Downtown Denton

Plenty of college students frequent this historic area, but they’re not the only ones who avail themselves of the culinary, sartorial, and vintage offerings on hand.
STREET SMARTS
by Darren Braun

1. 
 Beth Marie’s Old 
 Fashioned Ice Cream

The beaming staffers assure us they make a mean turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch, but we wouldn’t know. Not with more than one hundred flavors of homemade ice cream, from apple pie to raspberry truffle, begging to be tasted. We won’t admit how many varieties we’ve tried over the years (it’s hard to keep track when the selection changes so often), but we will say this: Our recent discovery of Dr Pepper ice cream forever changed the way we think about dessert. 117 W. Hickory, 940-384-1818, bethmaries.com

2. 
Bumble Beads

The sign near the register 
reads “Your husband called and said buy anything you want.” That would make for quite 
a haul at this stylish bead store that’s far more than just a bead store. Offering one-of-a-kind items crafted by local artists, 
this small shop sells charms, semiprecious gemstones, 
decorative crosses, birdhouses, necklaces, and bracelets, among other things. And if the merchandise inspires you to try your 
hand at design, ask the staff members about their private classes. 105 1/2 W. Hickory, 940-380-1040, bumblebeads.biz

3.
 The Abbey Inn

It could be the church pews or the stained glass or the battle flags hanging from the ceiling that make this restaurant and pub feel so British (or maybe it’s the Boddingtons on tap). Regardless, the signature bangers and mash and the Scotch eggs (hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried) prove that owner Tim Trawick isn’t interested in appearances; he’s interested in the authentic experience. Even the hickory burger with barbecue sauce has an English pedigree; it’s made with Major Grey’s Mango Chutney. 101 W. Hickory, 940-566-5483, theabbeyinndenton.com

4.
 Downtown Mini Mall #1

If you’re looking for some samurai swords, gently used china, suits 
of armor, giant mirrors, folding knives, vintage cameras, a 1796 
 flintlock musket, or just about anything else your crazy Aunt Edna stored in her attic, the vendors at this emporium might be able to help. Many years ago, as freshmen at the University of North Texas, my roommate and I bought a sweet Colt 45 sign featuring Billy Dee Williams for our dorm room, and it remains a treasured possession to this day. You don’t come here to find something in particular; you come here because something in particular will find you. 108 N. Locust, 940-387-0024

5.
 la di da

A boutique for women who love 
to show off their latest unique 
find, this cheerful store has become 
a destination in Denton, winning 
this year’s readers’ poll in the local paper for Best Clothing Store. 
The racks may be filled with Judith 
March dresses and Mavi jeans, but it was the colorful handmade boots in the window that stopped us in our tracks and beckoned us to come inside. 114 N. Locust, 940-442-6888

6.
 Recycled Books, 
Records, CDs

It’s a bookstore that would make 
 UNT alum Larry McMurtry proud: a multilevel, maze-like oasis whose shag carpet dates to the sixties. The employees at Recycled (which opened in another location in 1983 and moved to these digs seven 
years later) will expound on their 
favorite J.M. Coetzee novel without a hint of snobbishness or happily 
locate a 1956 Texas Christian 
University yearbook. No lattes or croissants offered here, just 
17,000 square feet of reading and 
listening pleasure. 200 N. Locust, 940-566-5688, recycledbooks.com

7.
 W. Douglas Antiques

The first thought you might have when you step into this overflowing store is that you’ve stumbled 
into the prop room for a theatrical production of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House . That may not do justice to all of the items here, ranging from a nineteenth-century Biedermeier china hutch to an eighteenth-
century French Morbier grandfather clock, but it conveys their sophistication. Shirley Carrigan opened the shop (named for her late son, William Douglas) six years ago and quickly earned a reputation for acquiring hard-to-find European pieces. 
 119 N. Elm, 940-381-2628

8.
 Vigne Wine Shop and 
Delicatessen

Two years after opening, Vigne 
already fits right into the neighborhood, attracting loyal customers for lunch and dinner. But it’s the Friday evening wine tastings that really shine. Owners John and Carol Ryan have discovered the delicate balance that helps a neighborhood wine 
bar survive tough economic times. The staff knows its way around a cabernet sauvignon but won’t make you feel stupid if you don’t, and the prices won’t offend. Even the most clueless of aspiring oenophiles will feel downright urbane here. 222 W. Hickory, 940-566-1010 

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