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May 2, 2011 02:46 PM

Chowhound from Philly needs recommendations very near the Hilton in Market Center

I am going to be in Dallas with my 8 year old for the first time ever to be at a 4 day chess tournament. The tournament is at the Hilton in Market Center. We are both very excited to eat like Texans, and to try bbq, tex mex, and steak, but don't know if we'll have much time to venture very far from the hotel. We are looking for recommendations within 15 minutes or so of Market Center.


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  1. Not far from you, try Fuel City Tacos. Inexpensive and tasty, the place is a hoot and something you'll never see in Philly. Ask about it in your hotel. They'll direct you there.
    Near you on Harry Hines Blvd. is the Original Market Diner. Great for breakfast and easy lunches. Their food is excellent. Usually a wait at lunch time. Not open for dinner.
    There are a few places on Market Center Blvd. serving burgers and steaks. Nothing really special mind you but, good enough and very convenient.
    Also not terribly far from you on Harry Hines Blvd. is Mike Anderson's BBQ. Pretty decent 'Q.
    Just a little further from Anderson's is Dallas' iconic, BBQ institution, Sonny Bryan's BBQ on Inwood just north of Harry Hines. Not nearly as good as when old Sonny was alive and running it, their chopped beef on a bun with their great sauce and, fried onion rings would be a must for any out of towner looking for some Texas BBQ. Not open for dinner.
    The two best Tex-Mex restaurants I can think of that are no more than 15 minutes from you is Uncle Julio's on Douglas at Lemmon and, (a Dallas institution) Mia's on Lemmon just north of Douglas. I think you'd be happy with either of them for dinner if not time enough for both while you're here.
    Please be sure tell us of your food experiences in Dallas when you can.

    Original Market Diner
    4434 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75219

    5 Replies
    1. re: twinwillow

      Great recs!
      Oh man that smell from Uncle Julio's at lunch alone is enough to draw you in.
      Would just add that Bob's Steak and Chop House is just across the street and just a little down the block from Uncle Julio's on the corner towards where Mia's is located. On any given night you have the possibility of running into local celebrities (including sports) there.

      1. re: RobbnTX

        You're right about Bob's Steak House! However, we don't know if the OP is ready to shell out the BIG BUCKS in a "prime" up-market steakhouse. Especially with an 8 year old in tow, I just wonder if it would be the right place for them. Not that much further away is Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse at Lemmon and Cole. Good steaks, roast chicken and, fresh salmon in a much less expensive, more family oriented atmosphere.
        Just saying......

        Bob's Steaks
        12675 Josey Ln, Dallas, TX 75234

        1. re: twinwillow

          Great thought about the 8 year old "in tow". Along that line, will tag on and suggest Anderson's BBQ over and above Sonny Bryans. Though SB's was once a Dallas "must-eat", the shine has tarnished since they went the way of franchises - though the sauce is still very good at the original Inwood loc. But aside from that, SB's can be a bit hectic without someone leading the way, also some regulars may be a bit off-putting for a first-timer from Philly. Back to the 8 year old. Seating isn't always easily or readily available and when it is, it's at old time school desks or outside at picnic tables. I just think Anderson's would be much better for orderly-ordering, seating and the quality of BBQ over the current SB's, although admittedly, it's been several years since I've eaten at Andersons.

          1. re: CocoaNut

            Good points and I like the rec for TLC! I do not think Saltgrass has a loacation in that area other wise I would suggest it.

            1. re: CocoaNut

              In that area, I prefer Big Al's over SB's or Mike Anderson's.

      2. Thank you for all of the helpful suggestions. I will let you know how it works out.
        One more question - is it worth making the trip to Traildust Steakhouse if we end up having time to do that?

        4 Replies
        1. re: randihowie

          Although it's kind of hokey and touristy, the steaks are actually very good. You can watch them being cooked over a huge fire pit. I'll bet your 8 year old will love it because it's very family friendly and kid oriented. I say, make the time for it and go. But, for dinner only. And one more thing. Don't wear a tie!

          1. re: twinwillow

            I think the I35 location closed???? The next closest and most direct would be in Arlington, but outside the 15 minute radius - I've been to that loc once about 2 years ago and was very disappointed. Wouldn't advise the drive

            FWIW, I've eaten at the old I35 location numerous times and would always recommend it as a good steak on the cheap. I was really sorry that their (multiple locations) expansion seems to have lessened the quality - as so often happens.

            But thinking of "hokey" and if you're looking for southern style cooking as much so as Texas-style cooking, you may want to stretch the 15 min to maybe 20 (non-rush hour) and go to Babe's Chicken Dinner House in Carrollton. Each order consists of a selected meat accompanied by all (you can eat) of the listed vegetables. You should know though that at least one of you should order the chicken - it's very good. This is the type place that's fits "the more the merrier", so if you meet anyone at the tournament .......


            1. re: CocoaNut

              I didn't realize their I-35 (Electronic Lane) location had closed until I looked at their website.
              I also liked their old location as well. I've never been to their Arlington location.
              I totally agree about Babe's. Best fried chicken in the state.
              For that matter, another good family style recommendation would be Celebration. It's all you can eat family style at dinner and the food is excellent! And at the most, 15 minutes from the Market Center.

            2. re: twinwillow

              If you are going to traildust you really have to go to the original out in the country or what was once country. this is the family that started it and then sold off the chain.

          2. Hey Randi, looks like you have some decent recommendation all taking you North, but you should know the Anatole is also very close to the city's hippest dining area on Davis St. and in Bishop Arts. By taking Sylvan across the River, you can be in North Oak Cliff in ten minutes and have a choice of Bolsa, Hatties (Southern food), Tillman's (great "Texas food"), Nova ( bit of everything and a great neighborhood spot), Veracruz (authentic and very highly regarded Mexican) and an opportunity to walk around the District. There is a terrific ice cream shop and a unique shope that sells a crazy variety of soft drinks in bottle (kids love it).

            On the way to Bishop Arts is the Belmont, which offers great views of the city from a Cliff and Smoke, an excellent restaurant the speaclizes in smoked meats, very Texas! It's upscale BBQ (not cheap, but interesting and worth it). You are less than five minutes from the Belmont.

            Also, in your area (just about walkable) is the Meddlesome Moth, which is a gastropub with unique food and a great beer selection for you.

            614 W Davis St, Dallas, TX

            2 Replies
            1. re: dfwtexex

              I definitely agree with all your Davis Street/ Bishops Arts suggestions. I love all the places you mentioned. However, Meddlesome Moth might not be suitable for his 8 year old.
              Although, having said that, maybe it would.

              1. re: dfwtexex

                I'm a Philly native and aside from using caps lock, I can't emphasize this enough: please don't bother going to Texas Land and Cattle. It's nothing you can't find in Philly or any other major city.

                I love the Bishop Arts suggestions. And yes - definitely make an effort to get some good Tex Mex/Mexican/Breakfast Tacos/etc. It's one of the things that is 100x better here than in or around Philly.

                Not a huge fan of Meddlesome Moth's food, either. The best part is the beer, which probably won't impress an 8 year old much.

                Tillman's could be a good choice as I'm guessing most kids would love that S'mores dessert.

                Smoke for brunch or BBQ.

                And yes, yes, yes to Babe's. Best fried chicken and chicken strips ever. And super kid friendly.

              2. I can't believe that this person is asking about Texas bbq in the area and nobody has mentioned the Lockhart Smokehouse. It's in the same Bishop Arts district detailed above. Google it and go have the best brisket in Dallas. Just dont expect forks or sauce. Or a cheap meal. But its more Texas than the uppity Smoke.

                10 Replies
                1. re: down73

                  When I had the brisket from Lockhart Smokehouse (only once) it was inedible. Perhaps I caught them on a bad day, but I won't risk trying it again.

                  1. re: sass

                    they seem to have some reproducibility problems. The brisket can be very good when they're on, but I've had some pretty inedible stuff too. I've noticed that they're quite open to feedback - so if you (or anyone else, since you might not repeat visit) get some brisket that sucks, take it to them and tell them what's wrong with it. I'll bet they are willing to set you up with something else, and maybe they'll improve. Although why they can't spot stringy, unrendered fat themselves (the problem in my case) I have no idea.

                    1. re: gavlist

                      Regardless of what you think of Lockhart Smokehouse,
                      Don't recommend Luckie's. And if you go there, bring your fly swatter!

                      1. re: twinwillow

                        Lockhart has gotten more dependable lately and the brisket there is by a pretty wide margin, the best in DFW. It really gets close to the central Texas standard (not quite there, but close) with good smoke taste and well rendered fat. It would be a good choice for lunch in Bishop Arts, followed by a soda from the pop shop and/or an ice cream from the Mexican ice cream shop across the street.

                        Luckie's, down the road from Lockhart, is not really for human consumption. Cool patio bar, but really, really bad food. Twinwillow is correct.

                        Yes! the smores dessert at Tillman's is a great choice for a kid (and for me).

                        1. re: dfwtexex

                          just out of curiosity, what is so bad about the bbq at Luckie's? I haven't rushed out there (because of negative comments like the ones above) but recently had a friend with generally good taste recommend the place quite highly. So can you be more specific about how long ago you went, what you had, how many times you had it, and what you didn't like?

                          1. re: gavlist

                            I went with friends to Luckie's last weekend.
                            I thought the BBQ was just, average. Nothing special. But the thing that really got to me were the flies!
                            They were actually 'swarming' around us.
                            Mgmt. told us they were "working" on it.
                            Lockhart Smokehouse has much better 'Q.

                          2. re: dfwtexex

                            I think it's sufficient to send someone from out of towner to Lockhart Smokehouse.

                            However, by a wide margin in all DFW is a pretty big claim and I don't see eye to eye with that statement. Have you had the brisket from Pecan Lodge when *they* are on? Meshacks and Off The Bone in FW are both fairly consistent in putting out good brisket as well.

                            Lockhart Smokehouse's cue has been above places like Dickey's, SB or Rudy's, but I wouldn't put them ahead of many others besides the likes of those. I do trust FCG BBQ's reviews and I understand the nature of the beast where smoked meat can significantly differ on any given day. However, I haven't had a single experience come anywhere near what he's described. I believe he'd even said it can hold up against the actual Kreuz market which I find very difficult to believe. Extremely inconsistent, usually tending towards average to substandard. Brisket can be bad as something resembling roast beef with minimal/zero smoke ring, and sometimes, borderline inedible. I really think the sausage also suffers from getting shipped from Lockhart as it doesn't have any casing snap and had a very off-putting canned chili kind of icky texture. I've been there four times (including providing ample time since they have opened as they have supposedly improved) and not once have they been on top of their game. It's gonna take a lot to convince me to try them again, plus don't even get me started on how I feel about their pricing (especially for the product's quality). To me, it's all a disaster.

                            twin: Smoke ring? Unrendered fat? Moistness? Just saying "average, nothing special" doesn't exactly tell us much about the BBQ.

                            1. re: air

                              With reference to my remark about Luckie's "average" BBQ, I would hope most of us here in Dallas would understand "average" as in most of the BBQ joints that we have become all too familiar with. Such as, Dickeys, Big Al's, and Sonny Bryans to name just a few in Dallas as being of average quality. Without a long dissertation on the qualities of BBQ such as smoke rings, moistness etc, I assume most of us here knew what I meant when I described Luckie's BBQ as, "average".

                              I definitely agree with your description of Lockhart Smokehouse' sausage and general inconsistent quality. However, on a good day, I would consider Lockhart Smokehouse as, above average.

                              1. re: twinwillow

                                You're real generous! To me, "average" would equate to Rudy's; I'd eat there first and pretty much the rest of the places (including some that you'd mentioned) fall easily below that bar in my eyes.

                                I might give LS one more shot, but I think my apprehension is justified.

                                1. re: air

                                  The only Rudy's I've been to was in Austin. Again, very average.

                  2. I am back from Dallas and wanted to thank everyone for the great suggestions. We ended up having very little time to explore the food scene in Dallas, but we did go on a bit of a barbeque tour. We fell in love with Texas barbeque (chopped brisket in particular) and fried okra!

                    For lunch the first day, we went to Mike Anderson's, which we loved! We had chopped beef brisket, pork ribs, fried okra and baked beans, with strawberry fanta (which I had never had before). My son loved their sauce so much, we took a bottle home. My son also thought the ribbing he took for wearing his Phillies shirt was pretty hilarious.

                    The tournament that first night ended late, and we were looking for dinner at around 9 pm. We asked the concierge about Fuel City Tacos, and he basically said that it was too sketchy a neighborhood to take an 8 year old at night. So he directed us to Taco Cabana, on Lemmon, which was okay, but at least I saw how to get to Mia's and Uncle Julios.

                    For a late lunch/early dinner the second night, we went to Sonny Bryan's, which was good, but we liked Mike Anderson's better. I was really tempted to try the korean taco stand next door, but we never got the chance.

                    The third evening, we had a little more time and went up to Peggy Sue's near SMU. I really loved their barbeque (we tried the pulled pork and the beef brisket) and their tangy sauce, but my son still preferred Mike Anderson's.

                    For our fourth evening, we went to Mia's on Lemmon. I tried the brisket tacos, because that was supposed to be their specialty, but I just didn't care for them. It had something to do with the combination of flavors for me. Their beans and rice were really good and I did think the place was really cute.

                    This morning, we were going to go for breakfast at the Market Diner, but we forgot to set our alarm clock and didn't have time to go before having to leave for the airport.

                    All in all, it was a good eating trip. My son fell in love with Texas bbq and cannot wait to go back for the next national tournament in Dallas in November. Maybe then I can get to the Bishop Arts district!

                    Uncle Julios
                    1125 N Union Bower Rd, Irving, TX 75061

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: randihowie

                      I'm glad you and your son enjoyed your visit to Dallas. And thanks for your follow up report.

                      Be sure to let us know before you come to Dallas in November so we can give you some inside tips on dining in Oak Cliff. Including some really great BBQ hot spots. Oak Cliff is Dallas' not so best kept foodie secret. You'll love it.

                      You must be a great dad to take your son along with you.

                      1. re: randihowie

                        Great trip/crawl report and happy your son found a good Dallas (bbq) memory to take home with him! Assuming it was him in the tournament, how'd he fare?

                        1. re: CocoaNut

                          He did great! Came in 8th in the k-3 blitz tournament (speed chess), and tied for 20th in the k-3 regular chess tournament.

                        2. re: randihowie

                          That all sounds great. I am glad you had a good time. I am disappointed in the concierge though. Lots of families go to Fuel City and it is well lit. I can't imagine a problem there. Sending you to Taco Cabana is like someone in Philadelphia telling you to go to Subway when you really wanted an authentic cheesteak because the mall is safer than South Philly!

                          1. re: dfwtexex

                            I'm glad you wrote this. These were my thoughts exactly. I thought the same thing when the OP wrote that he was advised not to go to Fuel City because of the "sketchy" neighborhood. The first thing that came to my mind was how well it is lit up at night and the fact that it's always crowded with families.

                            1. re: twinwillow

                              I know the area and don't have a problem with it myself, but for someone not familiar, it would not be a good area to get lost or turned around in. I often wondered about visitors, especially first timers on their own, being pointed there, particularly for the late night cravings.