Friday, September 3, 2010

Discovering Dallas's Bishop Arts District

Guest blogger Alison Miller here! You might already know that I’m a big fan of the Bishop Arts District. One of the best aspects of this delightful pocket of shops and restaurants in Oak Cliff is that it's constantly gaining speed. Every time I go, there’s at least one new place to visit. Last night's visit during the monthly First Thursday soiree was no exception.
Consider N. Bishop Ave. your main drag. The surrounding streets are home to some 50+ eating and shopping establishments. Among them are some of Dallas’s best restaurants—Tillman's, Hattie's, and Bolsa, D magazine’s pick for the best new restaurant of 2009, giving you plenty of reason to stick around after a day of shopping.

On the first Thursday of every month the stores stay open late, a band plays on the corner of Bishop and Eighth, and the streets fill with people. Usually, a five dollar donation gets you a wine glass that you can carry to participating stores for a splash of vino by Dallas’s own Times Ten Cellars. While last night's Wine Walk was officially canceled (due to the chance of rain perhaps?), it didn’t stop many of the affable shopkeepers from staying up after-hours. Some of them even popped their own bottles or crafted their own adult concoctions.
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Zola's Everyday Vintage
Zola's Everyday Vintage
I revisited some of my favorites—Zola’s Everyday Vintage, which specializes in clothing, housewares, and jewelry from the 1940s through the 1970s; Make, for stylish goods and clothing created by crafty locals; and Dude, Sweet Chocolate, where you can watch artisan chocolate being handmade, then taste the bounty. I can't get enough of the inventive list of ingredients used by chocolate-maker Katherine Clapner, which ranges from blue cheese to rose petal jam. (By the way, you can swing by here anytime for a sample.) Shambhala sells all-natural handmade soaps and lotions, and the Soda Gallery carries the city’s largest selection of rare, small-batch soda.
But my big discovery last night was a store celebrating its first day in business. Dirt is a florist that beautifully defies the sleepy notion of the standard rose bouquet. In addition to sleek floral designs and wedding bouquets, owner Sonya Worden also makes her own line of folksy invitations - customized to any event. Last night her candlelit shop felt like a secret garden full of artful, modern arrangements. I have to say, I'm excited to watch her - and the rest of this neighborhood - continue to blossom.

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