Dallas was a city I had never been to nor had a great desire to visit and within hours of arriving, I got lost while scouting venues for my job at Dinner Lab. But, luckily, those wrong turns lead me right into the Bishop Arts District, which is a little goldmine. With tiny shops all in a row punctuated by beautiful restaurants and not a recognizable brand or chain anywhere in site, I was in heaven!
Situated just south of Downtown Dallas, Bishop Arts District was the site of Dallas's busiest trolley stop in the 1930's and is now home to nearly 60 independently owned boutiques, cafes, galleries, and restaurants. Although it's only a couple blocks in each direction, it's jam-packed and crazy photogenic. The District is very walkable and can easily gobble up an entire day so park your car and wander freely.
Here are the places you shouldn't miss:
GRAB A BITE
Dude. This place is unreal. Former pastry chef, Katherine Clapner, creates iconic chocolate combinations that had me waiting in a line of devoted regulars for their generous free samples. They will literally let you sample any product in the store. It pays off handsomely – I left with no less than four of the FDA Chocolate “Salami” which is made up of figs, dates, almonds and of course chocolate that is then rolled in powdered sugar and packed like salami. I brought it to parties for months afterwards to rave reviews. Thank god they sell it online. Other standouts include Albatross Fudge (made with bleu cheese?!?) and the botanical infused Flower Child Truffle.
Tucked into a beautiful historic building, this quaint Italian restaurant serves hand crafted salumi and from scratch pastas. The menu changes frequently but standouts include porcini and ricotta francobolli, lamb and goat cheese polpette, and for dessert – farro pastiera with candied lemon peel and marigold mint gelato.
Handmade sweet pies made from all natural ingredients in flavors that change with the season. On my wish list? Ebony + Ivory – buttermilk chess pie with hazelnut spread and the Mellow Yellow – lemon chiffon pie with ginger snap crust.
Only open until 3pm every day, this picturesque brunch spot wows with dishes like duck chilaquiles, angry frito pie, and a wild boar chorizo and goat cheese scramble served in an iron skillet. On the sweeter side there's homemade beignets, banana cream pie french toast and pancakes in flavors like red velvet and gingerbread.
This fine dining southern spot serves up the usual suspects like fried green tomatoes, shrimp + grits, and meatloaf but steps it up a notch with dishes like mac + cheese crusted filet and bacon wrapped, jalapeno stuffed quail.
GET A DRINK
This hard cider brewing company or “cidery” is a great pit stop on a hot day. With close to ten different flavors of cider and catchy names like “Suicider” and “Cideways”, refreshment comes easy here.
With an extensive wine list and great craft cocktails like the Rebel Yell (bourbon, hibiscus, cayenne), Spice Trade (vodka, pink peppercorn, blood orange and lime) and my favorite, RX (apple infused whiskey, aperol, lemon thyme honey) this spot is the perfect ending to a long day of walking around the District.
One of the newer kids on the block, this coffeehouse/bookshop occupies a refurbished 1940's bungalow that begs to be explored. They also serve an impressive variety of beers + cocktails if coffee isn't your thing.
Recently voted the best coffee in the area by the locals, this Latin coffeehouse also serves up sweet empanadas with ingredients like guava jelly, dulce de leche, and cream cheese.
Do we really need another candle shop? If they all looked like Society, then the answer would be a resounding yes. Candles galore, great vintage wares and divine but not overwhelming smells because they showcase their sample candles under bell jars. Brilliant.
Great spot to pick up the latest trends without doing too much damage to your bank account. Friendly staff and good variety. I left with a chic dress and some leggings for around $60. Score!
Lovely vintage shop named after the owner's fashionable grandmother, Zola's is very well curated with lots of inventory but not so much that you have to dig or claw your way through sardine packed racks - which in my book makes it perfect.
Be sure to stop in and take a peek in this floral shop and design studio. Beautiful décor, unique arrangements and their succulent selection make it worth a visit.
Perfect spot to drop off your man while you continue to explore the neighborhood. This barber shop uses the classic straight razor to groom their clients and even serves up some local brew whilst doing so.
Map illustration by Charmagne Kringstein