Once upon a time, the story goes, there was a sad and barren wasteland called The Suburbs. Its food was mostly bland; disheartened by a lack of nightlife, its subjects retired to their beds before sundown. Nary a craft cocktail or sunny patio graced its lonesome expanses. But, one day -- as if sprinkled by fairy dust -- everything changed.  The 'burbs were booming. But, you've heard this story before

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With established Dallas restaurants and bars installing outposts north of LBJ freeway and a crop of hip national chains stampeding into North Texas, dining and drinking in the Metroplex is easier and better than ever. The burgeoning CityLine development in Richardson is one gem in particular worth watching. In March of 2016, the $1.5 billion project's  more than 200,000 square foot project's retail space reached full capacity. Among its tenants are more than two dozen places to get a delicious bite, drink or dessert. 

Not much of CityLine's new dining options are truly "new;" following growth trends throughout the D-FW suburbs, most of its restaurants are successful ventures with recognizable names and concepts. But, that's not to suggest the scene is boring or watered down. In fact, it has the high-end feel of a West Village or Legacy West without the maddening traffic or crowds of people. 

Here's what's open at CityLine and how to make the most of most any occasion. 

Finer dining for a special night out

Jasper's
Created by four time Beard award nominee and celebrity chef, Kent Rathbun, Jasper's serves "gourmet backyard cuisine" from a scratch kitchen. 

The signature prime rib at Jasper's, served with a loaded baked potato.

The signature prime rib at Jasper's, served with a loaded baked potato.

/Tom Fox / The Dallas Morning News

The fourth location in the Jasper's family, CityLine's menu features items like Maytag blue cheese potato chips, housemade Italian sausage pizza, black Angus tenderloin filets and jalapeno-charred corn. The atmosphere is classy, but not stuffy, with warm wood furniture mixed harmoniously with cool steel, greenery and lighting accents. It boasts special occasion ambiance and refined flavors in a relaxed environment.

Fernando's Mexican Cuisine
Boasting two popular locations south of 635, this Dallas original begins its expansion into Collin County at CityLine. The new spot is spacious and sleek, serving what Fernando's describes as "upscale TexMex dining with the continental influence of Mexico City." That includes dishes like tamales, enchiladas and fajitas, as well as fresh seafood and steaks. Fernando's also offers weekend brunch and adult beverages like high-end tequilas, wine, beer and craft cocktails in a festive, but luxurious environment. 

Fun spots to unwind or wind up

Coal Vines
When Joseph Palladino, one of the restaurateurs behind iconic Dallas steakhouse Nick and Sam's, created Coal Vines, he called it an "Uptown Pizza and Wine Bar." Having now branched the concept to eight locations -- six in North Texas, one in Sugar Land near Houston and one in Kansas City -- perhaps it's best said that Coal Vines brings a bit of Uptown Dallas wherever it goes. On the menu you'll find New York style pizzas, plus pasta, salads and entrees like fennel crusted salmon and lemon sole picatta. That's not to mention wine, cocktails and beer. 

Edoko Sushi and Robata
Meaning "around the fireplace," robata style-cuisine is, the venue says, "what Japanese cooking is all about, achieving the divine through humble means." Edoko serves sushi, sashimi and Western-style dishes with Japanese influence. Read our full story for a bigger taste, and scroll through these photos for a closer look.  

Fish City Grill
Fish City Grill
is everywhere, just everywhere, in Texas and Oklahoma. OK, not everywhere, because the new CityLine location marks its expansion into Richardson; but, we're guessing you've heard of its sister restaurant Half Shells in Plano and Dallas. This new spot marks its 20th location overall and 11th in D-FW. Fish City Grill is all about the full bar, large patio and fresh daily items like oyster nachos, seafood platters, fish tacos, poboys and more. Don't forget a hurricane, margarita or Bloody Mary. 

Tricky Fish
Picture a night sitting on the bayou with a cold beer and a good meal, and you've got the gist of Tricky Fish. With a focus on simplicity, this spot serves gumbo, crawfish etouffee, muffalettas, and fried fish platters, plus it features a full bar serving craft beers, sipping whiskies, wine and cocktails.

Pei Wei
We're guessing you've heard of this national chain with pan-Asian cuisine. It serves sushi rolls and rice and noodle bowls with gluten free alternatives. But, you might not have heard this awesome fact: Military members and first responders receive 15 percent off at all locations, every day. 

Unpretentious options and casual spaces

Taco Diner
Taco Diner asks you to think of it as a combination of a traditional Mexican taco stand and an American neighborhood diner. As you might guess, it serves tacos, but that's where the obvious assumptions end. 

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The girthy menu includes everything from traditional street tacos to Chicken and Waffles tacos -- that's waffle battered chicken strips with bacon gravy and maple syrup on corn tortillas -- for a variety of tastes and palates. They also serve beer, wine and cocktails like the Mambo Taxi, which packs an infamous and delicious power-punch.  

Good Union Urban BBQ
We said that most of CityLine's tenants are outposts of well-known Dallas restaurants or national chains, but Good Union Urban BBQ is the exception to the rule. This new concept mixes Hill Country style barbecue with a sleek, urban interior. The goal: Make it taste like Kreuz Market, but workers from nearby office buildings won't need to worry about snagging their suits on jagged benches. Instead, the vibe is "farm to soul," focusing on fresh ingredients and locally sourced craft beers. On the menu, you'll find "stacker sandwiches" like Pig Mountain -- that's pulled pork, glazed ham, bacon and link sausage on a bun -- as well as chopped barbecue by the half pound, burgers, salads and tacos. Read our full story for a bigger taste and scroll through these photos for a closer look. 

Piada Italian Street Food
What began as an idea scribbled on a napkin in Italy has now transformed into a national expansion. The first Piada Italian Street Food was founded in 2010, and locations have since spread mostly through midwest and, lucky for us, Texas too. It's where you can grab something quick and casual but fresh, with menu options like salads, pastas and piadas -- that's sort of like a sandwich made from thin Italian dough baked on a grill -- constructed with seasonal ingredients and authentic Italian flavors.

Smashburger's BBQ Cheddar Bacon burger paired with Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Rye Pils

Smashburger's BBQ Cheddar Bacon burger paired with Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Rye Pils

/Leslie Brenner / staff

Smashburger
This Denver-founded burger chain has squashed down locations all over D-FW, but "chain" seems disingenuous; they emphasize fresh ingredients and local flavors (not to mention local craft beers). Smashburger takes its name from the way its patties are prepared, a technique owners believe retains flavor. On the menu, you'll find classic and fancy burgers (like a "truffle mushroom Swiss"), chicken sandwiches, and sides like Smashfries, thin cut potatoes tossed in rosemary, garlic and olive oil.

Super Chix
Lines stretched out-the-door during Super Chix's early days when the first location opened in Arlington. Now, the small spot with an interesting history is known for a simple but delectable menu containing mostly chicken strips and sandwiches, fries and custard. Read our full story for a bigger taste.

A bowl of pho at Pho is for Lovers

A bowl of pho at Pho is for Lovers

/Pho is for Lover

Pho is for Lovers
As its name suggests, this Vietnamese cafe originated near the intersection of Lovers Lane and Greenville Ave. in Dallas. Open since December 2016, Pho is for Lovers serves pho, bahn mi, and noodle or rice plates, as well as vegan, vegetarian and health-forward options.

Luna Grill 
This San Diego-based fast-casual chain has grown mostly in California so far, but the "fresh Mediterranean" cafe's move into CityLine adds another option for health-focused eaters. Luna Grill is REAL certified -- that stands for Real, Epicurean, Agricultural, Leadership, an organization that works with the U.S. Healthful Food Council to promote healthier eating. It signifies that most of Luna Grill's food is free of GMOs, antibiotics, hormones and additives. The "Never, Ever Gyros" are made from beef and lamb that have been fed an exclusively vegetarian diet. The menu includes hummus, falafel, wraps, salads and kebabs, and calories and nutritional information for every meal is proudly posted online.

If you're watching your waistline

Modern Market
The gist behind this Colorado-based "quick-serve concept" is that friends who are vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, gluten-free and those with non-special diets could all happily eat together. Owners say Modern Market seeks to "serve artisan fare without the pomp," and owners believe "added sugar is the devil." 

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That's just part of the restaurant's core values, which also focus on environmental sustainability and health as a lifestyle. On the menu, you'll find healthy breakfast options like steel cut oats with peanut butter and sandwiches made from antibiotic free meats and cage free eggs. Lunch and dinner options include brick oven pizzas, salads, sandwiches and home-style plates like, for instance, the humanely raised ranch steak platter.  Calories and nutritional information are clearly posted by every menu item. 

Red Mango 
Need a treat, but not prepared to splurge? Red Mango serves all-natural frozen yogurt full of calcium, protein and live and active cultures, and menu items are non-or-low fat, kosher and gluten free. Options include tart yogurt, sweet yogurt, smoothies and fresh juices. In case you're wondering, yes, you can get not-so-great-for-you candy and chocolate mixed in, making it a good compromise for health conscious, but not too healthy, families.

Dive into indulgences

Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts and Coffee
CityLine boasts one of four D-FW locations for this Seattle-based doughnut shop. Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts and Coffee "pair[s] a vintage aesthetic with a gourmet spin" and, cute story, the name comes from a rusted neon sign that used to say "Topspot" before it was a home to raccoons and finally restored for its new purpose. The menu keeps with that blend of old-school and new, which is why its items like apple fritters, cake doughnuts and "old fashioneds" are called "hand forged," as a nod to the traditional preparation style. The new? They're "elevated" to gourmet level and contain zero grams of trans fat.

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Tom + Chee 
Grilled cheese doughnuts may sound strange, but if you're willing to try ooey-gooey salty cheddar on sugary glazed fried dough, may we also interest you in a side of feel-good American Dream? That's the story behind Tom + Chee, a Shark Tank success from Cincinatti backed by Barbara Corcoran in 2013. If you're still on the fence about cheesy doughnuts, the menu also features traditional (but fancy) sandwiches, build-your-own grilled cheeses, salads and soups. Read our full story for a bigger taste.

Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip
This shop is one of ten Nestle Toll House Cafes in North Texas, most being inside shopping centers like the Galleria and Stonebriar. Items include traditional cookies and brownies, plus "double trouble" -- that's a thick layer of icing sandwhiched between two cookies -- ice cream, frozen yogurt, coffee and much more. Not to mention, they'll cater if you're in need of a cookie cake or custom tray.

Fast food and grocery

Sometimes you just need a quickie meal or treat on the go. CityLine Kitchen, a space styled like a food court, is home to a variety of booths. Grab a turkey burger from Fixin Grill, a fried chicken meal from The Kitchen Table or a Mediterranean salad from The Green House. Fooda, a pop-up shop that debuted in May 2017, features a different restaurant everyday. Rotating between a line-up of about 25 restaurants, Fooda features places like Chick-fil-A, the Halal Guys and Picasso's

City Line also houses locations of Jimmy John's, Subway, Starbucks and Whole Foods.

Live and love outside Dallas proper?

Check out our 'Burbs page for more dining, drinking and nightlife. And, scroll through the slideshow below for more of the scene at CityLine:

AURELIA HAN updated this story in June 2017.

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