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IRDC Hot Spots

Now a Dallas denizen, a former VMSD editor shares her picks for local shopping, dining and nightlife.




It’s been eight months since I packed up my studio apartment, bid farewell to the offices of VMSD and headed south of the Mason-Dixon to Dallas.

Confession: I never, ever thought I’d live in Texas. I don’t like the word “ya’ll,” I’m not a Cowboys fan and, even after some careful explaining, I’m still not quite sure what chicken-fried steak is, let alone if I even want to try it. Nonetheless, here I am. (Love makes you do crazy things.)

When I arrived in the Big D, I was determined to find what makes this city tick. It’s no big secret that Dallas has an impressive roster of retail names. (Insert shameless plug here: Visit them all during IRDC September 23-25!) But I was looking to uncover a few gems on my own.

The Uptown neighborhood is chock full of restaurants, boutiques, bars and a free trolley that shuttles you downtown and back. One of my fave eateries is the Bronx Café. The cozy restaurant has been around for three decades (famous chef Stephan Pyles started there as a waiter) and serves up very well-priced entrees in small, separated, dimly lit dining rooms.

For a higher-end experience, visit Hotel ZaZa. The luxury hotel has fine dining in its leather-clad Dragonfly restaurant (half-off dinner on Wednesday nights) and poolside cocktails at its chic Urban Oasis lounge. Nearby is the West Village, where the upscale outdoor living boutique Gardens sells eco-friendly clothing and other easy-to-carry items like seeds, Japanese Horikawa incense and amazing soaps and lotions.

If you have a chance to hop on the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), check out Union Station, the renovated passenger rail station with sweeping arched windows built in 1916 in the Beaux-Arts Classicism architectural style. Or ride up to Mockingbird Station where limited-edition art toys and apparel retailer KidRobot just opened a hip, urban store.


 With all the impressive retail, I sometimes forget that I’m deep in the heart of Texas. At least until they make me sing it during the seventh-inning stretch of a Rangers game.



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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