Your Staycation Guide to Irving
Couple eating breakfast in bed

Welcome to Irving!

As a fellow quarantinee, I understand the rising trend of the beloved staycation. After all, the world is a little crazy right now and everyone could benefit from a staycation to simply take some time to disconnect and rest. Furthermore, I have found that with the right “quaranTEAM”, great food and some ambiance, a stay can be rejuvenating, transformative, relaxing and healing.

I am a foodie who has enjoyed the flavors of every place I’ve traveled to in my world travels, and I am lucky to have all of these authentic flavors within a short distance from my home! I have put together a list of my favorite local eats and nature parks below which I encourage you to check out while you’re in the Irving and DFW area. Most of these restaurants are available on Doordash, UberEats, or Postmates. For each local guide recommendation, I have attached a Google listing link, where you can locate that specific location for the most current information. Happiness is great food and great company. You bring the great company and I’ll make sure you have great food and some sweet nature spots covered here in this staycation guide to Irving!

First time using Doordash? Use this link to receive $15 off! https://drd.sh/axYDAq/
New to UberEats? Get $5 off by using the code: eats-wfomu
PostMates gives us both $25! Sign up with code WNRV3 or just tap this link! https://postmat.es/NpIiKXB

kM7

 

Shorty’s Cafe (Southern Homestyle Comfort Food)

This cozy little spot serves the best homestyle breakfast, everything is made from scratch, and they only serve breakfast and lunch. The portions are large, the coffee is good and the staff is kind! Shorty still works there! Warning: You will probably need a nap after you eat here!

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/owwqbSoCQrgGvDQs8

Swiss Donut

The sweetest Korean lady owns this place and the donuts and kolaches are the best in town in our opinion! I always buy an extra dozen donut holes and eat them throughout the day as a snack. Even hours later, the bread remains soft and tastes just as good. There are other donut shops within a closer distance but I can’t recommend their quality or consistency like Swiss Donut.

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/v732hnmfVZwq7A2WA

Crepe & Cup (French)

Crepe & Cup is a creperie located within the Irving Mall food court, just off of Belt Line Road. If you’re craving delicious sweet crepes without flying to Paris, this is where you go! Bon appetit!

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/UtmvsE64ar1ZoRcK9

Website:

https://www.crepeandcup.com/

 

Waffle House on Northgate (American Diner)

I wouldn’t usually recommend a chain restaurant but we love this Waffle House diner in particular because of the people who work there and who consistently provide wonderful service and food! Diante and Tanya are the best! We have been visiting them for years and though we don’t go out as often as before, they make it easy to call and pick up my order to go whenever it’s declared a Waffle House day in our family, be it for breakfast, brunch, or on occasion, breakfast for dinner. If you’re wondering, our usual consists of the All-Star Special, shared by the two of us, with an additional egg and an additional waffle.

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/3cxSdMQEm2ZZQvUT7

 

Le Peep (Breakfast and Lunch)

Le Peep has been voted the #1 breakfast & brunch restaurant by the Dallas Observer. They use the finest ingredients to serve a delicious homestyle breakfast that satisfies the soul. While it is a chain, each restaurant is locally owned.

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/hecm7UVdVoiafdiz8

Website:

https://www.lepeep.com

brunh on a table

Empa Mundo (Argentinian Empanadas)

With many YELP awards every year, THE BEST empanadas you will ever have! There are flavors for everyone, the sauce is essential and don’t forget about the dessert empanadas too! I can’t leave there without a guava and cheese. Nutella banana is another favorite. Tell Mimi that Tara sent you!

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/uSSZKfq8cMEMFt2CA

Website:

https://www.empamundo.com/

Mr. Max Cafe Nippon (Japanese Ramen, Sushi & Tapas)

Chill izakaya with a quaint feel & Japanese-style seating, plus a sushi bar, tapas & sake offerings will make you feel as if you’ve stepped inside and entered Japan! The tables are traditional and you’re expected to remove your shoes before sitting down. We come here for the Tonkatsu Ramen and tapas, though the sushi is popular here as well. Just call ahead for reservations or carry out.

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/Kt5BW1fanUUUYnq89

Website:

https://www.mrmaxrestaurant.com/

Ramen bowl

Adobo (Puerto Rican)

Traditional Puerto Rican eats can be found here for great prices, including mofongo, tostones, Rellenos de papa, and sweet bread. I recommend checking in with them earlier in the day rather than later, however, to ensure there’s enough left when you order. This is one of our favorite meals to have delivered to the park so we can enjoy a picnic without the prep, mess or clean up!

Google listing:  https://g.page/adobopr?share

puerto rican flag

African Village Restaurant (West African)

If you like the true taste of Africa, try this no-frills joint! They are known for classic African dishes like grilled fish and beef stew, not so much their customer service, however. Let’s just say they work on African time, so it requires some patience, but for me, it’s worth it. In the same way that a certain food can bring you back home and satisfy a craving deep within you, all of these flavors bring me back to Cameroon, where I lived and volunteered with the Peace Corps for 2 years.

Google listing: https://goo.gl/maps/uHZa2MBijDQnZYUd8

grilled fish

Big Daddy’s Ship Store (Breakfast & Burgers)

Experience excellent burgers and fried gouda (FRIED GOUDA!) at Big Daddy’s ship store on the marina! If you like the lake but don’t want to drive too far, where there always seems to be a breeze and the temperatures are lower, I recommend Big Daddy’s on the marina. You can enjoy the ambiance of boats and waterfront, and if you’re feeling adventurous there’s a walking trail nearby that winds around Grapevine Lake.

Google listing: https://goo.gl/maps/56dCdYmMBG9WH7tG6

Website: http://bigdaddysshipstore.com/

burgers

Andalou’s Mediterranean

If you’re feeling like Mediterranean, visit this gem! The hummus, freshly made pitas, and lamb shank will not disappoint! Twin chefs are behind the menu of this lovely restaurant. Don’t forget to try their baklava!

Google listing:

https://g.page/andalous-mediterranean-grill?share

Website:

https://www.andalousgrill.com/

Greek hummus and spread

Vito’s Pizza & Grill (Italian)

Our local Italian restaurant offers Italian calzones (in large portions) and pizza, as well as many other classic Italian dishes. Vito’s also has a flavorful tomato house vinaigrette on a bed of fresh salad and vegetables that I love. Whether you order in or pick up on the way to a more romantic, private setting, your taste buds will be pleased and your belly will be full (and you might have leftovers too)!

Google listing:
https://g.page/vitosinirving?share

Website
https://vitos.pizza/

Aspen Creek Grill (Homestyle American)

Aspen Creek is a rustic style restaurant that serves homestyle American food and also has a full bar. On their menu what we enjoy the most are their ribs, steak, and grilled fish with sides- you can’t go wrong with any of them!

Google listing:
https://goo.gl/maps/uAb6g3d7bVUsx3Fy7

Aspen’s website:
https://www.aspencreekgrill.com/

La Margarita (Mexican Kitchen & Margarita Bar)

This creative Mexican eatery serves classic dishes in a contemporary environment. You can’t go wrong with enchiladas or chimichangas, but there’s a variety of delicious items on their menu I’ve yet to try! They also offer weekday lunch specials.

Google listing:
https://goo.gl/maps/DXBfghEpaZoJjA517

Website:
http://www.la-margarita.com/

Lohas Teriyaki (Asian Fusion & Bubble Tea)

Hidden away into a strip center, this joint serves Asian fusion dishes and bubble tea. We like their teriyaki bowls and boba tea. If you’re already on BeltLine Road and feeling a little parched, you might want to stop on in and pick up a bubble tea.

Google Listing:
https://goo.gl/maps/uwGRRJzpqVsnxbsT6

Skillman Wok (Chinese)

Skillman Wok is a joint that serves familiar Chinese dishes. General Tso, Almond chicken and Sesame Chicken are my favorite go-to orders.

Google listing:
https://goo.gl/maps/2YjvXzqes4qs2CHw5

Website:
http://www.skillmanwokirving.com/

chinese food

 

Market Latina (El Salvadorian)

If you’re not paying attention you will miss this restaurant hiding away in a strip mall, but step inside and taste the flavors of El Salvador! The pupusas are amazing.

Google listing:
https://goo.gl/maps/P1R1r8gsUfy7SrLz9

Website:
http://www.marketlatina.com/irving-locations.html

 

Samosa Hut & Grill (Indian)

With a specialty in samosas, this quick-serve set up also serves other classic Indian plates. We always visit for the samosas, which are the best in town.

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/bSagWD15B9TQJ69T9

Website:

http://places.singleplatform.com/samosa-hut-and-grill/menu?ref=google

Parks and Nature!

NorthWest Park

At NorthWest Park you can enjoy the lake, ducks, turtles, and a playground. A walking trail winds around the lake and branches off into several pathways. There are also tables for those delivery picnics I love to have with my family. Just don’t forget to request extra napkins and plasticware!

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/dkvfkGJwcYg9KJB69

father and son at park

Irving Dog Park

Of course, we don’t leave our furry pets behind on our staycation! On sunny days I like to bring our dog to the Irving dog park to run free and play with the other dogs. There are several large gated areas that are designated for different sized dogs. The park is located just next to the Irving Animal Shelter and they share a parking lot.

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/yTJaqRAgiG3t6xDVA

Website:

http://www.cityofirving.org/parks-and-recreation/Irving%20Dog%20Park.asp

happy dog

Grapevine Lake/Trail

Centrally located in the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex just minutes from DFW Airport, Grapevine Lake offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Nationally recognized trails, full-service campgrounds, and beautiful day-use areas surround the 7,276 acre lake which hosts over 2,000,000 visitors annually.

Google listing:
https://goo.gl/maps/qXNWgcQDee3dETeX6

Cedar Hill State Park

A great place to bring family and friends are to this state park where you can enjoy wooded campsites & facilities for mountain biking, bird-watching, fishing, boating & swimming. There are a variety of trails to choose from, depending on what kind of experience you like to have. We love that we can drive out and spend the day pretending to camp, getting deep into the woods, and still get back to our own comfortable beds by nightfall. This is how we staycation with our toddler son who loves the outdoors!

Google listing:

https://goo.gl/maps/k7vnWb7UrmQRSKBx9

Website:

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/cedar-hill

Find What Feels Good!

I hope that these suggestions give you at least a starting point in your staycation planning. You have a variety of flavors from all over the world available at your fingertips! There are also some great, grassy green places to escape to while maintaining social distancing. You know what feels good, so trust your gut and get ready to treat yourself! I’d like to add just one more note to this guide, given that our journey never stops no matter where we go. As long as you are staying for a little while, I encourage you to explore, sit still, listen and continue your inner-journey with a yoga home practice. I have found both peaceful grounding and a community from my living room (read about my yoga journey here!), thanks to the Yoga with Adriene Youtube channel. I’ve now provided you with all of my ingredients to the perfect staycation; It’s time to start creating yours! Have a wonderful stay!

About Author

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Tara Menendez
Tara has always had a passion for discovering new cultures, from convincing her mother to host a French exchange student in High School, to studying abroad twice, coordinating exchange programs at her university Study Abroad Center, to spending a month backpacking through Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in Communications. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lived in Cameroon, West Africa for two years, she looks forward to guiding you on some exciting adventures that will make the world a bit brighter! She’s also a travel writer/blogger at Eat.Love.Volunteer, business owner, property manager, wifey, mother, and humanitarian. Tara lives in Dallas Texas, where she’s happily married to the tech genius who built and maintains this beautiful website!

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