Put Some Gay In Your Day, Dallas!

The Quad Squad

Everybody loves a good comeback story, whether it’s the hotter-than-ever Mickey Rourke (blech!), a once-jilted Bachelor bimbo who’s suddenly the woman of the moment, or the rebirth of skinny jeans.

In Dallas, we’re used to white-hot neighborhoods coming and going sometimes seemingly overnight, and the Quadrangle is no exception. Once the “it” destination in Uptown, it featured great restaurants, chic retail stores and hip nightspots in both the Quadrangle proper and the surrounding area. The doors closed on many of our favorite hangouts as they either moved to newer parts of town or shuttered themselves forever. Suddenly the Quadrangle wasn’t a premier destination.

But now, it’s poised for a renaissance, even in these uncertain times, thanks to three restaurants that are already keeping valets busy and adding a newfound energy to the neighborhood. Welcome back, Quadder!

Bella Bar & Restaurant
Not only do we thrill at triumphant comebacks, but also amazing makeovers. Housed in the former Mooyah (which was Tin Star before that), you’d hardly even recognize the place after its sleek transformation into Bella. What was once the order counter is now a fully stocked bar that shines like the north star over a manger. We like a place that makes the bar its focal point.

As far as food goes, the little-bit-of-everything-but-not-too-much-of-anything variety is just right. Skip the lackluster Wild Mushroom Pizza (gooey and undercooked, it was a little gag-inducing). But the sandwiches are real stunners here, primarily because of the amazing Parmesan Fries that go with them. In this case, the sandwich is actually the side dish. And that’s just fine by us.

Bella Bar & Restaurant
2626 Howell Street, Dallas
(214) 855-5001

Cremona Bistro
Fire, schmire. As Chumbawumba so eloquently put it back in ’97, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” When its original location went up in flames last summer, we feared we’d seen the last of this bastion of solid, pedestrian Italian favorites. Yet here it is in the beautiful old house that long ago held another local legend, Johnny Orleans Pasta Kitchen. After several failed restaurants since, it’s good to see the building emitting Italian aromas once again, and the Cremona pedigree should ensure its success.

Pastas here are hearty, rich and flavorful. This is the kind of place where it’s OK to order Spaghetti & Meatballs. And if you don’t know your pasta varieties, the menu, as always, has a nice little picture of each shape so you know what you’re getting yourself into. As with the fries at Bella, here the simple, perfect garlic bread is the headliner. We just can’t get enough. Perhaps we’re depriving ourselves of too many carbs. We sense a theme developing.

Cremona Bistro
2704 Worthington, Dallas

Hully & Mo Restaurant Tap Room
Sure, we admit, we were lured into this swank eatery by the name. Something about it just seemed to scream, “GAY!” Well, it’s more of a frat-boy-turned-9-to-5-corporate-drone kind of hangout, but that’s fine by us. They’re good to look at, even though the tie-over-the-shoulder technique makes us giggle. Are you really that messy when you eat out? (Hmmm….we’ll put that to the test later.)

Named after owners Brett Hull and Mike Modano (whom we’re told are sports stars of some sort), the space is dimly lit and super sexy (especially if autographed jerseys get you off).

But feast your protein needs on the burger. Quite possibly, this could be one of the best burgers anywhere in Dallas. Cooked precisely to order, this half-pound wonder is worth any years it may take off your life. There’s no need to even add extras such as bacon, avocado or mushrooms.

Now if we can just get them to switch off ESPN and put on Gossip Girl, we’d be some happy, happy Mo’s.

Hully & Mo Restaurant Tap Room
2800 Routh Street, Dallas
(214) 954-0203