Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
115 Industrial St.
The price and the value at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop are why owner Mel Knight thinks the restaurant is continuously ranked the top affordable restaurant in Denton.
For the value, customers can enjoy good and fresh food, Knight said, with a range of options from tacos to sandwiches to quesadillas. The offerings feature different styles of meat, including tempura fish and fajita-style chicken and beef.
The shop on Industrial Street has been so successful they recently opened a second Denton location, and are continuing to expand throughout North Texas.
Runner-up: Rooster’s Roadhouse
Bragging rights: Mr. Chopsticks
1633 Scripture St.
With influence from China, Thailand, Japan and other faraway locales, Mr. Chopsticks has been able to blend the best of Asian cuisine for almost 30 years in Denton.
The restaurant has plenty of vegetarian options and lighter fare featuring alternative protein such as tofu while still providing a flavorful and diverse dining experience.
The menu, prices and atmosphere are what owner Chai Tamprateep thinks keeps Denton residents voting for the restaurant in this category, and makes this their ninth win in a row.
Runner-up: Andaman Thai Restaurant
Bragging rights: Chinatown Cafe
Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ
520 S. I-35-E
A variety of 100 percent oak-smoked meats and homemade barbecue “sauces” help Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ stand out to win the vote as best barbecue in Denton.
With more than a dozen meat options to be served on simple butcher paper, the spot remains a Denton favorite — former UNT President Lane Rawlins even shared a meal with the new UNT President Neal Smatresk at Rudy’s.
Open at 6 a.m., they offer hearty breakfast tacos before serving up the serious stuff starting at 10 a.m.
Lauren Trahan, director of franchise operations, said she and her staff know their barbecue can’t be beat, but their attention to their guests and providing great service sets them apart.
Runner-up: Metzler’s BBQ
Bragging rights: Rooster’s Roadhouse
Best Kept Secret
Seven Mile Cafe
311 W. Congress St.
The Seven Mile Cafe is nearly hidden, nestled between small local businesses and residential homes, but still sees plenty of traffic.
Gourmet coffee drinks and a lengthy breakfast menu made from scratch help keep customers interested, owner Josi Kingele said.
Open for breakfast and lunch, Seven Mile Cafe rivals other breakfast spots in town with inventive menu items such as stuffed French toast and a variety of yogurt bowls with acai berry puree.
Coffee options range from the basic bottomless cup to the signature Seven Mile Latte and NOLA Iced Coffee.
Runner-up: Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant
Bragging rights: The Chestnut Tree
1020 Dallas Drive
Open early and with a menu packed full of specialty pancakes with homemade syrup, egg dishes and chicken fried steak, Oldwest Cafe was named the best breakfast joint in town.
The menu echoes the old time feel of the exterior, with items called cowhand, conductor and jailhand — throwbacks to the classic professions in the Wild West and with portions that could fill up a hardworking cowboy for the rest of the day.
Runner-up: Seven Mile Cafe
Bragging rights: Loco Cafe
2317 W. University Drive, Suite A1
Sushi, salad, fresh grilled items and ice cream bars are all available at the Chinatown Cafe, where the restaurant’s motto “you never leave hungry” is applied for the all-you-can-eat buffet.
The sauces for the meat and vegetable entrees are the secret to the successes of the dishes, and include garlic butter sauce or spicy Szechuan sauce. The ice cream is Blue Bell.
If you aren’t in the mood for a buffet-style meal, Chinatown also offers a regular menu and delivery options if the order is more than $15.
Runner-up: Buffet King
Bragging rights: Double Dave’s
Best Business Lunch
Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar
600 N. Locust St.
Whether seated inside in a booth or outside on the patio, Greenhouse feels small even though the restaurant is expansive, making it the perfect place for a business lunch.
The restaurant features quick service and an extensive menu with plenty of options that won’t take all afternoon to prepare. Customers can get in and out and still have enough time and privacy to talk.
The restaurant has stayed open 16 years by improving every day and making sure visitors feel like family, manager Nicole Probst said.
After lunch, Greenhouse also features signature cocktails and an affordable wine list to help the restaurant transition to the night crowd.
Runner-up: Hannah’s Off the Square
Bragging rights: The Chestnut Tree
Best Candy/Cookie/Cake Shop
105 W. Hickory St.
Stepping into Atomic Candy can be a bit of a throwback, with a classic retro setting stocked with specialty sodas, candies and novelty toys that can bring on childhood memories.
The store’s charm is the key to its success, Tim Loyd, the store owner, says. The store is more than what it stocks on the shelves; it is an experience.
“If you don’t have a smile when you enter, you will by the time you leave,” he said.
Varieties of specialty root beer line the shelves while there are heaps of old school candy alongside newer favorites to make sure no customer leaves disappointed.
Runner-up: Candy Haven
Bragging rights: Ravelin Bakery
628 Londonderry Lane
1115 E. University Drive
Metzler’s is at the top of two categories, with catering options ranging from their signature barbecue to turkey and dressing to prime rib and an extensive wine and beer selection.
After being in business for nearly 20 years, owner Roy Metzler says his business has been successful because they offer good food and selections at a fair price.
For catering at events, Metzler’s can customize any of its preplanned large plates or party trays and also offers full bar service to make the experience easy on the customer. If you aren’t having a large event, you can still enjoy the barbecue at one of two locations in Denton, or explore the wine and beer selection.
Runner-up: El Guapo’s
Bragging rights: Extreme Cuisine
Jupiter House Coffee
106 N. Locust St.
The unofficial hang-out and coffee shop of basically everyone in Denton was once again named best coffeehouse this year.
Owner Joey Hawkins, who bought the business in 2007, has made sure he and his staff add a personal touch to great coffee, making an effort to know people’s names and their regular orders.
The quality of the coffee and service also provides a sense of consistency to caffeine junkies’ daily routines, and they do the basics well.
“A big part of our success is we’ve got awesome customers, and we have from the very beginning,” Hawkins said.
Runner-up: Zera Coffee Company
Bragging rights: Seven Mile Cafe
Best Deli/Sub/Sandwich Shop
New York Sub-Hub
906 Avenue C
This charming sandwich joint on Avenue C is simple, but does its job well. You can get more than 30 sandwich combinations at this off-campus restaurant on your pick of white or whole wheat bread.
Buy your sandwich by the half (6-inch) or by the whole foot and you’re bound to get fresh, tasty deli meat dressed up with flavorful fixings. (We like ours toasted, with everything, thanks.)
Our favorite: the No. 8, fresh turkey breast seasoned with cracked black peppercorns, served with fresh cheese and cool pickles, shredded lettuce and zippy white onion slices. A splash of oil and vinegar ought to do it. Pair with a frosty cola over ice and a bag of salt and vinegar chips and you might just hear the cheers from Yankee Stadium
While you nosh, you can take in the reminders of New York — from the subway-train, overhead grip bars to framed editions of triumphant sports headlines.
Oh, and your sandwich will likely be built by the owner, who is carrying on the family business with pride.
Runner-up: Weinberger’s Deli
Bragging rights: Smiling Moose Deli
Best Fine Dining
Hannah’s Off the Square
111 W. Mulberry St.
Even after 13 years, Hannah’s remains the place to go for a special occasion or business dinner for those who want a fine dining experience close to home.
The ingredients are also close to home, with the chef creating new and unique dishes with locally sourced ingredients, owner Phil Shirley said.
Even with a cycle of new dishes, they strive to keep a consistent quality that has helped make their name in Denton, he said.
Hannah’s is also home to one of the best wine lists in Denton and a variety of upscale martinis to help start the night, like the signature “one eleven” that combines lemoncillo and sauvignon blanc.
Runner-up: Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar
Bragging Rights: Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant
Best Frozen Treat
Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain
117 W. Hickory St.
Long-time favorite Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain has maintained its charm and creamy, creative ice cream through lots of change on the Square.
While the flavors may change, the quality of the ice cream never does, and customers can always expect the retro soda shop atmosphere from the checkered flooring to the long marble countertop.
Even with a second location and the ice cream being sold in pints in specialty grocery stores in the state, they stay true to their roots. The fun, family environment also offers affordable lunch deals that typically are capped off with at least a scoop of ice cream.
Runner-up: Mr. Frosty’s
Bragging rights: Yogurt Story
Best New Restaurant
opened in 2013
LSA Burger Co.
113 W. Hickory St.
Big burgers are back on the Square, sweeping up Best of Denton awards after six months in business.
Lone Star Attitude Burger opened in November 2013 and was met with eager Dentonites who were hungry for the rooftop deck and the burgers.
With a loud “Texas music” theme and tons of musical flare, visitors can experience all five senses from the view of the courthouse on the rooftop patio to live music on weekends.
With a burger master brought in from Dallas, the kitchen churns out fresh burgers daily with locally ground meat and locally baked buns, all for reasonable prices. The burgers follow the restaurant’s Texas music theme, with names like “Stevie” and “Chilli Willie” for the signature combinations.
Runner-up: Denton County Independent Hamburger
Bragging rights: RG’s Burgers & Grill
Best New Restaurant Opened in 2013
Runner-up: Rusty Taco
Bragging rights: Viet Bites
Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
202 North 4th St., Sanger
Even if you have a lengthy wait on a Friday night, getting in for fried chicken at Babe’s is always, and we mean always, worth it.
The down-home restaurant features generous portions of fried chicken, chicken fried steak and fresh, home-cooked vegetables and savory sides made from scratch every day, general manager Tim Sloan says.
While the food keeps customers coming back, the restaurant feels like you’re going to dinner at a family member’s house, complete with song and dance.
“It’s because of the chicken,” he says of the win. “We have really good food, or [voters] just really, really love to dance the Hokey Pokey.”
Runner-up: Oldwest Cafe
Bragging rights: Cartwright’s Ranch House
Most Romantic Restaurant
Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant
821 N. Locust St.
Pulling up to a charming and quaint two-story home on North Locust, driverscan almost miss the faded gray sign with white writing distinguishing Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant.
“The city itself is kind of unique, and the fact that it’s in a little old house makes it homey,” owner Giuseppe Brownell said. “I think it’s just a good combination. Our product is good obviously, plus the atmosphere and service, I think it all kind of fits together.”
The food is authentic, since Brownell grew up in Italy, and his passion for Italy and food shows in his dishes from classic chicken parmigiana to a must-have canoli.
And don’t let the size of the house fool you — there’s a patio out back as well.
Runner-up: Luigi’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant
Bragging rights: Don Camillo Italian Cuisine
Most Romantic Restaurant
Runner-up: Hannah’s Off the Square
Bragging rights: Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar
3300 Wind River Lane
At Chuy’s, even the corn tortillas for enchiladas are made from scratch. No meat is ever frozen, and the margarita mix starts with cutting and squeezing lime juice instead of a premade mix.
The emphasis on fresh quality is what sets Chuy’s apart from other area Mexican restaurants, general manager Teresa Timmons said.
“How much time and effort we put into our food I think really shows for our customers,” she said.
Even with the emphasis on fresh, Chuy’s is able to keep prices competitive and the fun, upbeat atmosphere sets the mood before a customer walks into the bright pink building.
Runner-up: El Matador Restaurant
Bragging rights: El Guapo’s
217 E. Hickory St.
Specialty pizzas that come with diverse toppings and even vegan offerings helped make Mellow Mushroom the top vote-getter for best pizza in town.
Management credits the employees for making each customer experience as best as possible, from the kitchen staff to front-of-house personnel.
“We offer an eclectic menu that meshes well with our neighborhood and Denton, but the commitment of our people and how seriously they take providing great service helps differentiate us,” manager and owner Monte Jensen said.
The happy hour specials on weekdays don’t hurt either, when the restaurant offers half-off appetizers and most drinks.
In addition to pizza, Mellow Mushroom also offers classic calzones, hoagies and munchies true to their name, including Magic Mushroom Soup and a stuffed portobello mushroom.
Runner-up: J&J’s Pizza
Bragging rights: Palio’s Pizza
Frilly’s Seafood Bayou Kitchen
1925 Denison St.
Frilly’s takes a Cajun twist on seafood right here in Denton, serving up rarities such as fried alligator and fried frog legs.
But the more traditional seafood such as catfish, crawfish and shrimp help Frilly’s stand out as the best seafood in town.
For general manager D.J. Jahlen, it’s pretty simple why customers are happy with the restaurant.
“Food is awesome, staff is awesome, and who wouldn’t love this place?” he said.
Runner-up: Dani Rae’s Gulf Coast Kitchen
Bragging rights: Hoochie’s Oyster House
2817 Interstate 35E Frontage Rd
Ricky Rijos, the owner of Texas Roadhouse, is just as thrilled to be at the store as he was on the first day 13 years ago.
Employees wear T-shirts, guests can throw peanuts on the floor and they have few rules, Rijos said, making Texas Roadhouse the ultimate place to have a prime cut of beef prepared almost any way you want it.
“We have made-from-scratch recipes, an explosion in our steaks, and a wow-factor in our building when you walk in,” he said.
From the classic choice sirloin to the Dallas Filet, the steak won’t disappoint, and Rijos is ready to help make the experience before and after the steak a good one.
Runner-up: Outback Steakhouse
Bragging rights: Hannah’s Off the Square
Best Veggie Fare/Health Food
Cupboard Natural Foods & Cafe
200 W. Congress St.
The name says all that veggie heads need to know about Cupboard Natural Foods & Cafe: Everything is natural and is organic when it can be.
The cafe was once again named the best for veggie and health fare, and it’s not hard to see why from the menu. Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and even some paleo options are available at the cafe for lunch every day, with locally grown vegetables and even local beef and eggs.
“We know what we’re doing, and our folks that are back there [cooking] are committed and they really care about providing high-quality, all-natural foods in all of those different presentations,” general manager Paul Tanis said.
Runner-up: Mr. Chopsticks
Bragging rights: The Bowllery
2710 W. University Drive, Suite 1012
From sweet and savory to eye-watering spicy, Wingstop offers a range of sauce options and everything in between to doused bone-in or boneless chicken wings.
The self-proclaimed wing experts must be doing something right to have two active locations in Denton, serving up their classic wings with seasoned fries made from Idaho potatoes.
Visitors can pick and choose the sauces or combinations, and there are predesigned meals for two or family packs to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want.
Runner-up: Buffalo Wild Wings
Bragging Rights: BoomerJack’s Grill & Bar