Historic Downtown McKinney

Snap up vintage finds, fancy footwear, and sweet treats as you stroll around this tree-lined square.
Historic Downtown McKinney
Ambrosia Vintage Vogue
Photograph by Darren Braun

1. Café Málaga

Don’t let the small plates fool you: One can still overdo it at this Mediterranean tapas cafe. Sidle up to the eleven-item $12.50 lunch buffet (spicy chicken kebabs, potato croquettes, artichoke fritters, bacon-wrapped dates) or pick and choose from the expansive menu (lemony hummus, pork tenderloin with a warm date chutney, and lamb lollipop chops with a brown-sugar-and-mustard glaze). The red-walled dining room is intimate, but the backyard patio is even cozier. 107 S. Church, 972-542-9996, cafemalaga.com

2. Rick’s Chophouse

This restaurant is fancy enough that you’ll want to remember your manners but not so fancy that you’ll feel self-conscious wearing jeans. By the time chef Paul Petersen’s dishes are served, though, you won’t give a hoot about either. The chile-glazed-quail appetizer (served with honeyed pears, smoked-red-onion vinaigrette, and a fried quail egg) and barbecued baby back ribs will have you nibbling bone for the last bit of meat. Be sure to order the pecan pie, slices of which tend to disappear faster than fireworks on the Fourth of July. 107 N. Kentucky, 214-726-9251, rickschophouse.com

3. Sharla’s Cosmetics and Bath

I don’t want anyone buying products and letting them just sit in a drawer,” says Sharla Bush, who is as endearingly diminutive as her mini-apothecary. Each of the international lines she stocks—T. LeClerc (Paris), Nouba (Italy), Hissyfit (Australia)—is known for its high-quality ingredients. Bush steers women toward the eco-conscious Clear Mind Jaw Clenching Remedy, by H. Gillerman Organics, and her eponymous filler-free skin-care line, concocted with the help of plastic surgeons and their chemists. 103 E. Virginia, 214-544-2200, sharlas.com

4. Cotton Hearts

Your hunt for the perfect tee (some would call it a never-ending quest) will reach a thrilling zenith in this unassuming boutique. The square footage may be modest, but the inventory is extensive: Wall-to-wall shelves teem with tissue-soft T-shirts by Splendid, Velvet, and Michael Stars, as well as not-so-basics like embroidered Johnny Was V-necks and Ella Moss pocket tees with cheeky red lace on the shoulders. And because you can’t go pants-less, there’s also James Perse chinos and Danang cargo shorts made of a sumptuous, machine-washable silk. 103 E. Virginia, 972-562-9006, cottonheartsmckinney.com

5. Pumps

If you want sensible shoes, go to a department store. If you covet footwear that elicits compliments—and envious queries—from strangers, dash into this dreamland for well-heeled women. Displayed against an industrial backdrop (exposed brick, corrugated metal), the styles are “high-octane” but wearable: floral-print, peep-toe Seychelles wedges; beaded blue Apepazza gladiators; studded-leather Frye wedges. Just as eye-catching are the inventive accessories by Dallas’s own F Is for Frank, like the gold sea-sponge rings festooned with uncut gems. 110 E. Louisiana, 972-562-4555, gottahavemypumps.com

6. Smitten

Martha Stewart acolytes recharge their creative batteries as they buzz about this multivendor decor and antiques shop. Inspired by the mantra “Reuse, repurpose, and refresh,” the four (independent) sellers share an old-meets-new sensibility, showcasing whimsical items like decorative pastel tin birds, vintage mother-of-pearl charm necklaces, novelty pillows embroidered with “Buenas Noches,” and hand-smocked organic flax curtains. And you don’t have to know what pinking shears are to get caught up in the “notions” area, with its spools of retro ribbon and jars of brightly colored German glass glitter. 118 E. Louisiana, 972-529-6994, smitteninmckinney.com

7. Ambrosia Vintage Vogue

Conspicuous consumption wouldn’t be so tempting if the Joneses didn’t have such nice stuff, more than likely procured from a home-accessories boutique like this one. But you can easily keep up by acquiring the following: pewter tableware, Hen House Linens napkins (in preppy stripes or fleur-de-lis prints), Waxing Poetic insignia necklaces, and porcelain Rosanna mugs in charming Mediterranean-inspired patterns. 201 E. Virginia, 972-548-3950

8. MOM and POPcorn

Neither dentists nor dietitians would recommend frequenting this Wonka-esque gourmet popcorn and old-school candy store. Moderation will be the last thing on your mind, though, as you cherry-pick from the bins of Walnettos, MoonPies, chocolate-covered gummy bears, Nut Goodies, and banana-cream-pie taffies. Wash them down with a cold Dublin Dr Pepper and start in on the 45 flavors of popcorn. It may be your only chance to try kernels of coconut-curry, blue raspberry, and a spot-on tomato- basil. 215 E. Louisiana, 972-542-7605, momandpopcorn.com

Tags: TRAVEL, MCKINNEY,

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