Eat Here Now: Exciting Dallas Restaurants
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Dallas, the ninth largest city in America, is the home of cowboys, ten gallon hats, cheerleaders, JR Ewing, and amazing food. From down home favorites such as slow smoked barbecue to chicken fried steak, chili, and tortilla soup, to more refined fare like wood-fired bronzino, ricotta gnocci, deconstructed California rolls, and table-side hydrogen margaritas, there is something for every palate. With 20 billion dollars in development happening in Dallas right now, this booming city is becoming a must-visit culinary destination, and the bonus of approachable art is around every corner. Eating my way through Dallas was exhausting, exciting, and exceptionally delicious, and so here are 5 fabulous food finds:
Chef Matt McCallister is becoming a shining star in the Dallas culinary scene with FT33, which he opened in 2012 and has since steadily guided the restaurant to local and national acclaim. 2014 was a well-deserved stellar year for McCallister as he was dubbed one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs and was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest 2014. His mantra of “season inspired modern cuisine” is evident in his out-of-the-box creative menu. The vibe here is cool and energetic; the staff is quick and attentive; and the food is fresh, visually stunning, and delicious! An entrée they call “vegetable composition” is exciting with a beautiful presentation that will entice even a hard-core-carnivore to dig in. The “3rd coast catch,” with seaweed, morels, and toasted rice middlins, will definitely have you coming back for more.
Where’s the beef? Right here at Knife, chef John Tesar’s hip steakhouse in the The Highland Dallas (formerly known as the Hotel Palomar). This place is a meat lover’s paradise and you can look through a window at the aging beef as you enter the restaurant. Tesar has established relationships with Texan ranchers and prides himself on using the best locally sourced meats. From 30 to 240 days aged, every piece of meat that I tried was great and the portions are huge, so pace yourself. The charcuterie selection is delicious and the bacon – oh the bacon! They offer a bacon tasting of five strips that is tasty with super cool presentation. There are many salads, vegetables, and pastas to choose from, but beef is the shining star.
Literally translated, Parigi means Paris in Italian. Inspired by the bistros of The City of Light, the passion of Italy, and style of New York City, this welcoming neighborhood eatery is a must-visit. When it opened 30 years ago, Parigi was a restaurant ahead of its time, featuring creative culinary masterpieces prepared with local, fresh ingredients in one of Dallas' first open kitchens. The restaurant partners with over 15 local sources which provide them with fresh and sustainable products. Chef/owner Janice Provost bought Parigi 17 years ago and continues to respect its successful concept by keeping many of the original recipes on the menu while adding her own new dishes regularly. The pizzetta and antipasto are excellent, and the Caesar salad here has been dubbed by D Magazine as the Best Caesar Salad in the city. The Cali Roll Deconstructed is a crab-lovers dream; the “Half & Half” is an original recipe from 30 years ago and quite possibly one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. Many folks come to Parigi just for this dessert and it is a staple in the community. It is half “Chocolate Glob,” which is a hot fudge-filled brownie, and half peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. Definitely check this place out.
Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que
Can I get an amen? This family-owned and operated restaurant has been a successful business for nearly forty years and is managed by Smokey’s sons, Brent and Juan. Additionally, his daughter, Yulise, is an attorney and serves as a legal consultant for the company. The food is excellent and the staff is genuine. You will find traditional, finger licking good barbecue meat offerings of brisket, ribs, chicken, and pork. The beef sausage and garlic beef sausage are made in house and are absolutely delicious. Flavorful sides include mashed potatoes, corn, baked beans, candied yams, cabbage, cole slaw, collard greens, and much more. The fried catfish may be the best I’ve ever had! Every Tuesday, Smokey hosts a gospel service with full musical accompaniment that is energetic, inspiring, and adds a special touch to the meal. Guests sing along, clap their hands, and dance; many locals flock to Smokey’s every week for barbecue with a side of blessings.
Stephan Pyles, San Salvaje, and Stampede 66
Chef Stephan Pyles is a fifth-generation Texan and icon in the Dallas culinary scene. At this moment, though there is probably another concept being formulated in his creative brain, Pyles has three distinctively different successful restaurants in the Dallas Arts District. He is known by Dallasites as a culinary visionary and his innovative cuisine stays true to his Texan roots while incorporating new and global influences. He is endeared for continually introducing new trends and concepts to the city. All three of Stephen’s restaurants are visually stunning and the food is great. The wood-fired bronzino with vanilla-roasted fennel and warm couscous salad at his namesake establishment, Stephan Pyles, is a dish you’re sure to find yourself craving. Yellow fin tuna ceviche with ginger and young coconut at San Salvaje melts in your mouth, and the tableside hydrogen margarita at Stampede 66 is sure to impress. You must check out all three of these hot spots when in town.
Some other noteworthy establishments to check out are:
Black-Owned Restaurant Lists Circulating the Internet, Organized by City
As many of us have been inspired to stand in solidarity with the Black community, so has food media. Across the country, restaurant critics, writers, and local food lovers have been pulling together extensive lists highlighting Black-owned businesses in their respective cities. We wanted to share what they’re creating, from Google spreadsheets with updates on take-out/delivery options and GoFundMe links to websites that have long been celebrating Black-owned businesses and owners. We will continue to update this page as more resources become available, and encourage you to use these resources now, and always. Let us know if you come across anything that would be helpful to add to this growing list by emailing us at [email protected] with the subject line “Black-owned businesses.”
From left to right: Everett and Jones BBQ in Oakland, Yonnie Hagos and Ajay Relan of Hilltop Coffee and Kitchen in L.A., Miss Ollie's in Oakland.
Photos by RYAN WALKER-HARTSHORN, Jennifer Johnson, and RYAN WALKER-HARTSHORN
- Google spreadsheet of coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants open for take-out and delivery in the Bay Area, with information on merch, gift cards, GoFundMe pages, and more. Created by Soleil Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle
- Our article celebrating bakeries, restaurants, bars, and shops in Oakland. Reported and written by Ryan Walker-Hartshorn of BA.
- Google spreadsheet of coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants open for take-out and delivery in the great L.A. area, with information on merch, gift cards, GoFundMe pages, and more. Created by Kat Hong of The Infatuation.
- The Los Angeles Times's article listing coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, food trucks, and pop-ups in the L.A. area. Written by Jenn Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
- Black Book L.A.’s list of restaurants and dessert spots to support in L.A. Created by co-founder Makiah Green.
- Google doc of restaurants to support in San Diego. Created by Gabby Beckford of Packs Light.
- Graphic designer Lauren Charles shared her list of restaurants on Twitter.
- Google spreadsheet of coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and bars open for take-out and delivery in Seattle, with information on merch and online shopping. Created by recipe developer and food writer Rose DeMun.
- Google spreadsheet of coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and bars/wine shops open for take-out and delivery in Seattle, with information merch and gift cards. Created by food and travel writer Naomi Tomky.
- Support Black-Owned Restaurants Week's directory of coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and bars to support in Portland, Oregon. Created by Bertha Pearl, William Travis, and the team at Support Black-Owned Restaurants Week.
- Local First Arizona's guide to restaurants in the greater Phoenix area. Created by Local First Arizona in partnership with the Phoenix Black Collective.
10 Halal Restaurants to Visit in Dallas for Ramadan—Or Anytime
With Ramadan beginning April 12, we've rounded up places to find halal meals.
During Ramandan (this year, April 12–May 12) Muslims might abstain from eating or drinking from dawn until dusk. In the evening, they break their fast (iftar) with a halal meal. Enter this timely little list full of big flavors from local restaurants that abide by the halal custom.
But you needn’t follow a fully halal diet to appreciate this vast range of cuisines, from Lebanese to Pakistani to Turkish fare. So, here are the local halal restaurants—yes, although tasty, we skipped over the Halal Guys chain because you know where to find ’em—to satisfy iftar cravings this Ramandan (or any part of the year, really).
Lezzet Cafe’s owners are from Turkmenistan, abutting the Caspian, not the Black Sea, reflecting a culinary tradition’s roots in Central Asia. But their BYOB spot on a quiet stretch of Frankford Road is all Turkish. They have wonderful lahmacun, thin flatbreads covered with the house mixture of minced beef, onions, tomatoes, and spices, like a Turkish version of Bolognese.
Wava Halal Grill
Hidden on Greenville Avenue right before Mockingbird Lane sits Wava Halal Grill. This spot packs in flavor and freshness with every dish they serve. Menu items, such as the gyro fries bowl or lamb over rice, are prepared fresh with halal cuts of meat. For a quick snack, try their chicken on a stick. Wava Halal Grill offers contact-free order pickup and is open until 3 a.m.
Biryani, butter chicken, fresh naan, halal hamburgers—Café Laziz right off Skillman and 635 will hit the spot. Both dine in and takeout avialble until 2 a.m. during Ramadan. You can also order online for faster service. Call the store to inquire on its deal of the day.
Chopped Halal Grill
Right across from the UT Dallas campus is a chipotle-style halal grill. Build your own rice bowls, salads, or pita sandwiches by picking a protein (or two) and then add three sides. Don’t forget to ask for the garlic sauce—you won’t regret it. If you’re craving something sweet, snag some rice pudding (it’s COVID-safe, prepackaged, and it comes with a sealed side of cinnamon).
Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet
Opened in 1992, Dimassi’s is a family-owned and -operated Mediterranean buffet offering fresh and health halal food. You might wonder if the buffet is open right now. Yes, it is. But Dimassi’s lunch and dinner buffet strictly enforce COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of all diners. Masks are necessary for entrance and once you get inside, you are required to sanitize and wear disposable gloves before accessing any food items. Social distancing is a priority as tables are more than six feet apart. The cuisine is a flavorful blend of Greek and Middle Eastern, and all meats they serve are halal.
Afrah Mediterranean Cuisine
In Richardson, Afrah has been serving some of the best Lebanese and Mediterranean food for nearly two decades. Originally a bakery, Afrah expanded with lunch and dinner while keeping, of course, its fresh bread, pies, baklava, and homemade gelato in the dessert rotation. As for the savory side, you can’t go wrong with hummus or the wonderfully smoky baba ghanoush (baba gannouj). The reigning favorite, though, is Afrah’s shawarma served in house-made pita fresh from the fiery brick oven.
Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill
With multiple location across Texas, Fadi’s is halal and healthy. Founder and chef, Fadi Dimassi was born in Lebanon and started cooking when he was 19 years old. He currently serves several Mediterranean restaurants in the Houston and Dallas areas. Stop in to order a combination plate which includes an entrée and up to four sides. For those abstaining from meat, go with the vegetarian sampler or the falafel plate (there’s a wrap option, too). The wrap combo is less than $13 and comes with fries and a drink. Try Fadi’s fresh and refreshing fruit juices for a thirst-quenching addition to your meal.
With funky pops of purple walls alongside purple-and-white checkerboard floors, Halal Bites creates an Aladdin-esque atmosphere with a vibrant menu full of rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, and even pizzas. They offer a spicy red-hot sauce that they describe as “extreme.” All menu items are halal and freshly made.
Royal Zabiha Halal Meats and Bakery
In case you don’t want to dine out, stop at Royal Halal Meats and Bakery to pick up exquisite cuts of meat for your Ramadan recipes. Royal Halal Meats and Bakery in Plano serves fresh halal cuts of goat, lamb, beef, and chicken. They currently only offer curbside pickup and grab-and-go items. Hot tip: Now through April 18, you can get a $5 coupon off your purchase of $30 or more.
At Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, guests will enjoy classic Deen family recipes in a unique family-style setting just like they do in their very own homes. We serve up endless portions of Southern-Style entrees and side dishes and every visitor ends their meal with a dessert of their choice! Our restaurant brings friends and families together over a meal, while offering up a one-of-a-kind dining experience you’re sure to remember.
131 The Island Drive, Suite 8101
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
1202 Celebrity Cr
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
545 Branson Landing
Branson, MO 65616
203 N. OWA Boulevard
Foley, AL 36535
575 Opry Mills Drive
Nashville, TN 37214
601 Pier Park Drive, Suite 103
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
15 Exciting Ways to Eat in Sun Valley Right Now
Sun Valley, Idaho, has been a favorite adventure getaway and celebrity respite for almost a century. In 1936, Union Pacific railway magnate William Averell Harriman installed the world’s first ski lift, cementing Sun Valley as a premier ski resort, though the entire Wood River Valley is equally popular during the summer months (and pretty much all year except for a few slack weeks when trails are too muddy for hiking). Over the years, the area has attracted everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Oprah Winfrey to Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as crowds of less recognizable guests, who find sustenance and recuperate from outdoor activities at restaurants in the neighboring cities of Ketchum and Hailey. A hungry adventurer can choose from fine dining, charming decades-old standbys, creative menus spanning the Mediterranean or Southeast Asia, and spots featuring locally sourced ingredients such as trout, elk, lamb, bison, hops, potatoes, morels, and huckleberries.
Update, January 2021:
In March 2020, as COVID-19 came to Idaho, Sun Valley became the epicenter of the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, forcing Mayor Neil Bradshaw to discourage visitors to the rural community. Over the summer, restrictions helped bring down the caseload in the area. Meanwhile, the state followed the Idaho Rebound plan to slowly loosen regulations from stage one to stage four, only to roll back in the fall as COVID cases spiked, eventually settling into a modified stage two in November.
Due to the outbreak in the area in early 2020, Sun Valley Resort and local businesses have taken precautions seriously, providing some confidence to skiers desperate to hit the slopes. Since the resort opened the season on Thanksgiving, social-distancing measures, limited ski lift access, and local mask mandates have helped keep winter feeling fun and safe. That’s also good news for restaurants that rely on the seasonal tourist economy. While indoor dining is allowed in Idaho as long as customers maintain social distancing, many eateries are also offering takeout and comfortable outdoor dining where possible.
The following is an updated list of restaurants pivoting, evolving, and serving Sun Valley through the pandemic.
Note: Due to the pandemic, restaurant hours and level of service may vary. Outdoor dining and takeout options are highlighted on each map point. Many Ketchum and Hailey restaurants are open for indoor service at a reduced capacity, though their inclusion should not be taken as an endorsement for dining indoors. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk outdoors, though the level of risk involved with patio dining is based on the enforcement of strict social distancing and mandated safety guidelines. For updated information on coronavirus cases in the area, please visit Rebound Idaho and Sun Valley’s own list of resources.
This doctor prescribes both medicine and plant-based recipes
Linda Shiue's new cookbook, "Spicebox Kitchen," bridges her medical expertise with the joy of cooking healthy, accessible meals.
Linda Shiue's new cookbook, "Spicebox Kitchen," bridges her medical expertise with the joy of cooking healthy, accessible meals.
Linda Shiue's new cookbook, "Spicebox Kitchen," bridges her medical expertise with the joy of cooking healthy, accessible meals.
On this episode of the Extra Spicy podcast, Dr. Linda Shiue talks about how she started prescribing kale chips to patients and her new cookbook, "Spicebox Kitchen," which bridges her medical expertise with the joy of cooking healthy, plant-forward meals. She talks to hosts Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips about her journey from doctor to chef, the ancient tradition of food as medicine, and the power of the prescription pad to motivate patients towards better eating habits.
Listen to the episode by clicking on the player above, and scroll down to read an edited transcript of Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips&rsquo conversation with Linda Shuie.
Here is a partial transcript of Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips' interview with Linda Shuie, edited and condensed for clarity. The interview was conducted on February 26.
Soleil Ho: So one anecdote in Spicebox Kitchen that I love is your story of prescribing kale chips as a recipe to a patient. And I feel like that's such a great encapsulation of what you do. Would you mind telling us that story?
Linda Shiue: So I was looking for literally another tool in my figurative doctor's bag. And I thought all I ever do is write more prescriptions for more blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds or diabetes meds. And of course, we have to, but I thought, what else can I use this for?
There is a distinct power in a doctor's signature on a prescription pad and what it says on it that becomes not a mandate, but a very strong and very official recommendation. And so as kind of an experiment I thought, okay, I'll try this with a patient that I know well, and who I know has a sense of humor might not feel really weirded out by this.
And I remember that patient was a guy who didn't actually work in food professionally, but he loved food and he was a volunteer at the local farmer's market. He had a lot of struggles with all the chronic illnesses related to food like blood pressure and cholesterol, and I think he was pre-diabetic.
And so in most of the visits I've had with him over years, it was kind of like, &ldquookay, blood pressure's okay, your cholesterol is still a little bit high, blah, blah, blah. you've got to lose some weight or else you're going to have diabetes one day soon.&rdquo So then I thought, &ldquowell, okay, I'm more interested in hearing actually about the specifics of what he was eating. What did he like about the farmer's market?&rdquo
And so he told me the weekend before that there are all these great mushrooms. And he told me at great length how he enjoyed cooking them with a lot of butter. And he was very excited. And when you're trying to connect with somebody about anything, that moment of excitement is your opening, right?
So he was excited and talking about his kind of recipe, his way of enjoying produce, which is great. Mushrooms are great. And so I said, &ldquothat sounds really good. What other vegetables do you like?&rdquo And he's like, &ldquoOh, you know, I know that you're going to tell me to eat more green vegetables. I don't really like them.&rdquo I was like, &ldquoare you a salty snacker or a sweet snacker?&rdquo And he's like, &ldquooh yeah, chips. I just eat chips all night long when I'm watching TV.&rdquo And I was like, &ldquowell, I have an idea for you.&rdquo So that's how the kale chips came about.
I was like, &ldquoif you like chips, why don't you try this recipe for kale chips? They will have that same salty satisfaction that you like from potato chips. They won't be as crunchy, but they'll be crisp and they're much better for you. And I think it might be a way that you can start to enjoy some greens.&rdquo
And he was like, &ldquohuh?&rdquo But he wasn't offended. He was intrigued. Cause it was kind of like I was speaking his language with this and it wasn't just a lecture of, &ldquoyou gotta stop doing that. No more potato chips for you ever.&rdquo
So that emboldened me. And so then I came up with my second recipe for the sweet snacker. Often when that person with a sweet tooth is eating something mindlessly while they're watching TV at night, it's ice cream. And so that became a recipe for Banana Nice cream where you just basically freeze over ripe bananas that otherwise would go into pandemic banana bread. And you can add anything: nuts, chocolate, berries, spices.
So that's another thing, not just reaching people when they're kind of feeling excited or emotional, but doing something that's a little bit off gets people's attention.
Soleil Ho: Oh, wow. It feels very avant garde, right? That's how the avant garde reaches people too, just by freaking them out.
It seems what you're practicing is for instance, you go to the doctor and they give you a handout that says to eat more leafy greens and that sort of thing. What you're doing is telling people how to eat the greens, essentially? Is that it?
Linda Shiue: That's basically it. I didn't have to go to medical school to tell people how to cook greens, right? I didn't need to do that at all. And yet I actually thought this is actually the most powerful innovation that I've made as a doctor.
There are lots of doctors out there who could have done this, but most doctors don't do this. And I thought, just like with anything else, we are all subject to information overload. We're all given too many handouts. There are too many emails. How much of that do you actually read and retain?
And even if you want to, let's say you are the patient who is told to eat more leafy greens, you look at the list and you're like, &ldquookay, I guess I'll pick some of the stuff up when I go to the grocery store.&rdquo The next time you bring it home. And you're kind of like, &ldquough, I don't usually eat this. What do I do with this?&rdquo And then it would take many more steps to go from being that sort of non-home cook, or who doesn't cook vegetables to, &ldquoI guess I'll look up a recipe,&rdquo to &ldquoI guess I'll figure out how to cook this recipe,&rdquo right? A recipe is still only a list of instructions and ingredients.
And so I thought, why not cut out the middleman? Let me actually show you, let me inspire you. If you eat this and you like this, you're going to do it once you see how easy it is once you've done it. The beauty of teaching, cooking, what's so exciting for me is that we make mistakes all the time and it's not a disaster. It's not the end of the world. It's all a learning opportunity.
People don&rsquot need to be spoon-fed. It's to actually be like, &ldquocome with me. Come cook next to me and we'll figure this out together and make sure that you like eating this.&rdquo
Top Dining Experiences
Garden Tea | Apr. 3–Sep. 17
Daily seatings at 11am & 2pm
Complete your Dallas Arboretum experience with a seasonal and delicious three-course tea menu designed by Chef James Sparks of Gil’s Elegant Catering set amid the festive ambiance of the beautifully renovated DeGolyer Tea Room. Seated Tea is only available to guests 13 and older, except during our Children’s Tea Special Event. Reservations required.
Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace
Open from 10am–4pm with service provided by Gil’s Elegant Catering
The dining terrace offers a quick, convenient, “sandwich counter” experience for guests who want to grab something simple or a glass of wine or cold beer and enjoy it “al fresco” with a view of A Tasteful Place, White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas in the distance.
Café on the Green
Open daily from 10:30am–2pm (3pm on weekends)* with service provided by Gil’s Elegant Catering
Located along the Paseo, Café on the Green features casual outdoor dining for the whole family to enjoy, and often features live or recorded music that matches the theme of the festival or season, along with special seasonal menu items, cold beer, glasses of wine and a great selection of coffees provided by Gil’s Elegant Catering.
Restaurant DeGolyer – Outdoor Loggia
Open daily from 11am–3pm
This exceptional venue is nestled in the center of our 66-acre garden, outside the historic DeGolyer House. The exquisite menu features delicious meals inspired by the recipes of Chef James Sparks of Gil’s Elegant Catering. Seating is outside but includes fans to cool you off or heaters to keep you warm.
Restaurant DeGolyer – Indoor Tea Room
Open daily from 11am–3pm
This exceptional venue is nestled in the center of our 66-acre garden, inside the historic DeGolyer House. The exquisite menu features delicious meals inspired by the recipes of Chef James Sparks of Gil’s Elegant Catering. Dining in Restaurant DeGolyer is only available to guests 13 and older.
Our stunningly green grass, relaxed, tranquil atmosphere, and natural setting invite individuals, families and children to sit down and share a picnic.
Grilled Cheese Kiosk
Daily from 10:30am–2pm (3pm on weekends)
Open during good weather in the spring and fall, this convenient food station is on the Paseo near the Gift Cart.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Served on local sourdough bread with melted Texas cheddar & provolone cheese and a pickle on the side
With bacon | $7.99
Cup of Corn “Elote” | $5.50
With parmesan cheese and chipotle mayo
Warm Soft Pretzel | $5
With warm cheese dipping sauce
Ice Cream | $3.50
Bottled Water & Soft Drinks | $3.25
Open during good weather in the spring and fall, this convenient snack station serves cold drinks, frozen treats and snack foods provided by Gil’s Elegant Catering and is convenient to guests at the north end of the garden.
If you are not really a brunch person, Anvil Pub will definitely change your mind. This Deep Ellum pub offers four F* Brunch alcoholic beverages – The Bloody Mary, The Mimosa, The Skrewdriver and The Sangria. Each 32-ounce glass is topped with brunch favorites, such as sliders, tots, cinnamon rolls and more. Wholesome brunch plates and sides are also available.
1 of 11
1. Jason's Deli
225 locations in 28 states, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic, South, and Southeast
You'll be thrilled with the ingredients. This inexpensive, family-friendly spot serves up organic produce, nitrate-free lunch meat, and whole-grain bread on both its kids' and adult menus. Last year, it became the only restaurant chain in the country to ban high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors in all its food. "With the food dyes out of our mac 'n' cheese, for instance, it's no longer bright orange, but our taste tests show kids prefer the new version," says Pat Herring, director of research and development.
All children's meals at Jason's come with a side of organic carrots, apple slices, or a fruit cup in addition to organic milk or apple juice. "We took soda off the kids' menu to encourage children to opt for healthier drinks," says Herring. Next on tap: reducing sodium across the menu board. The organic PB&J on whole wheat is currently the lowest-sodium kids' option, with 445 milligrams (mg) per serving. The best pick for moms is the 50-plus-item salad bar loaded with organic field greens and four kinds of low-fat dressing, including delish raspberry vinaigrette.
The 16 Best, Most Over-The-Top Places To Eat In Dollywood
Hot take: Dollywood is the happiest place on Earth.
I, a person who enjoys eating lots of food and traveling to new and exciting places, recently trekked to Pigeon Forge, TN, in search of the most iconic eats Dollywood has to offer. The result? An exhausting and exhilarating day that allows me to confidently tell you where you should eat the next time you find yourself at Dolly Parton's theme park. Ready? It's a journey.
The walk-through establishment is without a doubt the perfect place to start your Dollywood day. The choices here are overwhelming&mdashdo you go straight for the slice of mondo apple pie? Is a box of small cinnamon rolls that's been drowned in icing the way to go? What about the cookies? Any of the cookies? Here's what you do: Sit down at Spotlight with the fam for a slice of pie and circle back on your way out of the park for a box of the buns. Skip the cookies, keep chipping at the pie.
I cannot overstate how much of a must Red's is. If you are a human who likes good food, kitsch, and air conditioning, it is one of your finest options. Seriously, the cheeseburger and fries and shakes and decor all feel very 1950s New Jersey, and the temperature control in there is just phenomenal. As a very hot (temperature-wise) person from NJ, I can be trusted on this.
Again, not to be dramatic, but the food truck (parked conveniently outside of Red's) is a very good place to stop if you enjoy, like, eating good food. It's got a curated menu of mac & cheese varieties, the best of which is undoubtedly the pulled pork-topped version. My only complaint: The truck is extremely and inexplicably tall. Anyone who's heigh is less than six feet has to reach for their meal.
Come for the pictures of the gigantic, ever-stewing skillet, stay for the cheese sauce that floods almost every selection on their menu (like this cheesesteak). Bonus: The whole Market Square area has lots of seating and lots of shopping nearby.
Sick of sugar but still need something sweet? The Kettle Korn stop right by Market Square offers Splenda-topped popcorn for those who might need or want it.
Well. I went into this trip very excited about a pickle-marinated fried chicken sandwich, and I left this trip craving that same sandwich every day. You don't need anything but the sandwich at Grandstand Café. It's a phenomenal salty bite I hope all those I love get to experience in their lifetimes.
The line piles up at Miss Lillian's (whether that's because the food is solid or the opportunity to watch meat smoke there is fun), so you can expect a wait. The Carolina Gold barbecue sauce that tops some of their sandwiches is worth it, though. Ohhh, is it worth it.
OK, you know what I just said about lines at Lillian's? They're omnipresent at the Grist Mill. That said, anyone who comes to Dollywood must pass through it. The cinnamon bread is legendary and exactly as good as everyone says it is.
Granny Ogle's is where you go for pork rinds and pimento cheese. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Listen. This wasn't my favorite stop. But if searing-hot turkey legs and chive-y cheese fries are your jams, by all means, enjoy. You'll find your people here.
Got myself a lil' butterfly pretzel at Skyview and loved every bite of it. The salt is thick and crunchy, the pretzel gives beneath all its butter, and the combination is heavenly.
Splinter's is the home of that Fruity Pebble funnel cake you've read so much about. It is very sweet. It is very delicious. Eat it quickly before the whipped cream melts into it, forming a sticky, cereal tie-dyed mosh.
The biggest mistake of my trip was not walking the extra 50 steps to The Dog House to eat my Reuben Dog before the Fruity Pebble Funnel Cake. Learn from my mistakes. Grow from them.
Till and Harvest was the first of two places we hit up in Dollywood's brand new Wildwood Grove, a pristine and gorgeous land that serves as a quieter offshoot for those who need a break from the craziness and heat of the park. The food is reflective of that calmness&mdashthe Smoky Mountain Nachos (which are drowned in all the best nacho toppings. plus an avocado creme) are something worth sitting at and enjoying for awhile.
It was here that I found myself with a "Flit 'N' Flutter" Sundae (which is essentially churros, ice cream, strawberries, and a mountain of whipped cream). It's another Wildwood Grove must, if even for just a few minutes.
Margherita pizza topped with mozz that's (perhaps unintentionally) shaped like a butterfly? Incredible. Find it at Lumber Jack's.