One of my favorites, LSA Burger Co. was packed when I walked by. The restaurant serves music-themed burgers like the Chili Willie and Ready Freddie and is a must-try. If this unique city is your travel destination or just an unexpected stop off I-35, make sure to visit these fun businesses on Downtown Square. You can begin your visit at the Discover Denton Welcome Center for maps, tips from locals, souvenirs and more.
THE DENTON GRILLE
My first stop, The Denton Grille, was also my first-ever Pakistani fusion experience. Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and chicken boti cohabited the menu with “guac and chips” and spicy chicken wings. I sprung for the large samosa. Four golden-hued pastries arrived with a creamy green sauce. The flaky outer dough dutifully held the delicious veggie filling together. By my third samosa, a subtle spicy heat became noticeable. The amalgam of Pakistani flavors was a delectable delight, especially when paired with the mint-cilantro sauce.
BETH MARIE’S OLD FASHIONED ICE CREAM & SODA FOUNTAIN
Every city needs a Beth Marie’s. The old fashioned ice cream parlor harks back to days when communities would congregate while deciding that all-important question: one scoop or two? I ordered the hot cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A large glass bowl with a bed of hot pie crust and chunks of soft raspberries—all smothered in a decadent raspberry jam—brought back warm childhood memories and reminded me that being an adult doesn’t mean having to give up life’s treats.
Nearby Atomic Candy was a fun surprise as I wasn’t expecting much more than wall-to-wall chocolate bars and sweets. The store is an alternate universe to a world of humorous mugs, odd animal masks, prank gifts and loads of candy. I left with a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser, stink bombs and some candy coated gum called Beechies. Of course, I didn’t plan on purchasing the items when I entered; that must be typical of the Atomic Candy experience.
WEST OAK COFFEE BAR
With two large colleges nearby, it’s no surprise that the square is home to several coffee shops. West Oak Coffee Bar was packed with students who were glued to laptops when I trapsed in. The air was filled with roasted notes of the noble bean. I opted for an espresso. A bold shot of java with a golden crema perked me up for my last walk round the square.
SHOPPING, NIGHTLIFE AND MORE FAVORITES
There’s plenty of great shopping to be had in the area too. Vintage Bleu Home is a family-owned antique store with lots of “shabby chic” decor. The square’s nightlife is music driven with notable venues Dan’s Silverleaf and Steve’s Wine Bar leading the way with regional live acts and local jazz ensembles.
The waitstaff and locals I talked to conveyed a common theme: Downtown Square is busier than ever. It could be a sleepy part of town during the day when I was an undergrad. Now it’s a destination for locals and visitors to take in all that Denton has to offer. But there’s still an emphasis on locally-owned businesses, and patrons continue to support the veteran inhabitants of the area. It’s nice to know that a former resident like me can visit and always expect a nice blend of new and old.
Featured Image Courtesy: Mike Mezeul