Life Around Dallas

Benefits of the Dallas Arts District

Just a ten-minute drive from SMU’s campus is a hub for visual and performing arts known as the Dallas Arts District. As a lover of all things performance, this is my favorite part of downtown—whether it be theater, opera, concerts, musical theater, dance or classical music—there are so many performance experiences to take advantage of.

In May 2016, I decided to combine my love of performing arts with service and completed training as a volunteer usher for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, which encompasses the Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theatre, Strauss Square, and Sammons Park. As a volunteer, I scan tickets, assisting patrons to their seat, direct people to the bathroom and concessions during intermission, and help exit traffic after the show. In between all of that, I get to watch the performances for free! In my time volunteering, I’ve gotten to see wonderful performances through Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Opera and national tours featured as part of the Broadway Series. For a college student on a budget, it’s been a great way to see some of the highest quality entertainment in town for free and also feel good by getting in volunteer hours. I love working with AT&T Performing Arts Center because I get to mesh my passions with service.

As a double major in music and biology with a minor in musical theatre, having the Arts District so close has really enhanced my learning in the classroom at SMU. For my Evolution of American Musical Theatre class sophomore year, we did an in-depth research paper on Bob Fosse and the previous summer I got to usher for Cabaret at the Center. As a result, I came in with background knowledge of his choreography style, which was incredibly helpful for the initial class discussions on the topic. This semester, I am in Seminar of Opera History, and not only will we study the score as a class, but we also get to experience a live production of Samson et Dalila at the Dallas Opera this October. Even better, SMU Chair of Voice, Clifton Forbis, is starring as Samson (more SMU connections)!

Even if you can’t volunteer like I do, most productions have discounted “student rush” tickets available with a valid student ID if you show up an hour before show time. I encourage you to check out a performance and explore my favorite part of the city—there’s always something happening in the Arts District!

Jackie Malish

Ambassadors Life Around Dallas

Enjoying Winter in Dallas

Forget the cold of the north! Nothing beats cool days in Dallas – especially a winter day at The Rustic.  The Rustic is an indoor and outdoor restaurant that is located in the Uptown of Dallas.  With its warm atmosphere, it pairs phenomenally with a brisk winter morning. Days become even more enjoyable at the Rustic every Saturday and Sunday, when bands come and play on a stage that plays to both of the indoor/outdoor environments.  This restaurant is family friendly so you will always see a wide range of ages; from the cutest baby crawling on the grass to college students to prominent members within the Dallas community, the Rustic is full of people.

The restaurant is celebrated for its authentic southern-style menu and array of creative drinks such as the frozen popsicle drink.  I have been there more times than I can count and it is still my favorite place to go on an away-game-Saturday.  In fact, I love this restaurant so much that I have also taken my parents there on multiple occasions during parent’s weekend.  If you are ever in the area, or know someone that will be, The Rustic is a sure fire recommendation to give that you won’t be worried about living up to its hype. Enjoy!

– Baxter Cantrell

Life Around Dallas Student Organizations

Serving the Dallas Community

10-16-carlyle-riedSMU has over 180 different student organizations to get involved in, which became perfectly clear when I attended SMU’s student involvement fair, “Night at the Club” my freshman year. During that fateful night, I signed my name on probably 20 different organizations that I was interested in. However, although I would like to, I don’t have infinite time, so I took my four years to get involved in a few organizations. One of my favorite experiences at SMU is getting involved in various service organizations. Although I’ve been able to get involved in service through the classroom and in other organizations, I’ve also been involved in exclusively service organizations. Particularly, I am a member of SMU’s largest service organization, Mustang Heroes, which hosts over 20 different weekly, bi-weekly and monthly trips around the Dallas community and have gotten very involved in my sorority’s philanthropy.

This year, I have the pleasure to be the Extended Service Committee Chair for Mustang Heroes. My co-chair, Brandon, and I plan monthly Saturday trips to different organizations around the Dallas area. Although this is only once per month, we have over 40 different members, which means that we get to see how awesome the Mustangs are at giving back. This semester, we are going on trips to serve at The Special Olympics, CitySquare, a Dallas food pantry, and Mosaic Family Services, an organization that helps to serve immigrants, refugees, at-risk youths, and those at risk of HIV or AIDS. In addition, the Executive Board goes on monthly trips to bond with one another, and our organization holds monthly awareness meetings. Awareness meetings host a speaker from a nonprofit organization around the Dallas area to come help students learn how they can help change an important social or health issue.

I am also Fundraising Director for my sorority’s philanthropy. Our philanthropy is Service for Sight, which benefits the blind and visually impaired. This year, I had the pleasure to lead a group of my sorority sisters to get donations for our various philanthropy events and helped lead a letter campaign. Although this has been a rewarding experience, the best part of my entire sorority experience isn’t just fundraising; it’s actually volunteering. Every month, I’ve been attending Friday night Bingo, where we bond with the blind and visually impaired in the Dallas area and play some Bingo. Additionally, I’ve been able to help out with schooling events for the blind and visually impaired children in the Dallas community.

No matter what issue you are interested in, SMU has a plethora of service organizations for you to get involved in. Many student organizations that don’t have to do with service add a service element inside of them; whether that be a donation drive, donating profits from events or planning bonding trips to volunteer. So when you come to SMU, it’s very easy to Pony Up and do some good!

-Carlyle Reid

Life Around Dallas

From a Tour Guide on Campus to a Tourist in a Carriage

10-16-taylor-nickens-1This semester, as a senior, I had the privilege of spending Family Weekend with my mom and sisters! Despite the distance from Philadelphia, they flew over 1,400 miles to enjoy my final SMU Family Weekend with me. After class on Friday I introduced them to the football traditions on the boulevard, and SMU’s mascot, Peruna, on the football field. My younger sister fell in love with SMU’s spirit and Peruna’s spunk!

10-16-taylor-nickens-3After giving my family a tour of SMU, as I would to aspiring students, we enjoyed some lunch and a stroll in the beautiful city of downtown Dallas. We visited the historic JFK memorial and walked through Dealey Plaza next to the JFK museum. En route to the aquarium was the moment I became a tourist rather than a tour guide. While waiting at a red light we realized a beautiful black horse pulling a Cinderella carriage stood to our left. Within minutes, my family and I were touring downtown Dallas by the majestic Bella and her handler.

I enjoyed learning the history of the modernized and continuously growing city of Dallas, Texas. To any families looking to explore the wonders of downtown Dallas that surround the SMU community, I highly recommend a horse and carriage ride. It’s such a treat to still find new and interesting things to do in Dallas after spending the past three years here. The many diverse communities surrounding SMU give its students endless options. As a whole, my senior Family weekend was a huge success, and I found a new activity to add to my recommendation list!

-Taylor Nickens.

Life Around Dallas

Texas’s Taco Obsession

Dallas’s history with Tex-Mex cuisine dates back almost 100 years. The nation’s oldest chain of Mexican restaurants, El Fenix, was founded here in 1916 and began serving a unique Mexican-American culinary experience in 1918. Since then, our city’s love affair with Tex-Mex and tacos in particular has only grown. The tortilla-wrapped dish can be purchased everywhere from food trucks to bistro-style restaurants and SMU is situated in a prime location in Dallas to explore all of the choices. Below are some of my favorite spots!

  • Torchy’s Tacos – Located right across North Central Expressway on SMU Boulevard, Torchy’s Tacos is a staple in the taco community. Start your meal with an order of the Green Chile Queso (comes with a delicious dollop of guac!) and choose 2-3 tacos to round out your meal. The “Trashy Trailer Park” is a huge crowd-pleaser and the featured Tacos of the Month are usually worth a try. If you have any room at the end of your meal, the Lil Nookies (deep-friend chocolate chip cookie balls topped with powdered sugar) are a heavenly way to wrap up your experience.


  • El Come Taco – This family-owned taqueria is less than 3 miles from campus and offers a strong selection of authentic street-style tacos. The cozy establishment is the perfect place to relax after a long day and enjoy some of the freshest tacos Dallas has to offer! You can’t go wrong with the Tacos de Pescado (Fish Tacos) or Tacos Al Pastor accompanied by Valentina hot sauce (pictured below).



  • Chile Pepper Grill – Every Tuesday and Thursday of the school year, food trucks set up on campus at the Flagpole and one of the best is Chile Pepper Grill. The Fort Worth-based food truck serves up delicious street-style tacos and torta sandwiches that make for a flavorful and filling lunch. The Suadero (Mexican Brisket) and Hawaiian tacos are unique choices that never get tired.


-Jessica Mitchell

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Uncategorized

My Favorite Apps to Stay Healthy on Campus

10-16-caroline-gurleyEating, sleeping, and procrastinating. These are a few of the biggest challenges once you come to college. All of the sudden, you have more time on your hands than you’ve ever had before. What do you do with it? After you are finished studying, joining as many extracurricular activities as possible, and hanging out with your best friends, it’s time to eat, sleep, and, of course, procrastinate.

Eating in college is the best. It’s so great, actually, that you may even do too much of it. The unlimited fro-yo machine at the dining hall will quickly start calling your name three times a day before you know it. Like everything in college, it’s all about balance. I have found a few new apps that have made eating treats and staying healthy at the same time a little bit easier. The first app is Google Calendar. Open up the app, click the “+” icon, select goal, and input it in with a date and time you want to achieve it by! There are not only goals premade for exercising, but also building a skill, spending time with friends and family, setting aside “me time”, and organizing your life! Another app is called Fooducate. You can scan any food with a barcode and it will display the nutritional information on your phone. If you’re interested, it can also log what you eat and how much you exercise. Another helpful app is called Microsoft HealthVault. This app stores health data from the apps on your devices and makes accessing the information super easy in case you need to visit the health center.

Another fun part of college is sleeping. The key to successful sleeping is at least trying to get the same amount of sleep each night. One app that will help you wake up after a great nights rest is called Sleep Cycle. Sleep Cycle is an app that analyzes your sleep and wakes you during your lightest phase of sleep. FitBit also tracks how well you sleep. That is another great way to set sleeping goals for yourself.

The never-ending struggle of college is procrastination. Why write your paper that is due for a month when Gilmore Girls and Game of Thrones is calling your name? Well, to be successful in college of course! If you spend too much time on social media apps on your phone, give the app called Rescue Time a try. This app limits the amount of time you can spend on certain apps. Self-control is also a great tool to stay focused. Download self-control and create a list of websites that you need to take a break from. You customize the amount of time that the websites will be blocked, so you can watch that episode of Orange is the New Black right after you finish your homework!

College really is a fantastic time in your life. You learn as much outside of the classroom as you do within it. These tools and resources may just make the learning curve of setting your own boundaries a little bit easier!

-Caroline Gurley

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Residence Life and Student Housing Student Organizations Uncategorized

Raising the Bar from the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

06.16 Jessica Mitchell 4
Corral Guides preparing for Corral Kickoff Festivities

College is a magical time. Pretty much anyone you meet who has been will say that for a number of different reasons: the classes, the personal development, the freedom, etc. For me, what’s made SMU most magical is the people. When I put down my deposit in April, I knew that I would be attending a world-class institution with caring faculty and beautiful campus facilities. What I did not know was that I was about to join a community of the most amazing people I had ever met. From a Junior Olympic gold medalist in my Wellness class to a girl who had started her own non-profit that raised over $20,000 during her senior year of high school living next door in McElvaney, everywhere I looked there was another inspirational person to meet.

06.16 Jessica Mitchell 2
Just a normal day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center

But even beyond the accomplishments of our student body, there’s a certain quality to SMU students that makes them so enjoyable to be around, even doing the most mundane activities. My friends and I have spent countless nights chilling in someone’s room, playing cards and laughing ourselves to tears. We’ve started a brunch club (@thedallasbrunchclub on Instagram) and explored the Dallas food scene, one Sunday morning meal at a time. We’ve gone with residential commons on excursions to movie theaters and Mavericks games (even made it on to the Jumbotron during halftime). We’ve taken the DART into downtown for arts festivals and pretended to know the meaning of abstract art installations (some things aren’t meant to be understood). We’ve dressed up in crazy SMU spirit swag to greet new students at Mustang Corral and basically spend three days being as silly and spirited as possible (appreciate your Corral Guides; they work really hard to make the experience awesome). Some days we just sit around Hughes-Trigg and have intellectual discussions about politics, pop culture, and any other topic under the sun.

Through all these random adventures, I’ve laughed, cried, and made memories that will last a lifetime. But it wasn’t always the activities themselves that were so impactful, but the people I was doing them with. Every single person at SMU has something they bring to the table that brings an experience to life, makes it worthwhile. Once you get to the Hilltop, I encourage you to find the people that can help you take the ordinary to the extraordinary.

-Jessica Mitchell

Life Around Dallas

Dallas Marathon

Mary Parker JohnstonWant to know the best study break during finals week? The Dallas Marathon. This past semester, right in the middle of finals week, I found a very unusual way to procrastinate on my studying. Instead of waking up early to study, I woke up early to run 26.2 long, rainy miles. I have to be honest though, the marathon was a bit of a final itself. Let me give you a little background.

Last semester, I took a PRW (Personal Responsibility and Wellness) class called Beginning Marathon Training. The class was for “beginner” runners, and aimed to help students train for the Dallas Marathon, which was at the end of the semester. See? Kind of like a final. I had always dreamed of being able to run a marathon, but had never been able to find the motivation to do it by myself, so when I heard about the class, I thought, “Hey it’s now or never.”

Admittedly, there were times when I wondered what I got myself into, but after finishing, I would highly recommend the class to anyone even slightly interested. The class was an absolute blast! There was an awesome teacher and several fellow students to help motivate me. It kind of brought me back to my high school cross country days; it was like being on a little team!

Honestly, it is a fair amount of work. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. (Using that phrase literally and figuratively here), but let me just say, even though my legs may have felt like spaghetti the day after the race and physically walking to my Genetics final was pretty tough, nothing had made me feel more confident going into an exam than knowing I had finished a marathon the day before.

All that to say, SMU helped push me to do something I never thought I could do. I know that never could’ve accomplished this if I wasn’t at SMU, and I can’t wait to see what other amazing opportunities I find these next few years!

-Mary Parker Johnstone

Campus Life Life Around Dallas

Two-Steps Ahead of the Game

Jack StudentBeing from California, I was at first unsure of how Texas culture would differ from my own personal experience. However, I came into college knowing that if I wasn’t failing, I wasn’t trying many new things and stretching myself. At first, I auditioned for the a-capella team, Southern Gentlemen. I unfortunately didn’t make the team, but I was not going to let this singular defeat dishearten me in my quest for assimilation. So I kept looking for a club or group to join. Then, I thought to myself, what would be the most Texan thing I could do… I know; I’ll join the country two-stepping team the Mustang Mavericks. I knew that it was going to be a challenge, as I have never danced competitively before, and certainly not two-stepped before. I show up to the auditions and I was very nervous. First of all, I had to dance with girls I don’t know in a partner setting. As a freshman, this can be a little daunting. I would like to say that I was super suave and cool but, of you have seen the scene form “Inside Out” where the boy’s head is freaking out when he has to talk to a girl, it was probably a lot like that.

At the tryouts, there were people who danced competitively in high school and were very familiar with two-stepping. This clearly did not relieve any anxiousness as I was already nervous about making the team, it didn’t help that I had stiff competition. Although I was nervous, the team couldn’t have been nicer to me throughout the entire tryouts, reassuring me that many of them never had any experience before either. Although it was a bit unbelievable because they were doing flips and all sorts of dance stunts, it was encouraging to know that I might be able to do this one day, too.

By the end of that day, I had made the team and was making new friends. It has been by far one of the most life changing experiences as I have made life long friends from Mavericks; I even was a groomsmen for a member’s wedding in Austin this year. I am so glad that I put myself out there and was not afraid to fail and because of that courage I have bettered my collegiate experience and made lasting friendships.

-Jack Student

Life Around Dallas


Whether it’s date night with a special someone or late night with your friends, the key to a great night is great tacos, and Dallas is possible the greatest city in the country to fill all of your taco needs. We have taco joints all across the city with menus ranging from strictly authentic to creatively eclectic and everything in between. No Dallasite ever has to go unsatisfied. In coming to SMU, I took it upon myself to begin my quest for the perfect taco, but found that the perfect taco rests in what you’re in the mood for in that moment, so here are a couple of my favorite tacos spots to fill your taco needs.

Strictly Authentic: Fuel City Tacos

It doesn’t get much more authentic than Fuel City when it comes to tacos in Dallas. Fuel City is a gas station on the south side of downtown that took me about half an hour to find the first time I went, but rest assured, it was well worth it. The line outside the little window where they take orders always moves quickly, so make sure you have your cash ready to order some tasty Barbacoa and Al Pastor tacos (my personal favorites), and don’t forget to get a cup of the Mexican street corn! Once you’ve assembled your meal and bought drinks inside the gas station, I like to sit down at the picnic tables they have for patrons, chat with friends, and watch the exotic animals they keep in a pin next to the parking lot lounge in the shade. As a friend of mine put it, “Fuel City is worth it just for the experience,” but having some of the best tacos in the city helps too!

04.16 Steven Chamberlin 3

The Standard: Torchy’s Tacos

If I want a standard Tex-Mex taco, Torchy’s is my go to. Located on SMU Boulevard, not many taco restaurants can beat Torchy’s in terms of convenient access from campus. Their menu hosts a variety of tacos and breakfast tacos that, although I labeled as “standard,” are by no means standard in flavor or quality. Regardless of political views, I always recommend “The Democrat” for those as enthusiastic about Barbacoa tacos as I am, but one can’t go wrong with any menu item at Torchy’s. Speaking of menus, if you’re interested in mixing things up, ask your cashier to see the secret menu for some hidden treasures.

04.16 Steven Chamberlin 2

Creatively Eclectic: Velvet Taco

No matter what cuisine you’re in the mood for, Velvet Taco will have the taco for you. Their menu ranges from the Indian “Spicy chicken tikka” taco to the “Ahi Poke” taco, which substitutes a tortilla with a crisp leaf of lettuce filled with fresh tuna poke. If the diverse group of 23 tacos they offer isn’t enough for you, check out their awesome sides like “Red Coconut Curry Queso” and “Crisp Tots & Local Egg,” which sports bacon, goat cheese, smoked cheddar, and an avocado Creama sauce. Located on Henderson Avenue along highway 75, Velvet taco is fairly easily accessed from SMU by car. If you consider yourself a foodie, but down have a car, trust me when I say it’s worth the Uber!

04.16 Steven Chamberlin 1

– Stephen Chamberlain

Life Around Dallas

Everything All in One City

03.16 Chad SolomonBeing in Dallas gives you the opportunity to explore a lot of pretty amazing things. With the help of Uber, DART, and of course your friends, you can take in everything that Dallas has to offer and you don’t even need a car on campus to enjoy it all!

This February I had the chance to re-live a favorite experience from my childhood years. For Valentine’s Day, my girlfriend and I took on Medieval Times. Just fifteen minutes away from campus and paired with a student discount of 50% off, it could not have been a better opportunity. We left about thirty minutes before the show started and were in our seats with a couple of minutes to spare. It wasn’t as thrilling as I remember as when I was 12 years old, but it was still a great way to spend a couple of hours. Sitting in an arena watching flying Falcons, jousting matches which consisted of grown men on horses with long wooden spears, and much more, are definitely not things you see every day. But whether you like watching men pretend to be knights or prefer trying new restaurants and shops, there are hundreds of activities downtown Dallas and the greater Dallas area have to offer.

I’ve been at SMU for almost two years and I still haven’t had the chance to visit a majority of the restaurants and sites in Dallas. Saying I love the location of SMU may sound cliché, but I really do believe that no other university can beat it. I don’t know many other schools where you can have class at nine, go to a sushi bar for lunch (on campus), go to a tanning pool in the afternoon, ride a horse at Medieval times and then end up at a professional sporting event all in one day.

-Chad Solomon

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Meadows School of the Arts

Endless Opportunities on Campus and in the City

Shannon ConboyIt’s Monday, and I’m reminiscing about my weekend, feeling incredibly lucky. Not only did I spend time doing what I love for my major, but I also had an incredible city to experience on my rehearsal breaks!

I’m a senior Vocal Performance major, and rehearsals for the opera are in full swing. Next week, I will perform a role in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” in front of family, friends, teachers, and colleagues. To have this opportunity and experience as an undergraduate is something I’ve only dreamed about. Meadows Opera Ensemble hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since early January. Each evening that I’m rehearsing, I count my lucky stars that I’m part of such a wonderful production with such hard-working and talented people. I’m really getting to experience what my life will be like pursuing a career in an opera company, and I love it.

Saturday, a day off from rehearsals, I was able to enjoy my time in the city. I started the day off with brunch at Fernando’s, getting my Tex-Mex and scrambled egg fix, and running into multiple SMU friends. After a much needed lazy afternoon, I was surprised by a friend with tickets to a Stars game! He had gotten them through his internship, as he is a Finance Major in Cox. Stoked, we donned as much green clothing as possible and headed to the American Airlines center. After an evening full of stadium hot-dogs and friends, a Stars loss didn’t even faze me. I returned home content as could be.

As a senior, I guess I’m beginning to appreciate these little things more and more. I have had endless opportunities in my four years here and I look back on each with such fondness! I’m singing opera, building up my experiences, and preparing myself for a successful post-grad life, but I’m also living in the greatest city and taking advantage of all Dallas has to offer. I’m not sure what more I could ask for, except to do it all over again.
Here’s to the next few months of my time here being the best yet.

-Shannon Conboy

Campus Life Life Around Dallas

From California to Country

02.16 Alex HibbardLast Thursday, I went country dancing for the 5th time in my eight semesters of college. This was a special moment because not only is it my last semester at SMU, but it was the first time that I stepped foot in Billy Bob’s, one of the most famous country dancing venues in Texas. Billy Bob’s is located outside of Fort Worth and is a popular place for college students to attend on Thursday nights because students get a discounted rate with their SMU ID card.

At 9:30, about 30 of my friends gathered outside the Catholic Center on SMU’s campus and carpooled over to Billy Bob’s, arriving at around 10:15. Once I stepped out of my car, I was amazed at the size of Billy Bob’s. I walked inside and the venue appeared to be even bigger than it did from the outside. They had a large dance floor, tables and chairs everywhere, a stage with a live band, and of course, a mechanical bull.

My friends and I immediately hit the dance floor. I only know a few country dance moves, but that didn’t stop me from dancing the night away. The live band was incredible and they played a great variety of songs. The other regular attenders of Billy Bob’s were so much fun to watch. They know so many dance moves and it is very entertaining to watch them glide around the dance floor.

Our final dance was a line dance and at 12:30, we came back to SMU. Any late night outing would not be complete without stopping at Whataburger, so we stopped for a quick snack and quickly went to bed. I had an awesome time and I cannot wait to go back next Thursday!

-Alex Hibbard

Life Around Dallas

Looking for a Place to Dine with Parents? : My Favorite Restaurants

Dallas is known for a lot of things, and one of those is its vibrant restaurant scene. With SMU’s location in the heart of the city I have had lots of opportunity over the past few years to indulge my “foodie” side.

To give you an idea of some of the great options available, I have highlighted four of my favorite restaurants in the city to give you some ideas about places you might want to check out on a date, with parents, or to celebrate a special occasion. They aren’t the fanciest in town, but they aren’t the cheapest either. What are they then, you ask? Delicious. So, since picking favorites is far too difficult, here are a few places I would recommend (in no particular order):

HG SPLY Co. – Situated in Lower Greenville, a rather lively part of town with a lot of quality competition, HG SPLY Co. stands out for its great ambiance, friendly service, and emphasis on natural ingredients. If that last point scares you, fret not—it doesn’t come with any flavor compromises. My recommendation would be one of the bowls, particularly one called “The Stack”, but everything I have had there has been great so you can’t go wrong. The bar is a hit as well with a number of creative cocktail options. The only big downside? It’s not a last minute sort of place. High demand is certainly better than the opposite problem though, so if you have time to plan ahead you should put this one on your list.

HG Sply Co

Meso Maya – Tex-Mex is comfort food for me, so there was bound to be something from this genre on the list. That being said, Meso Maya is on here not because it fits the mold, but because it has pulled away from it. There are any number of “cheap Tex-Mex” places I could have mentioned, most of which are fantastic. But this list is about quality, and that brings us to Meso Maya on the edge of uptown near the Perot museum. The restaurant moves a little more upscale from your typical Mexican food place while also pushing towards the more authentic end of the spectrum. I recommend the seafood enchiladas, but if your tastes differ explore the menu for yourself—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Meso Maya

Sissy’s – Located on Henderson Ave., another popular restaurant zone, Sissy’s will take you home for some good old fashioned fried chicken. Make no mistake though… this is no KFC. The restaurant walks a tightrope between elegance and hominess, pulling it off with style. If fried chicken just isn’t your thing, they specialize in all things southern, so there is sure to be something on the menu for you. It’s not a huge place, so if you can’t find a table just take a seat at the bar—they will make you feel right at home there too. It may be finger-licking good, but be sure to save some room for milk and cookies (there is an adult version for those of age) at the end of the meal.


R+D Kitchen – Tucked away in a back corner of Preston Center, R+D Kitchen isn’t a place you might stumble upon driving around and searching for a restaurant. But believe me, it is well worth an intentional trip. With a dimly lit, intimate atmosphere and a bar running through the middle of the restaurant that almost makes it feel like an elegant diner, the décor won’t disappoint. The menu is primarily American style, but sushi and other more eclectic offerings are also available. The chef and staff clearly take great pride in their work, and it shows in the food. The Carnitas Sandwich and The Newporter salad are two of my favorites. Add in top-notch service and it quickly becomes apparent that they have a recipe for success.

R+D Kitchen


This list is certainly not exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you some ideas of places to start after arriving in Dallas. If you start exploring I have no doubt you will have your own list in no time!

-Ryan Herrscher

Campus Life Careers Cox Business School Life Around Dallas Student Organizations

Start-Ups Start Here!

Do you have the next Big Idea? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to be an entrepreneur?

A picture from one of our club meetings.
A picture from one of our club meetings.

During high school, I started my own automotive accessories business and was fortunate enough to make a profit. Naturally, when I came to SMU, my first priority was to find the SMU Entrepreneurship Club. Upon membership, I met many other SMU students who also had entrepreneurial endeavors. I am so passionate about entrepreneurship that I am now, as a sophomore, the Vice President of the club. The SMU Entrepreneurship Club is one of SMU’s 200 student organizations and is one of the best resources available to get real world entrepreneurial experience. Whether you have the next billion-dollar idea, want help with an existing business, or simply want to hang out with cool people, the entrepreneurship club is for you!

The club prepares students for pitch competitions around the country and hosts guest speakers and pitch training events. One of my favorite events we do as a club is Shark Tank analysis. Shark Tank is a popular TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of notable investors, such as Dallas local and billionaire Mark Cuban. In fact, a few SMU students have pitched their businesses on the show. The club plays the recorded pitches and collectively analyzes the pitcher’s strategy and techniques. The event is both educational and a lot of fun.

Entrepreneurial spirit on campus does not stop outside the club. SMU is one of the most entrepreneurial universities in the country. SMU is ranked #14 on Forbes’ list of “Start-up Schools: America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities 2015.” This can be attributed to our very social, involved, and entrepreneurial student body, and also to the fact that Dallas provides the perfect incubator for starting businesses. Forbes ranked Dallas, TX #7 for the “Best Cities to Start a Business.”

If you answered “No” to all three of my initial questions, congratulations for reading this far. SMU offers 199 other student organizations; at least one will surely make you feel at home. My advice to you: get involved as soon as you step foot on campus.

Pony up!

-David Zimmer