Christi, where steaks and barbecue pepper the culinary landscape and are considered legal tender.
Nemec imbues hickory flavor in ribs, chops, and sirloin burgers, but demonstrates the wood’s versatility with a menu that also includes wood-fired soups and thin-crust pizzas. New york strip steaks and blue-ribbon fillets are cooked to a choice of six temperatures, including classic medium rare and charred-yet-red pittsburgh. Available raw, grilled, or poached, seafood showcases spices that range from asian to argentine to creole.
A private room welcomes up to 48 visitors with a high-definition TV and four banquet menus, and the dining room attracts nighttime guests with handcrafted cocktails and a buzz as vibrant as a birthday party inside a hornet nest.
For a no-holds-barred meat fest, carnivores with a serious appetite should look no further than Texas de Brazil. Overlooking the scenic Katy Trail, this Brazilian steakhouse is grandly outfitted with intricate iron chandeliers, huge gilded mirrors and white tablecloths, plus a stately wine room offering plenty of big reds to pair with all that protein. Flip your coaster to the green side and a procession of friendly servers parading around various cuts of meat like leg of lamb, Brazilian sausage, filet mignon and the ever-popular garlic-marinated top sirloin known as picanha will slice their wares directly onto your plate, until you cry uncle by turning your coaster to red. Surprisingly, vegetarians will find plenty to like here too, thanks to a high-end salad bar offering items like hearts of palm, thick steamed asparagus, grilled Portobellos, imported cheeses and even sushi.
Upscale American Cuisine | James Beard Award | Southwestern Flavors
Where to sit: Though the menu remains constant, where you sit will ultimately shape your dining experience. You’ll find white tablecloths and a formal ambiance in the Gallery, boisterous conversations and open-kitchen views in Dean’s Kitchen, or a Goldilocks-esque compromise between the two in the Sendero—a glass-enclosed chamber lit by an extravagant glass chandelier. When the weather obliges, you can also take your meal en plein air on the patio.
What to wear: After spending more than two decades at the überformal Mansion on Turtle Creek, Chef Dean Fearing grew tired of dress codes, so he decided to do away with them—mostly. Dress jackets are expected in the stately Gallery, though you’re invited to roll up your sleeves and go haute-casual in Dean’s Kitchen. Despite the lax dress code, it’s wise to dress to impress, as you’ll be dining among guests that the New York Times described as “good looking” and “well-heeled.”
While You’re Waiting: Keep your eyes peeled for the man himself, Dean Fearing, who often roams the floor in his white chef’s coat, jeans, and brightly colored cowboy boots.
While You’re in the Neighborhood:
Before: Explore the collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora Street), which sprawls across both an outdoor garden and a 55,000-square-foot indoor space.
After: Head out for drinks and dancing at Sambuca (2120 McKinney Avenue), an upscale venue where each night’s live band is viewable inside or from the fishbowl-like patio.
A meal at Dakota’s begins with a downward trip in its elevator. That’s because the steakhouse resides where the First Dallas Baptist Church once sat, and a legally binding clause in the deed forbade future proprietors from selling alcohol on the former church grounds. But Dakota’s isn’t on church grounds—it’s beneath them. Step in at street level, and the canopied glass elevator descends 18 feet into the ground, passing the steakhouse’s legendary courtyard. The gurgle of water gushing over five tiers of granite, the glow of a lava-rock fire pit, and dark glimmer of a black granite bar make the 1,800-square-foot patio—which opens directly to the sky—one of Dallas’s most popular spots for lovebirds. Through French doors, the dining room promises comparably romantic evenings. Hand-cut Italian Carrera marble covers the floors, dark wood paneling hugs the walls, and New Orleans-inspired gas lamps throw a muted glow, and the occasional string of beads, around the room. With a setting so opulent, it speaks volumes about Chef Pete Harrison’s talent that Dakota’s menu leaves just as indelible an impression. Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper top USDA prime filet mignon, New York strip, and porterhouse steaks, which are aged a minimum of 28 days, and receive a final brush of butter before hitting the 1800-degree broiler. Maine lobster and Atlantic salmon also earn rave reviews, as do the specialty cocktails––wild tea white cosmos, cucumber basil martinis––that necessitated Dakota’s subterranean home.