Anna

I have to thank my friend Mo for her suggestion for a place to grab a bite to eat in Anna. I had to go to Blue Ridge to meet one of her people at their offices. I then had to drive back to 75/Central Expressway and was planning on heading south back toward Dallas. She suggested that, instead, I had north and go a few miles to Anna because a little Italian restaurant off the highway.

She said that she was in McKinney marketing her horse boarding stables and was told by one of her prospects about this Italian place. I was told by her to try the garlic bread (knots)… and she was right! They were delicious.

It is on the west side of 75, so I plan to go back despite the long drive for me to get there. The restaurant was able to seat a large party when I was in there, and everyone appeared to have a good time. Hopefully a party of five will have fun and enjoy the food as much as I did!

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Farmers Branch

I went to see my friend Devin the other day in the latter part of the morning at his office in Farmers Branch. Since he has so many cool things at his office, including a life-size replica of a character from the HALO video game (!), the meeting lasted longer than I had planned. His office deals with CNC milling, custom fabrication, 3D printing, CAD engineering, concept art and 3D modeling for a number of businesses. What kept both of us talking for much longer than we had planned was how he integrates all of the above for his clients, especially those into the entertainment and trade show/conference industry.

For example, his office is one of the few which can handle the initial designing, fabrication, and strategies for application for these types of clients. One such example is how he is able to blend everything together to become one of the few all-in-one-stop places which creates event props in Dallas Fort Worth as well as the nearby regions such as Northwest Louisiana or the Austin region.

We were having such a fun conversation that it ran right into lunch time. Since the Addison lunch restaurants and Belt Line road likely were to be filled with traffic, I asked him about some of the restaurant places near his office in Farmers Branch. He gave me some suggestions, and I chose a nearby cafe which seems to deal primarily with office workers in that stretch of commercial/warehouse locations west of the Tollway and east of Midway off of Alpha, Spring Valley, and the nearby streets. The place surprisingly was delicious, service was good, and the price wasn’t too bad. I will go back when I next visit him as the eatery had a good energy about it.

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Richardson

A close friend took me out for lunch the other day in Richardson.  We wanted to find a place that offered a chance to talk, use wi-fi, and allow me to eat steak on at least one of the menu items.  This is not always easy to find, despite what you may think!

It was interesting as we ended up at a place where the people next to us were talking about how they didn’t like smoke when they go out to certain clubs and bars.  Since one of my friend’s company’s services offers Dallas smoke odor removal, from “cars to bars” as she puts it (!), we started talking with the other party at the restaurant.

We actually ended up having a terrific conversation and the service was kind enough to let us adjust tables so we could look at the computer together and go over a few things on the screen.  The place split up the checks properly and didn’t even let us put back the tables as they wanted us to have a good time.  Oh yes, the steak was pretty good too!

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Bishop Arts

My friend Steve has an office in the Bishop Arts area of town.  Since it takes a bit to find the area, especially if one lives in North Dallas or Collin County, I had no idea of what “buried treasures” were there in terms of fun restaurants, great atmosphere and good food.

After we left a meeting at his office, where he runs a Dallas augmented reality marketing and experiential marketing agency, all of us went for a walk to find these hidden treasures.  There were fun coffee shops, cool stores, and then we found a place which offered some terrific steak!

The best part is that the food can combine great quality, good service and a laid-back attitude even when discussing advanced business topics.  We were able to laugh out loud and not stand out… because other people were having their own fun conversations.

If you haven’t been there, I recommend you check out some of the fun places in Bishop Arts.  You might be surprised at what you find!

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Lake Dallas

My friend Stephen was telling me about some fun places to eat which most people don’t know about in the western part of DFW.  He was working on a Lake Dallas foundation repair job and found a few family-style restaurants which he said were tremendous.  I don’t get out to that part of DFW often, so I made a quick note about the names of the places and where they were located.

He was right…. I should have gotten there quickly!  The food was fantastic!

Service was friendly, and the waiting time wasn’t too bad.  But the food just tasted amazing, especially for a place where you wouldn’t normally expect there to be terrific quality food.  The staff said that their being a “hidden treasure” added to the fun of the place, but I told them that they needed more exposure as the basic foods – chicken, vegetables, rice, etc. – all seemed to pop with great flavor.

We will see if they decide to gain more awareness.  But I have to thank Stephen for helping me find a hidden gem tucked away in the Lake Dallas area!

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Lakewood

I have to thank my friend Larry for telling me about some little, “golden nuggets” types of places in the Lakewood area.  When I have been in the area we were talking about ways to reach more people to come to his practice, and he suggested some places to eat that were around the corner.  His suggestions were actually pretty terrific as there was a mixture of food styles including the types of places you don’t see in the growing areas of Dallas – which traditionally are national franchise chains.

There was some Italian food (not always easy to find good Italian in DFW!), some delicious Asian food places, and – of course (!) – some terrific places serving bar food.  While many eateries come and go in the Dallas area, it is great to eat at places that have been around at least 5-10 years and have loyal followings at multiple times during the day.  Again, I want to give thanks to Larry for his suggestions and finding some hidden gems in Lakewood!

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Prosper

I have to thank my friend Jimmy who introduced me to some fun little places to eat along the Highway 380 border separating McKinney and Prosper.  He finds these little, out of the way places, which have some terrific food and nice people who are the staff.  He has some favorites on both sides of the 380 dividing line including little places tucked away in Prosper as well as on the Custer/380 intersection, including a Mexican restaurant whose salsa is actually pretty good!

The best part is that the places he finds allow you to be yourself, so you don’t have to worry about having to be scrutinized for what you wear nor do you have to be overly-reserved.  If you want to go out and laugh with your friends or family then the places he found actually encourage that.  I have to thank him for introducing me to these places and will patronize them every time I make it to that area of DFW.

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Fairview

I want to thank my friend Fred for his suggestions for a steak place in Fairview, the area between Allen and McKinney.  His suggestion was terrific!

The place had some wonderful aromas when we first walked in, and then we had a good appetizer along with some of the better bread we have had served in most DFW steak places.  The butter which came with the bread was also quality.

One of the subtle traits about a good restaurant – to help them increase the odds that you will return one day — is to know when NOT to have servers come up to the table and ask you questions.  Some people don’t know the value of leaving someone alone in order to have them increase their overall enjoyment.  This place did that because we were having an in-depth conversation about marketing techniques to help his business get new customers who – possibly – could become referrals.  The topic was in-depth, as marketing across DFW for a set of services to executives (like headshot photography) – can be a tough challenge due to competition and fragmentation of trust by the local residents in a particular area.

 

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North Dallas

I want to thank a friend whose office is in the North Dallas area for some suggestions on steak places near his office.  I had to take out a client in the area a few weeks ago so he recommended 3 or 4 options for steak restaurants; and I chose one of the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steak places down the road about 1/4 mile.  The client loved it!

We basically “green chipped” it all night, with a constant stream of steak and chicken being offered throughout the dinner.  Make sure that if you go to any of these types of restaurants that you don’t go to the salad bar… unless you go separately for just the salad bar!  Otherwise you will get full quickly and not get your money’s worth!  The salad bar is filled with wonderful items, so you can make a terrific meal just out of that… so go twice:  once for the meat and once for the salad bar.  You will enjoy both experiences!

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Plano

I want to thank my friend Dan for pointing out a steak restaurant that is across the street from his offices in Plano.  Even though it has a theme to it – and I am not a huge fan of any “theme” restaurants, especially for steak (!) – the place surprisingly had tasty food.  He mentioned it casually due to the proximity when I was talking about craving a steak at the end of our meeting one day.

It has live music, so I decided to check it out one night.  It actually didn’t hurt the ambiance that much, as I tend to love eating at restaurants without much loud noise around me.

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Highland Village

John gave me some fun, out of the way recommendations for places to eat in Highland Village.  What makes these types of places fun is that they are nestled in between two cities with at least 100,000 people (Lewisville and Denton).  Most people in Denton County will drive to either city in order to have dining experiences, but John was kind enough to mention some local places which offer fare that hits the spot at a good price!

The thing about Highland Village is that it is so easy for the average DFW resident traveling on I-35 to miss.  You have to take a weird loop off the highway and then, if you were traveling North-bound, have to “back track” and get your position heading south and then head West.  It is not easy to find and the signage isn’t very prevalent.  That is what makes some of these “buried treasure” places to eat so fun — you have to spend some time (or talk with local residents) to even know that they exist!

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Princeton

I have to thank my friend Jim for his suggestions on fun places to eat in/near the Princeton area.  He often has to travel that direction (on highway 380) since he travels to East Texas and into Oklahoma often for work.  There are some little, out of the way eateries he recommends which offer some great food at great prices.  The thing is to pick times when it is relatively quiet so that you can get a sense of the local happenings and get to hear some hysterical stories.

When you talk with him you will find out some great information about local dining spots and other spots you may consider visiting which aren’t well-publicized but still fun and offer a unique experience.

 

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Blue Ridge And Lowry Crossing

I have to thank my friend Dave for his suggestions on some little out-of-the-way restaurants in the areas of Blue Ridge and Lowry Crossing.  Who knew that there were some little eateries which actually were delicious without being well-known!

He says that the locals appreciate these little hidden treasures because of the fact that he likes the “down home” feel, the customer service, and the fact that the portions are huge relative to similar places closer to the larger cities in Collin County.  His suggestions were surprisingly tasty.  The biggest drawback is finding these places because so few are on sites like Urban Spoon, Restaurant.com, and other dining-specific websites which are trusted by those living in the heavily-competitive markets like McKinney, Plano, Addison and Frisco — where it seems that they grow dining options on every street corner faster than bank branches which were being constructed a few years ago!

 

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McKinney

I want to thank my friend John for his recommendations on some fun places to eat in McKinney.  For example, we have had the chance to eat at some of the local Mexican restaurants in the area, most of which don’t get lots of publicity outside the area.  The thing is that we keep going back periodically because you leave a lunch stuffed and satisfied… especially for the price!

There are some little places in/near the area of Adriatica as well if you like to go walking afterward.  They have some development there now, a lot of which is surprisingly beautiful if you haven’t been there in a while.  His recommendations for restaurants is quite solid especially if you are into places which are good for fun conversation and a more relaxed, yet professional atmosphere.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on some of these out-of-the way little “buried treasures” or “golden nuggets” in the McKinney area.  The perception of new Collin County developments is that there are lots of national chain restaurants, lots of local chains expanding to McKinney, and only a few unique locations.  If you have some really good, casual yet tasty, suggestions then you are welcome to contact us and let us know.

 

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