Food & Drink

Where to eat before a Mavs or Stars game

Grab a bite to eat and a drink or two before cheering on your team.

Ashley Turner
Posted on Oct 22, 2019

Editors note: This blog was created before COVID-19 regulations were put in place. Please use this as inspiration for future travel to Dallas. If your adventures bring you into the city, please check with each business you visit for visitation information, follow local guidelines and don't forget to practice social distancing. Go Mavs and Go Stars! 

Victory Park is one of the hottest areas in the city. It's hard to deny the energy as you walk through Victory Plaza to the American Airlines Center (AAC) with a hot ticket in your hand. Then comes the most debated question before any outing in the history of mankind – "what do you want for dinner?" We've dwindled your options down to 11 wonderful, walkable and tasty locales. Take a look out our favorite pre-game dives and bars rooting the Mavs or Stars to victory!

Happiest Hour
5-minute walk to AAC

The name doesn't lie. It really is difficult to be in Happiest Hour without a smile. There are great views and lots of space to sit with your friends and contemplate the night. Their local drafts list and drink menu will get you in the spirit, and the "happytizer" menu has all your bar favorites like chicken wings, pulled pork sliders and loaded cheddar fries.  

Cook Hall
5-minute walk to AAC

Cook Hall takes classic American bar treats and adds a modern, refined spin. The eclectic menu features upscale comfort food with southern fried chicken bites, homemade chicken soup and chocolate layer cake, plus everyone's favorite – a cheese board. Sharing is always encouraged, and the portions are plentiful. Save room for the Pecan Crusted NY Cheesecake to compliment your Old Fashioned cocktail. Your taste buds will thank you.

Olivella's Neo Pizza Napoletana
7-minute walk to AAC

According to USAToday, Olivella's has previously been voted the "best pizza in Texas," and we couldn't agree more! Straight out of Naples, Italy, this family-run business has two patios and two full bars, so you never have to stand or be thirsty while you eat the some of the best pizza in Texas. And the menu is much more than delicious Neapolitan and Roman (Metro) style pizzas. There are sandwiches, pastas and authentic desserts to feed even the pickiest eater. Food allergies are listed on the menu and they will prepare just about anything at your request.

5-minute walk to AAC

Mesero is everything you've been missing about Tex-Mex in Dallas. Open doors, delicious smells and bright colors beckon you to enter. The community plates and shared appetizer menu boasts two types of nachos, THREE types of queso, ceviche, flautas and much more. Try the Frozé to really get the party started – made with frozen rosé, vodka and Licor 43, a delicious Spanish liqueur. There is nothing more Tex-Mex than that.

L' Italiano Bistro & Bar
1-minute walk to AAC

Located directly across the street from the AAC, L'Italiano is a contemporary, upscale Italian bistro. Stunning Victorian windows and French doors invite you inside for a glass of vino and to experience traditional Italian fare true to its roots. Fresh ingredients grace the menu in every dish. From bruschetta to the baked pasta sampler or fried calamari to fried mozzarella, you have plenty of options to carb-up for your night in the arena like the gladiator-fan you are.

4-minute walk to AAC

Make for a star-studded night, beginning to end, by starting with a lavish dining experience at Imoto. Local celebrity Chef Kent Rathbun brings flavors from the East right to the heart of Dallas with his own unique spin. His culinary expertise shines through dishes like the little sister's korea fried chicken and sriracha butter roasted king crab. If you need your sushi fix, hop over to the traditional sushi bar for classic sashimi or their hand-made signature rolls.

2-minute walk

A concept by the owners of HG Sply Co on Lower Greenville, HERO is the hottest hangout before and after game day. You'll be blown by the massive space, indoor and outdoor seating, and arcade games – and you'll be even more impressed with the dining menu! Enjoy clean-eating options like the tuna poke salad or protein and veggie bowls, or feast on the hearty chicken fried chicken or Texas philly sandwich. 

Billy Can Can
5-minute walk to AAC

Enjoy an upscale meal at Billy Can Can, a 19th century saloon-style restaurant. Dinner options include roasted snapper, scallops and grits, buffalo tenderloin and more.  Don't miss their extensive drink menu, grab a cold beer straight from the parlor, or sip on a saloon signature cocktail or wine.

Dibs on Victory
3-minute walk to AAC

Less than a block from the AAC, Dibs is the perfect neighborhood eatery if you're looking to keep it casual and light. Order a few shareable apps like the nachos, fried pretzels or the 24K Gold Trophy Wings (yes, you read that right.) Dibs also offers happy hour Monday – Friday 4-7 p.m. as well as a late-night menu starting at 10 p.m.

House of Blues
8-minute walk to AAC

You can't go wrong with dinner and live music at House of Blues. The Southern-inspired menu will appease all taste buds from the jambalaya and pulled pork sandwich to the southern brisket tacos. Whether you're with the family or bringing the whole crew – the family style options are right up your alley!

The Henry
8-minute walk to AAC

Newcomer to the Uptown scene, The Henry is a beautiful two-story restaurant serving new American dishes in a casual setting. Dinner options include pork ribs, wild shrimp boil and grilled Portobello tacos. Take advantage of their happy hour deals too like the $6 wines, $4 draught beers and plenty of appetizers to enjoy on the cheap – the fresh guacamole and parmesan truffle fries are always a good choice.