It’s lunch time and I’m hungry!
Good local places that date back pretty far:
Snuffer’s (lower Greenville location, best cheese fries you’ll ever eat) http://www.snuffers.com/
Campisi’s (Mockingbird location; Jack Ruby was a regular here) http://campisis.us/
Gloria’s (lower Greenville or Bishop Arts location) http://www.gloriasrestaurants.com/
Matt’s Rancho Martinez (Lakewood location; try the Bob Armstrong dip) http://www.mattstexmex.com/
Blue Goose (lower Greenville or Addison location) http://www.bluegoosecantina.com/
Aw Shucks (Lower Greenville location) http://www.bigshucks.com/
El Fenix (Uptown location) http://elfenix.com/
Newer local places:
Victor Tango’s (my fav) http://www.victortangos.com/
Fireside Pies http://www.firesidepies.com/
Ozona (great patio! best chicken fried steak in Dallas) http://ozonagrill.com/
Mi Cocina http://www.mcrowd.com/micocina.html
Fuzzy’s Tacos (available in other states, but not CA) http://www.fuzzystacoshop.com/
I have lived in the ‘burbs for a year now (boooo) so I am less familiar with brand new stuff. But all of these are delicious! Babe’s Chicken isn’t in Dallas, but several nearby suburbs have them. I live 5 mins from one and it’s pretty good, but I don’t think it’s worth a long drive. If you make a trip to Babe’s, consider heading to Cedar Hill for the day–it’s about 20-30 min from downtown, also has a Matt’s Rancho Martinez, outdoor mall, and state park/brand new audobon center for some non-city fun. A really good bakery (http://www.bakery-on-a-hill.com/), too. There’s also a babe’s in Frisco, which might be closer to your relatives.
If you’re a shopper, make sure to hit NorthPark Mall–retail heaven! All price points. Also, you can booze it up while you shop because there are tons of restaurants, which makes shopping even more fun/dangerous. It’s like 5 mins from Hotel Palomar if you stay there, and there are a ton of other hotels nearby.
Fair Park is pretty cool, even in non-fair season there are museums and the fairgrounds are huge. Only go in daylight and only park in populated lots. There are good-quality musicals at the music hall (www.dallassummermusicals.com) for most of the year. A decent, low-key bar (Amsterdam Bar) and a good, quirky pizza place (http://www.pizzaloungedallas.com/) across the street.
I’m not a BBQ fan, but I would say Dallas is better known for Tex-Mex than BBQ.