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Save room for dessert: A holiday guide to Downtown dining

Dining out in Downtown Arlington is a year-round obsession for many who live, work, learn and play in and around this recently named Texas Cultural District. Whether grabbing a bite before a show, studying over a cup of coffee, or meeting friends for dinner and drinks, Downtown Arlington’s got the goods. Now, as we fall headfirst into the holiday season, those of us who frequent Downtown’s twenty-plus culinary destinations cordially invite you to partake of all that our favorite District has to offer.

Just be sure to save room for dessert.

Gobble, gobble

We always give thanks for restaurant 506 at The Sanford House for their outstanding, chef-driven menu of classic dishes with artful twists. This Thanksgiving, executive chef John Klein and his team are going the extra mile so you don’t have to. Enjoy a full Thanksgiving feast in one of the restaurant’s elegant dining rooms or pre-order a turkey dinner to go for 8-10 people (but only invite 4 so you can bask in leftovers).

If you’re considering an equally grand but non-traditional Thanksgiving feast, bring home a “Big Order” of catfish fillets or fried jumbo shrimp from Flying Fish, or start that new Thanksgiving tradition with chicken fried steak and fresh cobbler from Babe’s Chicken Dinner House.

Sweet tooth

Maybe you’ve already ordered the ham and stocked up on ingredients for the casserole but prefer to leave the baking to the professionals. Nana’s pudding at The Tin Cup is deliciously nostalgic and can be ordered in quantities fit for a small army. Pie Five, known for personal-sized gourmet pizzas, also serves up pies of brownies in three decadent variations.

For the morning after Thanksgiving, we recommend a dozen donuts from Shipley’s to keep the feeding frenzy in high gear.

Pick me up

If you need a little caffeine to rev you up for holiday shopping, Potager’s Other Stuff, iCafe and Starbucks at the UT Arlington Bookstore stand at the ready to pour a cup just like you like it.

While Legal Draft Beer Co., Downtown’s newest microbrewery, will be closed most of Thanksgiving weekend, on Saturday Nov. 26 you can take a break from holiday shopping to enjoy live music in the taproom. Enjoy more music along with your favorite drink at The Grease Monkey and J. Gilligan’s too, and check out Division Brewing’s website for information about their upcoming music and events.

Are you ready for some football?

For football fans, Thanksgiving weekend offers a delicious excuse for overindulging in your favorite spectator sport. When the turkey runs out, waddle over to these Downtown hot spots to catch the game over specialties of the house. We recommend:

smoked brisket quesadillas at Mavericks Bar and Grill;

Hooligan’s Pub for serious mixology;

jalapeno bottlecaps at J.R. Bentley’s;

muffuletta cheese bread at Mellow Mushroom;

Twisted Root for a rabbit burger or duck burger or any number of seasonal surprises; and

The Food Network loves the Irish nachos at J. Gilligan’s and you will too.

If you prefer to watch the games at home, be sure that Kool Keg is on your speed-dial so the growlers or frozen drink machines will be ready when you want them.

One stop shop

For a master “menu” of all of Downtown’s eateries and pubs, plus an on-line calendar of events, visit the Downtown Arlington website. To stay in the know and up to the minute, subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Get social

When you post your foodie photos of Downtown Arlington cuisine, don’t forget to tag us with #authenticallyArlington and @dtArlington.

About Downtown Arlington

Recently designated an official Cultural District by the Texas Commission on the Arts, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.