Since I was a teenager, Roanoke has always been somewhat of a carefree weekend evening destination for my family thanks to the original Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. There was nothing better than packing up the family car and driving across the metroplex for a gluttonous family-style dinner of fried chicken or chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, creamy corn, and yeasty rolls with molasses.
But, have you been to Roanoke lately? The historic downtown Roanoke has seen a recent revamp and Oak Street is the center of it all. My family spent a Saturday night out there not long ago and loved the small-town feel of the streets and sidewalks filled with families and children running around.
This is Main Street, USA at its finest.
Pack your own car up and make the drive to Denton County (about 40 minutes from downtown Dallas) for the following family-friendly hot spots:
1. Babe’s – You can’t go wrong with finger-licking fried chicken. Babe’s has since spread across the metroplex, but this one is the original (and I think the best). Make sure to ask your waitress if you can see the restaurant’s pet: a baby rattler. During our dinner last weekend, all of the waiters disappeared for about five minutes. Why? Because they were lined up doing the hokey-pokey, of course! Bonus fact: Did you know the namesake of Snider Plaza’s Bubba’s is (the late) Babe’s husband? True story. 104 N. Oak St.
2. Hard Eight BBQ – Cassidy recently listed Hard Eight as one of her top area BBQ spots. This location is one of the joint’s three spots and the patio was hopping with live music when we visited as it does every Friday and Saturday night. 205 S. Oak St.
3. Dove Creek Cafe – Just around the corner from the beaten path of Oak St. lies a fabulous breakfast stop known for its homemade biscuits served with sausage gravy. This diner is a local favorite for all three belt-busting meals of the day. 204 S. Hwy 377
4. Hey, Sugar – This little candy shop is so cute that my family actually had our annual portraits taken here a few years ago. On a weekend night, the shop is packed and there is a reason why: stuff yourself with bulk candy, unique sodas, and hand-scooped ice cream. In fact, you might want to skip dinner and come straight here (just to be safe). 111 S. Oak St.
5. Oak St. Pie Co. – I have a weakness in my knees when it comes to buttermilk pie, so I just had to poke my nose in at Oak St. Pie Co. Sold by the slice or whole pie, owner Carol Southern’s bestseller is the pecan pie, but the natives say it’s hard to make a bad choice. 110 N. Oak St.
1. The Plaid Peacock – Shop over 10,000 square feet of individually owned boutique booths ranging from homemade soaps to designer clothing. I especially liked the Molly and Me boutique where one can buy little girl outfits with matching attire for a baby doll. 206 N. Oak St.
2. Roanoke Trading Company – I am in love with this chic home design shop. I wanted to scoop up everything, go home, and completely redecorate immediately. Owned by the same folks behind the candy shop, Hey, Sugar, the collection of home goods, clothing, and furniture is perfection. 115 N. Oak St.
3. Across The Times – Check out this home interior shop for items ranging from vintage and retro to brand new. Unique antiques are diamonds hidden in this shop for those willing to dig around (my kind of fun!). 208 S. Oak St.
1. Wine Tasting – Three Vino Winery offers $10 red and white flights for the tasting or glasses and bottles on the spot. Also, make sure to check out the front lobby of Three Vino where Jose Adrian Hernandez, a third-generation Cuban and master cigar roller, will hand-roll you a smoked delicacy. 206 Main St.
2. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert – See the schedule here for a concert lineup series in the outdoor Austin Street Plaza. 221 N. Oak St.
3. Watch an Outdoor Movie – Hey, Sugar utilizes the large lawn next door to the candy shop for regular outdoor movie nights. Keep an eye on its Facebook page for a chance to vote on the next showing title and to stay tuned for upcoming dates. 111 S. Oak St.
4. Shop a Farmers Market – Fresh produce from area farmers is for the taking on Saturday mornings from June to October. The market is open from 8am to noon at the Austin Street Plaza. 221 N. Oak St.