As a gallon of gas rapidly approaches the price of a gallon of Absolut, we must not sit idly by and crawl into a recession-fueled hole. It’s time to take action as a community and finally say NO to “the man.” And that means saving money on our booze budget by taking our own hooch to some of the city’s greatest hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Sure, none of these places are fancy (far from it), but the food is fantastic and that’s really all that matters.
Following are our picks, across a wide spectrum of gastronomic genres, for Dallas’ top BYOB spots.
Chinese: Jeng Chi
You gotta love a restaurant that not only hangs up tacky art, but keeps it wrapped in cellophane, complete with cardboard corner protectors. Now that we’ve set the proper ambience for you, pull up a virtual chair and feast upon the best dumplings in town. Steamed, fried, veggie, meaty, fishy. You name it, they’ve got it (and they’re available fresh-frozen to go). But it’s not just stuffed dough balls here. They’ve got some pretty kick-ass Chinese fare that will leave you with withdrawals for days. Order lots of choices and share.
BYOB Pairing: Tsingtao Lager or Takasago Ginga Shizuku Divine Droplets
400 N. Greenville Avenue, Richardson
Country Cookin’: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
Fried chicken and a bevy of bad-for-you vegetables (yes, there is such a thing). Skip the salad (iceberg and sugary dressing) and focus on the deep-fried chicken boobs. Don’t even think about dessert. Or living to 55.
BYOB Pairing: Natural Light. In the can. (Alternate: Franzia White Zinfandel. In the box.)
Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
1456 Belt Line Road, Garland
Italian: Campania Pizza & More
Few things in life are better than pizza and beer, and Campania has some of the best pizza anywhere. Even Italy. Seriously. The Sorrento (mashed potatoes, sausage, and fresh basil with mozzarella): OMG. Sounds weird, but it’s delightful. Or create your own gigantic pie with choices from over 30 delectable toppings.
BYOB Pairing: Birra Moretti
3800 McKinney Avenue, Dallas
Mediterranean: Food From Galilee
The more you drink, the funnier the word falafel sounds. Gyros, hummus and other traditional Mediterranean dishes are top-notch and the name reminds us of Sunday School Bible stories, which makes us crave more wine.
BYOB Pairing: Warwick Estate Pinotage 2005
Food From Galilee
6710 Snider Plaza, Dallas
Mexican: Herrera's Mexican Restaurant
This Maple staple is a bargain oasis in the midst of an Uptown/Oak Lawn glut of $14 margaritas and $16 enchiladas. Not only can you BYO beer, but also your own margaritas! We’d be happy enough to sit and eat their perfect tortilla chips, but they’d probably frown on us munching freebies and toting our own cooler full of margs. So, try two of our faves: the crispy beef tacos and sour cream enchiladas. ¡Sabroso!
BYOB Pairing: Corzo Añejo Tequila with Stirrings “Simply Margarita” mix
Herrera’s Mexican Restaurant
4001 Maple Avenue, Dallas
Thai: Thai Noodle & Rice
Pad Kee Mao. Wow. Dubbed “Thai Spicy Beef” on the menu for you English speakers in the crowd. And save room for the Purple Sticky Rice dessert. Looks like poop, tastes like happiness.
BYOB Pairing: Singha Lager
Thai Noodle & Rice
2634 N. Fitzhugh Avenue, Dallas
Lock. Take. Hide. You’ve seen the signs and this is one place to take heed, but the constantly packed parking lot full of Mercedes, BMWs and Land Rovers proves that there’s likely somebody else they’ll rob first. It’s not just dinner, it’s an adventure! Many selections here are outstanding, including curry hot pots, killer spring rolls, delicious soups and tons of vegetarian dishes, all served on no-frills diner melamine.
BYOB Pairing: Dog House Wine, Patches’ 2006 Pinot Grigio
4812 Bryan Street, Dallas