A grilled cheese served at Highland Park Soda Fountain during the State Fair of Texas

A grilled cheese served at Highland Park Soda Fountain during the State Fair of Texas

Nathan Hunsinger/Staff Photographer

The State Fair of Texas is a haven for impressively bizarre food creations, but let it be known that deep fried butter is not for everyone. If you're that friend who orders your burger plain and dry, odds are you're not among the hordes lining up to try this year's wacky new foods. You crave the simplicity of ordering from the kids menu, where the choices are unambitious and easy to pronounce.

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You already know you'll be making at least one pit stop at Fletcher's Corny Dogs, but what if you want other options? Speaking as a picky eater myself, I like to stick to the three essential food groups - meat, cheese and bread. Here are a few places to find beautifully basic food around the fairgrounds:


While French fries may be his specialty, Jack Pyland sure knows how to make a hamburger. They come with all the fixings, so be sure to specify if you want plain and dry. You'll find him grilling up grub at his stand near the midway.

  • Jack's French Frys - Cotton Bowl Plaza

Grilled cheese

After serving Dallas for more than 100 years, Highland Park Soda Fountain knows not to mess with the classics. And what could be more classic than a grilled cheese: American cheese on toasted white bread? Try the milkshake for a post-sandwich treat, available in unpretentious flavors like vanilla and chocolate.

  • Highland Park Soda Fountain - Tower Building Food Court

Cheese quesadillas

Cheese quesadillas: A prime example of why cheese and bread are a match made in heaven. (They're also the picky eater's version of a Tex-Mex grilled cheese.) Texas Ice House has air conditioning in addition to these cheesy beauties; it's a highly sought-after luxury at the fair.

  • Texas Ice House - Nimitz & Keating

Chicken strip trio

Serving everything in threes, Trio on the Green offers "bites and flights" at a shady destination away from the crowds. This meal trio includes hand-battered chicken tenders, crispy fries and Texas toast sticks. Flights of beer and wine are available for the over-21 crowd.

  • Trio on the Green - Behind the Coliseum
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Cinnamon rolls

You may be thinking, cinnamon rolls? Aren't those a breakfast food? Once you've been to Stubby's, you'll be quick to change your tune - and advocating that cinnamon rolls can (and should) be eaten at any time of day. The pastry can be ordered with or without icing.

  • Stubby's Cinnamon Rolls - Tower Building Food Court


Pro tip: Hand Tossed Pizza by the Giant Slice actually bakes two regular-sized slices together, forming one mega-slice. Which means if you order two "slices," you're really getting four. But who's counting anyway? Both the cheese and the pepperoni are solid options for those averse to trendier toppings.

  • Hand Tossed Pizza by the Giant Slice - Tower Building Food Court
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