Editor’s Note: This story originally ran in April 2014, in advance of the Final Four in Dallas.
Ian Rapoport is famous. You might know him for his role as the national insider for NFL Network, where he regularly breaks news about pro football. Or perhaps you’re one of the 532,000 people who follow him on Twitter @RapSheet.
Ian Rapoport is infamous. You might know him as the guy who went viral after taking a football to the face on national TV. Or perhaps as the guy who went viral again after high-fiving a fan in the nose during Super Bowl week.
Ian Rapoport, perhaps above all else, is hungry. The world of sports reporting, which Rapoport has been involved in for more than a decade, requires an extensive amount of travel. Not one to settle for a bottomless basket of breadsticks, Rapoport seeks out local fare when he’s on the road.
Having lived everywhere from his native New York to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Boston, the 34 year old has experienced various cuisines, but has one favorite in particular. When a job offer from NFL Network came in April 2012 and required a move to Dallas, one of Rapoport’s first thoughts?
“Barbecue,” Rapoport says. “I never really tried real Texas barbecue but had heard the stories. Once I tried it, I was like, I can live with this.”
Rapoport and his wife Leah will be showing off their new city next week when another popular sport invades the Lone Star State for the College Football National Championship on Monday, Jan. 12. The Ohio State-Oregon game will be played at AT&T Stadium—home to the NFL’s Cowboys—just outside of Dallas. What can visiting fans expect?
“It’s not all cowboy hats and belt buckles, like it is in other parts of Texas,” Rapoport says. “I describe it kinda like Los Angeles. Everything has a new feel, is really nice and you definitely need a car to get around.”
What also helps, especially when it comes to the food, are recommendations from a local. Here in his own words, Rapoport shares his favorite spots:
KLYDE WARREN PARK FOOD TRUCKS (Uptown)
If it’s a nice day, bring a bunch of friends and settle in for one of seven or eight food trucks of all kinds. My favorite is the Nammi truck that serves Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich. After you eat, it’s tough to find a better place for people watching.
MEDDLESOME MOTH (Design District)
If you like clever, craft beer served in themed, flight form—who doesn’t?—then this is a perfect spot. Throw in an ever-changing menu of shareable small plates, and it’s ideal for a loud, large group. I recommend the chicken skin chips and bacon lollipops.
THE SLOW BONE (Design District)
Don’t tell anyone: The owners of Maple & Motor have scored big-time with this lunch spot that is quiet, off the grid and insanely delicious. Ask for an extra fatty piece of brisket.
BABE’S CHICKEN DINNER HOUSE (Arlington)
You’ll need to travel out near JerryWorld for this one, but it’s worth it. The best fried chicken you’ll eat, and the smoked chicken might be better. I love the endless sides; the mashed potatoes and gravy are my favorite. The only thing better than this spot is the original, which is a short-ish 35-minute drive to Roanoke.
MI COCINA (West Village)
Brisket tacos. The best. What looks like a swanky, upscale Mexican restaurant is, at its heart, a neighborhood spot with hearty meals and plenty of flavor. Bring an appetite and use it on the brisket tacos. Thank me later.
This place is a win. Get a chalice of beer—always Shiner Bock. Get an appetizer—always Jalapeno Bottle Caps. Get a burger—always juicy.
RUSTY TACO (Multiple Locations)
A classic Texas-style taco stand with as many kinds of street tacos as you could want. Get three or four, as cheap and small as they are, and eat up. It’s fast, it’s creative, and you’ll feel like a native.