Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ opened a few days before the start of the State Fair of Texas. Coincidence? I think not.

The new Ferris Wheelers in Dallas' Design District has no affiliation to the fair, but it seems to take some Lone Star State inspiration. Chuck Norris' face has been painted on the wall at this indoor-outdoor place that slings barbecue, beer and live country music.

Its 50-foot Ferris wheel in the backyard will be fully functional by early October, says one of the partners, meaning you can (soon) take a spin before or after playing bar games like Jenga, oversized checkers and more on the the 7,000 square-foot patio.

But to answer a question you surely have: No, you can't eat or drink while riding the free Ferris wheel.

Phil Schanbaum and some of his partners purchased the Ferris wheel from New Mexico, then designed the Ferris Wheelers restaurant and bar around it. 

Restroom doors are on either side of the toilets. Giggle.

Restroom doors are on either side of the toilets. Giggle.

Nathan Hunsinger/Staff Photographer

"It's hard not to smile when you're looking at a Ferris wheel," Schanbaum says. (He was right: There we were, grinning, looking up at it.)

The backyard of Ferris Wheelers feels like a combination of Katy Trail Ice House in Uptown and Truck Yard on Lower Greenville, with its big picnic tables, gravel ground and intentionally rusty signs on the fence. If you want to know which restroom's which, the toilets out front give it away: fake pink flowers for the gals, fake blue flowers for the guys. Both tacky yet cute, if commodes can be cute.

While Ferris Wheelers may feel like it revolves around that circle in the sky, your first stop should be for barbecue inside. Pitmaster Doug Pickering's menu includes brisket, turkey breast and ribs. Nothing needs sauce, though there are four available, including a mustardy, Carolina one as well as a spicy, tomato-based option.

Pitmaster Doug Pickering started his day at 3 a.m. at Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ. #pitmasterlyfe

Pitmaster Doug Pickering started his day at 3 a.m. at Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ. #pitmasterlyfe

Nathan Hunsinger/Staff Photographer

After leaving a career as a hedge fund guy years ago, SMU grad Pickering started catering barbecue and teaching "barbecue school" in Dallas. 

"I'm a Texan," he says. "I love the outdoors. I hunt, I fish, all that." Ferris Wheelers feels like the kind of place Pickering might hang out if he wasn't always there anyhow. 

Even his family got involved. Doug's Mama's cookies are baked by his stepmom. Sweet.

Ferris Wheelers comes from the partners behind several bars in Dallas, including High Fives on Henderson Avenue and Parlay in Uptown Dallas.

Note: Ferris Wheelers is dog friendly.

Ferris Wheelers is located at 1950 Market Center Blvd., Dallas. (Not sure where that is? It's next-door to Rodeo Goat in the Dallas Design District.)

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