It’s the last Friday of the decade, why not try a new place for date-night dinner? Here are our top 7 dining stories of the year:

All photography by Kathy Tran.

1. Civil Pour’s two-fisted deal: craft beer + coffee

Civil Pour’s concept is simple: craft beer, fresh coffee, workspace and good vibes. It is the neighborhood’s answer to Austin-based Halcyon with an emphasis on locally made goods.

2. What’s in an L-Streets margarita, anyway?

Want a quintessential Lake Highlands cocktail? Try Cedar & Vine, whose drinks are inspired by the people and places of our neighborhood. Bar manager Tara Dieringer has worked in the area for only a few months, but her regulars already gave her the 411. We’re a place with a small-town feel, where everyone knows everyone. So how do you make a cocktail that reflects who we are? Click on the article to see the recipes.

3. Why Taco Diner invests in women and margaritas

Taco Diner’s mission has always been family-oriented, and they favored female employees from the beginning. When the first restaurant opened in 1998, the staff was all female because of the love and care women put into their work. The store caters to families in some creative ways. The drinks are made to pack a punch so that parents can drink in front of their kids and enjoy themselves while sipping a single margarita. The Lake Highlands location even goes as far as separating the bar area and making it 21 and over.

4. Glorious fried chicken: How BBBop introduced Korean food to Dallas

BBBop was never supposed to be about tradition. It was created to give Dallas an introduction to Korean at a time when we didn’t have a lot of quick, healthy options. When BBBop first opened, they didn’t even want to have fryers, microwaves or a fridge. As time went on, customers craved dishes like wings. They became so popular that the Busseys caved and bought fryers. The menu morphed into a reflection of the Busseys’ culinary background, their culture and their customers. 

5. This hummus took 14 years of traveling to perfect

Russell Birk is the self-described “chief hummus maker” of Maya’s Modern Mediterranean. He left his cushy corporate job to become a restaurateur. As a health buff and a frequent visitor of Israel, he was puzzled why Israeli food hadn’t hit it big in America. Birk set out to do what Zoe’s did for Greek food — make Mediterranean food accessible and give neighbors a healthy option to feed their families.

6. Unleavened is a culinary experience that’s anything but flat

Unleavened is probably the only restaurant where you can sip CBD tea and lemonade while your kid eats free. Unleavened started as wraps and salads, but now features all-day breakfasts and protein bowls to keep up with customers’ needs. Current favorites include the lemon pesto bowl with portobello, zucchini, tomato, sautéed spinach, crimson lentils and arugula with a salmon filet on top.

7. Who knew late-night sushi was available in the neighborhood?

Shigekazu Tateno came to the states in 1997 and began working at Dallas sushi spots like Blue Sushi and Yutaka Sushi Bistro. He often found himself getting off work late without a decent place to eat. “I don’t want to go to iHop,” Tateno says. “So I decided to open late so that my [industry] friends can come here to eat and have some drinks.” When Tateno first started Yama Sushi, he worked alone behind the sushi bar, making what he says is “traditional” and “straight from Japan” cuisine.

So Lake Highlanders, what local restaurants would you like to see featured in 2020? Comment or email with your ideas.