3rd Annual Rose City Restaurant Week to be held April 9th-13th
This is the first year Taste of Tyler and Rose City Restaurant Week will partner with the East Texas Restaurant Association (ETRA) by combining efforts for Rose City Restaurant Week. And for the first time, you can enjoy an evening at the Taste of Tyler, then take time to join one of our many local participating restaurants for a special menu during Rose City Restaurant Week.
The Taste of Tyler and Rose City Restaurant Week showcase the most popular restaurants around town. These citywide events raise money to support the culinary education programs for East Texas youth and other Smith county non-profit organizations.
At Taste of Tyler, April 3rd, 6:30-8:30pm, come enjoy live music and tons of food and fun at Harvey Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. Currently, you can buy early bird tickets online for $25 or get a general admission tickets at the door for $30.
Afterwards, savor the date April 9th-13th as The Junior League of Tyler, Inc. hosts 3rd Annual Rose City Restaurant Week. Rose City Restaurant Week happens one week each spring offering local restaurants a chance to roll out a fixed, multi-course menu for the week, then donate a percentage of the menu sales to the Jr. League of Tyler.
This annual event, benefiting the charitable projects of The Junior League of Tyler, will showcase a variety of local eateries who will put their best foot forward with special Rose City Restaurant Week offerings. Visiting old favorites or venturing to new locales, diners will not only enjoy a truly unique dining experience but also delight in knowing they are supporting their community.
Rose City Restaurant Week is the fresh spring event held in conjunction with the East Texas Restaurant Association (ETRA) premier scholarship fundraising event.
The ETRA focuses on supporting culinary scholarships and the Junior League of Tyler benefits local non-profit organizations. By combining efforts, they are giving local restaurants and diners the opportunity to support both at the same time. “We have the opportunity to partner with our local restaurants to service the agencies we support and make an impact inside and outside the East Texas culinary world. We invite our local restaurants and our community to savor this opportunity to EAT LOCAL and GIVE LOCAL.”
For more than 65 years, The Junior League of Tyler has provided support to numerous community agencies through financial assistance and the help of dedicated volunteers. The funds raised by Rose City Restaurant Week will benefit these agencies in their missions of bettering the community we share.
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
By Holli Conley
In Tyler, the city of roses, it’s not hard to find a romantic spot to take that special someone. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or simply spicing up a free weekend, these are the best date ideas for fun, quality time with your significant other.
Paint A Pretty Picture
Locally at Pinot’s Palette, located at 322 ESE Loop 323 next to Plato’s Closet in Tyler, you and your date can paint together! The studio has really neat, two-part mirror pieces that transform upon completion into an intricate design. You can also complete your masterpiece right there in the studio by picking a frame to suit your style for $35, making it possible for you, the proud artist, to walk away with your creation ready to hang.
One small step inside the front door of Pinot’s Palette and you will feel your creative fire burning and want to put palette to canvas. The large, colorful painting area is jammed full of workspaces just waiting for the next budding artists.
Something also really unique at Pinot’s Palette is the opportunity to paint your pet. Send the studio your pet’s likeness and they can laser it onto canvas, then you can finish the creation with paint in the studio.
A Night on the Town
Downtown Tyler is a great spot for a romantic evening. Start the evening with dinner at one of Downtown’s restaurants. For a fine dining experience try one of Tyler’s newest restaurants: Jack Ryan’s Steak & Chophouse. Take advantage of the free valet parking and really wow your date.
There are also a couple of options for more casual dining such as Don Juan’s on the Square.
Next, take in a show with VIP box seat tickets at the historic Liberty Hall. The box seats are the best seats in the house and will be a little more intimate for a date night.
End the night with a cocktail or dessert and live entertainment at Rick’s or Jake’s.
All of these are conveniently located within walking distance of one another and make for a great night out on the town.
Dinner and a Movie
You can never go wrong with dinner and a movie, but sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little more exciting. Spice up this classic date idea with some of Tyler’s unique theater options.
Grab a picnic dinner, lawn chairs, and watch a movie under the stars at SkyVue Drive-In Theater. This theater offers tickets for $6 per person and shows a double feature.
One of Tyler’s newest theaters, Studio Movie Grill, is another interesting option for a movie night. Studio Movie Grill is a one-stop-shop for dinner and a movie. You can eat dinner while watching a movie, or have a dessert or cocktail while you watch. Studio Movie Grill also offers classic date night movies for $3 a ticket on select nights. Check their website for details.
Enjoy Live Music
Tyler comes alive with the tunes of good music around every corner. Whether you are interested in a specific music event such as the Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival or listening to a local band, Tyler has a variety of acts to satisfy your musical tastes.
Some of our favorite places to catch local bands are Cork Food & Wine, Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ, XLN, and Republic Ice House – just to name a few.
Downtown Tyler offers several fun acts as well on the weekend at Jake’s or Rick’s. Or for a more classical night you might choose to see a performance by the East Texas Symphony Orchestra.
No matter if you want to dance the night away or enjoy a cocktail with music in the background, Tyler has what you’re looking for.
Go on an Adventure
There’s something awfully romantic about going on an adventure together, and there are plenty adventures to be found around town.
Try hiking, biking, camping, or water sports at Tyler State Park or one of Tyler’s many public parks.
Runners might consider doing a color run or mud run together in the area.
Animal lovers can enjoy Caldwell Zoo or Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge.
For the thrill seekers, try one of Tyler’s newest attractions: One Way Out. If you are a fan of puzzles and problem solving, this game is for you. You will be locked in a room where your team will use clues, hints, and teamwork to escape before time expires. Working together to solve the clues is a great way for a couple to get to know each other better and build a stronger relationship.
Love Don’t Cost a Thing
Let’s be honest, dating can be expensive. Luckily, in a beautiful city like this, romance is not hard to find on the cheap.
Tyler is home to several free museums that would be great for a date. Visit the Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum or the McClendon House to tour these romantic historic homes.
For the history buffs, you might enjoy the American Freedom Museum just outside of Tyler in Bullard, or the Half Mile of History Walk in Downtown Tyler. While you’re in Downtown, stop by the Gallery Main Street, which features a new exhibit of original art approximately every eight weeks.
Tyler also hosts several cheap or free events throughout the year. Events will include everything from movies in the park to concerts and art walks.
Finally, when talking about budget-friendly date options, we can’t forget a stroll through the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden. With 14 acres, 32,000 rose bushes, and more than 500 varieties, this is the largest rose garden in the United States. The Rose Garden is free and open to the public year-round. This is probably the most romantic location in all of Tyler and a great place to bring your love.
With all of the fun options in Tyler, it’s not hard to find exciting date night ideas. Whether you want an expensive night out or a date on a budget, these ideas will help. Sometimes it’s fun to break away from the norm and try something new. With all these ideas, we encourage you to get creative and get out on the town with your significant other.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside: What to do in Tyler on a Cold Winter’s Day
By: Holli Fourniquet
There’s a saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Texas just wait a few hours.” That has certainly been true of our winter so far this year. So it’s understandable if you haven’t exactly prepared for cold weather when it hits. Not to worry; here is a quick guide to fun things you can do in Tyler even in cold weather if you happen to find yourself unprepared.
As self-proclaimed foodaholics, our first thought when a cold front hits is where to find some comfort food to warm our bellies. Chili is typically a good go-to meal for when cold weather hits, and here in Tyler, you can get chili in a couple different forms. There is the traditional bowl of chili. One of our favorites is found at Rick’s on the Square located in Downtown Tyler. This chili will give you the answer to that age-old question: should chili have beans or not? At Rick’s, that answer is definitely yes! The recipe is also a little on the spicier side, which makes this the perfect bowl of chili to warm you up!
Or if you’re tired of the same ole’ bowl of chili, why limit yourself to a bowl when you can have it on top of a hot dog! At The Stand, located at 16700 FM 2493, you can choose from regular to jumbo sized 100% beef hot dogs or choose from a delicious list of sausages including andouille, bratwurst, spicy boudin, and more; then just add chili to the top to complete your cold-weather meal. If you’re feeling particularly inventive, you can even add Fritos and cheese to make it a Frito pie hot dog.
Another great comfort food during cold weather is gumbo. Try some of the best gumbo this side of Louisiana at The Catch, located at 1714 S. Beckham Ave., or Bud Jones Bayou located at 500 E. Erwin St. Both restaurants serve up this heavenly Cajun creation to satisfy your every craving.
Some people just like to stay in when it’s cold, and that’s ok. Stop by FRESH by Brookshire’s to pick up your cold-weather comfort food, made fresh by a chef and ready for you to heat and eat at home. Here you will find seasonal soups, chili, casseroles, and family packs of tamales. Everything you need to warm your belly from the comfort of your own home sitting in front of the fire.
Speaking of staying in on a cold day; you’re going to need a good book to keep you company. Head over to the Tyler Public Library where you will find books and more. The Tyler Public Library is not your typical library. Of course, you will always be able to check out that best seller you have been meaning to read, but you can also check out movies or participate in one of their many events. The Tyler Public Library offers everything from Family Movie Nights and Lego Block Parties to various classes such as sewing and career training to author meet and greets. It’s definitely a place you might want to get familiar with this winter.
To get your blood circulating on a cold day, you might go shopping. Whether you’re looking for a great bargain or something more high-end, Tyler has all the shopping you could want. Plus, if you stay in Tyler to shop, you won’t have to fight the traffic of a bigger city in this cold winter weather.
The typical retail therapy shopping, however, is not all Tyler has to offer if you are looking for some interesting cold-weather recreation. One of Tyler’s newest fun shops is El Guapo Records located at 257 S. Broadway Ave. in Downtown Tyler. El Guapo Records specializes in vintage and new vinyl as well as the occasional live entertainment. After that head right next door to Moon Rivers Naturals. Here you will find body products like soaps and essential oils using local, organic, and real ingredients. Or since you have a cold day and nothing to do, search through some of Tyler’s best antique, junk, and consignment shops to find your next treasure at Ye Olde City Antique Warehouse.
A cold day might be the perfect day to try out one of Tyler’s microbreweries: True Vine Brewing Company or the newly opened ETX Brewing Co. located at 221 S. Broadway Ave., Downtown Tyler. Before you protest that the weather is way too cold to sit outside and drink a beer, hear me out. Research has shown that beer can combat stress, boost your memory, makes skin more beautiful, and can even be used as a cold remedy. In addition to the health benefits, True Vine Brewing also points out, “Because it’s cold outside, your beer will maintain the same temperature it was poured at until it’s consumed.” Both microbreweries have semi-enclosed to enclosed spaces as well as heaters for the cold days. Plus, at True Vine Brewing, anytime the weather dips below 40 degrees, beers are only $4. So get out there and drink a local craft beer!
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay in. If there’s one thing Tyler is known for, it’s for the area’s natural beauty year-round. Bundle up and take a hike to explore the nature in the area. Tyler State Park is a great place for a hike. Tyler State Park’s trails vary from easy to challenging, but each trail promises beautiful scenery amongst some of the largest pines in East Texas. The Trails cross several different forest types and offer amazing views you can’t see anywhere else. This is also the perfect place for bird watching as you hike along the trails, with more than 200 species of birds identified at the park, and it is home to a number of East Texas animals including white-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, reptiles, armadillos, opossums, and more.
There is plenty to do in Tyler on a cold day; these are just a few of our favorites. Warm up in some of the best ways possible this winter. Soon you will be singing along with Elsa from Frozen, “The cold never bothered me anyway.”
For more ideas on these and other things to do in Tyler go to VisitTyler.com.
ETX Brewing Company: Good Times Are Brewing Downtown
By Johnny Griffith
If you ask ten different people on the street what comes to mind when they hear the word “beer,” odds are you’ll get ten distinctly different answers. Ask the same question of Brian and Matt Gilstrap and you’ll get one answer: family.
Brian and Matt, along with Brian’s wife Annie, are the founders and operators of ETX Brewing Company, Tyler’s second brewery to open and the newest addition to the growing downtown rebirth here in the Rose City.
Originally born in Arlington, both the brothers Gilstrap moved around Texas over the years after attending Texas State University in San Marcos. Brian and Annie met in college where he majored in Business Finance, and Matt majored in Computer Science. Following a move by Brian and Annie to Tyler in 2005 due to a promotion and now living in different parts of the state, Matt and Brian would come together to hang out for the weekend and began brewing beer as a hobby. Twelve years later, they realized their longtime vision of transforming the hobby into a business and now genuinely live their motto for ETX Brewing, “Do What You Love, Love What You Do.”
When the vision became a reality, Matt sold his house in Austin, left his job, and moved to Tyler to help with the task of taking the brewery from the garage to the masses. After considering several different locations, the Gilstrap’s finally settled on a former tire service center just off downtown on S. Broadway. After several months of hard work, the vast majority of which was done themselves, the crew at ETX Brewing Company opened their brewery and taproom in January of this year to rave reviews and thirsty crowds.
With art from local artists hanging on the walls and beer brewed on site in the facility visible from the bar, flowing through the taps, ETX Brewing Company has the feel of something you’d find on either South Congress in Austin or downtown Ft. Worth. There is a decidedly modern feel, but not so much that the character of the owners doesn’t show through. Brian and Matt kept the roll-up doors of the former service center in place, which allows the bar area to have a more open feel and beckons passersby on South Broadway to stop in and take a break from their hectic schedules.
I recently sat down with Matt and Brian to talk with them about the Brewery and sample some of their libations.
Johnny: Of all the things you could be doing in life, why a brewery?
ETX Brewery: Brewing quality beer has been a hobby and a passion for the brothers for many years now. Four and a half years ago Brian and Annie had twins born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation weighing in at 11 oz. and 9 oz. They were immediately care-flighted to a higher level NICU in Dallas, where they spent the next 4.5 months. Matt made the drive every other weekend to spend time with them in the hospital. At that point, perspective on life, in general, changed forever. Life is far too precious and short to not be spending it doing what you love.
Johnny: What was THE beer that hooked you into the craft scene?
ETX Brewery: Unanimously, Dogfish Head 60min IPA was the beer we all shared together and loved.
Johnny: How did you get from your first batch of homebrew to a full blown brewery?
ETX Brewery: A lot of reading and educating ourselves on new techniques. We were constantly striving to make better beer each time. Practice! Practice! Practice! And of course, sampling the product and asking others for feedback.
Johnny: What have been some of the biggest challenges to get to this point?
ETX Brewery: With any new business, there are challenges of finances and construction, but the nature of opening a brewery brings additional legal hurdles, deciding on the size of equipment, and what beers to commit to brewing. Add to that the fact that we pretty much did all of the work on the brewery ourselves, it gives us a deep appreciation of where we are now.
Johnny: How much of a foothold does craft beer have in east Texas at this point?
ETX Brewery: Craft beer is just on the cusp of becoming big here in east Texas. For a large majority of east Texans, they are new to experiencing craft beer and especially to visiting a brewery. Our goal is really to provide an education to help people understand more about craft beer and what to look for when choosing a brew.
Johnny: How important was the location in the downtown area?
ETX Brewery: We were thrilled to have found a location in the downtown area. We love being a part of the revitalization that is happening Downtown! With all of the amazing businesses going in on and around the square, Downtown Tyler is turning into a “must see” for locals and visitors alike.
Johnny: What will customers be able to do at the brick and mortar location? Buy beer? Drink beer? Fill growlers? Hear live music?
ETX Brewery: Our tap room will have a variety of beers available at all times, which will be changing on a regular basis. Customers will be able to come in and sample or purchase these varieties by the pint. We will have live music on a regular basis, too. Our goal is to be a fun, laid back atmosphere to relax and enjoy a good brew with good company. We are also currently in the works to plan monthly events where a majority of the proceeds will go back to local charities here in east Texas.
Johnny: What is the beer lineup currently?
ETX Brewery: We currently have 6 beers on tap:
- Test Batch 1 – An American Pale Ale, a bright filtered Golden Ale
- Red House Wheat – An American Wheat unfiltered with slight notes of orange
- 1846 IPA – Easy drinking and flavorful from the heavy dry hopping with El Dorado hops
- Test Batch 2 – Blonde Ale, unfiltered and dry-hopped after fermentation to add a floral aroma
- Coffee City Stout – A Stout made with coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal (made with Belgian chocolate and locally roasted coffee from Coffee City USA)
- Hitching Post – Amber Ale, a perfect balance of malt and hops producing caramel notes and a malty sweetness
Coming soon: Black IPA – A Mexican Lager, American pale ale
We also have a non-alcoholic Root Beer which we make in house.
Johnny: I know you just opened, but what’s next on your agenda for ETX Brewing?
ETX Brewery: We’d like to improve the site and make a friendly space for food trucks, so we have something in the works for that as well as an area out back for live music and more seating. The response has been fantastic so far, and the atmosphere downtown is bringing more traffic back to the area, so we want to make sure we’re in a position to take care of the people who decide to spend their time hanging out with us.
Johnny: What kind of experience are you hoping new customers will take away from ETX Brewing?
ETX Brewery: We hope they will walk away with a better understanding of craft beer. A lot of people are afraid to try a craft beer when they see it on a menu at a restaurant. We want to take that fear away and empower the customer to know what they are looking for in craft beers.
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
March 24th – Tyler Azalea 10k, 5k, and Kids Run plus MORE!
Theatre Guide: March 15-18th, “The Lucky O’Learys” on Stage
The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree
DATE CHANGES!! April 2nd: Glass Rec. Center, Summer Camp Registration Open
The Skinny on Cooking at Home: The Cookbook Junkie
March 29th: Hop to the 17th Annual Twilight Easter Egg Hunt
2018 Azalea & Spring Flower Trails March 16th-April 1st
March 30th: Deana Carter in Concert at Liberty Hall
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