Jefferson Boulevard is one of the few historic shopping streets in Dallas.
If you want to experience a neighbourhood feel, come to Oak Cliff. A short distance from downtown Dallas, yet the atmosphere feels like it is a million miles away.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, there was a community south of the River Trinity by 1845. In 1887, two developers, one of whom was Thomas L. Marsalis, bought land there including that community. Their idea was to create an elite residential area and vacation resort.
It went well until the economic depression of 1893. By 1900, middle- and working-class families had bout subdivided plots. An independent district thus far, Oak Cliff voted for the annexation to Dallas in 1903 due to the area’s depressed economy.
Oak Cliff is made up of many different neighbourhoods, like the trendy Bishop Arts District or the historic Winnetka Heights. However, I am going to focus on Jefferson Boulevard.
My first impression was that Jefferson Boulevard is the hub of the Mexican American community. Many businesses cater to their needs, like a panadería (bakery) or stores that sell quinceañera and wedding gowns. Most signs are bilingual. There is a cluster of brightly painted storefronts on the Texas Theater end of the boulevard that I find particularly attractive. Unfortunately, at the time of writing (December 2020), I noticed that a few stores stood empty.
I enjoy walking along Jefferson Boulevard. It has a neighbourhood feel that is hard to find in other areas. It looks unspoiled by modernity. It lacks the pretentiousness that other parts of Dallas like to flaunt. Here, you can relax and be you.
One of the landmarks on Jefferson Boulevard in the Jefferson Tower. Built in 1928, it was the first high-rise on Oak Cliff and it still dominates the boulevard. I love its striking Art Deco architectural features.
The other landmark is the Texas Theater, opened in 1931. Although it was Dallas’ first air-conditioned theater, it became famous for being the place where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested on 22 November 1963.
The Oak Cliff Cultural Center is right next door. Although it is now closed until further notice due to the pandemic, it holds art exhibitions from various local artists, both established and up-and-coming. I interviewed two of the artists for the Dallas Observer last year.
Jefferson Boulevard is one of the last original shopping streets in Dallas. Its architecture, from the 1920s and 30s and mid-20th century, remains more or less intact. It is pedestrian-friendly, another feature hard to find in the city, and there is lots of parking. What more do you need?
Henry Moore’s sculptures in Dallas: a brief description of the artist’s works in the city of Dallas displayed in museums and the City Hall.
I’m drawn to the soft curves of Henry Moore’s sculptures. To me, they seem to shift shape. What one day I see as a bull, the next can be a vertebrae. Moore’s works can be found in museums, art galleries and collections from around the world. Let’s have a look at Henry Moore’s sculptures in Dallas.
Who was Henry Moore?
Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986) was a British artist famous for his semi-abstract bronze sculptures. Many of these are on a monumental scale and are displayed around the world as public art.
Moore was born in a small Yorkshire mining town. He wanted to become a sculptor, but his parents were opposed to the idea. So he trained as a teacher.
However, after serving in the Army during World War I, Moore got a scholarship which he used to study art at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art.
His experiences in the war, for sure. Moore became the symbol of post-war modernism. According to Tate Britain, “Moore’s art engages with key artistic, intellectual and political issues of his time: the trauma of war – seen in his response to both World Wars, as well as the 1930s descent into war and later Cold War anxieties – together with new ideas of sexuality and the body, and the influence of non-western art, psychoanalysis and Surrealism.”
Henry Moore also found inspiration in natural objects like rocks, bones or shells.
Primitive art played a big role in Moore’s art in the 1920s and 1930s. He would sketch sculptures and artefacts he saw at the British Museum, like prehistoric fertility goddesses or Inuit artefacts.
Today, I’m going to show you the Dragon Park Gardens.
Although it looks like a public garden, Dragon Park is in fact a private property. If you’d like to hang out here, you’re going to have to call the number on the sign and ask the owner for permission. Some people have a small wedding here, probably under that gazebo, or have their engagement pictures taken.
This garden is actually a complement to Select Salon Dallas, the spa across Hood St. The owner’s vision is to provide his clients with a quiet place to relax in nature. The vision and its execution fit the yuppie/hipster neighbourhood of Oak Lawn.
When I went to see the garden, it seemed a bit unkempt. Plants growing wildly invaded the little paths and half-cover the sculptures. However, the overgrown vegetation gave it an intriguing air.
Speaking of sculptures, there are all kinds. Two Chinese dragons guard the entrance, there are some mythical creatures like a griffin-looking one, and some I have no idea what they are.
I can see this place get crowded on full moon nights, or at Halloween. Maybe some neo-pagans get together to worship the harvest goddess. Yes, OK, I let my mind wonder a bit, but that’s what this garden does to you!
Dragon Park Garden’s address is 3520 Cedar Springs Road, Oak Lawn, Dallas. It’s right on the corner with Hood Street. There’s very limited parking and I don’t advise parking in the office lot across the street.
Dallas/Fort Worth is American Airlines’ hub for the South. As the airline’s primary getaway to Mexico and secondary to Latin America (their primary getaway to LatAm is Miami), millions of people pass through here every year. Thus, many passengers end up with a long layover in Dallas.
These ideas on how to make the most of your long layover in the Big D are based on the different DART stops of the Orange Line from DFW.
How to get to Downtown Dallas from DFW and Love Field airports
Take the DART Rail Orange Line from DFW Airport Station, located at Terminal A, Lower Level Curb, Entry A-10. Trains run daily from 3:50 a.m. to 1:19 a.m.
If you fly, say, Southwest or Alaska, chances are you’ll land in Love Field Airport. Follow the signs to Ground Transportation and take the Love Link 524 bus to Inwood/Love Field Sation. The bus ride is free of charge. Then, take the Orange line to any of the stations listed below.
You can buy your tickets at any Ticket Vending Machine located on the platforms. You can pay cash or credit card. A single fare is $3.00 and a day pass, $6.00
Here’s what to see and do around each DART station during your layover in Dallas.
Location: West side of the American Airlines Center (2525 Victory Ave.)
Location: Pacific Avenue, between Market & Lamar streets.
Take a stroll around the Historic West End District. See how the old red brick warehouses were converted into offices, bars, restaurants and shops.
Dallas Holocaust Museum The new venue opens on 18th September, 2019. The museum has three permanent exhibitions: the Holocaust/Shoah wing, the Human Rights wing, and the Pivot to America wing. Bear in mind that, although the museum is open seven days a week, it is not recommended for children under twelve-years-of age due to the nature of the exhibitions. I must admit I had a lump in my throat throughout my visit.
Dallas World Aquarium Here’s something for the whole family to enjoy. The aquarium is divided into five areas that represent five ecosystems: Mundo Maya, Orinoco, Aquarium, South Africa, and Borneo. It opens daily but is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.
Old Red Courthouse (site of the Dallas CVB Tourist Information Center) The Old Red covers the history of Dallas from prehistory until today. You’ll find objects that scream “Dallas!” like JR Ewing’s Stetson hat, which actor Larry Hagman donated. Or less savoury ones like Clyde Barrow’s gun (he of Bonnie and Clyde fame).
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza This museum is dedicated to the memory , legacy, and assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s located in the Texas School Book Depository building, from which Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have shot the president.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial You’ll find it behind the Old Red. Cross Main St. and have a look at the replica of John Neely Bryan’s cabin. He was the first Dallas’ settler.
Dealey Plaza is sometimes called the birthplace of Dallas, since this is where the first home was built. Dealey Plaza also encompasses the infamous Grassy Knoll, where JFK assassination took place.
Location: Pacific Avenue, between Akard and Field Streets
This is the Main Street District. Stroll up and down Main Street. Look out for stunning and slightly disturbing Eye sculpture, you can’t miss it! Here’s a self-guided walk of the architecture of downtown Dallas.
If the weather doesn’t want to cooperate, go to the Neiman Marcus flagship store on Main and Ervay. Shop or browse luxury goods and have lunch at the famed Zodiac Room.
Built in 1910-12, The Adolphus was Dallas’ first grand hotel. I love stopping by the lobby bar for a drink, it’s so luxurious.
Pegasus Plaza, on the corner of Akard and Main, is a pleasant shaded plaza to sit and watch the world go by.
There are various bars and restaurants. I like Wild Salsa and The Woolworth.
St. Paul Station
Location: Bryan Street, between St. Paul and Harwood streets
Thanks-Giving Square is one of the few green spaces in downtown Dallas. The spiral shrine is a distinctive feature of the city. Read more about Thanksgiving Square here.
A relatively recent addition to downtown Dallas, Main Street Garden Park includes a café and shaded structure, a splash fountain, a playground, a dog run, and a concert green.
The Majestic Theatre dates from 1920 and it’s as magnificent as it was when built.
Location: Bryan Street, east of Pearl Street
The Dallas Arts District is my absolute favourite place in Dallas. I love to stroll along Flora Street, enjoying the architecture and the art. Look out for the HALL Texas Sculpture Walk, the art is amazing.
If you need more green during your layover in Dallas, head to Klyde Warren Park. The park straddles a motorway and connects two previously divided bits of the city. You can read the papers, play board games, sit and enjoy the views, or grab a table at Savor or Relish, both located in the park.
One Arts Plaza and the Dallas Museum of Art bookend Flora Street. At One Arts Plaza, you’ll find art, leisure and dining options.
Museums in Dallas: a brief guide of the museums that the Big D has to offer, from high art to science to the quirky. Visit all of them!
From makeup to samurai armour and sculpture, there is a museum for every interest. The Big D has a wide range of cultural offerings and certainly no shortage of museums. Let’s have a look at the museums in Dallas.
Art museums in Dallas
Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is a visitor-friendly, LEED-certified art museum in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. Its collection comprises over 24,000 objects covering 5,000 years of human culture. Islamic art; art from the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Latin America, and Europe; decorative arts and design; and contemporary art are all represented here. The DMA also holds special exhibitions and art programmes. The DMA closes on Mondays, and general admission is free.
The Meadows Museum is part of the Southern Methodist University (SMU) since 1965. The core collection was donated by Algur H. Meadows, an oil financier and philanthropist. It consists of Spanish art from the Renaissance to 20th century artists. Big names include Murillo, Velazquez, Goya, Miró, and Juan Gris, to name a few. There are temporary exhibitions as well. Closed on Mondays. Admission is $12. The Meadows is located on the edge of the SMU campus on Bishop Boulevard.
Nasher Sculpture Center
If you like modern and contemporary sculpture, you must visit the Nasher Sculpture Center. The collection includes artwork from renowned artists like Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, or Auguste Rodin. My favourite thing to do is to spend a quiet time in the gardens . Not only are they beautiful, they provide a wonderful setting for some monumental sculptures. The building is also a work of art designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. Closed on Mondays. Admission $10 (there are concessions).
Museum of Biblical Art
As its name implies, the Museum of Biblical Art exhibits Biblical-themed art. The art is not all Christian though, the museum also houses the National Center for Jewish Art. There are big names too, like Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Access to the Via Dolorosa Sculpture Garden is free. Standard admission is $12. The museum opens Wednesday to Sunday. It’s located behind NorthPark Center on Park Lane.
African-American Museum of Fair Park
According to their website, the collection of the African American Museum “ranges from inspiring Folk Art to centuries-old masterpieces and including African art, black renaissance paintings, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art .” One of the current exhibitions provides an insight into a once thriving community in what is now Uptown, and which was called Freedman’s Town. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. General admission is $10
Crow Museum of Asian Art
The Crow Museum of Asian Art developed from the private collection of Margaret and Trammell Crow. The museum underwent a massive renovation in time for its 20th anniversary. The permanent collection comprises artwork from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam , from ancient to modern times. The Crow Foundation donated works of art to the University of Texas and they’re going to open a second museum at the UT Dallas campus in Richardson, TX
Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture
Also known as the Old Red for short, this museum covers the cultural, political, economic and social history of Dallas County. The permanent collection spans the first settlement, the later economic boom, the interwar period (with objects like Clyde Barrow’s gun), the postwar years to the present. Difficult subjects like racial segregation are also addressed. Opens daily.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Preserving the memory and legacy of President John F. Kennedy is the main goal of The Sixth Floor Museum. The collections include photos, film footage, posters, and documents of the Kennedy years and his assassination on 22 November, 1963. The museum is located on the 6th and 7th floors of the former Texas School Book Depository building, where Lee Harvey Oswald was said to shoot JFK from. It overlooks the Grassy Knoll. Open daily. General admission is $18.
Dallas Heritage Village
The Heritage Village is a fun activity for kids and adults. It’s an open-air museum that depicts life in North Texas between 1840 and 1910. The buildings are original and most have been moved here from their original locations. On display are tools and implements for all the of activities carried out in the area: dentist and doctor practice, blacksmithing, woodworking, etc. Buildings include a log cabin, a school, a saloon, to name a few. Closed on Mondays, and the months of January and August.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is moving to a new, purpose-built premises in September ’19. The museum “is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference.” The new museum will have three wings. The Holocaust-Shoah wing tells the story of the Jewish people in Europe between 1933 and 1945. The Human Rights wing shows hoe human rights have progressed since 1945. The Pivot to America wing explores national ideals.
Cavanaugh Flight Museum
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum is located in the Addison regional airport area. The aircraft collection covers both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and some civilian aircraft. There;s also armoured vehicles. Read about my visit to the museum here.
Frontiers of Flight Museum
Love Field Airport (DAL) is also home to the Frontiers of Flight Museum. This museum covers the history of aviation from its very beginnings to the Space Age. I also visited this museum and you can read the review here.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Where can you learn about the human body, feel plate tectonics shake under your feet, and see dinosaurs? At the Perot Museum. There are hands-on experiments for kids, gems and minerals exhibitions, people will learn about the science behind sports, engineering and maths experiences like building a robot. Opens Daily. General admission ranges from $13 to $20.
Fun museums in Dallas
Mary Kay Museum
The Mary Kay Museum is located inside the Mary Kay World Headquarters in Addison. It’s a tribute to the founder of the namesake cosmetics empire. The collection tells the story of the company is organised by decades from the 1960s to the present. It’s open from Monday to Friday during business hours. 16251 Dallas Parkway, Addison.
Located on the second floor of the Saint Ann Building, the Samurai Collection was created in 2012. It consists of the private collection of samurai armour and artefacts of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller. The permanent collection includes suits of armour, helmets, masks, horse armour, and weaponry. Admission is free. Closed on Mondays.
Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery
In the heart of the Design District, there’s a small motorcycling museum called Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery. The collection comprises about 200 motorcycles from 1901 to this day, including some prototypes. Petrol heads will be delighted! Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm.
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How to visit Victory Park, Dallas’ newest neighbourhood. What to do, what to see, where to eat. #Dallas #travel #traveltips #Texas
Victory Park is a relatively new master-planned development in Dallas, and one I didn’t know very well. It’s worth adding it to the list of things to do in Dallas.
A few years ago, real estate developers came up with a plan to build a neighborhood from scratch. This plan encompassed premium apartment buildings, office buildings, hotels, and shops. The heart of the development was the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars, as well as a concert venue.
The original project did not come to fruition, with the exception of the American Airlines Center. It became a big sports and concert venue. Another real estate company came along and took over the project, and gave the area a new lease on life.
Victory Park calls itself an “urban lifestyle destination“. And I think that they delivered on that promise: there a lot of things to do and has a great location. Victory Park is surrounded by the Woodall Rodgers freeway and I-35E, which is key is a city that is as spread out as Dallas, on one side, and the Historic West End District on the other. Victory Park is also very close to downtown
As a visitor, you’re probably more interested in South Victory, since the rest of the neighborhood is more residential. As well as highway access, South Victory is served by public transport, which is worth gold in Dallas. Victory Station is served by the TRE-Trinity Railway Express, which connects Dallas with Fort Worth, the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) Orange and Green lines. Victory Park is included in the McKinney Avenue Trolley route, that old trolley that is a tourist attraction in itself.
Things to do in Victory Park Dallas
Stroll around! Walk up North Houston Street and down Victory Park Lane. Enjoy the only green area. Take your picture outside the American Airlines Center. Rent electric scooters for $1/hour.
House of Blues has a venue in Dallas. There are concerts almost every day. Local, national, and international bands play all kinds of music, from jazz to blues to hip hop. Sundays are different. The serve brunch to the beat of live Gospel music. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant, but I have used the bar(s) before and during concerts.
***PERMANENTLY CLOSED*** Hard Rock Café Dallas has loads of memorabilia from famous artists. There’s a hand-written letter from George Harriosn, Willie Nelson’s bandana, and a suit that belonged to Roy Orbison, among other objects.
Where to eat
There are many good places to eat in Victory Park, just as there are in Dallas. I can recommend Mesero‘s queso as an appetizer, washed down with a Paloma cocktail (tequila and grapefruit juice). Also, the pizza at Olivella’s is very good. I had white pizza (no tomato sace, two kinds of mozzarella and spinach) and I loved it. Café Victoria is very pretty, and Cook Hall, inside the W Hotel, is a fun gastropub. Billy Can Can serves modern Texas food. Dibs on Victory has a large patio overlooking Victory Plaza.
Dick’s Last Resort, hosed in a red brick industrial-looking building, is famous because the waiters play pranks on customers. I heard the food is not that great but it’s worth visiting for the pranks. Unfortunately, it closed in November 2019.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science is Dallas’ most modern museum. I do recommend it if you visit Dallas with kids. Children learn by doing, touching, and playing anything from how the human body works, to new technologies, or natural resources. My favourite room is, of course, the dinosaurs and early mammals. Science is not my thing, although the earthquake simulator is a ton of fun!
For the ‘gram
Instagrammers will find heaven on earth at Sweet Tooth Hotel. It isn;t a hotel but a place for art installations and art pop-ups. Tickets to this world of fantasy sell out fast, so keep an eye on installaitons dates.
Where can I park?
There isn’t really a lot of street parking available, but there are many parking garages. The hourly fee is $5. However, if you eat at any loca restaurant, remmeber to validate your ticket to park for free for two hours.
Dance to live music, see some bull riding, and take two-step and line dancing lessons at Billy Bob’s honky tonk.
West: things to do
Not to be confused with West Texas, the town of West is located 1 hour and 10 minutes south of Dallas on I-35 and is known as the Czech Heritage Capital of Texas and official home of the kolache.
Many Czech families settled here, and their descendants still live here.
Visit the Czech bakeries in downtown West, like the Czech Stop, the Little Czech Bakery or Slovacek’s and stock up on sweet and savory kolaches. Or enjoy some very good Central European food for lunch.
The KATY railroad used to run through West. The depot is now the local museum.
Labor Day Weekend is taken up by Westfest, a celebration of the Czech heritage.
Jefferson: things to see and do
Jefferson, a pre-Civil War town, is 166 miles east of Dallas in the heart of the Piney Woods.
Neiman Marcus flagship store in Downtown Dallas, Texas: luxury and history. #Dallas #Texas #traveltips #travel #neimanmarcus
Neiman Marcus is a prestigious specialty store founded in Dallas in 1907. Nowadays, it’s synonymous with luxury and deep pockets. The building where the Neiman Marcus flagship store is housed is a beautiful construction in the Renaissance Revival style. It sits on the corner of Main and Ervay Streets in Downtown Dallas.
The Neiman Marcus flagship store provides the quintessential
Dallas shopping experience. Tasteful displays, graceful shop assistants,
exquisite collections, and personal shoppers: everything you need to feel
special. I’ve visited the store a few times, and every time I was treated
politely. Not one assistant ever looked down on me because I wasn’t dressed in
Gucci or Prada. It’s for a reason that Neiman Marcus is known for its
impeccable customer service.
Their Christmas windows displays are legendary. The whole of Dallas looks forward to them. They’re the centerpiece of holiday celebrations in the city. One of my friends told me that she looked forward to the annual Christmas Book and that she bought a crystal tree ornament for each of her daughters every year. Other friends told me that, when they were little, going to Neiman Marcus in their Sunday best was a treat.
A short video in Spanish (sorry!) shot inside the store.
The Zodiac is an elegant lunch restaurant on Level 6. This
is where la crème de la crème has met for the last 50 years. The reservation
list reads like the Social Register of Dallas.
In 1907, Herbert Marcus Sr, his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman
and her husband A.L. Neiman founded a luxury retail store at Elm and Murphy
streets. They tried to stand out from the other department stores with
high-quality garments and excellent customer service. They built a good
reputation slowly and steadily.
After the store burned down, Neiman Marcus moved to the
current building in 1913. The store attracted a wealthy clientele. The cotton
“aristocracy” of East and North Texas came into town to shop at the Neiman
Marcus flagship store. The discovery of oil in East Texas in the 1930s produced
a new set of millionaires, who weren’t hit hard by the Great Depression and,
therefore, spent freely in clothes and accessories.
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Neiman Marcus kept expanding. Nowadays, the group comprises
the Bergdorf Goodman, Cusp, Neiman Marcus, and Neiman Marcus Last Call brands. The
company’s headquarters are in the Renaissance Tower in Dallas (1201 Elm St.).
The flagship store’s building, in red brick and white stone,
opened in 1914 with only four floors. The company added an extension on Ervay
towards Commerce Street in 1927. The design was inspired by the Renaissance Revival
style, based on 15th and 16th centuries European architecture.
The 1950s saw further additions, which more than doubled the size of the
original building. The last expansion, two more floors, took place in 1983.
There are a lot of things to do in Downtown Dallas around the store. Walk up Main Street towards Main Street Gardens. Walk back down again and admire one of my favourite pieces of urban art, The Eye sculpture. Admire the architecture. Have a cocktail at The Woolworth. Explore the art collection at The Joule hotel and then have a meal at Americano.
5 places to eat BBQ in Dallas: the tenderest brisket, pork and beef ribs, sausage and sides like potato salad, slaw, baked beans #dallas #BBQ #travel
There are many places to eat BBQ in Dallas, probably so many that choosing one can be difficult. Worry not! I put together a list of BBQ restaurants in different neighbourhoods to help you decide Oak Lawn, Design District, Bishop Arts District, Deep Ellum, and West Dallas.
Pecan Lodge (Deep Ellum)
Pecan Lodge does counter service, so get there veeeery early -11 am or earlier at weekends- if you want to avoid long waits. Anyway, the food is worth it. Their brisket, pork and beef ribs, sausages are delicious, as are the sides.
Slow Bone (Design District)
Slow Bone is a no-frills BBQ restaurant where the food is the real star. I was pleasantly surprised by their Brussels sprouts casserole. They also serve fried chicken. Look at this brisket, for Pete’s sake!
18th and Vine (Oak Lawn)
18th and Vine serves Kansas City-style BBQ in an upscale setting. What’s different about Kansas BBQ? The tomato-based sauce. Mind you, everything else here is good! I really liked the renovated old house. The traditional Southern porch is nice in the spring and warm winter days.
Lockhart Smokehouse (Bishop Arts District)
You can see the smokers lovingly cradling that Central-Texas BBQ at Lockhart Smokehouse. You order at the counter and bring your meat wrapped in butcher paper to your table. As in most BBQ places, you pick up your condiments, bread, or beans from a condiment station. You can also sit at the bar.
Smoke (West Dallas)
Smoke’s BBQ is excellent, but don’t you dare miss the bacon smoked in-house! It’s superb. If you fancy something sweet, try their key lime pie. The meringue is a mile high! (figuratively speaking, of course).
Do you have a favourite place for BBQ in Dallas? Mention it in the comments section.
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