The pizza makers at Palio's Pizza Cafe crown regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free crusts with fresh vegetables, preservative-free sauce, and roasted chicken. Chefs take the burden of putting together the best toppings with 17 specialty pizzas that pair gourmet ingredients such as artichoke hearts, roasted chicken, and fresh basil pesto. Ovens create bubbling pies, stuffed calzones, baked ziti, and italian sub sandwiches that servers carry through both chic, cozy locations. Leather-lined booths and flat-screen televisions keep diners comfortable and entertained while they enjoy Palio's BYOB policy and sip wine or Capri Sun pouches brought from home.
At 30 Bahama Buck's locations throughout Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada, employees whip up shaved ice concoctions amid island decor while surrounded by tiki torches and bamboo trim. The tropical treats bring relief from the oppressive southwestern heat—precisely Blake Buchanan's goal when he opened the first establishment in 1990 and precisely the goal of the inventor of the Hollywood movie studio. The menu today encompasses more than 91 flavors, ranging from apple and banana to watermelon and white coconut. Patrons who forgot their brain freeze medicine can opt for a helping of Island House Coffee, lemonade, smoothies or sodas.
At Chilli Thai, talented chefs anoint plates with enticing and colorful Southeast Asian fare. Like a decorative tapestry knit from pasta, the elegantly plated curries, noodle dishes, and desserts combine masterful cooking with striking visual art, awakening palates and eyeballs with mouthwatering spices and vivid colors. Throughout the space, dark, varnished wood surrounds diners with an aura of elegance as fried rice, marinated meats, and sweet thai iced tea serenade taste buds with flavorful lullabies.
Executive chef Janet Jeffords Parr can tell you all about her life, but she'd rather let you taste it. Her seasonal dinner menu is essentially an autobiography: her childhood spent in Arkansas comes through in her apricot fried pie, her pre-teen years spent with new uncle John “The Greek” translates into her fried eggplant appetizer, and a brief stint in the Pacific Northwest brings her bounty of seafood dishes and mortal fear of raindrops. When she moved to Dallas, Parr fell in love with smoked brisket—a dish she heightens by braising it in a pomegranate and tangerine reduction—and when she traveled through Europe, she gleaned recipes for pasta rustica and béchamel-drizzled crepes. The prices, for their part, are symbolic of a life lived on a realistic budget, as menu selections are separated by price range rather than dish type. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the restaurant features a three-course prix-fixe menu, and Thursday nights bring a selection of gourmet burgers replete with half-price pitchers of margaritas or house wine.
At Los Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant, the staff knows how to make each diner feel welcome. This means they serve with kind attention, but not too much, so diners can focus on having a conversation with their companions or the face they've painted on their plate with salsa. Owners Esteban and Leticia sate appetites with a menu of traditional Mexican fare culled from generations-old recipes, including classics such as fajitas, tacos, and grilled chicken smothered in mole. Between bites at the Carrollton location, diners can also catch a live musical act, including an Elvis impersonator who unfurls his cape one Friday a month.
When Shane and Susan Shumake of Silverleaf Construction & Design began building a coffeehouse in January of 2010, it was just another project. But somewhere along the way, business became pleasure. They fell in love with the little coffee shop, and their investment switched from professional to personal. So when the shop opened and closed within a matter of five weeks, it was to Shane and Susan’s great dismay. The owner of the floundering business, Shane and Susan’s former client, came to his friends with a question: would they be interested in taking over? The Shumakes didn’t hesitate. Within the month, about as long as it takes a coffee pot to whistle that it’s done, the shop had reopened as Lone Star Coffee Bar. Today, Shane and Susan’s labor of love stands as Lone Star Coffee Bar & Wine Bar. In addition to java, tea, breakfast, and lunch, they recently started serving wine to accompany sit-down dinners and live music. The wine list also reveals the Shumakes' heart for the community, since they devote about half of it to Texan wines.