Denton County Magazine - November-December Edition

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DENT N County Get Festive! Holiday Events for the Whole Family the

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NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER Volume 1, Issue 3

Behind the scenes at the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival




Eat, Drink & Be Texan

Photo by Bellissimo Foto

Chefs, restaurants, dishes and drinks you need to know


Walking the Walk


Get Festive!

The story of selfmade millionaire, investor and firewalker Charles Horton

Holiday happenings, seasonal stories and local characters

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22 DE PA RTME NT S 24 Community Spotlight: Roanoke

The Unique Dining Capital of Texas offers much more than amazing food.

32 Shopping: Casey & Co.

This Aubrey boutique makes its candles and other fragrant products by hand.

24 Dining: J2 Steakhouse

Local ingredients and an innovative chef are helping to elevate Texas cuisine.


What defines our county today

11 Wonder Kids

A Flower Mound 11-year-old impresses at the National Spelling Bee

12 Nonprofit Spotlight

United Way of Denton County celebrates 65 years of making a difference

14 Making History

A Denton professor’s lecture breaks a Guinness World Record

16 State of the Arts

Argyle painter Mark Smith discusses his style and technique


18 Community Clothes Closet

This Justin nonprofit has provided more than 200,000 garments to families in need

22 Spa Treatments

Unusual and exotic treatments to help you relax this holiday season

IN E V E RY ISSUE 8 About This Issue 73 New in Town 74 See & Do On the cover: Seared scallops — flown fresh from the Oregon coast, cooked to perfection and paired with a crisp white wine — are among our top picks at J2 Steakhouse (see page 24). Photo by Chris Fritchie.


D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Top photo courtesy of Casey & Co.; spa photo courtesy of Soma Denton; spelling bee photo by Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee; painting photo courtesy of Mark S. Smith




Food for Thought


e hope you’re hungry for some great stories because this month’s Dining Issue is serving up the best our county has to offer. Whether you’re a full-fledged foodie, a choosy epicure or just someone who loves a good plate of barbecue, our special dining section — featuring more than 40 restaurants — will have something to satisfy your appetite. Turn to page 39 for recipes from some of the county’s top chefs, the best spots for breakfast and brunch, fine dining for the discerning palate, destinations for sweet treats, healthy vegan and vegetarian dishes, cocktails by talented mixologists and much more. You’ll also learn where to find some of the most creative dining concepts in your area, how Denton County became a barbecue destination to rival anywhere in Texas and how celebrity chef Tim Love was shaped by his Denton upbringing. Dig in! Also in this issue, you’ll have a chance to meet some of your fascinating neighbors. Get to know an entrepreneur and investor from Flower Mound who made his first million before he turned 30, an Argyle artist whose work is displayed around the nation, an Aubrey shop owner who honors her brother’s memory with hand-made candles and a Sanger woman who has amassed one of the largest collections of nativity scenes in the world. As always, we’ve got tips on how you can live your best life in Denton County — from exotic spa treatments to help you relax to nonprofits where you can give back this holiday season. Speaking of the holiday season, check out all of the great activities and events in our “Get Festive!” feature on page 66. Lastly, you may notice a little something different about this issue: a cover price. That’s right! We listened to your feedback and are now offering a subscription to the magazine and individual sales. Stay in the know about the best shopping and dining, most interesting people and most fascinating stories in Denton County — all delivered to your mailbox for just $25/year. (You know, it would also make a great holiday gift for your favorite Denton County resident.) Have a holly, jolly, merry, cheery holiday season, and don’t forget to stay in touch. We’re always ready for your feedback and story suggestions. Contact us at


D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

PUBLISHER Bill Patterson

EDITOR Kimberly Turner

M AG A Z I N E CO N S U LTA N T Rich Alfano


A DV E R T I S I N G DI RECTOR Sandra Hammond S A L E S M A N AG E R Shawn Reneau ACCO U N T EXECUTIVES Becka Corbitt Linda Horne Joanne Horst Danielle Thompson Shelly Vannatta MAILING ADDRESS 3555 Duchess Drive Denton, Texas 76205 EDITORIAL 940-566-6879 A DV E R T I S I N G INQUIRIES 940-566-6843

DESIGN DI RECTOR Ben Carpenter DESIGNERS Phil Lor CO N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S Kristy Alpert Abigail Boatwright Anna Caplan Ryan Creery Paula Felps Nicole Foster Michelle Gibbs Malcolm Mayhew Ellen Ritscher Sackett Donna Stokes CO N T R I B U T I N G PHOTOGRAPH ERS Abigail Boatwright Ed Steele C R E AT I V E PA R T N E R madison/miles media

SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe to Denton County magazine for $25/year. Subscribe online at or mail a check or visit us at 3555 Duchess Drive, Denton, Texas 76205. For subscription questions, call 940-387-3811. S T O RY I D E A S LETTERS TO TH E EDITOR Write to Please include your full name, city and phone number. Denton County magazine reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. L I K E U S FAC E B O O K FIND US ONLINE

© Copyright 2018: Denton County magazine is published by Denton Media Company, publishers of the Denton Record-Chronicle. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Editorial content does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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DENT N County Get Fest ive! Holid ay Events


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TA STE MAKERS 40+ restau dishes an rants, every locald drinks should exp foodie erience

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What defines our county today

INSIDE: u u A record-breaking history lesson in Denton u u Spa treatments to soothe holiday stresses u u An Argyle artist who's making waves


Spell Bound At this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, Flower Mound 11-year-old Abhijay Kodali proved himself to be one of the best in the nation. BY RYAN CREERY

Photo by Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee


ome of us can hardly spell “misspelled” without missing a letter, never mind hefty words like “bewusstseinslage” or “koinonia.” But for kids who train for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, like third-place winner Abhijay Kodali of Flower Mound, spelling words like these is a sport. Word masters such as Abhijay compete in eight months of competitions that move them from local, county and regional bees up to the big one: Scripps National, a 93-year-old American institution that determines the greatest speller of them all. Of all the kids across the country who competed for a spot, only one out of 21,317 made it to this year’s event in Oxen Hill, Maryland. Abhijay — aka Speller #484 — was not only one of those elite spelling masters, he was the youngest

competitor among the 16 finalists. (This year, in an amazing sweep, North Texas spellers claimed all three of the top spots: Karthik Nemmani of McKinney in first, Naysa Modi of Frisco in second and Abhijay rounding out the podium.) On the stage, under bright lights and surrounded by television cameras, finalists face tremendous pressure as the clock ticks down for each word. The air is thick with tension, but Abhijay says one of the keys to success is staying calm. Support is also vital. “My teachers and my family have encouraged me to always do my best,” he says. Calmness, support and spelling skills alone don’t win trophies though. It takes practice, training and dedication. Abhijay memorizes word roots and their origins, which helps him identify patterns in word spelling. He uses online spelling bee

Quizlets to work through enormous lists of words and enlists the help of his sister, a fellow spelling bee competitor, when he needs to be quizzed at home. The Liberty Elementary School student, who competed in his first bee this year, aced 13 rounds of difficult words before being tripped up by a Hawaiian word. “In the finals, I spelled the word aalii [editor’s note: a type of shrub of the genus Dodonaea] incorrectly,” he says. “It’s a really hard word because it also has a homonym, alii.” Abhijay was not disappointed though. Thanks to his young age, he’s also got plenty of time to work toward being a national champion. He was thrilled just to have made it to the finals. With his award, he says, “I got a German shepherd puppy and I will save the money I won for college.”

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UNITED WAY OF DENTON COUNTY This important local organization celebrates 65 years of creating a better Denton County. BY MICHELLE GIBBS


any communities face complex socioeconomic issues. Denton County is no different. What is different here is the enduring ability of one organization to make community-wide impact where it really matters. This year, United Way of Denton County marks 65 years of improving lives in


Denton County. As one of the largest nonprofits in the area, the organization served more than 80,000 children, families, veterans, people experiencing homelessness and people affected by mental illness in 2017 alone. It continues to improve lives by empowering donors, volunteers, businesses, local governments and other community groups to invest in their neighbors.

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Just a few of the many ways that the local United Way helps our community:

Back-to-School Programs: Gathering and distributing school supplies for economically disadvantaged children uu Denton County Works: Preparing graduating seniors to interview for jobs uu Mentor Denton: Promoting mentorship to help students stay on track for graduation uu Bank on Denton County: Promoting financial stability through budget classes, financial coaching and more uu Health Fairs: Educating the public on health and mental health challenges and resources uu NALC “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive: Coordinating volunteers and the National Association of Letter Carriers to run the largest national one-day food drive to feed Denton County families uu Denton County Veterans Center: Collaborating with local veteran service providers to ensure services for veterans uu Denton County Homelessness Leadership Team: Fostering a coordinated system of homelessness prevention and intervention uu

Photo courtesy of United Way of Denton County


The majority of United Way of Denton County’s support comes from workplace campaigns, which are vital to building a stronger county. “Each year, we partner with area businesses to host workplace campaigns where employees pledge to invest in the community through United Way of Denton County,” explains President and CEO Gary Henderson. “Our workplace campaigns have a legacy of impactful results by enabling employees to give easily via payroll deduction. Since the donation is deducted just like federal income tax withholding, it’s a way for most employees to spare as little as $5 a week. That’s enough money to equip 13 economically disadvantaged students with the school supplies they need to succeed.” Although fundraising is a vital part of the annual workplace campaign, it’s about more than that. The donor campaign also serves as an important team-building and employee development program for companies across Denton County. In one year in Denton County, 1 in 5 people are impacted by mental illness, 1,200 experience homelessness, 9,000 veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders and about 159,200 people do not know where their next meal will come from. Live United is United Way of Denton County’s call to action for individuals and organizations to give, advocate and volunteer together to do great deeds and reduce these statistics. To learn more and get involved, visit

The One for You. Which four-year university in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is the one for you? Maybe it’s the one tied for 6th in the nation for diversity. Maybe it’s in one of the top college towns in the county. Maybe the one for you is Texas Woman’s University. TWU prides itself on providing students with a quality education in a diverse campus environment.

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hen the University of North Texas needed to raise funds for its online archive system, Dr. Andrew Torget wanted to help. The life-long Guinness Book of World Records fan and his two children — ages 8 and 10 — wondered if an attempt to break the record for longest history lesson would earn financial support. Turns out, it would. On August 24, in an auditorium equipped with microphones, video cameras and volunteers, Torget spent 26 hours and 33 minutes delivering a lecture covering Texas history to more than 30 students (at least 10 of whom had to be not just awake but also attentive the whole time). In the end, the history professor earned $30,000 for the library… and a new Guinness World Record. Torget spent a year prepping for the feat and learned a thing or two along the way. Here are his tips for breaking a world record: Recruit an expert. The longest lecture Torget had ever given before this feat was four hours, and his biggest worry was that he would lose his voice before breaking the record. Luckily, his wife is a speech


pathologist. Her specialty? The throat. She ensured her husband’s vocal chords were conditioned to tolerate the challenge. “My coach did a fantastic job,” says Torget with pride. “My voice held strong.” Hydrate… but not too much. Guinness allows a five-minute break for every hour of activity. Torget and his students decided they would engage in the lesson for three hours at a time and then take 15 minutes to use the bathroom, have snacks (Torget’s were soft, like applesauce and yogurt), stretch and wonder what the heck they had gotten themselves into. It was imperative that Torget keep his vocal chords hydrated, but not so much he’d need to use the bathroom between breaks. “We figured out a formula for how much I could hydrate,” he says. (It was 18 ounces.) Keep your feet happy. Torget wanted the auditorium to mimic his college lessons, so he conducted the entire 26-and-a-half-hour class in a suit. When his dress shoes became uncomfortable after three hours, he kicked them off and paced the stage in green compression socks. The lesson was broadcast all over the world, and Torget’s colorful footwear

D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

was a huge hit with at-home viewers. Never stop preparing. As an endurance runner, Torget has stayed awake for 30 hours. He relayed that prep work into the Guinness challenge. His priorities were to organize a day-long history lesson, get plenty of sleep, eat well, stay hydrated and remain healthy. “I was nervous I would get a cold or flu a couple days before,” says Torget. “I was pretty fastidious with the Purell.” After all the prep work, Torget had one job remaining: “The task was simple. All I had to do was not stop talking.” By the time August 24 arrived, Torget had reviewed his 500 pages of lesson notes so thoroughly that he only glanced at them a handful of times during the marathon performance. Have fun! Patrons at a pub in Dingle, Ireland, tuned in and took a drink every time Torget said “populist” during the portion about the 1890 Populist Revolt. Though the professor couldn’t partake, he appreciated knowing his lesson was being enjoyed worldwide. He’s ready to start all over if a challenger ever beats his record. “I would do it again in a heartbeat. I will try to reclaim it.”

Photo by Joshua Sylve

1,600 slides + 500 pages of notes + 26.5 hours of lecturing + 1 determined professor = 1 Guinness World Record and $30,000 for UNT’s online archive BY NICOLE FOSTER

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a Wave

Argyle-based painter Mark S. Smith’s work is inspired by the Earth’s landscapes and a childhood spent among artists. BY KRISTY ALPERT rgyle-based painter Mark S. Smith has always been surrounded by creativity. As the child of two of Denton’s greatest art collectors, Smith spent his childhood playing at the feet of some of the town’s biggest names in art. “I was a townie,” Smith recalls. “It was the cool, post-war, hippie, jazz, eccentric painting era of the ’50s and ’60s, and Denton was way cool. My mom and dad had a Jetsons-like house with cool, modern furniture, and they were always hosting

parties with artists like Paul Voertman. Their artist friends apparently saw something in me early on, and they always gave me art supplies and encouraged it. So I was really given the green light to be creative.” As an 11-year-old boy, Smith remembers receiving praise rather than punishment when he chose to use his parents’ sloped attic ceiling as the canvas for his first mural. Entitled the “Origin of the Universe,” the mural set the stage for what would become his signature style nearly four decades later. It is a style that marries his passion for scientific processes and natural science with the American landscape using a technique he invented himself. While you’ll likely find a paintbrush or two in Smith’s Argyle studio, you’re more likely to find water jets, blades made from surgical Teflon, homemade scrapers in the shape of Japanese fans and devices for blowing air heated up to 350 degrees. Many of his paintings are done on kiln-dried hardwood panels

using high-load acrylic paint that is sealed with seven layers of UV varnish; others on watercolor paper. In an effort to mimic geological forces and patterns of erosion, Smith uses these tools to naturally move and form the paint into its perfect place. “At the end of the day, painting is really just pushing something around on the surface,” explains Smith. “Like water moves dirt and sand, like wind erodes objects, if you have the right tools or desires to intertwine colors, the fluid geological process of painting becomes like controlling a wave.” The artist sometimes starts by studying satellite images of the Earth’s surface then allows his technique to complete the journey toward abstraction. Other works are inspired by “American writers and poets who beautifully describe the wondrous colors and textures of the natural world” or by his treks through the western U.S. Smith’s pieces can be found in hotels around the United States, including The Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton. He also works in close collaboration with designers, architects, corporate and private clients to do commission works for specific homes and environments. His pieces can, of course, also be viewed in galleries including the Craighead-Green Gallery in Dallas and the William Campbell Gallery in Fort Worth, where he will be the featured exhibition artist from December 7, 2018, through January 19, 2019. For more information on Mark S. Smith and his art, visit


D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

It was the cool, post-war, hippie, jazz, eccentric painting era of the ’50s and ’60s, and Denton was way cool.

N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




Community Clothes Closet This Justin nonprofit has provided more than 203,000 garments to families in need. BY NICOLE FOSTER


oanna Johnson started Community Clothes Closet in 2012 to ensure that children, teens and adults in the community wouldn’t go without the clothes they needed for job interviews, school or just everyday life.

and is run by five steady volunteers. “We never quite knew it would develop into what it is,” says Executive Coordinator Gwen St. Clair. “We’re just a shoestring, small nonprofit that ended up having a huge impact on our families.”

The Impact Since then, the nonprofit in Justin has been providing free clothing for anyone who walks through its doors. So far, CCC has served more than 1,600 unique families from 57 communities, distributing more than 203,400 pieces of clothing, shoes and coats. If each of those garments had been purchased from a thrift store for an average of $3 each, families would have spent more than $610,000. Instead, families who are experiencing financial burdens can use more of their income on other necessities such as food, shelter and healthcare. Just this year, 400 new families have found their way to Justin for the opportunity to find free, quality clothing. The display room is open the second and fourth Sunday of every month, as well as the third Wednesday

“Whatever we put out is something we would wear or give to our children.”


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You Can Help! The 501(c)(3) nonprofit relies on monetary donations and earnings from occasional rummage sales to pay its rent and utilities. Businesses, churches, service organizations and individuals are welcomed and encouraged to help raise money for CCC or pledge donations. There is also, of course, a need for quality, clean, gently used clothing. Shoes for children, active wear, large-sized clothing and men’s pants are especially in demand. Volunteers inspect each item and will never offer their patrons clothes that are stained or ripped. “Someone who doesn’t have anything shouldn’t get second-rate clothing,” says Gwen. “Whatever we put out is something we would wear or give to our children. If it doesn’t meet standards, it doesn’t go on a rack.” In addition to clothes and funds, Community Clothes Closet welcomes new faces, no matter how much time they have to give. “We always need more volunteers,” Gwen says. “They’re the heart and soul. We’re always looking for volunteers that have a giving heart.”




A century ago, fireworks lit the sky around Denton’s courthouse as the community celebrated the end of World War I. This historic Armistice Day photo was captured by “Tal” Jones of Jones Photographic Studios of America on November 11, 1918. When news of WWI’s end arrived, Denton Mayor P.J. Beyette declared the day a public holiday, closing schools and businesses across town. As many as 2,000 citizens paraded through the Square, yelling and whooping about the good news. Teacher Irene Delashaw (1900–1989) recalls the special day in I Remember: A Collection of Writings of Denton Senior Citizens (edited by Emory and McCloud). “We had no radios, no televisions, no cars, and few communication facilities of other sorts,” she said. “News such as the Armistice, however, spread like wild fire. When it reached Denton, fire bells started ringing. Church bells took it up. Telephones relayed the message. People ran shouting, ‘The War is over! The War is over!’ The Germans had surrendered, and Armistice Day had dawned.” A disorganized — but joyful — parade of nearly 2,000 citizens ran through the streets, singing patriotic songs and dancing. As notes of “Over There,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Farewell to Thee” rang through the air, a band played, a community prayer was held and fireworks rained down on the Square.


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rom an ayurvedic sleep remedy born from the pages of ancient Indian manuscripts to a Chinese tradition that draws out impurities to release deep-set tension, some of the world’s most unusual spa treatments can be found right here in Denton County.

Shirodhara at The Woodhouse Day Spa Highland Village Shirodhara is used throughout India as a relaxation ritual that promotes better sleeping patterns while alleviating anxiety, reducing headaches and providing an overall sense of well-being. The Woodhouse Day Spa is one of the few spas in the greater DFW area that offers this ancient ayurvedic treatment. Guests are treated to a soothing scalp massage while a steady stream of warm oil flows onto the center of the forehead. “When the guest is laying face up on the massage bed, the massage therapist brings the shirodhara over and above


their forehead and releases the warm oil on the middle of the forehead so it trickles down the scalp while they get an amazing scalp massage,” explains Jeanne Oddo, spa concierge at The Woodhouse Day Spa. “I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for some relief from migraines or just looking for a relaxing head massage.” 50 minutes for $105,

for a misaligned spine, scoliosis and back pain,” says Dana Creekmur, LMT, massage therapist and esthetician at Pamper Me Spa, “but the essential oils can be adjusted for clients dealing with emotional trauma, stress, anxiety, immune health and many other issues. The benefits are relaxation, pain relief, gentle detoxing and immune support.” 60 minutes for $75,

Raindrop Massage at Pamper Me Spa

Reiki + Crystal Healing Session at Pure Synergy

Aubrey This unique massage blends Eastern and Western practices into one remarkable therapeutic treatment. The massage is customized for each client, depending on his or her needs and desires, and includes a layered application of nine different Young Living essential oils on the feet and back with a Vita Flex technique that includes Swedish massage strokes and Chinese reflexology methods. “Raindrop was originally designed

Corinth Often regarded as a “new age” practice, crystals have been used for healing since Babylonian times and their use has continued through the centuries. Pure Synergy combines this ancient practice with the Japanese method of healing known as reiki to offer a deeply relaxing, minimal-contact treatment for their guests. “Illnesses start in our energetic field and then manifest themselves in the body,” explains Audrey Christie, RN, holistic

D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Photo courtesy of Soma Massage Therapy

These spa treatments are as exotic as they are relaxing. BY KRISTY ALPERT

wellness practitioner at Pure Synergy. “This treatment is a clothes-on, minimal touch therapy, so it’s great for people who aren’t comfortable with a traditional massage. Clients come in and lay down on their back for a guided meditation, and then, depending on what we see in the chakra systems, we lay stones and do a chakra balancing. We have all sorts of reactions; some people say they were so relaxed and at peace, some cry, some giggle, but everyone releases in different ways. A lot of times we can help ease the pain and give tools to continue that healing.” $147 for 60 minutes ($99 new client special),

Cupping Massage at Soma Massage Therapy Denton The ancient Egyptians were praised for their innovative practice of cupping in one of the oldest medical textbooks in history, and Denton’s own Soma Massage

Audrey Christie, RN, of Pure Synergy

Therapy strives to keep this healing tradition alive with a cupping add-on for their traditional massage packages. For an extra $10, any massage can become a cupping massage, where the therapist suctions soft silicone cups to areas of tension while massaging the rest of the body. The suction gently lifts the muscle up from the bone to create space, increasing circulation and allowing for

lymph drainage while releasing tension in that specific area. “It does leave a mark,” warns Amber Briggle, owner of Soma Massage Therapy, “so if you have an event like a wedding or dinner after, it may not be for you. It gets into some deep places, so it’s great for athletes or anyone with really tight areas.” $75 for 60 minutes including cupping,



Chrissy Mallouf & Darby Merriman M Squared Real Estate Team with Keller Williams Chrissy Mallouf and Darby Merriman formed M Squared Real Estate Team with Keller Williams in March of 2018. Both longtime Denton County residents, they wanted their company to be a collaboration between two top producing, award winning realtors dedicated to the Denton County community. Their goal is to not only serve clients, but also strengthen the local economy and give back to the community through volunteerism and support of local initiatives. M Squared Real Estate Team is relationship focused – when you work with them, it is not a transactional experience – it is about you and what is best for your family. “The majority of our business is from friends and personal referrals, so we feel like the stakes are higher for us because we work with so many people we have relationships with and the people they care for dearly,” said Chrissy and Darby. Chrissy and Darby are passionate about helping their clients meet their goals whether it is making sure they make maximum profit on the sale of their home by implementing innovative strategies to help prepare, price and market or finding their clients the right house that truly feels like home. Most importantly, they are committed to their communities and do a number of community-based events throughout the year, especially with organizations that positively impact children. This is a duo that lives and breathes Denton County, and they are invested in helping you in your next real estate journey.

2434 Lillian Miller Pkwy, Denton, TX 76205 | Darby 469-682-3455 | Chrissy 940-206-7555 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


The Unique Dining Capital of Texas offers much more than delicious food. BY DONNA STOKES


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riendliness and economic prosperity have been part of Roanoke’s story since its beginnings as a cattle center along the Texas and Pacific Railroad in the 1800s. It’s always well worth a trip downtown for the history, architecture and some Babe’s fried chicken, but if you haven’t visited lately, you’re in for some pleasant surprises as well. Mayor Scooter Gierisch, who is serving his sixth term, is excited to see projects that have been years in the making finally becoming a reality, especially along historic Oak Street. “It’s just a great experience to serve with such awesome people on the council and staff who share our vision of doing what’s best for citizens, business owners and the overall community,” he says. Born and raised in Roanoke, Gierisch served more than 10 years on the council before running for mayor. His father served 11 years as a councilor. So it makes sense that what he appreciates most about the city is that it “still has that hometown feel.” Booming Growth and Undeniable Charm Roanoke — located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 377 and State Highway 114 in south central Denton County — has been one of the 10 fastest-growing communities in the DFW metroplex for four straight years. It continues to have a large economic impact on surrounding areas, according to the Northwest Metroport Chamber of Commerce, which supports Roanoke plus six neighboring communities. Its growing population of 9,000 can surge to tens of thousands when you count day visitors, according to the chamber. What’s bringing all of these visitors to town? A lot! Known as “The Unique Dining Capital of Texas,” Roanoke boasts dozens of the county’s most delectable restaurants. There’s also Hawaiian Falls waterpark, the city’s proximity to the Texas Motor Speedway and the 1886 Rock Building on Oak Street — formerly the Silver Spur Saloon — which now houses the Roanoke Visitor Center and Museum.

Photo: Creative Commons courtesy of Renelibrary


About 6,500 jobs in Roanoke come from large employers such as Walmart, Grainger, General Motors, Martin Brower, AmerisourceBergen, Albertsons– Tom Thumb–Randalls, Llano Logistics, BEHR Paint, Bridgestone Firestone, Heritage Bag Company, Cardinal Health, Applied Industrial Technologies, Samsung HVAC and Westinghouse… just to name a few. Kelli Thomerson, curator of the Roanoke Visitor Center, says, “A lot of people lately come in asking about moving to this area, especially from out of state. The job market is doing really well. We’ve had a lot of people saying, ‘I’m interviewing, or I’m starting a job up here in north Fort Worth,’ and they’re looking for a place to live. They comment that Roanoke’s just ‘charming.’ I think that’s the one word I hear more than anything. And I know that that’s something the city works hard to maintain. To have the economic growth but still maintain that small-town charm.” Gierisch notes that residential options are filling up and will likely max out at a population of about 12,000. “Fairway Ranch is one of our last subdivisions for residential homes,” he says. Honoring the Past Whether you’re thinking about making Roanoke your new home or just visiting for the day, the Visitor Center is a great place to start. It’s dedicated to preserving the history the small, rural Texas town it serves. “We have artifacts donated by families who have been here for generations,” says Thomerson, “and we [use those to] tell the history of the city.” Items include military and personal artifacts and land grants signed by Governor Sam Houston. Even the building that houses the center is a piece of Roanoke history. “This was the Silver Spur Saloon,” explains Thomerson. “It opened in 1886, and the brothel was upstairs.” The building was a saloon for about 10 years, then over the decades, served as various businesses including a doctor’s office, mechanic’s garage and grocery store. “It finally fell into disrepair and was boarded up, but the owner gave it to the city on the condition that it become the visitor center.”

The annual Celebrate Roanoke event is just one of this dynamic city's regular festivals.

The history of the city dates back even further than the building though. The first settlement in the Roanoke area was in 1847, when 20 families from Missouri, led by Louis and Charles Medlin, settled near the confluence of Denton and Henrietta creeks. The farming and ranching community they established near present-day Roanoke was first called Medlin Settlement then Garden Valley. In time, significant flooding from the creeks and the arrival of the railroad caused the settlement’s location to shift closer to the Roanoke we know and love today. After its location change came the name change. “When the surveyor from the Texas and Pacific railroad came through, he was from Roanoke, Virginia, and he thought the area reminded him of his home,” says Thomerson. “That’s where the name Roanoke came from.” Roanoke was incorporated as a city in 1933, with Mr. H.W. Jenkins elected as the first mayor. “They had a general store, caskets for sale, hardware stores, and there were two hotels along Oak Street; it was a pretty bustling area,” Thomerson says, of the original downtown. “Yet during the Depression, not one business went under. They supported each other so much that everyone was able to stay in business.” Downtown Roanoke was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The spirit of friendliness and economic cooperation continues as the city transforms south Oak Street with a major new development project that honors its fruitful past while moving Roanoke toward an even brighter future.

What’s New? A mixed-use project at the south end of Oak Street includes a brand-new City Hall as its centerpiece. “Downtown has a themed old-town look, and we felt City Hall is a staple of the downtown, so the design strategy was to have the old courthouse look with four dimensions of stonework,” Gierisch says. “The architecture is exactly the theme of downtown. Our new additions have the same vision to continue this theme.” Plans also include additional upscale office space and townhome living, plus another exciting addition: the 300-plus room, eight-story, luxury Peabody Hotel, spa and conference center. Anyone who’s been to the flagship hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, and witnessed the ceremonial March of Ducks at the Peabody will be happy to know that this quack-tastic feature is destined for Roanoke’s hotel as well. Daily duck parades from the mallards’ rooftop perch down to the fountain in the lobby are part of the master plan. The Oak Street project will include even more dining and entertainment options, including a 50,000-square-foot entertainment center with laser tag, bowling, a ropes adventure course and game rooms with the latest virtual reality and online gaming equipment. The space, called LVLUP, is set to open in spring 2019. It will also feature a sports bar hangout where adults can enjoy a beer or cocktail while the kids play. One Family’s Perspective Roanoke resident Kim Baker moved from Denton with her husband, Sonny,

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Opened in 2015, Roanoke's 20,000-square-foot skate park has terrain for all skill levels.

seven years ago when their daughter Kensie was on the way. “We liked the small-town feel, and it was a great location — not too far out in the country but close enough to work,” Baker says. “I really love the community. It’s a close-knit town with a lot of community events. Our neighborhood has a friendly vibe. People want to get to know each other, and everyone’s out and about, walking dogs and talking to neighbors in the street.” They’ve noticed the growth — and increased traffic — in their adopted

hometown. The traffic is worth it because they say that they appreciate the variety and quality of dining establishments, entertainment options and family-friendly destinations like Hawaiian Falls, the community recreation center and the skate park. The Unique Dining Capital of Texas boasts more than 50 culinary options with more on the way. Popular eateries include Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, The Classic Café, Twisted Root Burger Company, Jack & Grill, Tacos and Avocados, Hard Eight BBQ, Bayou Jack’s Cajun Grill, Inzo Italian Kitchen, Wise

Guys Pizzeria and Craft & Vine Taproom and Eatery. Baker says Jack & Grill hits the spot for family dining, and she’s looking forward to enjoying live music at the newly opened ChopShop Live. Hey Sugar, with its retro candies and ice cream parlor, is Kensie’s local favorite for treats and birthday parties. It’s also one of Mayor Gierisch’s favorites. “Guests must stop by Hey Sugar candy store to indulge their sweet tooth!” he says. Come for a Visit! Gierisch summed up the city well on the official website: “In Roanoke, as we preserve our history and tradition, we consistently strive forward for improvement, innovation and positive growth for the future. We invite you to personally visit the City of Roanoke and come see why our friendly people, convenient location, enhanced quality of life and many amenities make Roanoke the place to be!”


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Executive Chef Johnathan Pauley creates approachable Texas-inspired meals with diverse, carefully balanced flavor profiles.

J2 Steakhouse elevates Texan cuisine in the renovated Lewisville Feed Mill. BY ELLEN RITSCHER SACKETT


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An Investment of Love and Money “I knew it was going to be a neat spot,” says Jim, whose restaurant in Crossroads, Prairie House, has been going strong for nearly 30 years. Guests get a taste of the building’s history even before entering. Two of the Lewisville Feed Mill silos line the walkway just beyond the side entrance, and another has been turned into the outdoor Silo Bar. Inside, old grain

Photo by Jay Ressler

Wine, Whiskey & Dry-aged Beef

hen restaurateur Jim Murray bought the old Lewisville Feed Mill, he didn’t quite know what he was in for. “I’m dumb that way,” he says, wryly, referring to the scale and expense it took to transform the historic Old Town building into what is now J2 Steakhouse. The casual fine-dining restaurant at the corner of East Main Street and Kealy Avenue opened its doors in the middle of May. It’s open Tuesdays through Sundays for lunch and dinner, and specializes in wine, whiskey and dry-aged beef.

Top photo, burger and bar photos by Chris Fritchie; Scallops and s'mores photos by Jay Ressler; Rib eye photo by Johnathon Pauley

mills still stand, from floor to ceiling, and the decking and rafters are original. “It’s all long-leaf pine, which is extinct now because bugs took it out,” Jim explains. “Beetles killed all the long-leaf pine.” It took two years from start to finish to renovate from the time Jim took ownership. “I put a half-million into the building before the bank would even look at it; it was in such tough shape,” he said. Jim partnered with Rick Moore Construction to handle the heavy lifting, which included removing 18,000 pounds of tar from the roof that was slowly crushing the brick walls. Steel reinforcements were installed to hold up the roof and relieve some of the weight from the load-bearing walls. “I took down 124 feet of brick wall. We went in with concrete piers, concrete footing up with cinder blocks, and put the original brick back on both sides,” he says. They also redid the entire floor, which took 12 cement mixers of concrete. “’Most anybody who would have bought this building would have bulldozed it. That’s why the people who owned it, the Polsers, wanted me to buy it because they knew I’d redo it and save the building.”

“You get the best people. You get a great spot. And you put it all together.”

A Place With History James Polser bought the Lewisville Feed Mill from his uncle, James Degan, in 1978. The business was originally founded as the Lewisville Feed Mill Livery Stable in 1886 by Polser’s great-grandfather. Its 124-year history as Lewisville’s oldest continually operated business ended when Polser retired in October 2010, but he continued to show up every morning to drink coffee with friends and swap stories. Polser, who passed away last year, was a well-respected Lewisville historian who amassed a significant collection of vintage

farm implements. Those artifacts now fill the restaurant as décor. The “J2” in the restaurant’s name represents the shared name and history of the building’s most recent owners: James Polser and James Murray – yet a third “J” also plays a significant role in the formation of J2 Steakhouse: Johnathon Pauley, the restaurant’s up-and-coming executive chef. The 28-year-old Fort Worth native is no stranger to the kitchen. He began washing dishes at age 15 and quickly jumped to the line as a chef. He trained in classical French technique at Le Cordon

Standout Dishes

Rib Eye Cheese Burger

This popular dish is served with chips or fries. The prime rib eye is ground in-house, and the sides are housemade, as is everything on the menu — even the ketchup and pickle. It’s also one of the most affordable options at $17 during lunch or only $8 during Happy Hour.

Dry-Aged Tomahawk Rib Eye

For a particularly flavorful and tender cut of beef, try the 60-day dry-aged tomahawk rib eye, cured in-house. It is only one selection from a specialty menu that lists which dry-aged meats are currently available. Be warned: Once a particular cut is gone, it’s gone.

Seared Scallops

One of the few menu items not sourced locally is the scallops, which are flown in fresh from the Oregon coast every few days. They are served with yellow corn risotto and a spicy green harissa with a dusting of beet powder.

S’mores Cheesecake

Savvy diners save room for dessert, such as s’mores cheesecake on a graham cracker crust topped with toasted marshmallow and ganache drizzle. Executive chef Johnathon Pauley avoids going overboard on the sugar to allow other flavors to come into play.

Selections From the Bar

J2 Steakhouse offers an extensive wine list and signature cocktails, including (left to right): Red flyer, 806 chilton, cosmopolitan, Duke’s old fashioned, Gatsby aviation, J2 old fashioned and martini. Whiskey lovers can revel in a choice of 114 different varieties.

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Executive chef Johnathon Pauley confers with one of his kitchen staff.

“The food needed to match the building,” Jim says. “It needed to be of that level, of that quality… so [both] the atmosphere is an experience, and the food is an experience.” On the Menu “It takes a lot to get each plate out. There’s nothing ready to go.” Johnathon says. He sources from local from purveyors as much as possible, and everything — from the mayonnaise to the ketchup to the pickles — is made from scratch. “I’m very particular,” he says. “Local, fresh ingredients require a lot of effort.” They also serve as his inspiration. “I’ll have the best idea. I’ll start texting my sous chefs, and they’re like, ‘Stop! It’s one in the morning!’” The menus change regularly and take into consideration what’s in season. Lunch and dinner share certain items, including the raw section and steaks listed under the Chophouse section ($28 to $99). “Accessories,” such as seared foie,

bone marrow, soft-shell crab, a halfpound king crab leg, shrimp or lobster tail or blue-cheese [Stilton] ice cream — one of Jim’s favorites — can be added to enhance the steak experience. “We definitely want everyone to be able to come in and enjoy our food on a regular basis, and then, on a special occasion, come back and do the dry steak,” Johnathon says. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list and an equally stellar whiskey selection, whose bottles line the back of the bar. Budget-minded guests can sample a few reduced-priced dishes and drinks at the bar during Happy Hour, Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. The Business Lunch menu offers a two-course meal for $15, Tuesday to Friday, and on Wednesdays, bottles of wine are offered for half price. “I wanted a great restaurant. That was the whole motivation,” Jim says. “You get the best people. You get a great spot. And you put it all together.”

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D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Photo by Jay Ressler

Bleu in Dallas, which he employs to make dishes that are both rustic and refined, using flavors and ingredient combinations that expand the palate and are unmistakably influenced by Texas cuisine. “He’s got the expertise. I pretty much let him go. This is his show.” Jim says. “We wanted someone to be creative. We wanted the next Stephan Pyles. That’s what we were looking for. I think we found him.”

Alagood Cartwright Burke PC Texas Attorneys Brian T. Cartwright is board certified in Personal Injury TrialLaw by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and named a Texas Super Lawyer as published by Thomson Reuters 2016-2018.

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The Perfect Space and Name Marisa grew up going to Jackie’s Hardware Store at 202 South Main Street in Aubrey. In 2014, she noticed that the historic building that once housed Jackie’s was available for rent. In addition to having childhood memories of the space, Marisa is also a bricklayer’s daughter, so she appreciated the character and exposed brickwork of the 1896 building. The 118-year-old structure was the ideal space for her business. “I’ve got to take it,” she thought. “I don’t know what I want to put there, but I would like to have a business on Main Street.” Even without a solid concept in mind, Marisa knew the name of her shop: Casey & Co. The moniker pays tribute to her late brother, Casey. “My brother passed away in a car accident in

Photos courtesy of Casey & Co.

Casey & Co. Boutique’s candles are hand-made in Aubrey with scents that evoke joyful memories and local charm. BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT


ubrey’s Casey & Co. Boutique is housed in a charming brick building nestled between Upper Park Café and Moms on Main restaurant. Step inside this charming storefront and awaken your senses with the welcoming smells of hand-poured candles. You’ll find bath and body products in the same family of fragrances as the candles, as well as home goods and clothing — all of which embody the casual Southern charm of owner Marisa Stover.

1998,” Marisa says. “I wanted him to have something on Main Street.” Marisa loves sharing her memories of her brother with customers. “Everyone that comes in asks about the name, and I have a picture of my brother on the counter. I just love telling them about him,” Marisa said. “I know it’s been 20 years, but he is still in my heart and that carries out. Customers will send me pictures with their mug or their t-shirt from Idaho, Minnesota or California, and it’s cool to see that even though he’s gone, he’s not forgotten.”

“Smells are kind of like music; when you smell something, it takes you back.”

Hand-Made in Aubrey Once she had her dream storefront, Marisa needed to decide on a business. The self-professed “candle junkie” chose to make and sell her own candles because she was tired of buying expensive candles, only to be disappointed by the scent, the wick or how quickly they burned. “I started playing around with different formulas, figuring out what worked for me and my own needs,” Marisa says. “Which translated to my husband making me my little work area in the back and me pouring candles daily.” Candles are the main product Marisa sells in her shop. She started with a five-pound Fry Daddy to melt wax. Today, she has an industrial wax melter that keeps 120 pounds of wax ready to pour and add scent to. It takes a day to create a candle from start to finish, and another three days to set up the wax to get the best burn. “After we add our scent formula, we pour into the jars, and we have two baker’s racks that we can put the candles on to cool,” Marisa explains. “We can cool 300 candles a day here in the back.” When you get your candle home, Marisa says you should “train” it to burn properly the first time it’s lit. Here’s her advice: “Don’t trim the wick, and let it burn until it melts all the way evenly to the edges, then blow it out and trim off the mushroom

head [on the top] of the wick.” Voilà — your hand-crafted candle is ready to bring you hours of pleasant aromas!

Recreating a Moment The scents are inspired by Marisa’s happy memories and things she enjoys. The scent “Handsome” was, for example, inspired by the 90s cologne Eternity and other memories. The most popular fragrance, by far, is “Butt Naked,” which Marisa describes as a tropical scent. “‘Horse Country’ is our own personal blend of leather scents. It smells really nice,” Marisa says. “Our newest scent — my personal favorite — is ‘Blue Grotto.’ We went to Capri, Italy, this summer, and I just loved the smell. It’s citrus, tropical flowers and a little bit of the sea. It’s something I was trying to recreate all summer. Smells are kind of like music; when you smell something, it takes you back.” If you’re looking for a gift for a loved one, Casey & Co. offers gift sets, like one that includes an eight-ounce body cream and an eight-ounce body scrub for $26. You can even bring in your own container to fill with wax and a wick for a totally unique candle. Inside Marisa’s Mind Marisa and her husband, Gene, have children who have grown up helping in the store. And just as she has watched her kids grow, Marisa has also enjoyed watching her hometown develop over the years. “The community is growing,” she says. “We are evolving with that, but still giving that small-town feel.” She does it all with a healthy dose of personality. “My husband always says that this store is like being inside my brain,” Marisa says with a laugh. “It’s fun, and I’m very lucky and fortunate to get to work in this cool place and get to know the customers like I can. I don’t take that for granted.”


While candles are the cozy store’s most popular item, Casey & Co. also sells wax melts, body creams, scrubs and clothing that complies with the Aubrey school district dress code. “We actually send all the proofs for our clothes to the superintendent to get his approval so kids can buy clothing from us to wear to school,” Marisa says. “We have some great lines of clothing here. We keep our quantities small so not everyone is dressed alike, but you can still find something to fit your taste.” N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


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Original illustration by Patrick Girouard

From barbecued meats to sweet treats, vegetarian fare to drinks made with flair, Denton County is serving what you’re hungry for. And we’re here to help you find it. Dig into our dining coverage and you’ll soon see why it’s a great time to…


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Eat, Drink & Rubric Barbecue Be Texan Best




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n a breezy fall afternoon, hungry barbecue lovers patiently wait in line to belly up to the shiny silver food trailer. They’re going to be here a while, too. About a dozen people are lined up for brisket, ribs, sausage and all the fixin’s. This isn’t a scene from the barbecue mecca that is Lockhart. This isn’t the barbecue hotbed of Austin either. It’s not Dallas or Fort Worth. We’re in our own backyard, in the Denton County town of Argyle, where Bumbershoot BBQ is serving up long planks of crusty brisket to throngs of hungry BBQ lovers. A few years ago, Dentonites who wanted to snag truly remarkable barbecue had to make a pilgrimage to Dallas or elsewhere. Today, our county has become a barbecue destination itself. Here are some of the spots that put us on the map.

Argyle's 407 BB Q will soon move to a new 4,000 -square-fo ot space.

407 BBQ

So Good, It Outgrew the Trailer Named after the farm road that swerves nearby, 407 BBQ opened nearly two years ago as a food truck. But word of owner Bryan McLarty’s smoked goods spread quickly, and he soon upgraded to an enclosed trailer, complete with dining room. In January, he’ll take the ultimate plunge: Opening a 4,000-square-foot brickand-mortar establishment, just a few blocks from where he his now. “At first I didn’t want to do it. A restaurant is such a commitment,” says McLarty, who cut his teeth in the barbecue biz by running a catering company for nearly two decades. “But it’s what my customers want.” In the meantime, those customers can still gnaw on outstanding pork ribs, flavorful chicken and sliced brisket at the current location. “When this one closes, I want the new one ready to roll,” he says. “We’re hoping not to miss a beat.” Tools of the trade: McLarty smokes over hickory using a

gas-fired rotisserie. Best bite: The smoked meatloaf contains the perfect alignment of smoke, spices and juice. Go there: 14003 Corral City Drive, Argyle, 214-908-3461,

Bet the House BBQ

Craft-Inspired and Ahead of Its Time Long-time barbecue fans Shawn Eagle and Cody Smithers were way ahead of Denton’s barbecue renaissance. The duo opened this Bet the House helped bring craft BBQ to Denton.

BBQ Sanger's Bolivar St. rd kya bac of am dre the is is. Dav an barbecuer Bri

modest ’cue joint four years ago in a strip mall just east of the UNT campus after raising more than $5,700 via a Kickstarter campaign. They were among the first barbecuers in the area to take a more craft-inspired approach — making sides in-house, offering brisket with or without fat and making their own pork-and-brisket-mix sausage. The latter entails a time-consuming process that requires both patience and know how. “It was a lot of back and forth — we like this, we don’t like that,” says pitmaster J.J. Johnson. “But eventually, we found a recipe that we really love.” Tools of the Trade: Bet the House uses an offset smoker over oak and pecan wood. Best bite: In addition to the outstanding sausage, don’t miss the cheesesteak sandwich, made with chopped brisket doused in a housemade queso. Go there: 508 S. Elm St., Denton, 940-808-0332

Bolivar St. BBQ

The Family That Barbecues Together… Located in an historic downtown Sanger building that dates back to 1904, Bolivar St. BBQ is a true family affair. Long-time backyard barbecuer Brian Davis opened the spot in December 2016 and quickly enlisted family members, from his wife to

his brothers and nephews and cousins, to their wives. “Everyone wanted to be a part of it,” he says. The group effort has paid off: Bolivar was recently featured in Texas Monthly for its signature item, barbecue egg rolls, and the magazine declared Bolivar a “must-stop” barbecue restaurant in North Texas. We wholeheartedly agree: The moist brisket is a thing of beauty — as are all of the meats — and it’s clear that much thought and time have been put into the sides, including the smoked mac and cheese and terrific pinto beans. Tools of the trade: The restaurant uses a Southern Pride rotisserie smoker with mesquite, oak and pecan woods. Best bite: It’s a toss up between the outstanding moist brisket, lined with peppery crust and melt-inyour-mouth fat, and the American eggroll, a monster truck of an eggroll consisting of chopped brisket, cheddar cheese, avocado and other ingredients deep-fried in a 12-inch flour tortilla. Man, oh, man, it’s good. Go there: 205 Bolivar St., Sanger, 940-324-0707,

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Eat, Drink & Rubric Barbecue Be Texan Best

ot Argyle's Bumbersho BBQ ser ves out of a eam. vintage silver Airstr

Bumbershoot BBQ

Tater Tot Heaven Your first trip to Bumbershoot will be a confusing one. Let’s make it easier: First, find Earl’s 377 Pizza, then go ‘round back ‘til you see the vintage silver Airstream with smoke blowing behind it. Yes, this BBQ joint is housed in an Airstream. Here, you’ll find good brisket, short St. Louis–style ribs, fat with meat, excellent smoky chicken and did we mention the tots? Oh yes, the tater tots are a sight to behold… and a joy to consume. The bed of tots is piled high with chopped brisket, sour cream, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and jalapeños. Enough to feed two or three, they’re a steal at $13. “People go nuts over them,” says pitmaster Jason Ramey. “Kids love them, too.” Bumbershoot — which comes from the restaurant team behind Earl’s and Denton’s Barley & Board


— is one of the few ’cue places in North Texas that caters to young barbecue lovers. After they’re done eating, kiddos can paint their hearts out on a wooden fence that surrounds the area while mom and dad sip craft brews. Tools of the trade: Meats are smoked over hickory and pecan in a rotisserie smoker. Best bite: The pinto beans, made with bits of sausage and brisket, are hard to beat. And the tots, obviously. Go there: 425 US 377 S., Argyle, 940-595-1782, Chasin' Tail BBQ has been feeding Lake Da llas for nearly a decade .

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Chasin’ Tail BBQ

Cheap Eats and Tasty Meats It’s hard to miss this old-school barbecue spot: A giant metal smoker in the shape of a pig stands at the entrance, heralding your arrival and delighting passersby as a roadside landmark. Nearly a decade old, this is one of the longest-running barbecue spots in Denton County.

That longevity may be attributed to its simplicity. Owners Brooke Asbell and Mike Cooper take a straightforward approach to both atmosphere and food, offering frill-free barbecue in a sparse but spacious dining room. The portions are big but the prices are low. Most sandwiches are $6, and a one-meat plate with two sides and a thick hunk of Texas toast is $11. “We give you a good portion for a good price,” says Cooper. “That’s why people come back.” The menu includes barbecue basics — brisket, ribs and sausage — but also baked potatoes stuffed with your choice of one or two meats, from brisket to turkey. Tools of the trade: Chasin’ Tail uses a J&R Oyler Pit Smoker over hickory wood. Best bite: The pulled pork is nicely smoky and silky smooth. Go there: 601 S. Lake Dallas Dr., Lake Dallas, 940-321-0524,

ight Pit 's Hard E Roanoke ops, ch rk o rs p B BQ offe re. o m d n a kabobs

Hard Eight Pit BBQ

Unusual Offerings Plus Classics Hard Eight is a family-owned mini-chain that offers BBQ essentials by the plate, pound or sandwich. Like the other four locations, the Roanoke outpost is fashioned after the great barbecue joints in Lockhart and those in and around Austin: Pick your meats off smokers then watch while it’s sliced in front of you. In addition to brisket, ribs and two kinds of sausage, the restaurant offers a several items not seen at most barbecue restaurants: two-inch-thick pork chops, prime rib, chicken kabobs and a cooked-to-order 16-ounce ribeye. The Nivens family’s small empire of barbecue joints is currently four locations strong; a fifth will soon open in Burleson. Tools of the trade: Hard Eight uses gas-fired Southern Pride rotisserie smokers over mesquite. Best bite: You simply can’t go wrong with the juicy, tender pork ribs.

Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B -Q has lon g hours to satisfy your cravings.

Go there: 205 S. Oak St., Roanoke, 817-837-8888,

Juicy Pig Barbecue One Pig Even Vegetarians Can Enjoy Two kinds of people are going to like Juicy Pig Barbecue: Those who love barbecue and those who hate it. Ken Currin’s little spot near downtown Denton, opened nearly three years ago, specializes in brisket and ribs but also — holy moly! — non-meat items. While

Juicy Pig satisfies ever yone, even vegetarians.

most BBQ joints ignore vegetarians, Currin embraces them, offering items such a barbecue jackfruit sandwich (made with strands of jackfruit that resemble pulled pork), fantastic pickled deviled eggs and outstanding sides, including smoked mac and cheese and two kinds of potato salad. The meat’s good, too, especially the well-seasoned brisket and the smoked turkey. For dessert, there are fried pies and house-made Guinness stout chocolate cake. “It’s not the type of stuff you see every day, that’s for sure,” says pitmaster Sam Currin, Ken’s son. “But we don’t want to just be another barbecue joint.” Tools of the trade: The restaurant uses an offset smoker, loaded with oak from around the area. Best bite: The Mojica sandwich is piled high with chopped brisket, spicy onions and smoked mac and cheese. It is as delicious as it sounds. Go there: 708 N. Locust St., Denton, 940-387-0708,

Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q

Your Early Morning and Late Night Spot A corporate chain with nearly 50 locations in Texas and beyond, Rudy’s touts something other barbecue places don’t: They’re open early and open late. So if you want brisket at 9 o’clock at night or a barbecue breakfast taco at 7 in the morning, Rudy’s is a safe bet. Sides are very good, too, like the sinfully rich creamed corn or the new potatoes, doused in melted butter. Tools of the trade: Rudy’s uses rotisserie smokers over hickory wood. Best bite: The breakfast tacos are excellent. Try one with chopped brisket, eggs and cheese and thank us later. Go there: 520 South I-35 E, Denton, 940-484-7839,

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan BreaKfast & BRunch

Good Morning,

Sunshine! T

hey say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you don’t believe that, these five breakfast and brunch spots will certainly convince you.

Upper Park Cafe

Upper Park’s creative menu and two signature items: the pecan coffee and pecan French toast bring customers running from far and wide. Once they’ve been reeled in by the pecans, they get hooked by the coziness and charm of this Aubrey gem (with a second location in Denton). With a charming outdoor patio and all-day breakfast, you’ll want to stay a spell. Stay long enough and you’ll be considered a regular, invited to bring your own coffee mug to hang above the bar. What’s better than sitting outside, away from the hustle bustle, sipping fresh-brewed coffee out of your favorite mug? Doing it while enjoying an omelet, chicken and Savor this blueberry French toast trifle at Upper Park Cafe in Aubrey or Denton.


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biscuit sandwich or Mexican breakfast skillet. Go there: 200 S. Main St., Aubrey and 222 W. Hickory St., Denton

Old West Cafe

This haven for eggs, pancakes and other transcendent breakfast and brunch items recently tweaked its encyclopedic menu, but the options are still practically endless. Old West has cultivated a cult following for its CFS (chicken fried steak) and all-day breakfast. The banana-nut pancakes served with house-made peanut butter syrup are also a big hit. With locations in Denton, Grapevine, Bedford and Arlington, Old West serves up hundreds of omelets and short stacks a day. Insiders know to show up early (before 9 a.m.) on the weekends — or else you’ll be in line all morning. Go there: 2420 S. Interstate 35 E, Denton,

Egg House Cafe

Friendly and community-oriented, the folks at Egg House make sure customers feel at home. In addition to the egg-ceptional service (sorry), a comprehensive (“over 100 cures for morning hunger!”) menu keeps diners coming back. If you’re gluten-intolerant, vegetarian, allergic or on a health kick, fear not! The kitchen is accommodating to special requests. Substitute egg whites, remove the meat or request cooking spray in lieu of oil. Fluffy crepes are a cornerstone of the menu. Try them whipped butter and syrup, topped with powdered sugar, or dress them up with berries, mascarpone, syrup and other toppings. 1662 W. University Drive, Denton,

Ravelin Bakery

Ravelin Bakery is a go-to spot for European-inspired pastries and fresh breads.

elegantly pared-down pear tarts and key lime pie — although there’s not a thing on offer that you’ll regret trying. Go there: 416 S. Elm St., Denton, RavelinBakery

Loco Cafe

This popular all-day-breakfast spot near the square is known for its fresh-made biscuits, but that’s just the start. Its extensive diner-style menu has something for everyone. Health-conscious patrons and vegetarians, for example, will love the black bean chalupas, veggie sandwich, carmelized grapefruit and greek yogurt Enjoy breakfast all day long at Denton's popular Loco Cafe.

with fresh fruit — why not add some house-made granola too? You’ll find it hard not to fall for the breakfast nachos, BLT served on one of Loco’s famed biscuits and housemade baked goods. (Feeling decadent? Try the cinnamon rolls!) Thirsty? You’re in the

right place. Loco’s iced teas and sodas are “shaken” (not stirred) with creative flavors such as hibiscus, coconut maple and mint. The juice is fresh squeezed and the coffee is bottomless. Go there: 603 N. Locust, Denton,

This terrific mom-and-pop bakery is owned and operated by Eric and Pamela Helland, who welcome customers with a smile and a wide range of baked delights. The duo and their team produce delicious European-inspired pastries, artisan breads and other treats daily. Also notable? The bakery’s unusual breads (Tempernillo red wine sourdough or white chocolate lemon, anyone?) and black pepper Parmesan croissants. If you’re after something specific, it may be worth checking the schedule to see which breads are available, as they change from day to day. Other highlights include ham and cheese croissant sandwiches, N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


Eat, Drink & Be Texan Vegan eats

herbivore favorites

Juice Lab

ecessity is the mother of invention, according to the old proverb, and it holds true when it comes to, an online resource for herbivores in North Texas. Founder Tesa Morin went vegan about eight years ago. “Any time I went anywhere, the first thing I would do is Google where I could eat,” she says, “I thought, it would be really handy to have a website that promotes where you can get local food that is vegan and also supports local restaurants.” And so the site was born. Today, it features a restaurant guide, grocery directory and blog detailing the best animal product-free


food in Denton County. “It’s just fantastic all the options we have,” she says. We asked her to share some of her favorite spots and dishes with us. Spiral Diner

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Spiral Diner

If the term “vegan” conjures images of celery sticks and salads, you’ll be shocked by the menu at Spiral Diner.

Denton Vegan calls this favorite a “vegan paradise of comfort food.” From burgers and Philly cheese steak sandwiches to buffalo chik’n nachos and spaghetti and meatballs, the food will satisfy even your pickiest omnivorous friend. The original Spiral Diner opened 16 years ago in Fort Worth and the small chain opened its Dallas location in 2008, but it wasn’t until last August when Denton County vegans could get their cowboy bacun burger in their own backyard. Spiral also has a grocery nook where you can grab some at-home necessities and a full vegan bakery offering to-die-for cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes, brownies, tarts, pies and more. Want a special birthday treat for your favorite vegan? You can’t beat one of Spiral’s gorgeous, artistic custom cakes. Denton Vegan recommends: Anything and everything is amazing, but the nachos supremo is one of their best and most popular options — piled high with cashewbased nacho cheese, quinoa, black beans, olives, cilantro, corn, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream, guacamole and jalapeños. Go there: 608 E. Hickory St., Denton,

Juice Lab

This family-owned organic juice bar and grill aims to prove that “healthy can be delicious!” And it does just that. Denton Vegan calls it “the best healthy spot in Denton.” Starting with a single Breville juicer at the Denton Community Market in 2015, Juice Lab opened its permanent location in 2016 and has been growing

steadily ever since. Despite its name, the menu offers more than just excellent fresh-squeezed juices. Vegan grilled chicken, avocado toast, salads and Buddha bowls are all delicious options for health-minded diners. The namesake juices are available with a huge range of options — try the “Locals Only,” made exclusively from locally farmed produce. If you need a quick pick-me-up, try a super shot — made with ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, micro greens, spirulina or wheatgrass — or one of the warm “tonics and elixirs” made with alkaline water and a variety of fresh ingredients. Juice Lab isn’t just healthy for the people who eat there. It’s also healthy for the environment. They not only source much of the produce from local farms, they donate much of their pulp back to feed livestock. Pulp that isn’t given to livestock is incorporated into baked goods or used as compost in the Juice Lab garden project. Denton Vegan recommends: Try the homemade cashew cheese. It is SO good! Go there: 508 S. Elm St., Suite 104, Denton,

Seven Mile Cafe

Inside this cute cottage, you’ll find a veritable

A few other favorites from

Mean Greens Cafe

wonderland of breakfast and brunch items, many of which are (or can be made) vegan or vegetarian. The vegan-friendly steel-cut oats are made with almond milk. Pancakes are available in a vegan option, and any scramble can be modified with tofu and vegan cheese. The delicious green smoothie is sweet from a hint of agave, bananas and strawberries, it gets its name from the kale and spinach. With three locations (two in Denton County, the other in nearby Keller), the small chain is clearly on to something. Pro tip: Download the nowait app to check the line before you head out. Denton Vegan recommends: The Vigas breakfast, scrambled tofu with soyrizo, onions, avocado, tomatoes and jalapeño and the Make-ItVegan cinnamon roll. Go there: 529 Bolivar St., Denton,

Mean Greens Cafe

This UNT gem is open to the public and serves a “cornucopia of food,” all of Seven Mile Cafe

which happens to be vegan. Before the dining hall opened in 2011 and became the first all-vegan dining hall in the nation, it was possible to maintain a vegan diet at UNT, but it took some effort. Today, Mean Greens is a one-stop vegan paradise for students, the general public and UNT faculty. Dr. Jessica Brooks, an assistant professor of Rehabilitation & Health Services in the College of Health and Public Service who calls herself a “modern vegan,” says, “I like it so much that I ask people to join me there for meetings." She also advises you to save room for the vegan soft-serve ice cream, which is out of this world. From kale “ricotta” lasagna to addictive roasted/toasted chickpeas, the selection is wide-ranging — and delicious. Fun fact: Mean Greens grows its own lettuce — up to 11 different varieties — inside a hydroponic trailer behind the dining hall. During any given week, up to 800 heads are grown for Mean Greens and other campus dining establishments. Oh, and remember: Mean Greens is only open during regular semesters (no summers) and is closed on weekends. Denton Vegan recommends: The all-you-can-eat buffet, which she says is “the best bang for your buck in town” Go there: Inside Maple Hall, 1621 Maple St., Denton,

Milpa Kitchen and Cantina’s separate menu of vegan options including Portobello fajitas, quesadillas, tamales, enchiladas and more

Green Zatar’s vegan vendura

Fresh Morning Donuts’ vegan donuts and breakfast tacos

Thai Square’s delicious curry

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan CelebRity Chef

Love story Celebrity Chef Tim Love discusses his Denton roots.


ince graduating from Denton High School in the early ’90s, Tim Love has carved out quite the niche as a restaurateur. The celebrity chef, long known for his trademark Tomahawk chop and contagiously enthusiastic take on hospitality, has opened more than 10 restaurants across the country including Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, his Love


Shack burger joint, White Elephant Saloon and, of course, Queenie’s Steakhouse in Denton. His charisma has also landed him sponsorship deals (Bonjour, Sur La Table!) and countless television appearances on morning shows, talk shows and CNBC’s Restaurant Startup, a Shark Tank-style show where he judged aspiring chefs to determine which ones had concepts worthy of investment.

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High Gear

Unsurprisingly, Love moves at an unrelenting, breakneck pace. It’s all part of the grand plan — whether he’s headlining a food and wine festival or unveiling plans for a game-changing city park in Houston. One day in early September, for example, found Love in Nashville where he headlined the Music City Food + Wine Festival. As the festival kicked off so did Love’s frantic

schedule for the day: hanging out with festival organizers Kings of Leon, having an early-morning swim, making an appearance at a charity golf tournament, shooting a commercial for the all-new Toyota Avalon, and that's just the start. By the time you read this, Love will have launched his own version of breakfast tacos at Pilot Flying J travel centers nationwide. And plans are underway for one of Love’s largest projects to date: Serving as the sole concessionaire at the newly renovated Levy Park in Houston. Offerings will include a renovated double-decker bus turned coffee bar, another Woodshed restaurant and a Love Shack. Love thinks of it as Houston’s version of NYC’s Bryant Park. Fortunately, he loves what he does, and it shows. After years of moving in high gear, Love says he is acclimated to this way of life — but that he couldn’t do any of it without his family and support system. Love holds steadfast to his annual family tradition with his wife, Emilie, and their three teenagers: Come Christmas, they’ll cook up a big family feast — he usually hosts about 40 family members, and yes, there will be whole carved animals plus Love’s famous paella —but for Thanksgiving, they’re all taking a well-deserved vacation. But before that, he took time from his busy schedule to reminisce about his Denton ties and North Texas roots.

Growing Up Denton

Born and raised in Denton, Love lived in four different houses in his youth, and was

the youngest of seven kids. With his eldest sibling 14 years older than him, a work ethic was imbued early. His first job was for the Denton Record-Chronicle, delivering newspapers at age 11. “The biggest thing when I had a paper route is that you had to collect the money,” he recalls, “and I had a hard time collecting money.” Love brainstormed a solution to the problem — an ability that continues to serve him well as an entrepreneur — and approached the president of the paper. Love says he told the man that he thought people should pay for their papers ahead of time. The executive recognized that the youngster was right and made a change in the delivery policy. A few years later, Love landed his first job in food service, at a Little Caesar’s Pizza franchise on Teasley Lane, he says. He ran the register and made pizzas, but the experience also taught him something about the importance of teamwork and managerial leadership, something “there was not a lot of,” according to Love. When he was growing up, Love says there weren’t a lot of options for fine dining in Denton. “The major thing was when [Denton got] a Chili’s,” Love laughs. His family would go to Denton Country Club or a steakhouse called Alley Eyes on the outskirts of town. Another favorite haunt was Casa Galaviz, where he enjoyed the “killer chorizo and egg tacos.” Five years ago, Love made his own contribution to the growing Denton County fine-dining scene (see page 47) with Queenie’s Steakhouse, an upscale eatery where Love

Tim Love presents to attendees at Bonnaroo.

himself can often be found eating. The restaurant is a love letter to his mother and coup for hometown foodies. Despite the lack of fine dining available during his youth, his hometown still

influenced Love. “Denton’s always been this really creative town,” he says. “[The creativity flows from Austin] up I-35, musically. And Denton became this cultural melting pot.” He

says that Fry Street, with its rock-n-roll influence, flavored his view on hard work and impacted how he runs his businesses. Also, he smiles, “I just love small towns with big colleges.”


Spicy Turkey Pozole

From Chef Tim Love of Queenie’s Steakhouse Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients: Carcass from one 13-pound turkey, plus 6 cups shredded turkey (about 2 pounds) 1 medium yellow onion, quartered 1 carrot, chopped 1 celery rib, chopped 1 bay leaf Two 15-ounce cans yellow hominy, drained 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped 1 large jalapeño, thinly sliced crosswise ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves Salt Avocado chunks, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and warm corn tortillas for serving Method: In a large stockpot, cover the turkey carcass, onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf with 16 cups of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Simmer the turkey stock over moderate heat until the broth is flavorful, about 2 hours. Strain the broth through a coarse sieve into a large heatproof bowl. Return the broth to the stockpot. Add the hominy, tomatoes, garlic and jalapeño and cook over moderately high heat until the broth is reduced to 6 cups, about 30 minutes. Add the shredded turkey and chopped cilantro and simmer until the stew is heated through. Season the posole with salt, ladle into deep bowls and serve with the avocado chunks, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and warm tortillas.

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan Fine Dining


Culinary Masterpieces

Authentic Italian cuisine at Mio Nonno Trattoria


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hether you’re celebrating a special occasion with your closest friends or simply enjoying a lovely night out with your significant other, these fine dining establishments will satisfy you with some of Denton County’s finest gastronomic delights.


This Flower Mound trattoria (there’s also a location in Allen and another in Dallas) is a haven for lovers of authentic central and southern Italian cuisine. Prior to moving to Texas and starting Mio Nonno, Chef Ati Mala and his childhood best friend Noti Karasniqi ran a popular Mediterranean restaurant in the Hamptons, where they took advantage of the myriad seafood available. Here in Denton County, their eatery leans heavily on a combination of fresh local produce and imported Italian ingredients. Inspired by NYC’s top Italian restaurants, Mio Nonno’s menu includes favorites such as crispy fried calamari and classic lasagna as well as inventive dishes such as the short-rib ravioli and pappardelle with spicy sausage, which highlights the fresh pasta, and the potato gnocchi with four-cheese sauce (fontina, gorgonzola, pecorini and reggiano). With a convivial atmosphere (expect live music on the weekends) and an outdoor patio, it’s an upscale restaurant that’s also appropriate for the whole family. Go there: 2450 Lakeside Parkway, Suite 100, Flower Mound,


Self-described as a “contemporary take on the classic American steakhouse,” five-year-old Queenie’s has won over locals and Tim Love fans alike with its subtle spin on elevated fare. Innovated takes on starters and sides — a calling card of owner/chef Love — reign, from chicken-fried quail legs to elk-and-foie gras sliders with blueberry jam. The meat of the menu — hand-cut steaks from Texas-raised beef — proves outrageously good, whether it be a 32-ounce Wagyu tomahawk (priced at $160) or 6-ounce beef tenderloin ($35). And with sides like tempura cauliflower and truffled mac-and-cheese, it’s impossible to leave Queenie’s hungry. Named to honor Love’s mother, who was nicknamed Queenie, the restaurant is elegant and upscale but approachable enough that it also features a wildly popular late-night donut den, Back Dough, around back. Stop by on a Tuesday night for live acoustic music, or watch their social media and website for guest celebrity bartenders and other events. Go there: 115 E. Hickory St., Denton,


From carefully crafted charcuterie boards to hangar steaks with truffle butter, this trendy — and increasingly beloved — gastropub on the Square offers an enticing New American menu of small plates and memorable entrées. Guests

are encouraged to share, which is a great option because you’ll likely want to try all of these winning dishes. Because they rely on fresh and seasonal ingredients, the offerings from Executive Chef Chad Kelley and his team change with availability and seasons. Though it’s hard to pick just a few, some standout dishes include the pork tenderloin and the brazen two-faced quail served with pickles and slaw. Choose one of 36 beers on tap (including selections brewed in house), a selection from the wine menu or a finely crafted cocktail to accompany your meal. With a rustic interior that skews handsome hunting

Queenie's Steakhouse in Denton by Chef Tim Love


J2 Wellington

From Chef Johnathon Pauley of J2 Steakhouse Ingredients: 1 10-ounce tenderloin filet 1 sheet puff pastry 4 slices prosciutto 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (can substitute olive or vegetable) For the Duxelle: 3 ounces wild mushrooms, chopped fine (what is in season) 1 poblano chili 1 tbsp garlic, minced 1 tbsp shallots, minced 1 ounce butter Salt and pepper, to taste Method: Season the filet liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy bottom pan and add oil. When wisps of white smoke appear, sear the tenderloin on all sides until golden brown but still rare. Remove from pan and let sit at room temperature. Let the pan cool and add garlic and shallots. Cook until aromatic but not colored. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook down until soft. Let Duxelle cool. Lay your prosciutto out on a cutting board and coat in Duxelle. Wrap filet tightly in prosciutto and puff pastry. Cook at 375 in convection oven until you reach an internal temperature of 115F.

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan Fine Dining

Sophisticated fare at The Classic at Roanoke

lodge and exudes coziness, B&B is among the comfiest of highbrow venues in the area. While you’re there, take a close look at the historic building, which was once the Lacy Hotel — Denton’s first hotel, built by Charles Christian Lacy, who named many of Denton’s streets. Fun fact: Actor Jason Lee is one of B&B’s five owners. Go there: 100 W. Oak St., Denton,


Since 1993, The Classic at Roanoke has been serving sophisticated meals inspired by the fresh produce grown in its on-site garden and orchard (and its off-site garden in Argyle). Chef Charles Youts and his team create a new menu every week based on what’s ripe and ready to serve. And while the overall taste is New American, Youts also offers occasional glimpses of Mediterranean, German, Mexican and Asian influences. Take, for example, the risotto cakes, which speak to the multitude of cultural influences: A recent featured


cake included smoked ribeye with a tequila mole sauce. From the fried okra to the roasted peppers in a recent daily soup, the ingredients are as fresh as they come, taking the farm-to-table concept to the next level with the Chef’s Pantry Garden. The cream of mushroom and Muenster cheese soup is on point, while the rack of lamb, classic gulf crab cakes and jagerschnitzel are signature entrees that speak to why The Classic has sustained such an enamored following. If you’d like to learn how to make some Classic magic at home, sign up for one of Chef Youts’s regular cooking classes. “Wine With Francis” and “Spirits With Joe” classes are also offered in the historic blue home that houses the restaurant. If you enjoy live music, be sure to request the music section when making your reservation. Go there: 504 N. Oak St., Roanoke,


With its elegant atmosphere and upscale, slightly eclectic

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comfort food, a meal at Hannah’s offers Southern style in spades. Chef Sheena Croft pulls from her Southern heritage — south Georgia and north Florida — to create a rotating seasonal menu that has been pleasing the restaurant’s devoted clientele since 2001. Menu favorites include a shrimp and grits starter, a wonderful steak au poivre and some unusual options such as the meatball on the bone (a meatball roasted on a marrow bone, served with a green peppercorn sauce and herb frites). And wine lovers are

never without a good pairing; Hannah’s offers the largest wine selection in Denton. If you have gluten sensitivities, you’ll find more than enough to choose from on a special gluten-free menu featuring dishes such as seared sea scallops, chicken saltimbocca (a prosciutto-wrapped chicken breast) and au poivre grass-fed tenderloin. Chef Croft works with Denton-area purveyors whenever possible, meaning the locally sourced food is as eco-friendly as it is delicious. Go there: 111 West Mulberry St., Denton,


Butternut Chipotle Cream Soup with Pepita Pesto From Chef Charles Youts of The Classic at Roanoke Servings: 10

Soup ingredients: 1 ounce butter, cubed 1 cup white onion, diced ½ cup carrots, diced ½ cup celery, diced ½ cup garlic, minced ⅜ tbsp sage, chopped ½ tbsp thyme, chopped ⅜ cup white wine

2½ lbs. roasted butternut squash, pureed 1¼ cups chicken stock ¾ each chipotle pepper, seeded and chopped ¾ cup cream ⅛ tsp nutmeg Salt and pepper, to taste

Pesto ingredients: ¼ cup parsley, chopped ¼ cup cilantro, chopped ¼ cup pepitas, toasted

¼ tsp cumin ⅛ cup canola oil Salt and pepper, to taste

Method: Melt butter in pot, add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme cook until tender. Add squash and chipotle cook 5 minutes, add wine and reduce to SEC. Add stock, bring to a boil. Add cream, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 5 minutes more. Add in nutmeg, and blend with the beurre mixer until smooth. For pesto, place parsley, cilantro, pepitas, cumin and salt; pulse until well combined. Slowly add the oil. Blend until thick and pesto is smooth.

Eat, Drink & BaRgains Be Texan

Worth Twice the Price


here’s a big difference between inexpensive and “cheap.” These four Denton County eateries are the former.

Babe’s Chicken dinner house

Started in Roanoke in 1993, Babe’s sets the bar for fried chicken. Today, there are nine locations, but the excellent food made with family recipes has not been diluted. This fried food heaven serves its comfort food family-style with all-you-can-eat sides. While there are some nonfried options on the menu — creamed corn, hickory-smoked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, fluffy buttermilk biscuits and banana pudding like grandma used to make, that’s not why you’re going there. Fried chicken, the popular chicken fried steaks and fried catfish with tartar sauce are not to be missed. This Denton County classic will leave you saying, “winner, winner, chicken dinner” every time. Go there: 104 N. Oak St., Roanoke; 202 N. 4th St., Sanger; and others. See

Frosty Drive N

People may disagree on whether to call it “Frosty Drive N” or “Mr. Frosty,” but one thing no one disagrees on is that this little slice of nostalgic Americana is a Denton County treasure. Opened in 1954 by the Webb family and still run by that same family (three generations have worked there now), this local

institution is beloved as much for its comforting consistency as it is for its house-made root beer served in frosty mugs, hand-breaded onion rings and tasty double-stacked burgers. When “Frosty mom” Judith Webb — who started the restaurant with her husband, Jack — passed away in 2013 after nearly 60 years of working behind the counter, the community mourned. Neither the menu nor the décor have changed much over the years, and that’s a good thing. Go there: 1002 Fort Worth Dr., Denton

Boca 31

With an impressive résumé that includes time in highend kitchens such as the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay and at South Beach, Akelarre (a three Michelin star restaurant in Spain) and Carnelian Room in San Francisco, Chef Andres Meraz has a reputation to uphold. And uphold it he does at Boca 31, Meraz’s Latin street food restaurant in Denton. But don’t take our word for it. Head over to Yelp and sort Denton restaurants by top rated. We’ll wait… Yes, that’s Boca 31 you see in the #1 spot. More than 340 five-star reviews and counting. Not-to-miss dishes include the spinach

and goat cheese empanadas with carmelized onion, the Barbacoa brisket tacos and the Peruvian sandwich with pork loin, citrus onions and charred sweet potato. Enjoy the flavorful offerings while dining al fresco or try to grab one of the few seats in the small converted house so that you can watch your food being prepared in the open kitchen. Go there: 207 S. Bell Ave., Denton,

Leila’s Food Truck

Middle Eastern food can be hard to come by around

here, so why not serve it in a food truck that’s constantly on the move? Launched in 2016, Shadan Price’s roving vegetarian restaurant has a menu inspired by her Iranian background. “These are recipes I grew up with,” she says, “And just whatever else I come up with that sounds good.” That means everything from an amazing falafel burger — made with a chickpea and herb patty then topped with a cream cheese and feta sauce and garnished with lettuce, tomato, radishes and Persian pickles — to the potato poppers, fried potato bites served with your choice of condiment. Leila’s doesn’t have a set location or hours, but you can follow @leilastruck on Instagram to stay in the know and get your hummus fix. Go there: No set location,


Boca 31 Tostada

From Chef Andres Meraz at Boca 31 Ingredients: 3 corn tortillas (fry until golden brown) 1 whole chicken (poached in water with 1 bay leaf and 1 can of chipotle) 1 cup shredded cabbage or lettuce 2 Tbsp. sour cream ½ cup pickled onions (OR slice red onions and cover with rice wine vinegar and add cilantro) Method: Allow chicken to cool, then pull apart. Arrange tostadas on a plate then layer with chicken. Add the cabbage, sour cream and the pickled onions. Enjoy with an aqua Fresca or beer!

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan CocKtails

That’s the



rom infused tequila cocktails to Big Easy-inspired drinks that go down easy, these bars serve some of the county’s most creative concoctions.

Mulberry Street Cantina A Tequila Lover’s Paradise This five-year-old tequila bar just south of the Square offers more than 90 different tequilas for the discerning palate. Managing partner Jeff Doyle and his crew have created a bevy of infused-tequila beverages that run the gamut from sweet to spicy to sour. But they all have one thing in common: They use fresh fruits and produce with no mixes or powders. The process of infusing the tequila takes anywhere from five to 12 days — these are


thoughtfully crafted drinks. Berries are highlighted when they’re in season, while other iterations feature flavors such as peppers or pineapple. Margaritas are the most popular drink, but Doyle’s favorite is the Mezcal Mule, a riff on the popular Moscow Mule. His version features lime agave, smoky mezcal, jalapeno peppers, pineapple juice and ginger. (See recipe.) “There’s a lot going on, but all of those ingredients work,” he says. In fact, the only thing conventional about this delightful drink is the traditional copper mug it’s served in. Go there: 110 W. Mulberry St., Denton,

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Mulberry Street Cantina specializes in tequila cocktails made with fresh ingredients.

GreenHouse Restaurant & Bar

Award-Winning Mixology If it’s creativity you’re after in your cocktails, the award-winning mixologists at GreenHouse have you covered. The cocktail program can skew from classic to otherworldly, says bar manager Kingsley Cochran. “While we like to provide the standards, we also want to introduce our customers to something unique that gives them an experience, rather than just providing them with

a beverage,” she says. The expert bartenders — who have wracked up accolades such as best martini and winner of the first annual Iron Bartender Denton competition — have created an entire signature drink menu of original beverages conceived in house. Some are named after topical local events, like the “Frack This,” created in response to the citywide fracking debate, and the “Kroger Parking Lot Death Match,” which commemorates Cochran’s relationship with a local grocery store. Other cocktails are inspired by movies, books and TV: “The Man Who Fell to

GreenHouse has won awards for its martinis and mixologists.

Earth is one of my favorites,” Cochran says. Made with fresh oranges, basil, Austin Reserve and Lillet Blanc, it is stirred and topped with sparkly Topo Chico and a cinnamon stick. These drinks may not have fallen to earth, but they are certainly out of this world. Go there: 600 N. Locust St., Denton,

Top left photo by Rae French; recipe photo courtesy of Will Shenton via Creative Commons license.

the Quarter Bar

Carefully Crafted Concoctions At this Trophy Club gem, classic and modern New Orleans-style cocktails are the showstoppers. Among the most popular is the Flasked Sazerac, which features rye, sugar, absinthe bitters and citrus oil — ingredients that are not so much blended together but rather gently coaxed into tasty submission. In fact, the bar’s operations guru Alex Fletcher says it is one of “the most difficult to create perfectly.” “If you throw off one of the ingredients with a heavy hand, it turns into a not-so-stellar cocktail,” he says. Luckily, that doesn’t happen here. Some elements for drinks spend days in

preparation, before yielding tasty results. This fall and winter, look for a fig-inspired Viuex Carre on the menu. Its warming marriage of rye, cognac and fortified wine is sure to keep revelers happy — and toasty. Even the brunch cocktails — oh yes, there is food, and yes, it is good — are imaginative. Feeling sassy? Try the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk Punch or Treme (a rum, blood orange, honey, citrus, absinth float), available Saturdays and Sundays before 4 p.m. Or spend an evening on the cozy heated rooftop patio savoring a blackberry sazerac with your blackened Akaushi beef creole burger or pear and roasted crispy pork belly flatbread. Go there: 3000 State Highway 114, Trophy Club,

Quarter Bar's Bourbon Street Bramble

940's serves distinctive hand-crafted cocktails and classics.

only thing about it that’s homegrown. The bar has a convivial spirit and a Cheers-esque vibe that will make you feel right at home. “We really strive to have all of our guests feel very welcome and a part of the community we have here,” says Adam Wiley, front of house manager. In keeping with that vibe, the hand-crafted cocktails here are classic — but with a twist. Several — including the black cherry vodka basil mule, the sea salt paloma and the old old fashioned — are

offered on tap, which is unusual. Then there are distinctive offerings, like the Flora, which highlights Fords gin, Benedictine, crème de coco, lime, lemon and rosewater. Crowned with a velvety egg white, it’s “very visually appealing,” says Wiley. It has that in common with this modern-industrial space, where exposed brick fuses with Edison bulbs, and everybody probably knows your name. Go there: 219 West Oak St., Denton,


Mezcal Mule From Mulberry Street Cantina

940’s Kitchen and Cocktails

A Welcoming Community Vibe Open for three years, 940’s gets its name from Denton’s zip code, but that’s not the

Ingredients: 1½ ounces lime juice 1 bar-spoon agave nectar 3-4 small pieces fresh jalapeno, muddled in lime and agave 1 oz. mescal 2 oz. pineapple juice Method: Shake and strain all ingredients into a copper mug filled with ice, and top with ginger beer.

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan Unusual eXperiences

Creative conCEpTs


ou know how dining out works: walk in through a marked door, sit down in a normal building, read a printed menu and eat amongst other humans. But what if we told you it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could discover a secret bar behind a hidden door, sip coffee in a fairy tale cottage, interact with a display to learn all the details about your beverage or eat with a bear? Sound exciting? Read on. You can do all of that and more right here in Denton County.

Craft Coffee in a Cottage

Kimzey’s Coffee in Argyle is something special. Lavendar rosemary espressos, scrumptious pastries, the Honeypot (coconut milk, honeydew melon, honey and iced tea), the Bluecumber Cold Brew (blueberry, cucumber and Kimzey's Coffee

cold brew), even a milkshake happy hour (Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) — it’s all so wonderful. Not to mention the consistently friendly staff that always makes you feel welcome. But there’s something you’ll notice way before you get near any of that: the whimsical little fairy tale cottage Kimzey’s is housed in. With its high peaked roof, uneven wooden shingles, geometric windows and striking stone fireplaces and chimney, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were entering a storybook rather than a coffee shop. Inside, you’ll find a bright and airy space that is fanciful without being too quirky. Kimzey’s began brewing Denton-based West Oak coffee in March 2017. If they’ve made as many fans as they have in less than two years, imagine how bright the future is for the cutest coffee shop in Texas. (Yeah, we said it.) Pro tip: In a hurry? Try the drive-through. Go there: Kimzey’s Coffee, 429 U.S. Highway 377 S., Argyle,

A Secret on the Square

“Charming” is the best word for Paschall Bar, a speakeasy-style establishment hidden behind an unmarked door on the square. Intimate. Cozy. Hipster. Those words


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Paschall Bar

would all work too. But before you decide which word to use, you’ve got to find it. (We’ve given you the address, but we won’t spoil all the fun. Hint: You’ve gotta go up.) Inside, well-stocked bookshelves line the walls. Leather furniture encourages long, relaxing chats. A chessboard and darts inspire healthy competition over delicious libations. Classical art and busts lend an air of elegance. The atmosphere is an important part of Paschall’s allure. “People come here for conversations, dates, studying, etc.,” says bartender Cameron Trevino, “without the loud TVs or bright, flashy lights you would find at a typical bar.” But equally important are the skilled bartenders who carefully mix cocktails and offer more than 20 specialty,

craft and imported beers. Trevino recommends the Harvest Pear, a rye-based drink with spiced pear liqueur, honey, lemon juice, egg whites and bitters. Shaken, then dry-shaken (without ice), it is an ideal cocktail for winter: creamy, sweet and crispy from bruleed sugar on top. If that’s not your thing, strike up a conversation with the bartender. Trevino says he loves making drinks to order, and aims to make the perfect cocktail tailored to each patron. Pro tip: Take a friend there and impress them with this little piece of trivia: The bar is named after the circa-1877 building’s original owner, B.F. Paschall. Members of local indie rock band Midlake opened the bar in 2011. Go there: Paschall Bar, 122 N. Locust St., Denton,

Trust the Chef

Do not even think about wandering in off the street to enjoy some of Keiichi’s acclaimed sushi. Chef Keiichi Nagano rarely, if ever, accepts walk-ins at his tiny eatery. And you can’t make a reservation online. In fact, you can’t go to his website at all — because there isn’t one. You’ll need to call. On the phone. With your voice. Old-school. Never mind that social media nonsense. It is all about the food. This popular 12-year-old spot only bothered to put up a sign outside a couple of years ago. When your food is this outstanding, people just find you. Another fascinating thing about Keiichi? This sushi chef has a background in Italian cuisine, which leads to innovative combinations like marinated tuna sashimi with fresh guacamole and beef and jalapeño cream cheese sushi. If you’ve got room, you can finish off with some of Chef Keiichi’s phenomenal tiramisu. The menu changes every day, so you won’t know what’s for dinner until you arrive. The chef told North Texas Daily, “Whatever I’m interested in making, I make. I buy the produce, then make the menu.” It takes a lot of trust in a chef to go with that model, but he’s earned it, and all you really need to know is that you won’t leave disappointed. Pro tip: Sit at the bar so you can watch the master at work. And don’t forget to make those reservations early! The limited space means it can be tough to get in. Go there: Keiichi, 500 N. Elm St., Denton

Craft & Vine

Interactive Info

When Craft & Vine debuted in Roanoke last year, fans of craft beer took note. Brew aficionados could not get enough of the idea behind the small-plates restaurant: They would be able to serve themselves from an array of self-serve “pour stations.” Unfortunately, TABC rules overruled the concept, but that didn’t deter the creative owners behind the venue. “Our customers will one day be able to pour their own perfect beer once self-pour passes in the Texas legislation,” says Matt Nystrom, marketing director for Craft & Vine. In the meantime, he says, “The tap wall is the most expansive display of 66 beers that you can find in the metroplex. While the tablets showing each beer/ wine on tap isn’t functioning for self-pour, our customers can interact with each display to find out more about each beverage.” And when patrons aren’t getting educated on their beverages, they’ll be reveling in the food. Based around a “social dining” maxim, plates are shared, whether that means the excellent La Mer charcuterie board (nova lox, gulf shrimp ceviche, ahi tartare, gulf lump crab, octopus), addictive queso fundido

with homemade chorizo and a variety of small plates using locally grown produce. Pro tip: Check the Facebook page for special events such as Sunday brunch with mimosas on tap, Half Full Mondays with half off select vintage wine bottles and Martini Wednesdays with discounted martinis. Go there: 310 S. Oak St., Suite 300, Roanoke,

Bear With Me

Talk about strange dinner guests! Bears Den restaurant at Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch invites you to dine alongside two 400-pound black bears. The fuzzy brother and sister duo — Barnaby and Bailey — were rescued from a previous abusive owner who Bears Den was mistreating them, locking them in a small space to inhibit their growth and feeding them inappropriately. Today, the bears are well cared for and fed a nutritionally appropriate diet… just a few feet from the 180-seat dining area at Bears Den. Your whole family will remember this unique dining experience for years

to come. While you watch the bears devour their meal of berries, veggies, roots, fruits and other bear necessities, you can enjoy some gourmet pizza with house-made dough or a salad with house-made dressing. The all-you-can-eat pizza buffet on Fridays gets two paws up. Even better, all proceeds go toward rescuing and caring for exotic and endangered animals. Pro tip: The bears come to dine at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays; and at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. Go there: Bears Den, 11670 Massey Road, Pilot Point,

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Eat, Drink & Be Texan Sweet Treats

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice S

ometimes, you’ve just got to treat yourself with a little indulgence. These sweet spots will ensure that the decadent donut or scrumptious shake is worth every one of those extra calories.

Flour Shop

The Flour Shop is a true labor of love. Owner Cara Vasquez grew up cooking with her mom then went to culinary school in Dallas right after high school. After working as a baker and pastry chef at a Dallas-based restaurant for 10

years, she set off on her own in 2011 to open her own Flower Mound bakery. “Baking is my passion. It is absolutely what I do,” she says. “There’s nothing else I would be able to do. I am a chef. That’s all I will ever be, and I’m happy with that. If I can spend every minute of every day in the kitchen, then I’m a happy person. It is my happy place. When I’m stressed, if I can be in the kitchen, I’m good.” It is this combination of passion and skill that makes the Flour Shop stand out among its peers. (Cara’s kitchen manager is also a

Flour Shop


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culinary school graduate and trained pastry chef.) They bake fresh every day, and every cake, pie, cheesecake, cookie, cupcake, brownie, bread, croissant, cinnamon roll or scone at the Flour Shop was made from scratch with care and dedication and without mixes or artificial flavors. These award-winning baked goods are not just delicious, they’re also absolutely gorgeous — almost too pretty to eat… but not quite. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more stunning custom wedding or birthday cake than Flour Shop’s photo-worthy creations. Fun fact: Looking for an innovative idea for your child’s next birthday? Book a cake decorating party where up to 10 bakers-in-training (ages 8 and up) will receive a cake, piping bags filled with icing and instruction on techniques for decorating. Go there: 6100 Long Prairie Road, Flower Mound,

Sara Donuts

Hey Sugar

With bins of rainbow jawbreakers, colorful lollipops as big as your fist, clear towers of flavored popcorn, sparkling crystals of rock candy, jellybeans of every color and a glistening display case of illuminated chocolates, Hey Sugar is not just a wonderland for your sweet tooth, it’s also a feast for the eyes. No matter what kind of sugar fix you’re after, you’ll find it here. This colorful Roanoke favorite has soda pop of every description (and we do mean every description — ever tried buffalo wing soda?), its own ice cream parlor, nostalgia candy and even exotic treats like chocolate covered bacon and scorpion suckers. As a bonus, it’s surrounded by great restaurants, so take advantage of Roanoke’s reputation as a foodie hotspot then stop by Hey Sugar for something sweet. Fun fact: Hey Sugar was started by 10-year-old Clayton

Beth Marie's

H ey Sugar

Brittan, who sold between $1,000 and $1,500 a day out of an Airstream trailer. Soon, he and his mother, Kristin, moved the candy store into the historic home once occupied by Roanoke’s first mayor where it remains today. Go there: 111 S. Oak St., Roanoke, HeySugarCandyStore

Yogurt Bliss of Denton We can tell you why you should visit Yogurt Bliss in just two words: Muggle Shake. When these colorful Instagram-able mugs full of joy were introduced last year, people came from near and far, forming a line that stretched out the front door. Owner Judith Garcia and her team come up with new over-the-top shakes every month for the Muggle of the Month but also feature regular favorites such as the Campfire (a chocolate and toasted marshmallow froyo shake topped with a S’more, complete with carefully toasted marshmallow, and layers of marshmallow cream then drizzled with chocolate this one is a top seller), the Yabba-Dabba-Doo (a Fruity Pebbles-inspired shake topped with whipped cream and a full Rice Krispie treat) and the beautiful Unicorn (a vanilla rainbow shake topped topped with a powdered sugar

donut, cotton candy, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream and a marshmallow unicorn with an ice cream cone “horn”). No matter which flavor you choose, it’ll be a work of art that is sure to put a smile on your face. Your diet can wait. Fun fact: Feeling bold? Try the Mystery Muggle and take your chances on something new and unexpected. Go there: 5017 Teasley Lane, #129, Denton, yogurtblissofdenton

Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream

It doesn’t get much more intrinsically Denton County than Beth Marie’s. The original location on Denton’s historic square, opened in 1998, and is home to the 1927 ice cream machine that produces much of Beth Marie’s ice cream. All 120+ flavors are made at the two Denton locations, though there is also a location Yogurt Bliss

in Carrollton, licensees across the state from Roanoke to as far away as Georgetown. When you’re away from home, rest easy knowing Beth Marie’s premium ice cream (premium because of its 14% butterfat content) is available in pints at most Central Market locations in Texas, as far South as Houston and San Antonio. So what’s the secret to their massive success and popularity? Co-owner Bob Moses explains, “It’s true, ice cream really does make you smile. We strive to provide a really fun and high-quality experience for all of our customers — both young and old — and we also believe that ‘good taste knows no season.’ What better business could you be in?” Fun fact: The antique ice cream machine at the original location produces 10 gallons of frozen bliss every 18 minutes. The fresh product needs to stay in freezers for about two days before it can be served to excited patrons. Go there: 17 W. Hickory St. and 2900 Wind River Lane, #148, both in Denton,

Sara Donuts

Regular patrons can’t decide what they love more: the meltin-your mouth donuts or the delightful demeanor of Sara and her staff. That’s a tough call. But one thing’s for sure: Sara Donuts is a treasure. Don’t let the strip mall location fool you. Just look for the yellow door and enter to start your morning right. These are anything but your average, reasonably good glazed donuts. They are some of North Texas’s best donuts, and that’s saying a lot in a place where you can barely throw a pastry without hitting a donut shop. Sure, there’s probably a donut shop closer to you than Sara Donuts, but trust us, this is worth the drive. The gourmet donuts come in creative flavors like strawberry shortcake, crème brûlée, cheesecake, hibiscus lemon, maple bacon and more. Made fresh every morning, these next-level breakfast delights DO sell out, so don’t sleep in. Fun fact: The family-friendly interior — so chosen because one of Sara’s kids majored in animation — is decorated with fanciful dolls, drawings and other bright décor to create a “happy place.” Go there: 2201 Long Prairie Road, Suite 113, Flower Mound

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Denton Media Company presents Denton County Magazine, a bi-monthly lifestyle magazine with stories relevant to the people and businesses of Denton County.


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Denton County DINING Guide

Denton County D I N I N G Guide N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


Denton County DINING Guide


Prime Farm to Table


hris Flahaven had the culinary chops to bring the farmto-table, chef-driven meal concept to Flower Mound. Serving locally grown, organic, made-from-scratch meals is something Flahaven has been doing for years. Come enjoy your holiday meals with us. Prime Farm to Table is a great place to hold holiday events. Gift cards available. Prime Farm to Table


5810 Long Prairie Road, Suite 200 Flower Mound, Texas 972-539-1902

Lunch: Mon-Sat 11am – 3pm Dinner: Mon-Sat 5pm – 10pm Brunch: Sun 10am – 3pm

• Daily Specials • Catering • Large Groups • Party Room

Number 1 American Restaurant in a 25 mile radius of Denton.


Hours 204 South Main Aubrey, Texas 940-202-4940


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Mon-Wed 11am - 3pm Thurs-Fri 11am - 8pm Sat-Sun 8am - 8pm

Try our Weekend Breakfast

Denton County DINING Guide


True American Family Style Dining

10001 US 380 • Cross Roads, TX 76227

(940) 440-9760




ocated in the heart of Downtown Denton. Bringing you chef driven cooking with local, farm-fresh ingredients. Our menu changes often. Inspired by what’s in season. Executive chef Sheena Croft has been leading the Denton fine-dining scene for almost two decades. Hannah’s experienced catering staff and advanced culinary team can create an unparalleled dining experience for any occasion or event, at your place or ours. Hannah’s


111 W Mulberry Street Denton, TX 940-566-1110

Mon 11am-9pm Tue – Fri 11am-10pm Sat 10:30-10pm Sun 10:30-9pm

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Differentiated Instruction. Student-Centered Teaching. Experiential Learning.



PRE-K - 12TH GRADE Come Grow with Us: 940.382.6771 2270 Copper Canyon Road Argyle, Texas, 76226

P: 940-382-6771 E:




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Walking the Walk Flower Mound entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Charles Horton has gone through fire, both literally and figuratively, to find success. BY PAULA FELPS


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It’s a metaphor of taking your fears, putting them aside and going for what you want in life.

Self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, investor and motivational speaker Charles Horton vividly recalls his first successful firewalking experience. He should; it changed his life. “When I got to the end, I walked about 20 or 30 feet away and cried for 15 minutes,” says the Flower Mound resident. “It was so impactful for me. I decided I had to teach it to others.”

Photo by Steven Jeffers Photography

The Metaphor of Fire But like anything worth doing, it wasn’t easy. Horton failed multiple times before that moment of elation. When a friend initially suggested firewalking, Horton says, “It didn’t sound like a big deal.” Then he saw the bonfire and everything changed. “I didn’t walk [that day],” he says. “Then I got home and felt guilty about it, so I signed up for the next seminar. I did that eight times.” That’s not the story you expect to hear from the man who now owns and operates the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education (FIRE), but it’s a perfect example of Horton’s tenacity and determination to overcome obstacles. Eventually, Horton “hired a guy to come to my house and do a firewalk. I had about 30 of my employees there and we turned it into a whole motivational seminar.” As the date grew closer, he was wracked with anxiety. For three weeks before the event, he says he felt sick “every time I even thought about it.”

Determined to overcome his fear, he carried through with his plans. When the time came, Horton walked effortlessly across the 1,200-degree coals, which he says felt like “cooled popcorn.” He suddenly understood. “Firewalking is an example of business and business fears,” he explains. “It’s the fears that keep you from doing what you want to do and getting where you need to go. So really, the seminars teach you the material and the firewalk is just a metaphor for what we’re trying to teach. “Most people are scared to death of firewalking, but when you do it, you find out how easy it is. It’s a metaphor of taking your fears, putting them aside and going for what you want in life.” To share that metaphor with others, Horton became a certified instructor. He learned that Tolly Burkan, who founded FIRE in the 1980s, was retiring and wanted to sell his school — so Horton bought it. He now has 10 master instructors who do corporate and public seminars around the world and also trains others to become firewalking instructors.

An Early Spark of Creativity Horton began going after what he wanted in life early on. Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, his childhood was punctuated with violence and abuse from his stepfather. Both he and his mom landed in the hospital on more than one occasion as a result of that abuse. By the time he was a teenager, Horton was spending as much time outside of the house as possible. He also wanted to be financially independent. By the age of 14, his entrepreneurial nature had started to reveal itself. He was doing everything from mowing lawns to taking care of tools to babysitting to make his own money. “Then when I was 15, I was walking around a flea market in Austin that had 400 vendors, and I realized nobody there would take a check,” he recalls. “It seemed

like someone was missing a huge opportunity. So I talked to the flea market owners and convinced them to build me a booth and give me free rent.” At that free booth, the ambitious teenager started his own check-cashing business, charging a 10 percent fee. Soon, business was booming. “That’s kind of what started my adult career,” he says. “That turned into a check verification guarantee business that I sold to TeleChek before I turned 30.” The transaction with TeleChek solidified his personal wealth and made him a millionaire while he was still in his twenties. He has since launched other successful ventures, including FastBucks, a short-term consumer loan company. That privately held company has twice been listed on the Inc. 500 as one of the country’s fastest-growing companies. His path has, admittedly, been as unconventional as his approach to business; he “barely made it out of high school” and took a few classes for college credits, but nothing held his interest the way business did. “In my senior year of high school, I got on a work release program, so I went to school from 8 to 11 in the morning, then I went out and worked at a martial arts school and mowed lawns and did the flea market thing.”

A Burning Desire to Help What began as a drive to make money and improve his personal situation transformed into financial success and the freedom that goes with it. Over the years, Horton has turned his attention to helping others discover their full potential — and not just by firewalking. In 2010, inspired by the popular Shark Tank television series, he created The Boardroom, a monthly event during which a rotating panel of successful entrepreneurs, business owners and investors gather to hear pitches from up-and-coming business owners.

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Success Snowballs for Sanger Entrepreneur


hen Blake Pyron and his mom, Mary Ann, first visited The Boardroom — Charles Horton’s answer to Shark Tank — they were hoping for some advice and a few connections. They got those things, but also found a friend and business mentor in Horton. “Mary Ann came to one of my seminars and she told her story about her son,” says Horton, recalling the first time he met the Pyrons. “He was born with Down syndrome and she really had to learn about it as she went. As Blake became an adult, she’d get him jobs but he’d lose them, so she decided to start a business for him.” In May 2016, when Mary Ann helped Blake start his snow cone business, Blake’s Snow Shack, her son became the first business owner in Texas with Down syndrome. One year later, the business was thriving, with one stand-alone shop in downtown Sanger and a portable road unit, but the Pyrons were ready to grow. All they needed was advice on how to make that happen. After auditioning for the popular TV series Shark Tank but not getting a callback, they decided to


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approach the Flower Mound version. “We went in hoping to get some connections and grow Blake’s business; we have definitely done that — and so much more.” “They didn’t need money,” says Horton. “They came out and gave a presentation. Some of the people in the audience heard their story and wanted to help. They were able to get them in with the Texas Rangers and some other places. What they really needed was advice.” Thanks, in part, to the advice, connections and mentoring they received via The Boardroom, sales at Blake’s Snow Shack have gone up 65 percent in just one year, and there’s more expansion planned. “Now [Blake is] a successful entrepreneur and they have five trucks,” says Horton. “They have a physical location and they go around doing shows. It’s a wonderful story, and it shows that anybody can make it work. You just have to have the passion to make it happen.” Mary Ann says the relationship they’ve developed with Horton is as important as the advice and connections they got. “Charles is all about helping other people reach their dreams,” she says. “When he says he wants to see people succeed, he truly does. He is so accessible and so down to earth; when he is on your side, he is all in.” In addition to a thriving business, 22-year-old Blake has a new circle of friends, a new sense of purpose and a new place in history. In March, he became the first business owner with Down syndrome to ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange, and that same week, he spoke at the United Nations about Down syndrome. The family has created the Blake Pyron Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund to help other young adults with Down syndrome start their own business. Mary Ann she says the experience has bolstered their confidence both from a business perspective and a personal one. “We wouldn’t be where we are now without Charles’s help,” she says, “and a lot of it was just lack of business confidence. We consider him not just our mentor, but part of the family. And because of him, we truly believe that the sky’s the limit for Blake’s Snow Shack.”

Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Pyron

With Charles Horton as mentor, Blake’s Snow Shack is on a roll.

Igniting the Secret Over the years, Horton has expanded his reach to offer corporate team coaching, mentoring and team development and life coaching. For nearly 20 years, he contemplated writing a book. Finally, he met Brown Books publisher Millie Brown and put his mind to the project in earnest. Working with local writer Tammy Kling, Horton shared the story of how he overcame significant personal challenges

to find success. In 2016, the book, Ignite the Secret: 19 Lessons in Business and Life, was published. Weaving firewalking and business into the narrative, it offers lessons to inspire others to make the most of their own situations. He also likes sharing business and life lessons in one-on-one settings. He says that much of his time these days is devoted to helping up-and-coming entrepreneurs find their footing. “That’s a passion for me, even though it doesn’t really make money,” he says. “But I love helping entrepreneurs. I do it practically every day.” He gets excited about seeing the results of his mentoring in other people and the success that follows. “I’ve trained over 2,000 firewalking instructors from around the world,” he says. “Seeing people taking these things and making them successful — that’s what gives me passion in life. My drive is all about seeing other people becoming successful — and if I make some money in the process, that’s great.”

We Keep You WI N N E R



Photo by Kevin Lynam

Unlike the TV show that inspired it, The Boardroom’s audience is invited to witness the entire process — and learn from it. “We started The Boardroom after watching Shark Tank and realizing it was very entertaining, but not so educational,” Horton says. “We thought this was a great way to educate entrepreneurs to do better. “This is about training people to be entrepreneurs and teaching them to have their goals and hit their goals.” Each presenter has 15 minutes to explain their concept, then the panel has 15 minutes to ask questions before the panel and audience of about 30 people offer input, advice and even connections. In some cases, presenters are looking for funding; other times, they just need advice on next steps. One of Horton’s favorite success stories from The Boardroom is Blake’s Snow Shack, a Sanger-based snow cone business that needed connections and guidance to expand. With Horton as a mentor, the business is thriving today (see sidebar).




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D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Left photo by Abigail Boatwright; right photo by Ed Steele

is the season for family, giving, shopping and enjoying that magical feeling in the air. Cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa and read on for Denton County traditions, seasonal stories and exciting holiday happenings for the whole family.

More than 3,000 visitors, from 17 different countries and 43 states have visited Judy Klein's unofficial museum in Sanger. Her collection includes more than 3,500 nativity scenes.

O Little Town… Bethlehem in Denton County offers visitors a wholly unique nativity experience in Sanger. BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT

Photos by Abigail Boatwright


ome people collect Christmas décor, display it throughout their home for the holiday season then pack it away. But when you’ve spent almost 40 years gathering more than 3,500 nativity scenes like Sanger, Texas, resident Judy Klein, you’re going to do things a little differently. Since 2000, Judy has been sharing the wonder of her nativity scenes in an unofficial museum on her property she calls Bethlehem in Denton County. Judy’s collection started in 1970 with a single nativity, a ceramic set she painted with her children. Next was a miniature nativity set in a tin can with dimestore figures — a gift from her great aunt. “And then there was another, and another one, and then another,” Judy said. “Friends began finding out that I enjoyed them and gave them to me as gifts. I volunteered to do a nativity ornament tree at

church. And it just went from there.” Judy’s children and friends, knowing her passion, send nativities from their travels. She also scours the internet for special pieces from around the world — her collection includes sets from at least 60 different countries. She seeks out unique crèche designs, like the one featuring all mice, the rubber duck version or nativities made of seashells or ash from Mt. St. Helen. In 1999, Judy’s late husband, Monroe, built her a building on the corner of their yard, and by the next holiday season, Judy’s treasures were on display and ready for official tours. Take a tour led by Judy, and you’ll find Christmas trees laden with nativity ornaments, elaborate scenes displayed in all their glory and shelves of pieces lined up in rows. She has nativities that are musical, nativities that are lighted, nativities that tell stories. Judy has a story or trivia for each scene. Her museum space has had to expand with two additional rooms. Visitors often ask who dusts the collection, and the answer is: none other than Judy the “mangermaid” herself. “Somebody has to dust,” Judy says with a laugh. “It’s a humbling position to be able to take care of these.”


If you’re interested in visiting this hidden gem, book a tour by calling 940-231-4520. Judy is, of course, busiest during the holiday season, but you can visit by appointment during any time of year. Expect to spend about 90 minutes perusing the treasures.

Judy is a member of a collector group called “Friends of the Crèche,” and her fellow collectors know that she approaches the hobby with a pure heart and a desire to share her faith with her community. More than 3,000 visitors from 17 different countries, 43 states and 142 Texas cities have come to marvel at Judy’s impressive collection. She’s filled a register book and is on to the next one. “It warms my heart when people bring other people to visit,” Judy says. “I give the children a magnifying glass and a list of things to look for, and they love getting to look through it.”

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Is Coming to Town After a divisive departure from Denton, the Krampus returns in 2018.


nce upon a time, ther e was a Chr istmas monster with long horns and goat-like features. He started hanging out with his pal St. Nicholas in places like Austria, Bavaria, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic around the 17th century — shaking chains, ringing bells and punishing kids who landed themselves on the naughty list. Some Austrian families keep Krampus-related décor in their homes year ’round to remind kids that good behavior matters… sort of like a less-needy Elf on the Shelf that lasts all year. More recently, the Krampus has started taking off in the U.S., appearing on The Colbert Report, starring in his own horror flick and hosting large gatherings in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and D.C. In 2011, the Krampus arrived in Denton. Krampus Arrives… and Departs Our local Krampus, played by Dallas Clifton, was a kinder, gentler version of the aggressively judgmental demon represented in European folklore. In fact, some would even say the Denton Krampus was a real sweetheart, spending months gathering toys, wrapping gifts and then distributing presents to more than 1,000 children on the Square. But that’s not to say he didn’t look scary. Clifton had fashioned a looming 10-foot Krampus out of a repurposed monkey costume, a football helmet and some doll parts. The enormous creature

had a moving jaw, a long red tongue and hooves the size of your head. He was imposing, and therein was the problem for some community members. Krampus has a holiday of his own, Krampusnacht or Krampustag. Unfortunately for the Denton Krampus, his holiday and the tree-lighting festival on the Square were not exactly a match made in heaven. Without getting bogged down in too much sensitive history, suffice it to say that there were some scared kids, angry community members (on both sides of the debate), permitting issues, hurt feelings and online death threats. It got a touch messy and dramatic, and by 2015, the Denton Krampus was gone from the Square, having been deemed too spooky for the outdoor space and too giant to fit inside indoor spaces that wanted to host the creature. The Denton Krampus Collective After original Denton Krampus Dallas Clifton hung up his horns, many thought the city had lost the quirky character for good. Enter the Denton Krampus Collective, a Facebook group started last December by Dr. Shaun Treat with fellow admin and Bearded Monk owner Ben Esely. “Krampus has always fascinated me,” says Treat, “so I got [Dallas Clifton’s] blessing. I told him I’d love to start something or keep it going somehow.” Esley says he got involved because “I grew up in a household with some German and Swiss heritage. Though we didn’t celebrate

Photo courtesy of Shaun Treat

Bearded Monk owner Ben Esely (left) and Dr. Shaun Treat (right) started the online Denton Krampus Collective Group in the hopes of bringing Krampus back to Denton. On December 5, their dreams are becoming reality.


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’Tis the Season…

to Spend Money

Dallas Clifton's original Denton version of the Krampus was deemed a little too scary for family events, but some residents loved the tradition.

Photo by Ed Steele

Christmas with Krampus, I was aware of the lore. So when we started creating our weird events at The Bearded Monk, I had to include Krampusnacht in our calendar.” The virtual group started brainstorming ways to bring Krampus back to Denton. “I’ve got a really great support network,” says Treat. “The Krampus Society, who are the ones that put on the Krampus walk in Dallas, has several members that live up here. We’ve been putting our heads together to try to create something that’s cool but works around the parameters. We don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.” The 2018 Return Esley has a wish list for this year’s Krampusnacht event in Denton, and Treat says, “I’ve got a big idea that I’m trying to get done,” but the plan right now is to start small and dream big. The event is December 5 (8 p.m.) at The Bearded Monk. This year’s Krampusnacht falls on a Wednesday, several days after the family-friendly tree lighting ceremony. “I’m going to try to own Krampusnacht,” Treat says. “We’ll start small, but we can take it through the weekend and do some cool things. We’re going to try to do something new with it, oriented more toward grown-ups. I’ve been having a lot of negotiations with people behind the scenes, and there are a lot of things to work out, but I can say with full confidence that Krampusnacht in Denton will have some special surprises.” Want to help welcome the horned beast back for the holiday season? Join the Facebook Denton Krampus Collective group for updates and announcements, or just show up to The Bearded Monk on Krampusnacht. “You can have a costume,” says Treat, “You don’t have to have a costume. You can have a mask. It doesn’t matter. Just show up for shenanigans.”


ow much do you spend on holiday gift giving? The National Retail Federation expects Americans to drop about $717 on presents in 2018 — up from $688 in 2017. Personal finance website got more specific. It calculated the maximum holiday budgets for 570 U.S. cities based on metrics such as income, debt-to-income ratio, income-to-monthly-expenses ratio, age and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio. Denton’s 2017 (most recent available) holiday budget was $613 per person, and Lewisville’s was $668. Flower Mound (at $1,825) was not just the highest in Denton County but also the 16th highest in the entire nation. In Texas, only Sugar Land ($2,368), League City ($2,225) and Allen ($2,163) had higher recommended holiday budgets. For comparison’s sake, Dallas came in at $534, Fort Worth at $657, Plano at $1,543 and Carrollton at $1,253. Wherever you live, remember: It’s the thought that counts… but try telling that to the kids after they unwrap hand-made sweaters instead of the latest gaming system.

HOLIDAY BUDGETS Sugar Land - $2,368 League City - $2,225 Allen - $2,163 Flower Mound - $1,825 Plano - $1,543 Carrollton - $1,253 Lewisville - $668 Ft. Worth - $657 Denton - $613 Dallas - $534

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Anatomy of a



s the temperatures begin to drop, the excitement heats up in Denton as the Courthouse-on-the-Square begins the countdown to the annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival. We went behind the scenes and between the wires to find out what makes this luminous festival tick as it gears up for its 30th anniversary on November 30.


Year the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival began

20-30 Years

The expected lifespan of the current Nellie R. Stevens Holly tree that is the centerpiece of this year’s festival

12 Months

Time it takes to plan the festival



Although Denton County and the City of Denton are major sponsors, the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival has always been a volunteer-run event. The Denton Holiday Festival Association, Inc. (DHFA), established in 1988, is a notfor-profit 501(c)(3) organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. uu The tree is a Nellie R. Stevens Holly. It is never cut down, but was purchased live from a tree nursery and grows in the lawn. uu Premier Christmas, a full-service Christmas light installation company, holds the contract for lighting the tree this year. uu Although Santa Claus is the biggest celebrity to attend the festival, other musical guests have included Sara Jaffe, Jeffrey Barnes, Bubba Hernandez, Taste of Herb, Little Jack uu


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Photo by Bellissimo Foto

Year the original cedar tree was planted in the southeast corner lawn. The tree was dedicated to Lee Walker, the county commissioner of precinct #1, who had passed away earlier that year. Denton County purchased a replacement tree after the cedar tree ran its course.

Melody, Eric Pulido of Midlake and BNQT, Bubba Turner, Boxcar Bandits, UNT Brazilian Percussion Ensemble, John Murphy, UNT Jazz Singers, Bonnie and Nick Norris, David J. Pierce and the Holiday Lighting Orchestra, and many more. uu The brass-faced commemorative 30th Anniversary ornament this year was produced by the Charleston Mint and is made with 24K gold. uu “Jingle Bells” is the secret code word that grants riders free access on the A-train from MedPark Station to Downtown Denton. Just mention it to the operator. uu Along with wassail and hot chocolate, other favorite festival foods include tamales, pizza, kettle corn, hot dogs and corn dogs. This year there will be a line of food trucks parked along the Square and at the Historical Park.



Number of people on the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival board.

Number of horsedrawn carriages rented from Rustic Rides this year to carry guests through the Square


Price for the annual lighting of the holly tree



Number of children who received gifts last year thanks to generous donations from festival attendees

Top left photo by Bellissimo Foto; top right and middle right photos by Blumenshine Photos

Price for the quarterly lighting maintenance of the surrounding pecan trees


Number of strings on the guitar of the iconic “Little d� Christmas ornament.


2-3 Feet

The amount the holly tree grows each year

Approximate attendance of the 2017 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival

25 Feet

The height the tree will reach at peak maturity

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Holiday Happenings


ree lightings, Santa sightings, wreath and gingerbread house crafting, wassail sampling, Thanksgiving runs and Christmas shopping days — Denton County certainly knows how to get festive. Here are some of the best bets to help you celebrate the season.

Argyle Holiday Shopping Extravaganza

to the North Pole during this holiday-themed ride

Where: Argyle High School,

in coorperation with the DCTA. Limited tickets

When: Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 191 Hwy. 377S, Argyle

presented by The Greater Denton Arts Council available (last year’s event sold out). Proceeds

Get your shopping done early at this annual

go to support life-saving services for victims of

event to benefit Project Graduation. More than

sexual and domestic violence in Denton County.

80 vendors and shops will offer clothing, home décor, cookware, handbags, art, food and much more. Admission is free.

Christmas Craft Fair

When: Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Where: Zera Coffee, 420 E. McKinney St.,

4th Annual Downtown Denton Turkey Trot

Suite 106, Denton

Where: 322 E. McKinney, Denton

browse more than 20 vendors.

When: Nov. 22, 9 a.m.

Registration is open for this annual 5K by the Denton Area Running Club.

Grab some unique holiday gifts from some of the area’s best crafters. Enjoy live music and

Breakfast With Santa

When: Dec. 1, 8-9 a.m., or 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Keep Denton Warm Thanksgiving Day Drive

Where: 1200 Gerault Road, Flower Mound

Where: Game Changer Sports and Arcade

photos with Santa. Pre-registration is required.

When: Nov. 22

Grill, 122 W. Mulberry, Denton Be thankful for what you have and generous to those less fortunate by donating your gently used winter wear. If you stick around to watch Thanksgiving football, a percentage of your bill will go to help homeless people in Denton County.

Kids up to age 10 can enjoy a magical pancake breakfast, share their wish lists and take

Gingerbread House Decorating When: Dec. 1, 2 p.m.

Where: 1200 Gerault Road, Flower Mound Bring the whole family to create holiday memories at this fun gingerbread house event. Decorating materials, treats and gingerbread are provided, and you’ll need to pre-register.

Winter Friends and Holiday Wreaths When: Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Bridlewood Golf Club, 4000 W. Windsor Drive, Flower Mound Learn to make your own gorgeous evergreen

Lighting up the Season When: Dec. 1, 5 p.m.

Where: City Hall; 212 Main St., Lake Dallas This festive event features performances by

Christmas Spectacular Light Show

When: Dec. 1–Jan. 6, starting at 5:30 p.m. Where: Central Fire Station, 4900 Blair Oaks Drive, The Colony The festive lights come to life every night, dancing to choreographed music and delighting the whole family.

Christmas at the Beach

When: Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9 Where: Little Elm Park, 701 W. Eldorado Parkway, Little Elm Visit Santa Land, a village set featuring elves, Mrs. Claus and the bearded one himself. The light-up parade takes place at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 followed by the official tree lighting and fireworks. See live reindeer on Dec. 2, and get photos with Santa on any of the four days.

Corinth’s Annual Tree Lighting When: Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

Where: City Hall, 3300 Corinth Pkwy., Corinth Deck the (city) halls! Enjoy an evening of carols, crafts, companionship and more.

Hometown Christmas Tree Lighting When: Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m.

Where: 301 South Main St., Aubrey Bring the whole family for pictures with Santa, music and the annual tree lighting.

Sounds of the Holidays When: Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Murchison Performing Arts Center,

student and church choirs, hot chocolate and

2100 N. I-35E, Denton (or watch online)

cookies, pics with Santa and, of course, the

The UNT Concert Orchestra and combined

to attend.

illumination of the tree.

choirs present festive carols and holiday

Wassail Fest

Holiday in the Park

Where: Downtown Denton

Where: Perryman Park,

wreath and leave with some new friends. You do not need to be a member of the golf club

When: Nov. 30–Dec. 1 Here we come a-wassailing! More than 40 businesses make their own version of wassail (a sort of mulled cider, made in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions) to compete for brag-

When: Dec. 1

4930 S. Colony Blvd., The Colony Activities at this popular annual event include photos with Santa, a Parade ofLights, festive holiday music and performances, carnival games

ging rights, as judged by festival attendees.

and rides, a holiday baking contest and more.

Sample wassail on Friday evening while you

Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade

celebrate at the Holiday Lighting Festival or on Saturday while you shop and enjoy the tour of historic homes.

When: Dec. 1, 6 p.m.

Where: Oak Street in Roanoke This year’s parade theme is “Christmas Songs

The Holiday Express

& Stories.” With Victorian costumes, cookies

Where: 400 E. Hickory St., Denton

post-parade fireworks show, this annual event

When: Dec. 1, 8 a.m.

The DCTA A-train transforms into a festive ride


for the kids, photos with Father Christmas and is sure to delight.

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classics with a full orchestra and more than 300 voices. Tickets are sold out, but you can enjoy it live online while you sip hot cocoa at home.

Christmas in the Park When: Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Independence Field, 501 Parkview Drive, Trophy Club This free outdoor event features holiday songs, stories, crafts and treats for all the kids on Santa’s “nice” list. Santa himself will, of course, be in attendance.


Open for Business


xciting businesses are always opening in our growing county. Welcome these new businesses to our community by paying them a visit.

SkyeLight Coffee Company and Soul Fire Brewing Co., 206 N. Oak St., Roanoke, and Get your craft coffee and craft beer in one location. It’s a brewer’s paradise! Coffee specialists Kimberly Neufeld and Ian Mackinnon are bringing their Rainfall method of cold-brew coffee creation — previously available at their locations in Denton and Flower Mound — to pep up Roanoke. In the same building, award-winning beer brewers Aaron Bennett and James C. Brown will offer a variety of seasonal, limited-release and rare beers at Soul Fire. Ten: One Artisan Cheese, 515 S. Locust St., Denton, 940320-5639. Who doesn’t love cheese? This new artisan cheese shop (so named for the 10 pounds of milk required to make one pound of cheese) offers cheeseboards with wine and beer pairings, baked offerings from Ravelin Bakery and a wide variety of cheeses sure to please any turophile (cheese lover!). Lion & Crown, 101 W. Hickory St., Denton. It may not be open by publication date, but it won’t be long until Denton gets a jolly good new British pub. Lion & Crown, which has one location in Addison and another in Allen, is moving into the space that once housed the Abbey Inn and Abbey Underground. Freaks and Geeks, 1807 N. Elm St., Denton, 940-243-3148. This shop of games, comic books, collectibles, vinyl records, trading cards and more isn’t new, but it is in a new, expanded location. Stop in seven days a week to score a vintage video game cartridge or rare action figure. Duluth Trading Company, 3651 N. Interstate 35, Denton, 940-220-7200. This clothing retailer specializes in apparel for outdoor-lovers. This 12,000-square-foot space is the Wisconsinbased company’s second Texas location. Ambro’s Tacos y Más, 208 E. McKinney St., Denton, 940-2182078. This fast-casual dining establishment serves Mexican favorites using local and organic products whenever possible. Visit Northern Tool and Equipment, 3601 N. Interstate 35, Denton, 940-230-2652. This nationwide chain’s most newest location offers portable generators, pressure washers, air compressors, power tools, welding equipment and many other products. N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



North Texas Drag Queen Bingo

North Texas Drag Queen Bingo

When: December 9 Where: Cross Roads Bar, 1125 E. University, Denton As organizers say, “this ain’t your grandma’s bingo.” Attendees from young to old, gay or straight — no, you don’t need to be a drag queen to go — are encouraged to dress up and decorate their tables. Be prepared to be entertained by the Drag Divas of Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth. There will be surprise guests, musical interludes and jokes galore. Up to $2,000 in prizes will be awarded. General admission tickets are $25, and VIP tickets that include a pre-event reception, a drink ticket and finger food are $35.


EST. 1970

Design your own look with a custom sportcoat or suit from Jack Victor. | 200 W. Oak St. Denton, TX | Mon.-Sat 10am-6pm | (940)387-0761


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price but will be available for purchase. Tickets are available at pintwistparties. com.

2018 Turkey Roll Bicycle Rally

When: November 17 Where: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 2255 N. Brae St., Denton Pre-burn those extra Thanksgiving calories and support your community! This annual bike race has various lengths, from 8 to 68 miles. All proceeds benefit the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club, which helps fund eight youth leadership clubs and the club’s Tiny Libraries project, which provides books for children.

Beaujolais & More

When: November 15 Where: Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St. Have a taste of the famous French wine Beaujolais Nouveau while sampling bites from Denton’s best restaurants and caterers. In addition to the featured wine, this annual fundraiser for the Campus

Theater will also have other wine and craft beer tastings available. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. This event is for ages 21 and up.

Pinterest Night Out

When: November 12 Where: Urbano Enchilada Taco Bar, 1121 Flower Mound Rd., #570, Flower Mound If you always seem to pin fun crafts on Pinterest but never get around to making them, here’s your chance to get one done while having a fun night out. With the ticket price of $43, all supplies, materials and instructions are included to produce a whimsical reversible Thanksgiving/ Christmas decorative sign. Bring a friend and create some new holiday décor. Food and drinks are not included in the ticket

Little Shop of Horrors

When: November 9-11 Where: Denton Community Theater, 214 W. Hickory St., Denton Take in a showing of this musical comedy based on the cult classic movie of the same name where timid floral shop assistant Seymour discovers an evil plant from outer space. He names her Audrey II and soon realizes she needs more than water to survive. The offbeat humor and catchy music of Little Shop of Horrors is bound to have you laughing and engaged until the very end.

Expert Advice

INTEGRITY • HONESTY • TRUST It’s How We Run Our Practice. It’s Who We Are. • Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations • Pre-School Hearing & Vision Screenings • Balance Testing • Auditory Processing Screening • Hearing Aid Evaluations & Fittings JUDITH A. CAUDLE, AU.D. CHRIS D. CAUDLE, AU.D. KATIE L BESSENT, AU.D. DOCTORS OF AUDIOLOGY

N OT YO U R AV E R AG E F E E D S TORE! Come in today for fresh feed, friendly faces & service with a smile! LARGEST SELECTION OF POULTRY BREEDS IN NORTH TEXAS...YEAR ROUND!

• Hay • Feed • Bedding • Live Poultry • Lawn and Garden Supplies • Organics • Pet Food • Animal Health • Organic & Soy Free NON GMO Feed

Farm and Home Denton 3105 Fort Worth Dr., Denton, TX 76205 940-891-0100 |

Owned and operated by local Argyle family

The Doctors You Have Trusted For Over 35 Years

2540 Lillian Miller Pkwy Ste 100 Denton, TX 940-387-0550 •

Happy Holidays Serving ALL of Southern Denton County! Same day delivery!




See&Do Taste of Corinth


When: November 10 Where: Millenium Place Pet friendly, kid friendly, food and

free — what more could you want? Enjoy food and drink trucks while shopping and enjoying live music from three bands. A kid’s zone will include bounce houses, face painting, slides, an obstacle course and more. For a little early holiday magic, take a spin around the synthetic ice skating rink.

Denton Wine Walk

When: November 28/December 19 Where: Denton Downtown Square The last Wednesday evening of each month, head to the Denton Square for the Denton Wine Walk. Purchase a $10 wine glass and get free wine samples from participating area merchants around the Square. Visit at least six of the listed stops and you have a chance to win up to $700 in prizes donated by local Denton merchants. Wine glasses can be purchased online or the day of the event. Look for the red tables at the corner of the Square.

HOME • AUTO • FARM COMMERCIAL • LIFE • UMBRELLA The Most Unique Store You Will Find Anywhere • Clothes • Gifts • Shoes • Boots • • Jewelry • Home Decor •

Ricky & Susie Schertz


by Jeremy Hutcherson 160 Colleges, Pro Teams and Armed Services


Schertz Insurance Agency 1213 Primrose Lane # 102 Denton, TX 76201 Office: (940) 891-4803 Fax: (940)380-0425

Tiffany Schertz Cooper


D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8



Kris Schertz


For Eternity…


Roselawn Memorial Park is staffed with a caring team who is available to assist you in selecting from many burial options, for both full body and cremated remains. To learn more, call and make an appointment. All are welcome. Call to meet with a Pre-Planning Advisor, 940-382-5532

, INC.

“A Perpetual Care Cemetery”


We LIVE UNITED 4 Denton County

1 2 3 4


to advocate for overall


to guide and

Wide variety of styles and sizes of breast forms & bras in-stock & in most sizes.


No need to travel to D-FW to get one of the best selections in this area of Texas.

to make



Experienced, credentialed fitters. Medicare, Advantage plans and private insurance accepted.

#UNITED 4 DentonCounty


to help

2317 W. University Drive, Suite 101 Denton, Texas 76201 • 940-484-0228



Western Living Realty, Jeff Taylor Real Estate

Jeff Taylor Agent

We greatly enjoy matching our clients with great home options. Believe it or not, it is fun to bring our clients into their dream home and to share in their excitement.




Billy Lovell Broker

SERVICES OFFERED Worldwide Destinations River and Ocean Cruises Family Travel Romance Travel Destination Weddings Group Travel Corporate Incentive Travel Guided and Independent Travel Custom Itineraries


Owner/Agent 940-383-1528

Serving all of your travel needs.

Independently owned and operated since 2003.


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See&Do When: December 6 Where: Roanoke Public Library, 308 S. Walnut Street, Roanoke Billed as a “reintroduction to make-believe for adults,� this guided session lets attendees learn, explore and play with classically trained theatrical clowns from the Circus Freaks performing company. Creative play will allow the development of authentic moments that can be polished into original performance material. This event is suitable for teens and adults and might be especially helpful for role-playing gamers, improvisers, actors, public speakers, storytellers and teachers.

Special Needs Swim Event

When: December 15 Where: AquaKids Swim School Flower Mound, 3409 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound This free event is exclusively for children

with special needs and their families. From 1:15 to 3 p.m., families can enjoy an hour of free swimming followed by a 45-minute party. Pizza, snacks and drinks will be provided by AquaKids. Attendees will have full private access to two indoor heated pools and tube slides. RSVPs are required to ensure adequate food and staff. Contact

Kids Night Out

When: December 21 Where: Flower Mound Community Activity Center, 1200 Gerault Rd, Flower Mound Parents can enjoy some last-minute solo shopping or a date night while the kids have fun swimming, eating pizza and watching a movie. Pre-registration is required, and children ages 5 to 12 are welcome to attend. Cost is $15 per child for members of the Community Activity Center and $17 for nonmembers. Bring a swimsuit and a towel.


TRUNK SHOW Hundreds of unique, one of a kind Fashion and Bridal Designs, on displays for one day only!

NOVEMBER 29TH 12 PM TO 8 PM Experience Special Financing Offers and same day offers available in store! For appointments call (940)565-5252 1800 Brinker Road #100 Denton, TX 76208 *Special Financing is subject to Credit Approval



Go Make Play!




















15 16










Across 1. A star of our cover story 5. Brand of cereal or jerky 10. Sharpen 11. Caesar, for one 12. Ye ____ Shoppe 13. Without help 14. It gives the meat on pages 36–39 its flavor 16. Records sold at Freaks and Geeks (page 73) 17. "___ Only Live Twice" 18. Blake's business name (see page 64) 24. Bonnie's bad beau 25. Healing plant 26. A homer clears them 27. Egyptian river 28. Heat metal 29. Primatologist Fossey Stumped? Follow Denton County Magazine on Facebook for the answers.

Down 1. It gets served in a mess hall 2. Prefix meaning "entire" 3. Prefix meaning "inner" 4. Our cover photo was shot in the old Lewisville ____ Mill 5. He's staging a holiday return to Denton this year 6. Caramel/chocolate candy brand 7. Berserk 8. Roof topper 9. Opposite of WSW 15. Least speedy 17. Sing from a mountaintop 18. Close loudly 19. Where Blake rang the bell (page 64) 20. Bit of help 21. Homonym of the word that tripped up Abhijay (page 11) 22. Pepsi or Coke 23. Sharpened 24. The eye network

LIVING ROOM dream in western

DREAM IN WESTERN? YOUR DREAM HAS COME TRUE Customized, high-end Ranch & Western furniture and accessories




now with a storefront off the square


18 months financing* *Subject to credit approval. Minimum monthly payments required

Store Hours


D E N T O N CO U N T Y N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Monday - Saturday 10am - 6pm Sunday by appt 207 N Elm Street Suite 101, Denton TX 76201. Just Off the Square




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