Had enough of the mall? Bored with your same old shopping haunts? This strip of retail and restaurants offers personality, pluck and plenty to see

We’ve driven down Garland Road a million times. The archaic “Mighty Joe Young” lettering on the Casa Linda Plaza marquee is ingrained in our minds, and we know exactly where to find the Arboretum and how long it will take us to get there.

But the fact is, Garland Road is speckled with colorful people and independently owned businesses that are worth more than just a drive-by on our way to Barbec’s. So instead of continuing to cruise past some of these places thinking, “I wonder what that is,” we spent a day on Garland Road to scope a few out.

Here’s what we found:

TC SHAVED ICE
The “TC” stands for Tayler Carl, nephew of Javier Hernandez, one of the founders of TC Shaved Ice. For 16 years, the Hernandez family has owned and operated several shaved ice businesses in the Dallas area.

The Garland Road location has been a fixture in our neighborhood for the eight years, drawing in an array of lip-licking patrons seeking a frozen treat. The cash-only stand, with two drive-thru windows in addition to the traditional walk-up window, opens for business in mid-February and continues into October.

Although traditional flavors such as strawberry, cherry and lime are always big sellers, many of TC’s customers like to mix and match. A popular combo is Tiger’s Blood mixed with Margarita.

But, says Hector Garza, the man behind the counter, customers also like to spice things up. Literally. One of TC’s biggest draws, particularly for its Latin crowd, is the chamoyada. It’s a slushy-type drink reminiscent of strawberries (that is, strawberries according to Garza, but for one visitor the taste was more like a frozen Bloody Mary). The concoction is then topped off with a dash of chili powder.

“I have a customer who comes in every weekend for a chamoyada and cherry mix,” Garza says.

10999 Garland Rd. 214-327-2421.
JAY’S BARBER SHOP
Don’t let the classic barber’s pole on the outside fool you. Jay’s Barber Shop isn’t your typical throwback to yesteryear — just take a walk inside, and find out for yourself.

From the lingering cloud of incense to the brightly colored sea-themed walls adorned with seashells, starfish and the owner’s own oil paintings of sea creatures, this place isn’t from Mayberry.

“I did a traditional shop without the traditional look,” says owner Jay D. Nelson, clad in — you might’ve guessed it — a tie-dyed T-shirt.

Nelson opened his barbershop more than 14 years ago, hoping to create a laid back and unique atmosphere. And even though the look might not be traditional, the haircuts are.

Nelson, whose customers are mostly men, claims he is a master at tapering hair — “an art,” he says. Most of his business is through word of mouth, and Nelson has a long list of repeat customers, but he also accepts walk-ins.

“Crawl-ins too,” he says. “However they want to come.”

10209 Garland Rd. 214-324-0609.

PEAVY BURGER & MART
“The food is a combination of all the places I worked going through college,” says Sami Habash, owner of Peavy Burger and Mart. “That’s why I have burgers and pizza.”

Habash bought the convenience store just off Garland about 10 months ago. Since then, he has beefed up the menu a great deal to give the store more of a diner-type feel. In addition to the pizza and the famous burgers (we’re told people come in three to four times a week just to eat the burgers), Habash added items such as the avocado chicken sandwich, the lamb gyro and the Philly cheese steak.

“I’m gonna go famous for my Philly cheesesteak,” he says, grinning widely.

1141 Peavy Rd. 214-324-5383.

ZOO MUSIC
Looking for a 1972 Gibson? Chances are you can find one at Zoo Music.

Owner Dave Anderson opened his first store in 1977 in a small shop off Centerville as a part-time endeavor so that he could go on the road with his band. But the business grew faster than Anderson thought it would, and he soon moved to a bigger place in the Lake Highlands Shopping Center.

In 1986, he relocated to his current spot on Garland, and has since opened two other locations (one in Garland, the other in Fort Worth).

“We cater to beginners, but more pros because we carry an eclectic collection of new as well as vintage guitars,” Anderson says. “We’ve built a reputation for it.”

But that shouldn’t discourage music lovers of all kinds from visiting Zoo Music. A walk through the front doors, past the towering wall of drums and guitars, affords a glimpse of a guitar-strumming employee, quick to offer a smile and some help.

In addition to the broad instrument selection, Zoo Music also has music teachers for guitar, bass and drums.

“They are all professionals,” Anderson says. “I’m real picky.”

But he’s not picky about one thing, and that’s creating a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere for customers.

“Just a good easy feeling,” he says.

11224 Garland Rd. 214-324-4827.

GLOVER RUBBER STAMP COMPANY
OK, so apparently we aren’t the only ones who have driven by this place wondering what the heck it is.

“We get a lot of people who come in and say they’ve driven by 15 times and just wondered what we did,” says office manager Jerri Shields.

So she explains: The Glover Rubber Stamp Company has been around since 1917 — created by a man named Harold Glover. Glover’s granddaughter now owns the place, and most of its employees are family members or family friends.

The company sells custom-made rubber stamps: signature stamps, address stamps, nameplates, embossing, etc. Their clients include big names such as Southwest Airlines and the City of Dallas, as well as small businesses. Everything that has to do with making their products is done in the building on Garland, from choosing the stamp to burning the rubber.

This, Shields says, gives the company a faster turn-around rate than mainstream places such as Office Depot.

10101 Garland Rd. 214-824-6900.

RECON VINTAGE
Previously known as Recon Militaria, this little hole-in-the-wall is a one-stop shop for war memorabilia.

Owner D.J. Goodwin, complete with a burly white beard, ever-present cigarette and, on this particular occasion, donning a T-shirt for his Arlington biker bar, “Big Dick’s,” has been in the collectibles business for more than 33 years, buying and selling everything from glass to comic books to jewelry. He’s also the founder of Vietnam War Museum Dallas, as well as one of the founding members of the Dallas Chapter, Great Southwest Vietnam Veterans.

At Recon Militaria, Goodwin stocks military items dating from the 1970s on back to the 1880s. No combat boots, though — he refers those inquiries down the street to the army store. The majority of items Goodwin deals in are from World War I and World War II.

“No copies, no reproductions, no fakes — all original,” he says. And Goodwin knows fakes. He has spent more than $20,000 on reference books over the years, and these books are anything but vague. For example, he has a 447-page book dedicated to just nine different medals.

But at Recon Militaria, you might find more than a piece of war memorabilia to add to your collection. With a Saturday morning visit to the store, you’ll probably find a room full of Vietnam vets telling stories and, says Goodwin with a chuckle, “getting drunk.”

But the stories are what make it worthwhile, he says.

“You’ve got walking, talking, living history in here,” he says. “I’ve met people that you could read about in books.”

9917 Garland Rd. 214-324-4427.

SALI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
“It’s small, it’s friendly, it’s very much family-oriented,” says Lisa Matthews, one of the owners of Sali’s.

Matthews bought the restaurant from its creator, Bedri Sali, two years ago, after working with Sali for nine years. The restaurant has been at the Garland Road location for 15 years, Matthews says, and not much has changed.

“We continued running it like it was when Sali was here,” she says.

One thing Sali’s has always been known for is its atmosphere. The open-air kitchen allows patrons to catch a glimpse of what’s cookin’ — and for the kids a chance to see the “pizza man” throw the dough.

The other thing Sali’s is known for is its menu. The New York-style pizza is a big seller, as well as the Sausage Pepper Parmigiana.

“A lot of customers come in here just for that,” Matthews says, admitting that the dish is one of her personal favorites. Another big attraction is karaoke night on Saturdays.

“It’s a lot of fun. The families really enjoy it, and the kids get up there and sing as well,” she says.

But dining at Sali’s might give you more than a full belly and a chance to work on your rendition of  “I Will Survive.” It might even clear your conscience.

Sali’s leases its space in the building from White Rock Center of Hope, a non-profit organization that helps area women and children in need.

10021 Garland Rd. 214-321-2700.

CASA LINDA BAKERY
The ultimate sweet-tooth pleaser, Casa Linda Bakery has been a landmark in the White Rock area since the early ’40s, when it was located in Casa Linda Plaza (where the Chili’s is now). The bakery has been at the current location for 14 years and has been owned and operated by David Sutton and his wife Robbie for 25 years.

In his youth, Sutton apprenticed with his uncle at Stein’s bakery in North Dallas before heading off to the American Institute of Baking in Kansas. Once back in Dallas, Sutton met Robbie, who just happened to live a mile from Casa Linda Bakery.

“I kept passing it, and I said ‘One day, I need to own that bakery with my wife,” he says.

So Sutton took on two jobs, saved up some money and convinced the owner to sell the place to him. Since then, things have gone pretty well for the couple. Sutton handles all of the baking, and Robbie (along with a four-man crew) tackles the cake decoration.

Patrons flock to Casa Linda Bakery from all over — Sutton mentions he’s even had clients from as far as McKinney and Duncanville.

“That’s how far they will come to get a cake,” he says. “I sometimes can’t believe it.”

But cake’s not the only thing making Casa Linda Bakery’s reputation.

Take the petit fours. Sutton says he sells anywhere from 150 to 200 dozen a week. These little confectioneries come in an assortment of flavors, including chocolate, raspberry, lemon and turtle.

And speaking of turtle, Sutton says the turtle cake is his personal favorite. It’s easy to see why — what’s not to like about a cake covered in caramel icing mixed with butter cream icing sprinkled with pecans?

“Serve it up with vanilla bean ice cream, and you just can’t beat it,” Sutton says. Mmm.

10819 Garland Rd. 214-321-0355.

AMF JUPITER BOWLING LANES
Although this 24-lane bowling alley just off Garland has been there for more than 25 years, it has only been owned by AMF for the last five.

The previous owner, Phil Kinzer, sold out to the worldwide bowling company, headed out to New Mexico and opened up — yes — another bowling alley.

“He’s a great promoter for bowling,” laughs Jupiter Lanes’ Kay Turner.

She says the alley hasn’t changed much over the years, that it’s still the same old family-oriented bowling alley it always has been, except now it’s non-smoking. Putting the nix on smoking has drawn in more church and school groups, including local high school bowling teams, she says.

Teams from Lake Highlands, Bishop Lynch, Poteet, Rowlett and Mesquite visit Jupiter Lanes three times a week for practice in the fall. AMF sponsors the teams, which means they get to practice on the lanes for free.

But it’s good for business — “Those kids come back and bring their friends,” Turner says.

And, if you’re a night owl, be sure to check out Jupiter Lanes’ “Extreme Bowling” — the lights go out and the music is turned up every Friday and Saturday night from midnight until 2 a.m.

11336 Jupiter Rd. 214-328-3266.

WALTON’S LAWN & GARDEN CENTER
Walton’s has been around for 19 years, although the property has been a nursery for much longer, says Trent Cantrell, a longtime employee of the full service landscaping/remodeling firm and retail nursery business.

Cantrell says the business began as a nursery, but over the years diversified into doing remodeling as well. But even if you’re not looking for a landscaping project, Walton’s is worth a visit.

“We get people who come in for the first time all the time,” Cantrell says. “People say they’ve driven by and can’t believe they’ve never stopped.”

The outdoor nursery offers browsers a chance to get lost in the greenery. And Cantrell says many customers come in after a day at the Arboretum has left them inspired — botanically, that is.

8652 Garland Rd. 214-321-2387.


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