North Texas Daily

Best of Denton

Best of Denton

August 13
09:40 2009

As the summer draws to a close, eager new faces are popping up in Denton looking for what Denton has to offer. Don’t worry, On The Record is here to help. Denton isn’t a vast metropolis with 30-screen movie theaters, gigantic music venues or a $1 billion stadium. It can’t claim sports stars who date beautiful celebrities or a large downtown.

But that’s alright. Dentonites like it that way. Their city has its own culture; its own unique vibe. Looking for danceable music, tasty food, fun bars or just a great place to have a picnic? Denton has all that.

Take a look around. Take some notes. Take a chance. Take some time to enjoy yourself. Discover a new favorite or rediscover a familiar classic. This is the best of Denton.

Art Six CoffeeHouse – Coffee House
424 Bryan Street
5_Art6_cymk_kh_1Art Six boosts an array of varieties not only with their coffee but also with the number of frequent visitors. You may find yourself sitting next to a classmate studying chemistry notes one day and drinking coffee with a first-time performer at their regular Open Mic Sessions that night. However, here’s the real reason we chose them: the House Blend Coffee and the fun menu items, such as The Better Than Sex Latte or The Chilly Willy. shows us that coffee doesn’t have to be serious and grounded all the time.

Movie Tavern – Thearter
9828 Dallas Parkway
Nine dollars is a lot to pay for a movie ticket, especially for college students in the middle of a recession. But every Monday and Thursday at the Movie Tavern, students gain admission for $3, even for premiers of summer blockbusters. Take your girlfriend for a movie here and use the $12 you would have spent somewhere else towards a romantic dinner. Or you could buy you and your date some cold ones at the bar. Either way, enjoy the savings!

The Greenhouse – Jazz Venue
600 N. Locust Street
Every Monday and Thursday, Dentonites can hear some of the best jazzers in town playing at The Greenhouse. From funky originals to jazz classics, a variety of music pours out through the glass wall behind the stage. Few places in Denton can claim as much class and comfortable intimacy as The Greenhouse. Although it gets a little cramped, the excellent atmosphere and better musicians make it all worthwhile.

Arts & Jazz Fest – Tradition
Denton Civic Center Park
The biggest jazz festival in Texas is a must for anyone who lives in Denton and loves live music. Free and open to everyone, the 200,000 crowd that attends the weekend of music, food and festivities is a welcome change to a city that has plenty of elbow room the rest of the year. The festival hosts world-class bands and more than 2,000 musicians across six stages every year. A show not to be missed.

Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant – Romantic Restaurant
821 N. Locust Street
giuseppe's_restaurant_AMDespite its appearance as a high-priced restaurant, Giuseppe’s has a menu that is quite affordable for college students looking for a romantic date restaurant without breaking the bank. After opening the heavy wooden doors, you walk into a perfect intimate setting with candles on the table providing the light for the evening. The Spaghetti Bolognese and Salmone alla Arrogosta were succulent meals with a creamy sauce and pasta cooked perfectly al dente. If this wasn’t enough of an aphrodisiac, the tiramisu is light and rich with just enough of a blend between the mascarpone cheese and cake.

Denton County Independent Hamburger – Hamburger
113 W. Hickory Street
715 Sunset Street
Picking a top burger is never easy in Texas, but Denton County Independent Hamburger cooks up a variety of beef-filled beauties big enough to satisfy even the most voracious carnivore. With two locations, one near the Courthouse-on-the-Square and the off of University Drive, a great Denton County burger is always nearby.

Avocado – Sushi
2430 S Interstate-35  #126
Search no more sushi lovers! Avocado is the mecca of those one-bite, mouth-watering rolls. In addition to an appetizer of lightly salted edamame, the menu showcases a variety of Japanese-styled rolls from basic to tempura.
Savor the heat of the signature Volcano Roll or the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth flavor of the oven-baked Baby Lobster Roll. Are both a little too pricey for your wallet? Then, either the cool, crisp flavor of the California Roll or the freshness of the Spicy Tuna Roll should satiate your appetite.

Oriental Garden – Asian
114 Avenue B
With a diverse menu of Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, Oriental Garden has something for everybody and the chef knows how to prepare it well. With its proximity to campus and low prices, it beats out Mr. Chopsticks and Sukho Thai II in taste, quality and consistency. We agreed that nobody has ever had a poorly made dish at Oriental Garden. Both the egg drop soup and a noodle dish are a must-try for any first timer.

La Mexicana – Mexican
619 S. Locust Street
Valentin Carmona moved to Denton from Mexico City more than 10 years ago and soon after opened La Mexicana. He and his wife were the cooks and made everything from tacos to mole poblano. These days, he has his own cooking staff, and to those in the know, La Mexicana makes some of the best classic Mexican cuisine to be found in Denton. From the spicy carne guisade to the authentically hot and fantasically greasy late-night tacos, don’t miss this one.

Rudy’s – BBQ
9828 Dallas Parkway
For all the devoted and ravenous meat-eaters out there, Rudy’s BBQ is one place you cannot pass up if you love that great Central Texas-style taste of smoked meat and hearty, home-style sides. Served on butcher paper, the brisket is tender and flavorful at first bite while the pork loin sandwiches with a side of potato salad create the ideal country summer feast. For dessert, savor a light, decadent banana pudding or Texas pecan pie.

Cups and Crepes – Breakfast
309 Fry Street
There is probably no other place in Denton where you can wake up, trudge down the sidewalk and enjoy morning breakfast inside the comforts of a wood-framed home. At Cups and Crepes, the aromas of cinnamon, batter and fresh fruit waft in the air. The crepes, cinnamon French toast with fresh fruit on top, eggs cooked in any style and scones are enough to give IHOP a run for its money. The mixed seasonal fruit crepes won over not only hearts but also our stomachs as well!

Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream – Ice Cream
117 W. Hickory Street
Beth Marie’s is by far the best ice cream parlor in town mainly because it’s homemade and you rarely find that friendly atmosphere anywhere else. Channeling a ’50s style diner, it’s hard not to fall in love with the checkered floors, antique-style chairs and marble counter tops. The shop has more than 60 different flavors, including Turtle Torture, Old South Fudge, Black Cherry and Butter Brickle.

Kush Oxygen & Hookah Bar – Hookah Bar
1302 W. Hickory Street
kush2_AMHookah bars sprouted up everywhere in the last couple of years, from Eisley’s to Natalie’s to Kush. At On the Record, we still remember when the only Hookah Bar near campuswas Bagheri’s Italian Restaurant — before arson and corporate buyouts rehaped Fry Street to its current state. But Kush is a welcome addition to the changing face of Fry and Hickory streets. Walking into Kush during its busy hours feels like dropping down the rabbit hole. The blacklight-lit rooms and dark-colored walls accentuate the thick smoke, the bright purple-and- blue pillows, and the lime-green highlights customers draw on their skin. It’s trippy, for sure, but it’s a trip worth taking.

Lucky Lou’s – Bar
1207 W. Hickory Street
In the afternoon, drinking at Lucky Lou’s is like hanging out on your friend’s porch with a case of beer. There is plenty of leg room and if you get bored, you have a plethora of options for games best played drunk. In the evenings, especially on weekends during the fall or spring, it’s more like five bars rolled into one massive, rollicking funhouse of alcohol. Either way, the huge selection of beers and liquor will keep anyone happy for hours. The drink specials are not to be missed, either. Our favorite? Two-dollar margaritas on Mondays and Wednesdays. Cheers!

J&J’s Pizza – Pizza
118 W. Oak Street
Through intense research, the  On the Record staff has proven beyond argument that a single bite of a J&J’s calzone allows one to transcend both space and time. Having been open for years, it is easy to mistake the bright green sign on the Square for just another pizza place. Upon entering, you might be cowed by the price of a large pizza. Despair not. You are about to enter the J&J’s zone, where all laws of flavorless pizzas do not apply and one slice will take you on a tour of the Milky Way. Eat that, Einstein.

New York Sub Hub – Sandwich
906 Avenue C
Walking into New York Sub Hub, you might feel instantly transported to East 149th Street in the Bronx or the epicenter of Yankee fandom. However, it only takes just one bite into a salami, capacolla and cheese sub made with the works to begin questioning your Southern devotion. The ingredients are always fresh and the bread is warmed and toasted just right. Not liking salami or peppered beef? Not a problem. Sub Hub fixes a mean hot Italian meatball and cheese enormity that will surely satisfy anyone’s stomach!

Midway Mart – Booze Store
406 W. Hickory Street
Good beer still sounds like an oxymoron to most people, especially in the land of Bud Light. But a few places in Denton cater to the nascent group of beer afficionados who desire more taste, more alcohol and more hops. That’s where Midway Mart comes in. This little gas station at the corner of Hickory and Carroll streets carries one of the best selections of specialty beers within a 40-mile radius. Unsure what to buy? Try a six-pack of Rogue Mocha Porter or the Breckenridge India Pale Ale. You may never drink Bud Light again.

Cupboard Natural  Foods – Healthy Eating
200 W. Congress Street
There aren’t many options in Denton for healthy, eco-friendly grocery shopping.    But that doesn’t diminish the great selection of food and household items available at The Cupboard. Cereals, teas, homemade soap, organic everything: this pl 200 W. Congress Street ace has anything you need for those concerns about personal health and the environment. And who would forego the experience of drinking a shot of pure wheat grass?

Recycled Books – Book Store
200 N. Locust Street
Set what was once an old opera house, this three-story building houses a labyrinth of some of the best bargains you can find on books, records, CDs, DVDs and videos in the area. Don’t be worried if you find yourself spending a day just perusing a collection of over 300,000 new and recycled books. Combining great quality with cheap prices, it easily won our vote as the best bookstore in town.

2nd Street Urban Vintage – Best Threads
116 N. Locust Street
In Denton, there is no other fashion store that offers a modern twist on old clothing like 2nd Street Urban Vintage. Racks and racks of cowboy shirts, button downs, vests, jeans and t-shirts line the walls. In addition to brand new clothing, 2nd Street offers reworked vintage clothes to appeal to a more hip, modern style of fashion.

Friends of the Family Thrift Store – Best Thrift Store
1014 W. University Drive
Friends of the family thrift store provides customers with a variety of options for used clothing, housewares, furniture and more. With more than seven racks of clothes to choose from, this thrift store has the best pickings for gently worn clothing. Proceeds from the shop go directly to the Denton County Friends of the Family agency programs, such as violence intervention and prevention and sexual assault recovery. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Aces Tattoos – Tattoos
1776 Teasley Lane #101
aces_tattoos_MBAces definitely kicks up the standards of tattoo and body piercing parlors while keeping it affordable for the 18-and-over crowd. With playing cards decorating the interior along with black-and-white tile floors, the place is bright and kept clean. Customers can choose from “flash,” images of commonly chosen tattoos, or bring in custom work, which an artist will draw a sketch of.

E.B. – Personality
Corner of Fry and Hickory streets
Usually on Friday and Saturday nights
ebIt seems like everyone knows E.B., though he is sometimes referred to as “that guy on Fry Street.” As a self-described wanderer, E.B. sells many items outside his van, usually parked on Hickory Street on the opposite side of Cool Beans. He is probably best known for the smokable — and completely legal — blends of herbs he sells in small, Ziploc baggies. Whether it’s the machine spitting out thousands of bubbles or the friendly conversation after the bars close and you’re forced to start home, E.B. has become a staple of Denton nightlife. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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