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Your 50-yard line ticket to the best of DFW

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After hosting the Super Bowl, would you want to do it again?
Posted 11:51am on Wednesday, Feb. 02, 2011

We tried calling and e-mailing. We even sent a pigeon with a polite note tied to its leg. For some reason, though, Jerry Jones simply didn't get back to us on our request for two 50-yard line tickets to Super Bowl XLV.

Seriously, Jerry, what gives?

Of course, whether you're best buddies with Jerry Jones or just a friendly stalker like us, you want to feel like you're being treated like a VIP -- especially during the biggest celebration of the year. That's where DFW.com comes in, with our comprehensive guide to the 50 best places in town to eat, drink and play. Whether you're a longtime resident or just in town to ride the Super Bowl party train, our list should help you identify the places where the crowds will be congregating and the booze will be flowing.

Oh, and if you do happen to know Jerry, and you did manage to score those 50-yard-line seats, well, remember: The game lasts only a few hours -- and you've got an entire weekend to paint Dallas-Fort Worth red (or, in this case, yellow and green or yellow and black).

Iconic DFW eateries

Joe T. Garcia's The 75-year-old, family-owned restaurant, tucked in the Fort Worth Stockyards, features a magical patio that will transport you to a tropical hacienda somewhere south of the border. The food seems simple -- mammoth portions of fajitas and enchiladas -- but the atmosphere and Joe T's signature margaritas are so intoxicating, you'll never want to leave. (Two more things: There is indoor seating but tons of heaters on the patio. And Joe T's accepts only cash.) 2201 N. Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817-626-4356; www.joets.com

Sonny Bryan's There are seven Sonny's throughout the Metroplex, but you must dine at the original, on Inwood Road, where it's been for 52 years. You squeeze into old school desks and then carefully unwrap the white paper surrounding what is one of the finest gastronomic events in the Lone Star State: biting into a perfectly built chopped brisket sandwich. You'll become an instant member of the cult of Texas barbecue. 2202 Inwood Road, Dallas; 214-357-7120; www.sonnybryans.com

Reata The epicenter of "cowboy cuisine," Reata adds gourmet twists to chuck-wagon favorites like chicken-fried steak with pepper gravy, tenderloin tamales and buffalo rib-eye. The rooftop bar is the perfect spot to sip a margarita and drink in the beauty of Sundance Square. 310 Houston St., Fort Worth; 817-336-1009; www.reata.net

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck High above downtown in Reunion Tower, this revolving restaurant offers exquisite views of Dallas and exquisite seafood -- the salt-and-pepper fried calamari is to die for. 300 E. Reunion Blvd., Dallas; 214-741-5560; www.wolfgangpuck.com

Paris Coffee Shop Fort Worth's movers and shakers go here for the hearty breakfasts, chicken and dumplings lunch, and heavenly slices of homemade pie. Bon Appétit recently named it one of the top 10 places for pie in America. 704 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth; 817-335-2041

The ultimate (expense account) steakhouses

Pappas Bros. Yeah, it comes from the Houston family that also brought us Pappasito's, Pappadeaux and Pappas Burgers, but Pappas Bros. offers the finest steak-eating experience in North Texas. Order the New York strip, and you'll have dreams about the butter-swept, salt-and-pepper crust long after your meal is over. 10477 Lombardy Lane, Dallas; 214-366-2000; www.pappasbros.com

Del Frisco's In a town loaded with high-end steakhouses (Ruth's Chris, Shula's, Bob's, Eddie V's, etc.), Del Frisco's is the gold standard, not only for its impeccably marbled beef but also for its elegant atmosphere. 812 Main St., Fort Worth; 817-877-3999; www.delfriscos.com

Al Biernat's Steak & Seafood If it's star-gazing you want with your beef, try to snag a reservation at this Oak Lawn hot spot, which is still considered one of the trendiest places to eat in Dallas more than 12 years after it first opened. In recent years, the likes of Troy Aikman, Julio Iglesias, Mario Lopez and even Gwyneth Paltrow (who knew she ate meat?) have all been spotted here. 4217 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas; 214-219-2201; www.albiernats.com

Cattlemen's Fort Worth Steakhouse If you want a thick and juicy steak, eat where the cowboys eat: in the Stockyards. Cattlemen's rib-eye is eye-rollingly good. 2458 N. Main St., Fort Worth; 817-624-3945; www.cattlemenssteakhouse.com

Foodie faves and celebrity chefs

Fearing's Chef Dean Fearing may not appear on one of the umpteenth reality food shows, but he is spoken of in hushed tones among local foodies. His Southwestern masterpieces, like chicken fried Maine lobster and maple-black peppercorn-soaked buffalo tenderloin, make Fearing's a tough reservation to nab but totally worth it. Inside the Ritz Carlton, 2121 McKinney Ave., Dallas; 214-922-4848; www.fearingsrestaurant.com

Lonesome Dove If it moves, Tim Love can cook it. The menu at his Stockyards bistro features rattlesnake, kangaroo and elk, among other game delicacies. Love's a hard-core cowboy cook and one of the few chefs to ever take down Iron Chef Morimoto in Kitchen Stadium. 2406 N. Main St., Fort Worth; 817 740-8810; www.lonesomedovebistro.com

Brownstone You may know Casey Thompson from Top Chef, but Brownstone in Fort Worth is where you'll actually get to taste her creativity. Signature dishes range from chicken pot pie to Kobe cheek pot roast. 840 Currie St., Fort Worth; 817-332-1555; www.brownstonerestaurants.com

Ellerbe Fine Foods The charming Fort Worth bistro, in a converted gas station, was recently named one of Bon Appétit's 10 Best New Restaurants in America. Chef Molly McCook features locally grown goodies and enticing dishes like chili-rubbed wild boar. 1501 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth; 817-926-3663; www.ellerbefinefoods.com.

Salsa Fuego The tiny family restaurant, housed in a former KFC, was recently named one of the five best Mexican restaurants in the state by Texas Monthly. And there are a lot of great Mexican restaurants in Texas. 3520 Alta Mere Drive, Fort Worth; 817-560-7888; salsafuegofw.net.

Stephan Pyles and Samar Along with Fearing, Pyles helped define Southwestern cuisine in the 1980s. He now operates two spots -- his signature restaurant Stephan Pyles and the small-plate-focused Samar -- within blocks of each other in downtown Dallas. Stephan Pyles, 1807 Ross Avenue, Dallas; 214-580-7000; www.stephanpyles.com. Samar, 2100 Ross Ave, Dallas; 214-922-9922; www.samarrestaurant.com

Beloved holes in the wall

Fred's Texas Cafe You haven't lived until you've downed a Diablo Burger, voted the best in DFW, at the famed Fort Worth shack. Careful, though, it might just blow your head sky high. 915 Currie St., Fort Worth; 817-332-0083; www.fredstexascafe.com

Jamaica Gates Jamaica native Barbara Renfro's restaurant, which was featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, takes you on a flavor-packed journey to the Caribbean. Between the jerk-rubbed shrimp, fried plantains and chicken stew, we couldn't figure out our favorite. Until, that is, we tasted the curry goat. 1020 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington; 817-795-2600; www.jamaicagates.com

Chef Pointe Cafe A gourmet restaurant in a Conoco station? One bite of chef Franson Nwaeze's Sexy Chicken and you'll be a believer. 5901 Watauga Road, Watauga; 817-656-0080; www.chefpointcafe.org

Nonna Tata Donnatella Trotti was raised in northwestern Italy, and she cooks pasta the way her grandmother did when Trotti was a child. There's nothing else like Nonna Tata within hundreds of miles of here. 1400 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth; 817-332-0250.

Tu Hai Wedged between pawnshops and check-cashing joints in Haltom City, this tiny Vietnamese spot offers exceptional pho, shrimp-and-pork spring rolls and, best of all, grilled pork vermicelli. 3909 Belknap St., Haltom City; 817-834-6473.

Fuel City A legendary taco in a gas station? One bite into the Picadillo -- named the best taco in the state by Texas Monthly in 2006 - and you'll know why people drive for miles for the privilege of eating lunch here, even if they don't need to gas up the car. 801 South Riverfront Blvd., Dallas, 214- 426-0011

Hungry, hungry hangouts

Fuzzy's The TCU taco shop is divey, a little naughty and mucho delicious. The baja fish tacos, chorizo breakfast burritos and garlic shredded beef tacos are downright addicting. And don't forget to use the Butt Burnin' Sauce judiciously. 2917 W. Berry St., Fort Worth; 817-924-7943; www.fuzzystacoshop.com. Additional locations in Arlington and throughout the Metroplex.

Buttons Chef Keith Hicks is the coolest cat in town, and his menu of Southern comfort creations is both mouth-watering and waist-expanding. Go for the double-cut pork chop with jalapeño cheese grits, and stay to hear some silky smooth jazz. 4701 West Freeway, Fort Worth; 817-735-4900; www.buttonsrestaurant.com

Café Brazil Open 24 hours, the Dallas minichain serves up soul-nurturing French toast, hearty bacon and swimming-pool-size cups of specialty coffee. 6420 N. Central Expressway, Dallas; 214-691-7791; www.cafebrazil.com

Angelo's For our money, the best Texas barbecue in Fort Worth -- though some Railhead fans might challenge you to a brisket death match for saying so. 2533 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth; 817-332-0357; www.angelosbbq.com

Kincaid's The mother of all Fort Worth burger joints, Kincaid's stack of accolades is almost as thick as one of its double-meat burgers. The beloved institution has grown to six locations, but be sure to eat at the original. in a former grocery store. 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd.; 817-732-2881; www.kincaidshamburgers.com

MVP sports bars

Texan Station Sports Bar in the Gaylord Texan: The upscale lounge features great food, leather recliners and a huge TV. And by huge, we mean more than 50 feet wide. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine; 817-778-2210; www.gaylordhotels.com

BoomerJack's Grill & Bar Dig into the famous Super Bowl nachos and prepare to be hypnotized by 125 flat-screens. 522 Lincoln Square, Arlington; 817-275-5400; www.boomerjack.com. Also locations in Bedford and Fort Worth.

Frankie's The legendary Dallas Uptown hot spot is slated to open a Fort Worth location in Sundance Square after the Super Bowl. This is where the action will be Super Bowl week. 3227 McKinney Ave., Dallas; 214-999-8932; www.frankiesbar.com

Fox and Hound: The granddaddy of Fort Worth sports bars will be feeling the heat from newbies Frankie's and Ojos Locos, but F&H still has all the essentials. 604 Main St., Fort Worth; 817-338-9200; www.tentcorp.com. Other locations also.

Pour House Voted the "best damn sports bar in DFW" by our readers, its chill atmosphere and good food make it a prime destination in the West Seventh entertainment district. 2725 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth; 817-335-2575; www.pourhousefw.com

Whiskey & Rye: It's inside the Omni Hotel and has flat-screens everywhere you turn. It's also where the AFC Super Bowl team will be staying, so you never know whom you might bump into. 1300 Houston St., Fort Worth; 817-535-6664; www.omnihotels.com

Bone Daddy's: If you love beautiful girls, cold beer and sports, you simply can't do better. 1720 William D. Tate Ave., Grapevine; 817-251-0835; www.bonedaddys.com. Also in Arlington and Dallas.

Ojos Locos The name is Spanish for "crazy eyes," and you won't believe your eyes at this Latin-themed breastaurant. 515 Houston St., Fort Worth; 10230 E. Technology Blvd., Dallas; 972-354-5626. ojoslocos.com

Pluckers Wing Bar We counted 52 flat-screens and about as many flavors of wings. 4000 Bagpiper Way, Suite 140, Arlington Highlands, Arlington; 817-784-2473; www.pluckers.com. Also in Dallas and Grapevine.

White-hot night spots

PM Nightlife Lounge Located inside the Joule Hotel, PM was named the Best Lounge in Dallas by playboy.com. Expect to bump into a few celebs and The Beautiful People of DFW here. 1530 Main St., Dallas; 214-261-4501; www.pmnightlifelounge.com

Ghostbar Towering above Dallas on the 33rd floor of the W Hotel, this club offers a spectacular panoramic and enough eye candy to send you into sugar shock. Step onto the glass balcony and look straight down; you'll feel like Superman. 2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas; 214-720-9919; www.ghostbardallas.com

Vice Tucked in the basement of The Tower in downtown Fort Worth, Vice brings a little Dallas flare and exclusivity to Cowtown. Not to mention the bottle service. 350 W. Fifth St., Fort Worth; 817-348-0808; www.vicefw.com

Glass Cactus This huge nightclub sits on Lake Grapevine behind the massive Gaylord Texan Resort. It has live music (usually retro) and multiple bars, and the view from the balcony is amazing. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine; 817-778-2800; www.glasscactusnightclub.com

Splitsville Bowling has never been so hip. This luxury lounge features sushi, cocktails, dancing and, yes, bowling. 401 Curtis Mathes Way, Arlington; 817-465-2695; www.splitsvillelanes.com

Clutch watering holes

Flying Saucer The draft emporium offers 240-plus beers, tasty brats, live music and one awesome view of Sundance Square. 111 E. Fourth St., Fort Worth; 817-336-7470; www.beerknurd.com. Also locations in Addison and Garland.

Yucatan Taco Stand If tequila is your drink, this swanky restaurant/bar offers 90 of 'em and features a tequila flight tasting menu. Cheers. 909 W. Magnolia, Fort Worth; 817-924-8646; www.yucatantacostand.com. Also locations in Southlake and Frisco.

Rahr & Sons Brewery Brew connoisseurs will also want to check out Fort Worth's own terrific brewery, which offers tasting tours Wednesdays and Saturdays. 701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth; 817-810-9266; www.rahrbrewing.com

Barcadia Known for its collection of old-school video games like Ms. Pac Man and Centipede, this "Chuck E. Cheese for Adults" is a perfect place to pregame. 1917 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas; 214-821-7300; www.barcadiadallas.com

8.0 This cornerstone of Sundance Square has the best patio in town. Pray for good weather. Otherwise cozy up inside with one of the "blue drinks." 111 E. Third St., Fort Worth; 817-336-0880; www.eightobar.com

Lola's Saloon Sixth Urbane atmosphere and a dazzling variety of sounds can be found at the local music hot spot. 2736 W. Sixth St., Fort Worth; 817-877-0666; www.lolasfortworth.com

True Texas experiences

Billy Bob's Texas The world's largest honky-tonk has live country music, tons of bars, arcades, a huge dance floor and bull riding. It's also the definition of "everything's bigger in Texas." There will be private parties Thursday and Friday, but the beauty of BBT is that it's cool during the day. That's the best time to check out the wall of fame of country music stars, play some pool and two-step beneath the mirror-ball saddle. 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth; 817-624-7117; www.billybobstexas.com

Cooper's Pit Barbecue For years, native Texans would tell you that you had to go to the Hill Country to taste great barbecue, but a year ago, Cooper's arrived in the Stockyards and brought a big slice of Hill Country pit heaven with it. Best of all, the 26,000-square-foot restaurant is right next to Billy Bob's in the Stockyards, so you can cross off two Texas-list items in one place. 301 Stockyards Boulevard, 817-626-6464. www.coopersbbqfortworth.com

Babe's Chicken Dinner House Chicken-fried steak is an essential part of the North Texas food pyramid, and what better place to try it than Babe's? The local comfort-food king recently opened a location not far from Cowboys Stadium, and it's already packing in people hungry for their famed fried chicken, catfish and buttery sides of corn, mashed potatoes and biscuits. It's family style, so save us some green beans, please. 230 N. Center St., Arlington; 817-801-0300; www.babeschicken.com

Keller's Drive-In Pull up to this charmingly dilapidated, old-fashioned drive-in, and you feel as if you've wandered onto the set of The Last Picture Show. It's beloved for its hamburgers, but we think the atmosphere is even juicier: Think tattooed bikers mixing it up with suburban soccer dads. 6537 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas; 214-368-1209

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