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Best of Denton: Eats

Profile image for DRC Staff
DRC Staff

Best Affordable /Best New Restaurant
Opened in 2016

Boca 31

206 S Bell Ave.

940-514-1444

www.facebook.com/Boca31.Denton/

Looking for the newest food stop in Denton? Look no further than Boca 31.

Chef and owner Andres Meraz opened the restaurant eight months ago and it has quickly become a favorite place to visit in the Denton restaurant scene.

Meraz believes the thing that makes his restaurant inique is the flavors you get to experience with each dish.

"Our menu is in a blackboard so we can serve different items at any time," explains Meraz. "We have an open kitchen so the customers can see everything is fresh and made to order."

Runner-up: OldWest Cafe

Honorable Mention: Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Best New Restaurant
Opened in 2016

Runner-up: Komodo Loco

Honorable Mention: Pizza Snob

Best Asian

Thai Square Denton

209 W. Hickory St. Suite 104

940-380-0671

www.thaisquaredenton.com

Thai Square Denton isn't new to the restaurant scene in Denton but is a first-time winner in the Best of Denton balloting.

Thai SquareDRC
Thai Square
DRC

The quant restaurant just off the Denton square specializes with a complete menu of Thai food choices.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, serving lunch and dinner.

Runner-up: Mr. Chopsticks

Honorable Mention: Thai Ocha

Best Barbecue

Rudy's Country Store
and BBQ

520 S. Interstate 35E

940-368-2338

www.rudys.com

As Texans, we take our barbeque seriously. The folks over at Rudy's Country Store and BBQ know this all too well and don't play games when it comes to perfectly smoked meats.

Whether you want to feast on some brisket at the red-and-white checkered tables in the restaurant or would prefer to take your pulled pork home, Rudy's has been fulfilling Denton's barbeque needs for 13 years.At the country store, you can try on your favorite Rudy's merchandise while you pick up some ribs and sauces in a (failed) attempt to duplicate their smokehouse flavor. The restaurant is also known to bring southern flare to any gathering with their full catering menu that includes all the country favorites.

During football season, die-hard Mean Green fans can even munch with head football coach Seth Littrell when he does his radio show at Rudy's.

Runner-up: Bet The House BBQ

Honorable Mention: Juicy Pig

Best Kept Secret
Restaurant

The Bowllery

901 Avenue C, Suite 101

940-383-2695

www.thebowllery.com

www.facebook.com/thebowllery/

For sure, there are numerous lunch and dinner options from which to choose around town, but it's the "fresh food" approach of The Bowllery -- and possibly its location near the UNT campus -- that has earned it repeat winner status among Denton voters. But it's "best kept secret" tag probably won't be applicable very much longer.

Babe's Chicken Dinner House
The BowlleryDRC
The Bowllery
DRC

It's not just college students who have turned The Bowllery (it's open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) into a favorite. For those seeking a place to eat that offers fresh organic options -- including both meat and vegan choices -- The Bowllery is the place to enjoy healthy, tasty servings in their popular bowls. Using only fresh, cage-free, artificial- and antibiotic-free ingredients, The Bowllery makes its menu items from scratch by mixing and blending a variety of herbs and spices, as well as utilizing other well-known ingredients from around the world.

Not only are you going to get quality food choices at The Bowllery, but the staff's friendly, quick service is a huge plus.

And while you're enjoying your meal, don't be surprised if you catch yourself mesmerized at The Bowllery's artsy interior decor.

Runner-up: Seven Mile Cafe

Honorable Mention: Keiichi Japanese Restaurant

Best Breakfast
/Best Homestyle

OldWest Cafe

2420 S. Interstate Highway 35E

(New location.)

940-783-5288

www.oldwestcafe.us

Oldwest Café, the popular home to homestyle breakfasts and lunches, has a new address. The breakfast and lunch café moved from Dallas Drive to its new location on I35E in the former home of Black Eyed Pea.

Carolyn and Mark Rollins are the owners. They have been in business for 17 years.

"We believe, and always have, that we work for our guests!" the Rollins say. "That's who we answer to, and who we work hard to please every day."

Oldwest CafeDRC
Oldwest Cafe
DRC

They put their guests No. 1 because they know they would not be here without their support. "We also have such amazing teams that I am so grateful to work with every day and our two managers, Brittany and Andres, who have done a stellar job in delivering great food and service to the people that deserve it the most--our guests, friends and families," Mark Rollins said,

About the award, "It's such an outstanding honor to be recognized as one of the Best of Denton of 2017. And it's also so very humbling. We wouldn't be here today without all of the great people and their families that have all worked so hard to get us here, and all of the people who support what we do every day."

The Rollins issued a "huge thank you to all of our guests and their families for all the support. So, thank you so very much."

Runner-up: Seven Mile Cafe

Honorable Mention: Cartwright's Ranch House

Best Homestyle

Runner-up:  Babe's Chicken Dinner House

Honorable Mention: Cartwright's Ranch House

Best Buffet

Buffet King

2251 S. Loop 288

940-387-0888

When it comes to buffets in Denton, Best of Denton voters have picked Buffet King as the go-to place.

Offering a variety of Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes at a affordable price, Buffet King is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Runner-up: Chinatown Cafe

Honorable Mention: Double Dave's

Best Business
Lunch

Barley & Board

100 W. Oak Street

940-566-3900

www.barleyandboard.com/

Since its' August 2015 opening, upscale brewpub Barley & Board has been raking in the accolades from Dallas media and rarely are more than a handful of tables empty.

Barley & Board DRC
Barley & Board 
DRC

The restaurant focuses on craft beer and cocktails, small plates and charcuterie boards, where meat and cheese are laid out on a large wooden board with all the fixings, from pickled veggies to whole-grain mustard. The big plates range from vegetarian risotto to a signature double cheeseburger that is repeatedly named one of the best in DFW.

Fixed on the corner of Oak and Locust Streets, the restaurant is the brainchild of John "Sparky" Pearson, one of the co-owners of Lone Star Attitude Burger Co., actor and Denton transplant Jason Lee and local musician and business owner Eric Pulido. Influence by the three is obvious in the vintage style décor, like old ice skates hanging on the wall, and long wooden community tables.

The spot has quickly become a go-to for business lunches, political parties and first dates (we've seen more than one university student out to impress a date here).

Runner-up: The Chestnut Tree

Honorable Mention: Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar

Best Candy Store

Atomic Candy

105 W. Hickory St.

940-383-3780

www.atomic-candy.com

A repeat winner, Atomic Candy doesn't just sell candy to its loyal customers. And just because you might not have the biggest sweet tooth, there is still plenty to keep you happy in the store. The eye-catching storefront on the downtown square is a haven for nostalgia seekers, as well. The retro candy and sodas, as well as toys and novelties take customers back in time.

Owner Tim Loyd, who opened the store five years ago, said he strives to create a unique shopping experience for every customer that walks through his door.

Loyd went on to add that winning Best of Denton is always the greatest accomplishment as a local business owner because it means so much to be voted by the many customers and friends who visit his store.

Runner-up: Candy Haven

Honorable Mention: The Candy Store

Best Catering

Extreme Cuisine

202 W. McCart St. Ste. 120

Krum, Tx 76249

940-380-8770

www.extremecatering.com

Chef Kathleen and Chef Matt at Extreme Cuisine Catering have been the go-to choice for many Denton-area clients for the last 17 years - simply because of the pride they take in what they call creative expressions in food.

The staff offers a full range of catering services, customized options and cooking classes for events of any type.

So whether you prefer classic or eclectic cuisine, you can rest assured that your business lunch, dinner, holiday celebrations or church functions are in good hands.

Chef Kathleen said the biggest differentiator between Extreme Cuisine and nearby competitors is their ability to find a menu that can fit any budget. Furthermore, the staff truly lives and breathes cooking, and it shows in the great food they create every day.

Runner-up: Rudy's Country Store and BBQ

Honorable Mention: Bet The House BBQ

Best Coffeehouse

Jupiter House Coffee

106 N. Locust St.

www,jupiterhousecoffee.com

Jupiter House has been serving its customers for over 12 years freshly roasted coffee and has once again been recognized by voters as the best coffeehouse in Denton.

The Jupiter House offers quality coffee, smoothies and pastries and the staff strives to create a atmosphere that makes everyone feel at home.

Runner-up: West Oak Coffee Bar

Honorable Mention: Zera Coffee Company

Best Cookie/Cupcake/Cake
Shop

Ravelin Bakery

416 S. Elm St.

940-382-8561

There really is nothing like fresh baked goods, and Ravelin Bakery has been producing top of the line quality for 15 years now.

Ravelin Bakery Co.DRC
Ravelin Bakery Co.
DRC

A true mom and pop shop, owners Eric and Pamela Helland are in the store working everyday to ensure that things are running smoothly. The bakery makes everything 100% from scratch and bakes their products fresh every day.

Whether you need fresh baked breads, breakfast pastries or desserts and cookies, the Ravelin Bakery staff is there to greet you with a friendly smile.

Runner-up: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Honorable Mention: Candy Haven

Best Deli/Sub
/Sandwich Shop

New York Sub-Hub

906 Ave. C

940-383-3213

www.newyorksubhub.com

With an emphasis on producing a great sandwich with excellent customer service, New York Sub-Hub continues to excel and gain customer support.

First opened in 1979, New York Sub-Hub, has a wide variety of sandwiches to choose from and made to order.

"We are a locally owned business that works tirelessly to provide a clean, fast, affordable dining option," owner Hunter Christiansen says. "All of us here try to connect with each person that walks through our doors. From the first timers to the many that come in 4 to 5 times a week."

Winning Best of Denton is important to Christiansen. "It is validating to know that our efforts have been noticed and appreciated. However, we are determined to keep up the level of service in which our customers have come to expect. We will strive to provide great, memorable food with customer service to match," Christiansen said.

Runner-up: New York Sub-Way

Honorable Mention: McAlister's Deli

Best Donut Shop

Hypnotic Donuts

235. W. Hickory St.

940-390-1486

www.hypnoticdonuts.com

Hypnotic Donuts' outside-of-the-box thinking has resulted in it becoming a favorite for Denton residents.

They are known for unconventional thinking like their peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey on top of a yeast raised donut.

"We make all of our ingredients in house and all of our donuts are made fresh throughout the day," manager Sarah Barett says. "Our chicken biscuits only use fresh, marinated 24 hour chicken breasts that are cooked to order."

Runner-up: Teasley Donut

Honorable Mention: Denton Donut

Best Eat & Drinks
on the Square/Best Hamburger

LSA Burger Co.

113 W. Hickory

940-383-1022

www.lsaburger.com/

What sells LSA Burger Co. is more than just their range of Texas-inspired burgers, piled high with toppings, or the signature brisket queso.

LSA Burger Co.
LSA Burger Co.

It's the view.

The first public rooftop patio on the Square makes the perfect environment to enjoy a beer and a burger.

The beloved spot is doing so well they're expanded their second floor patio to include more room for a bigger stage and more tables, so locals and visitors can get excited to see more big names at the venue and get a coveted upstairs seat when the weather is cooperating.

Runner-up: Barley & Board

Honorable Mention: Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda

Best Hamburger

Runner-up: Mr. Frosty's

Honorable Mention: RG's Burger & Grill

Best Fine Dining

Keeichi Japanese Restaurant

500 N. Elm St.

940-230-3410

Keeichi Japanese Restaurant has been a winner in the Best of Denton competition as the best kept secret in Denton, now it can add Best Fine Dining to its list of accomplishments.

Open for over a decade, this tiny, quiet sushi bar offers both traditional favorites and new creations from master chef Keiichi Nagano.

Whether you choose from the day's freshest catch or Nagano's extraordinary take on Italian cuisine, your dining experience will be one you may never forget.

Runner-up: Barley & Board

Honorable Mention: Hannah's Off The Square

Best Food Truck

The Pickled Carrot

208 N. Austin St.

214-597-0717

www.facecook.com/thepickledcarrot

Four years ago owner Cuong Mai first opened The Pickled Carrot to share the cuisine of Vietnam.

Since the opening of The Pickled Carrot, customers have been treated to great food and service which has now led to being named a winner in the Best of Denton voting.

Mai is proud and joyful for the recognitition but the plan remains to continue to offer excellent Vietnamese food with strong customer service.

Runner-up: The Waffle Wagon

Honorable Mention: Dumpling Brothers

Best Frozen Treat

Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda

117 W. Hickory St., and

2900 Wind River Lane #148

940-384-1818

940-591-1010

www. BethMaries.com

www.facebook.com/BethMariesIC

www.twitter.com/@BethMariesIC

Walking into a Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain is somewhat like taking a step back in time. It has the feel and flavors of a old-time ice cream shop, only that Beth Marie's customers get to enjoy premium homemade ice cream and get to select from more than 120 flavors on the menu.

Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda FountainDRC
Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain
DRC

It didn't take long for Beth Marie's to become a Denton staple -- first on the downtown square and later at Unicorn Lake. Owners Bob Moses and Ken Willis opened their downtown shop 19 years ago and for that same amount of time their customers have named Beth Marie's their favorite stop in Denton for ice cream.

Like its name implies, Beth Marie's offers the experience of an long-forgotten ice cream parlor and soda fountain. Whether it's for an after dinner treat or a family outing, Beth Marie's is a destination that's sure to live up to its philosophy that, "Ice Cream Makes You Smile!"

Runner-up: Yogurt Story

Honorable Mention: Mr. Frosty's

Best Italian

Guiseppe's Italian Restaurant

821 N. Locust St.

940-381-2712

www.giuseppeitaliana.com

Guiseppe's Italian Restaurant is located in a neighborhood on North Locust and has become the best place in Denton for outstanding italian cuisine.

Owner Giuseppe Brownell has constructed his menu with authentic Italian dishes he learned during is childhood in Italy from chicken parmigiana to cannoli.

Runner-up: Luigi's Pizza and Italian Restaurant

Honorable Mention: Bagheri's Italian Restaurant

Best Mexican
/Tex-Mex

El Matador Restaurant

720 W. University Dr.

940-387-1137

El Matador gives us what we are looking for in a Tex-Mex restaurant -- consistently good meals, crisp chips and cold margaritas that pack a punch. The recently renovated dining room and bar area are bright, cheerful, equipped with the standard flat-screen televisions.

The menu features a wide array of tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, soups and salads. A full bar accommodates customers who might want to nosh on appetizers or catch a game on television. Servers are cheerful and happy to bring out the sombreros and tequila shots to help celebrate a birthday. The family-friendly atmosphere is a draw for everyone.

El Matador opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week. Weeknight close is at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday night hours extend to 10:30 p.m.

Parking spaces in the Denton Center lot are plentiful at all times. Once inside, you will rarely have to wait for a table.

We believe the El Mat dining room is the most spacious Tex-Mex restaurant in Denton.

Runner-up: Chuy's

Honorable Mention: Mazatlan Restaurant

Most Romantic Restaurant

Hannah's Off The Square

111 W. Mulberry Street

940-566-1110

www.hannahsoffthesquare.com

Whether you sit in the cozy yet sprawling bar area or nestled in a corner of the dining room, the experience at Hannah's off the Square is consistently intimate.

Hannah's Off The SquareDRC
Hannah's Off The Square
DRC

The perfect date-night spot features shareable dishes for you and your love like customized charcuterie boards and a tower of lump blue crab meat nestled between layers of crispy eggplant. With mains that are locally inspired and ever-changing specials, there's always a dish to wow your dining partner.

Self-described as casual fine dining with upscale comfort food, Hannah's has been a consistent place for big nights and celebrations since it opened 16 years ago.

Runner-up: Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant

Honorable Mention: Queenie's Steakhouse

Best Pizza

Mellow Mushroom

217 E. Hickory St.

214-668-1505

www.Mellowmushroom.com/Denton

In just six short years, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers has entrenched itself as the go-to spot to pick up a pie in Denton.

Along with their well-known service staff, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers has been providing Denton with a diverse menu that is headlined by their pizza.

The ingredients are top notch as Mellow Mushroom boasts quality products that are locally sourced while providing a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. Their assortment of toppings is never ending for pizzas and Mellow Mushroom also provides alternate highlights such as their calzones, sandwiches, burgers, pretzels and appetizers.

Top the food off with a laid back culture or "mellow" state of mind, Mellow Mushroom caters to everyone looking for a premier pizza experience.

Runner-up: Crooked Crust Pizza

Honorable Mention: J&J's Pizza

Best Seafood

Hoochie's Oyster House

214 E. Hickory St.

940-808-0315

www.hoochiesdenton.com

Located off the Square, Hoochies has provided top quality seafood to the Denton area for the last three years.

A zany and fun restaurant with a prime location to view the local street life, Hoochies has thrived through a commitment to providing a courteous, speedy and fun eating experience. Every order is made from scratch with a menu featuring fired, boiled and grilled seafood options in addition to a raw bar with fresh Gulf of Mexico oysters.

Hoochies also has lunch specials every day until 4 p.m. and offers Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. in the evening.

You can't beat the seafood selection or the deals that owner Sam Solomon and the staff have to offer.

Runner-up: Dani Rae's Gulf Coast Kitchen

Honorable Mention: Frilley's Seafood Bayou Kitchen

Best Smoothies
& Juice

Everyday Nectar

515 S. Locust St.

940-387-4567

www.everydaynectar.com

In less than 15 months, Corey and Seth Ellis have developed a loyal customer base that craves fresh juices and smoothies.

Everyday Nectar uses all organic produce and is known for its quality, consistency and customer service in Denton. The menu has expanded to include soups, salads, hummus, spring rolls and more, promising to catch the interest of everyone that comes through the door.

The service doesn't stop there though, as the staff also strives to provide information and guidance for any health questions you may have while inside in order to make being healthy fun and tasty.

Runner-up: Jupiter House

Honorable Mention: Juice Lab

Best Steak

Texas Roadhouse

2817 S. Interstate 35E

940-243-7427

www.texasroadhouse.com

If you want a good steak in a fun atmosphere, then the Texas Roadhouse is the place for you. Once again voters have picked Texas Roadhouse for the best steak in Denton.

The restaurant offers a wide array of steaks but also has chicken, ribs and country dinner plates to choose from.

Runner-up: Queenie's Steakhouse

Honorable Mention: Outback Steakhouse

Best Taco

Fuzzy's Taco Shop

115 Industrial St.

940-380-8226

2412 S. Interstate 35E

940-488-4779

www.fuzzystacoshop.com/

What started 14 years ago down the road in Fort Worth has now become a staple of many Denton diets. Fuzzy's Taco Shop continues to serve up baja-style tacos topped with cilantro, feta cheese and the restaurant's signature sauce at both Denton locations downtown and off Interstate 35E.

The laid-back taco shop has mastered its menu by offering giant burritos, nachos, sandwiches and the ever-popular breakfast taco.

Wash it all down with a beer while catching some rays on the patio or sip a margarita in brightly-colored booths inside.

Runner-up: Rusty Taco

Honorable Mention: Mi Casta Mexican Food

Best Veggie Fare
/Health Food

Cupboard Natural Foods & Cafe

200 W. Congress St.

940-387-5386

www.cupboardnaturalfoods.com

For 51 years, Cupboard Natural Foods has been serving Denton and the surrounding area natural and organic foods, featuring local products and for the past 16 years has been a Best of Denton honoree.

The Cupboard carries only cerified organic and perticide-free produce , local grass-fed meats, poultry and local free-range eggs, as well as a full line of all-natural grocery offerings.

"We prefer to cultivate relationships that are based on trust rather than dollar signs," general manager Paul Tanis states. "Being an independent, we can respond to customer requests quickly, making changes that reflect our customers wishes. With Denton's rapid growth, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of relationships and merely focus on competition."

Runner-up: The Bowllery

Honorable Mention: Seven Mile Cafe

Best Wings

Wingstop

2710 W. University

940-566-0007

Order online at: order.wingstop.com

Owner Patrick Bergin has operated the popular national chain in Denton for 17 years.

The first location opened near the Golden Triangle Mall, at 2430 S. Interstate 35E, in July 2001.

The second location was among the first businesses to open at Rayzor Ranch Marketplace in September 2010, Bergin said.

The restaurant specializes in serving popular Buffalo-style chicken wings with a range of dipping sauces, along with French fries, beans and coleslaw on the side.

Readers voted Wingstop as the best in town for its customer service and quality food, Bergin said. "This makes us as a team feel that we are doing a great job," Bergin says. "We provide the best wings to our customers."

Runner-up: Buffalo Wild Wings

Honorable Mention: Boomerjack's Grill & Bar