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Sensi Magazine

Dallas Deep

Jun 24, 2019 06:03PM ● By Dawn Garcia
Texas hasn’t always been high on my list of places to visit, and yet I’ve been to Houston, Galveston, Tiki Island, and Austin. Each city has its own appeal, but last month I headed to Dallas and explored parts of Texas I found to be downright wonderful. Dallas is a city consisting of several districts including the Bishops Arts District and Deep Ellum, both warranting bragging rights for art and culture, global fare, and truly nice people.

Bishop Arts District is a tiny Dallas town, big on character, cuisine, and culture. In this distinct town located in the center of North Oak Cliff, Bishop Arts is home to 60 restaurants, boutique shops, coffee shops, bars, and independent art galleries. Sprinkled through an active neighborhood comprised of darling turn of the century homes and modern remodels, you’ll find sweet stores, business-es, doctors and law offices, and a relaxed vibe. With the Dallas city skyline visible in the distance and the scare of tornados safely behind me, Bishops Arts District is its own self-contained artist’s haven. Staying in an Airbnb located on top of the local antique store aptly called Mantiques (DFWMANTIQUES.COM), my journey began.

That night, I set out to explore the area with a friend who resides in the neighboring town of Corsicana. We walked by a house with a sign for “Tacos y Vino,” and decided the combo too endearing to pass up. The restaurant packed with patrons did not disappoint. I highly recommend dining at Oddfellows (ODDFELLOWSDALLAS.COM) serving exquisite coffee, cocktails, and meat-eating and vegetarian-friendly fare; Veracruz serving killer margaritas, tacos, molé and enchiladas; and Tribal (LIVETRIBAL.COM) serving fresh pressed juices and dishes with an emphasis on clean eating. The last stop on our culinary journey may be my favorite. Serve (SERVE.HOUSE) is a beautiful café serving vegan dishes, super foods, and hearty smoothies, but it’s the design of the space that invites you into a world of creativity and tranquility. The space is marked by intentional art with messages like “Do What You Love”, sprawling displays of greenery, authentic handmade lighting fixtures, local art, and furnishings that lean towards post modernism with a contemporary flare. Do make sure you step outside, where you will find cornhole, hammocks, massive murals, green grass, and swooning music. Serve’s mantra is “where fast lives slow down,” and it’s heavenly and blissful.

In addition to an impressive selection of restaurants and bars, the neighborhood’s quaint shops and art galleries are so interesting, you’ll realize you’ve spent hours in a state of discovery. Check out Fete_ish (@FETE_ISH), which is curated with works by local artists, quirky novelty items, Texas strong paraphernalia, and goodies that will make your house smell nice, give you a hearty belly laugh, or tap into creative ways to tell someone to piss off. It’s a must-see.

Bishops Arts District is also home to art galleries like Mercado369 (MERCADO369.COM) featuring Lat in American art and gifts; Mosaic Makers Collective (MOSAICMAKERS.CO) featuring only female-designed goods; and Red Pegasus Comics (REDPEGASUSCOMICS.COM) carrying rare comic books.

Deep Ellum’s history runs deep. Born in 1873, this area started out as a commercial and residential region but now serves as a hub where barbecue is a religion, murals sprawl nearly every wall, music is almost as ample as in Nashville, bars and eateries are in plenty, and nothing seems to be off limits, including four-dollar cups of free flowing coffee. With a contrast of high end restaurants and shops, to pubs and watering holes you can stop in for a quick brew, Deep Ellum is a stop you have to experience. This is also where I can say with a resounding amen that I had the best barbecue I’ve ever had and I mean even better than Franklin’s in Austin.

Pecan Lodge (PECANLODGE.COM) serves up a brisket that will have you seeing double rainbows it’s so damn good. Buttery brisket through and through, you absolutely have to go. When you are in the mood for a swanky cocktail, go visit Stirr (STIRRDALLAS.COM). The architecture of the building tells a tale, the decor is minimalist and luxurious, and while dining on the main floor is highly encouraged, I say start on the rooftop. The mixology program is inspired and the view is gorgeous, as is the artwork that varies from rooftop to entry. For a pick-me-up, stop in to BuzzBrews (BUZZBREWS.COM), where endless cups of coffee available in more than a dozen flavors will cost you just four bucks. When you’re feeling that need for a sweet bite, that’s where “fine pies for fine people” comes in a.k.a. Emporium Pies (EMPORIUMPIES.COM). This local shop offers pies that are sweet or savory, and even gluten-free.

When night falls and good music calls, you have a lot of choices. At the el diablo themed Ruins bar and nightclub (RUINS.BUSINESS.SITE), the Limbo Room in the back is where it’s at. Other options include Curtain Club, Trees, and the Bomb Factory, but wherever you choose to spend your evening and your dollars, you’ll be supporting a good cause. Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts District are heavily involved in community projects, such as Foundation 45, which brings musicians, artist, and creatives together to support those affected by depression and suicide.

No matter where you go, Dallas has a lot to offer. These two pockets of artistry just happen to be the kind of places you should get lost in.