Whoever said everything was bigger in Texas must have been referring to Fred and Dianne McDonald's company vision. As Fred says, they “put a lot of L-U-V” into barbecue that they hope will one day reign as the best in the state. It's on its way—the barbecue is so painstakingly produced that many customers don't need to sauce it, and instead sop up the eatery's tangy, housemade marinade with bread or use it to paint the faces of children sleeping at nearby tables. Aside from the ribs, pulled pork, and preservative-free sausage the McDonalds smoke over Texas wood, Fred ignites palates with tamales his grandfather taught him to make while growing up in the southern part of the state. On Friday nights, live blues musicians—featuring house band Kenny Strauther and Second Hand Smoke— take to a stage that has been graced by Jimmy “Preacher” Ellis and a former member of The Gap Band, both of whom, according to NBC DFW 5, also stuck around to nosh on the restaurant's eats.
Ben & Jerry's came from humble beginnings—in 1978, its eponymous founders served ice cream out of a renovated Burlington gas station, and delivered pints of their now-classic flavors to grocery stores out of the back of Ben's VW Squareback wagon. Today, its myriad shops dispense cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies brimming with a variety of quirky flavors, including Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, named for famous revolutionary Cherry Garcia. The duo is also famous for their social responsibility, which is evident in their community activism and in their use of fair-trade products, such as cage-free eggs and sustainable, growth-hormone-free dairy.
In what they describe as both a "perfect business match" and an "ongoing battle," Johnny G's Restaurant owner Julie Ali and her husband, Aref, create comforting dishes that meld Italian and Cajun influences. Though they don’t always see eye to eye, the mother-and-son team often meets on the common thread that runs through both of their cooking styles: seafood. Their shrimp ravioli smothered in a spicy, creamy garlic pink sauce serves as a tasty example. All of Johnny G's dishes and sauces are made fresh in the kitchen each day with seafood that is delivered alive rather than frozen by the glares of vengeful squids.
For bakers Nancy and Carisa Newsom, no cake is too difficult to master. They specialize in both decorative cakes that are sculpted into three-dimensional pieces of art, as well as allergen-free cakes that can be made without gluten, sugar, or dairy products. No matter what goes into their cakes, they take great pride in creating their own signature flavors, such as pink champagne cake with mimosa filling. For special occasions, they can customize their creations both inside and out, adding a splash of liquor to the cake or piping polka dots or bows on the icing. The two also whip up cupcakes, cookies, and cake balls if you prefer desserts that fit in the palm of your hand or the tailpipe of your neighbor's car.
Flavors from around the world converge at Oasis Café, from the grilled lamb and beef of Greek gyros to the sweet chili sauce of Thai chicken. Sandwiches and wraps emphasize organic and natural ingredients, and both meat and vegetarian options are well-represented. Coffee splashes tongues in hot, iced, or blended forms, as in the Oasis macchiato, which swirls caramel and vanilla into double espresso. The aromas of freshly baked muffins and percolating soups drift across the long wood counter and over checkered booths, where diners groove to soft jazz melodies so they don’t have to bridge conversational lulls with knock-knock jokes that might offend people who live in tents.
Chef Nordeen Bennai believes in the value of homemade food. During his childhood growing up in a traditional bakery, the chef learned that people will come when the food is good and the price is right. From the kitchen at the Korner Cafe, Chef Bennai whips up breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in savory and sweet permutations, such as homemade rum raisin bread pudding, coconut shrimp, and grits with gruyere cheese stirred right in. In the café, guests can gaze through the windows and across the street to the high school in Lewisville, or make room under their tables to harbor fugitives from English class.