When faced with a new place to eat, broad menus can become a frustrating hit-and-miss experience. But at these five Dallas shops, you can ease your decision fatigue knowing that no matter what you get, they specialize in it. These shops all share this simple rule of thumb: If you’re going to do something, do it well.
Considering Texas is home to 117 craft breweries, it’s hard not to include more of them on this list. But Bishop Cider Co.’s location in, you guessed it, the Bishop Arts District is the specialty shop dream. They usually have four or five hard ciders on tap, with variations of the drink including dry, tart, honey and strawberry cider, plus a few experimental ciders that are even more out there. Since it’s coming straight from the cask, it’ll taste better than any drink you’ve ever had. And most pints are about $5 each, which frankly is robbery for what you’re getting.
Full disclosure, Steel City Pops isn’t technically a Dallas-based institution. They started out in Alabama, but now they’ve grown to have more stores in Texas than their home state. You’d think something like popsicles would be too specific a niche, but as their popularity and number of stores have shown, you can always get a cult following if you do something well. Their main attraction is the “Cookie Pops,” which are basically ice cream with cookie dough on a stick. If that doesn’t prove a mastery of their craft, nothing will.
If you’ve walked down Elm Street on any given weekend, you’ll probably see the line for Glazed Donut Works before you know what it’s for. Glazed provides a masterclass in the three most important rules when running a business: location, location, location. Every poor, weary soul leaving the Deep Ellum dives and clubs would probably empty their wallet for a donut in their last call stupor. And Glazed is positioned to be a beacon of hope for them. Their biggest seller is a donut that’s cut in half and stuffed with bacon, which should be the cure for just about any of life’s problems. And if you’re looking to make a permanent commitment to the specialty shops of Deep Ellum (Uncle Uber’s and Monkey King almost made the cut), take advantage of the walkabilty from the Metropolitan Condos.
Is it a tad overpriced? Sure. Is it excessive? No doubt. But it’s hard to pass up the gimmick of a gourmet grilled cheese, with options like a Reuben grilled cheese, a four-cheese with bacon, and a macaroni & grilled cheese. These options, and many more, create a clear distinction between the grilled cheese offered here and the shameful Velveeta sandwich you make on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And as a bonus, it’s located right in one of Dallas’ most walkable neighborhoods, so you can get a head-start on working off those calories.
Like all truly great ideas, Dude, Sweet Chocolate was born in a bar. The two founders, Katherine Clapner and Redding May, initially just wanted to make specialty chocolates as gifts for clients at their financial advising office. But within a year, they opened up their first gourmet chocolate shop and have now grown to four locations. Beyond just tasting delicious, Dude, Sweet Chocolate specializes in adding unexpected flavors to chocolate, like blue cheese, mushrooms and pistachios. By any logic, these kinds of combinations shouldn’t make for great chocolate, but these careful creations somehow work to create interesting, savory treats. If you’re not convinced, you can always stop by any shop and get some free samples, but don’t say we didn’t warn you when you walk out with a stack of salami chocolate boxes. If you trust yourself enough to have a chocolate shop down the road, the 3030 Bryan Lofts will suit you just fine.