Appreciating the unique, fun and beautiful things our neighborhood has to offer

We trust our readers are familiar with neighborhood institutions such as Gold Rush Café, The Grape, Tietze Park, the mansions of Swiss Avenue, and of course, White Rock Lake. If not, welcome! We’re so glad to have you in the neighborhood. This story is dedicated to the esoteric set, you who can identify everyone in the mural at Matt’s Rancho Martinez and who hold fierce opinions about renaming Garland Road. We challenge you, our neighbors, to be tourists in your own backyard. Start by tackling this list of neighborhood musts.


 9785 Ferguson, 214.327.9983,


Photo by Danny Fulgencio

This old-school drive-in makes root beer in house, so the root-beer float is a must. But Dairy-Ette is fun especially because of its vintage appeal. It opened in 1956, and it’s like nothing has changed. They still have carhops that will deliver juicy burgers and fresh-cut fries to your car. Inside, red vinyl booths and counter stools complement wood-paneled walls, and one can imagine herself in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

 Also see: Neighborhood record shops

There’s nothing quite so retro as LPs and 45s, unless it’s CDs. Our neighborhood has several cool record shops. At Good Records, 1808 Greenville, the entire loft is dedicated to vinyl, and there are listening stations (just like Tower used to have, remember?). CD Source, 5500 Greenville, is often cited as the best place in Dallas to buy used CDs. At Shake Rag Music Store, 4112 Live Oak, you can actually buy a turntable, as well as guitars, amps and other musical instruments. Shake Rag specializes in hard-to-find LPs, 45s and 78s. Hit Records, 10253 Ferguson, might be our neighborhood’s oldest record shop. Owner Ron Ross has worked there since 1975. The shop doesn’t sell vinyl, but it offers plenty of hard-to-find CDs and rock memorabilia.

 Ride the Santa Fe Trail

Glasgow and Santa Fe Trail Avenue

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Santa Fe Trail Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The Santa Fe Trail runs from White Rock Lake all the way to Exposition Park … almost. The trail comes to an abrupt end at Hill Avenue. But if you make a right on Hill, a left on Benson and another left on Main (stay on the sidewalk for two blocks if you’d rather not tangle with cars), you can go have a slice at the Pizza Lounge or a burger at Meridian Room before heading back. Switching Gears Cyclery, co-owned by neighborhood resident Andee Pittman, recently took over the old Bar of Soap space on Parry. The shop can help with bike accessories or mechanical difficulties.

Also see: The DART Blue Line, White Rock Station, 7333 E. Northwest Hwy.

The blue line runs all the way from downtown Garland to far South Dallas. Take it from the White Rock Station to the Dallas Art District, downtown or the Cedars to see Dallas through a different lens.

The Eight Track Museum

2630 E. Commerce, 469.867.4074,

Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Eight Track Museum Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

The Eight Track Museum in Deep Ellum is like a little piece of the Smithsonian, homegrown in Dallas. Neighborhood resident Bucks Burnett started collecting eight tracks in 1988, when he came across The Beatles’ White Album on eight-track tape at a garage sale. By 2008, he had collected some 3,000 eight tracks, plus eight-track players, advertisements and other memorabilia of the outdated medium. He opened the Eight Track Museum two years ago, he says, because he wanted to have more space in his garage. The museum has the distinction of being the only one dedicated to eight-track tapes and technology. It’s a little weird and very cool. This past October, Burnett opened a two-month exhibit from the Eight Track Museum at the Orphic Gallery in Roxbury, N.Y. And the exhibit is now part of that gallery’s permanent collection.

Also see: 

The Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop, 214.768.2516,

The Meadows Museum at SMU is just across Central Expressway from our neighborhood, and it houses one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. An exhibit of early portraits from Spanish master Diego Velázquez, as well as an exhibit of Pablo Picasso’s drawings inspired by Spanish poet Luis de Góngora y Argote, runs through Jan. 13.

Oliver Francis Gallery,  209 S. Peak, 817.879.8231,

Young curator Kevin Rubén Jacobs opened this gallery out of frustration with the Dallas art scene’s lack of contemporary galleries. The gallery shows artists that Jacobs likes, and he says he produces shows without regard to what is marketable. There’s nothing else like it in Dallas.

Smoke and Mirrors Gallery, 406 S. Haskell, 214.293.6823

Smoke and Mirrors is like the sister to Oliver Francis. Owner Jessica Luther specializes in outsider and folk art, and she often invites musician pals to perform on the stage out back.

 Hypnotic Donuts

9007 Garland Road,, 214.668.6999

Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Hypnotic Donuts Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

A maple bar with a slice of bacon on top, a chocolate donut with caramel and peanut butter that’s topped with Cap’n’Crunch. These are the creations of the geniuses behind Hypnotic Donuts. This past summer, they hosted a world’s spiciest donut-eating contest with progressively hotter donuts. The finale featured ghost-pepper/vanilla frosting. The Mexico, a glazed donut with vanilla frosting, jalapeños and Tabasco sauce, is on the menu all the time.

Also see: The cinnamon roll at the Mecca, 5815 Live Oak, 214.352.0051,

 This cinnamon roll is as big as your face and chock full of cinnamon, sugar and butter. The Mecca is a greasy spoon, known as a Dallas institution since 1938, which relocated to our neighborhood last year. It also serves a 20-pound cinnamon roll, which you can have by calling a couple of days in advance.

Dallas Mozzarella Co. 

2944 Elm, 214.293.6823,

The Dallas Mozzarella Co. doesn’t just make delicious cheese; they will teach you how to make delicious cheese, too. Neighborhood resident Paula Lambert owns the Deep Ellum-based company that sells handmade cheeses produced in the Old-World way. The monthly cheese-making classes cost $50 per person, and they fill up fast, so make reservations early. The company also offers classes on cheese and wine pairings as well as cheese and beer.

 Also see: Scardello, 3511 Oak Lawn, 214.219.1300,

 Neighborhood resident Rich Rogers owns this Oak Lawn cheese shop with his wife, Karen. They opened the shop a few years ago because Rich was obsessed with cheese, and the shop is a testament to that. He orders American small-batch cheeses, and he’s constantly in search of the best cheeses he can find. The shop also offers cheese plates, sandwiches, beer and wine, as well as pairings classes.

 Burlesque at the Lakewood Theater

1825 Abrams Parkway,

On the first Friday of every month, the Lakewood Theater is transformed into something of a Moulin Rouge. Viva Dallas Burlesque performs as a troupe and sometimes with traveling burlesque artists from all over the country. The shows often serve as charity benefits. If seeing a burlesque show seems a little out of your comfort zone, relax. They’re not suitable for children, but they’re not strip-club seedy, either. The shows are funny, sexy and entertaining.

If seeing a burlesque show seems a little out of your comfort zone, relax. They’re not suitable for children, but they’re not strip-club seedy, either.

See also: It’ll Do Club, 4322 Elm, 214.827.7236

 This little neighborhood tavern on the edge of Old East Dallas used to be known as a “pressure-cooker bar” back in the ’60s because housewives could put dinner in the pressure cooker and go have a drink before their husbands came home. Since Beauty Bar and Barcadia owner Brooke Humphries reopened the bar with business partner Brianna Larson last summer, it has become one of the trendiest dance clubs in town. The club books famous DJs, such as Eli Escobar and Mark Farina. It’ll Do also has hosted drag queen Sharon Needles and legendary New York nightclub queen Amanda Lepore.