Get to Know: Ascension Coffee

In today’s world, it is imperative that each and every person stays plugged in. That’s what we have iPhones for, right? We stay plugged in to keep connected with our friends, family, colleagues, future opportunities, current events, news, etc. Our technology is irresistible and it seems with each generation, as their tech-savvy skills increase, their social skills decrease.

That’s why Dallas is blessed to have an establishment like Ascension. By definition, ascension is the act of rising to an important position or a higher level and that is exactly what you see happening in the eatery.


Let’s get the history. Ascension started over a cup of crappy coffee.

Russell Hayward (from Tom Tom Noodle House and Nikita) and Jonn Baudoin (from Driftwood and Sugar Skull) were meeting to discuss upcoming restaurant developments. They met at a local Dallas coffee shop similar to that of a Starbucks.

After waiting separately in line for their cappuccinos, they both realized coffee shops in the area all had one thing in common – a horrible model resulting in terrible service.

After waiting in line, Hayward’s drink never came out and when he went to the front to check on his order, he realized his cappuccino had been sitting there and was now cold. When having to repay for his beverage, he was so livid that he decided to open his own cafe. Eighteen months later, Ascension was born.

Hayward believed the Dallas market was ready and in desperate need for a new, innovative approach to a coffee shop. With nearly two years of planning and traveling around the globe evaluating coffee shops and learning coffee agriculture in Africa led to the opening of Ascension Coffee in the Design District in 2012.  

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Now almost 5 years later, Ascension has drastically expanded. With locations in the Design District, the Crescent, and Thanksgiving Tower, Ascension is loved all over Dallas and soon in cities surrounding the DFW metroplex!

In addition to new locations, Hayward has Ascension Coffee Roastery, Dallas’ first coffee training and cupping lab. The founder is a Licensed Coffee Q Grader, Director of the Cyimbili Coffee Plantation Rwanda, founder of Restore the Bean, and owner of the new coffee shop concept 84 Point Coffee.

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Hayward also has a passion for international development. Ascension invests in humanitarian projects in the coffee-producing regions, with an emphasis on countries recovering from crisis. The company is dedicated to helping their farmers’ communities through multi layered programs covering many areas, including access to clean water, medical support, dental training, youth education, and entrepreneurial development.

After further conversation, both men concluded that community is their main priority for Ascension. When you walk into Ascension, people aren’t playing on their phones or checking up on their Instagram. They are connected by the cup. They are plugged into real life conversation rather than technology. Ascension is the place to go when you need to unwind and retract from outside world distractions.

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Ascension works to make people happy every day and is committed to bettering the communities they work within. The company makes sure their staff is on point so that everyone’s best experience is getting their cup of morning Joe.

“Their best experience should be their daily experience routine.”

Aside from the incredible environment, the food and drinks served at Ascension are a whole other story. You have a 4-star restaurant at a 2-star price. Hayward has developed a menu with simple ingredients and innovative flavors. He develops new items in tandem with Lily Mondale to create the most delicious dishes. Everything in house is made from scratch and baked daily. No preservatives or frozen breakfast sandwiches available.

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When you walk in, the aroma of fresh herbs, spices, and exotic coffee beans will leave your mouth watering. The avocado toast, bacon egg roll, and fresh baked Pane Aria are some local favorites. The owners hire a number of chefs to create a rotating menu and everything is made from scratch, down to the jellies and jams.


Hayward, known as a coffee scientist, explained that his overall goal is to have unique flavor with unleveled quality, and that is just what you will get!

Fill your life with flavor and stop by Ascension for an unsurpassed experience. Whether it be the ricotta hotcakes in the morning, the chipotle chicken penne for lunch, or a slice of warm cinnamon chocolate cake paired with a glass of fine wine, Ascension has something for everyone.

For a chance to win a $100 gift card to Ascension, click here: Ascension’s Downtown Dallas Giveaway and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and Ascension (@ascensioncoffee) on Instagram! For more information on Ascension, visit

For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit

The Downtown Dallas Ascension location is located at:

1601 Elm Street, #120

Dallas, TX 75202

Get to Know: Downtown Pawz

We all know that Dallasites love to get pampered, but we can’t forget about our dogs! Downtown Pawz is situated in the heart of Downtown to give our pups the treatment of a lifetime!

Five and a half years ago, Adrian Bustos and his brother Jonathan Bustos opened up shop on Main Street to provide some TLC for Downtown dogs and owners. Their services include anything from grooming to dog walking. Downtown Pawz also sells food, treats, toys, and pet clothing! They even have free delivery service for Downtown Dallas residents!

“My favorite thing about being Downtown is the people and being able to deal with new faces everyday. It’s awesome meeting different people,” explained Adrian

Adrian and Jonathan would not trade being located in Downtown Dallas for the world. With recently signing a 5-year contract, Downtown Pawz will be staying in the center of it all with their growing family.

When questioned about what makes Downtown Pawz different from other pets stores, Adrian explained their passion for the experience, loyalty, and family-oriented experience.

“What makes us special is that we really focus on selling the experience. People come in, we know their name, we know their dogs, and we treat everybody the same. We still have customers that have been with us for five and a half years and that’s very special,” said Adrian. 

Adrian closed by saying, “We let our work reflect everything that we are aiming for!”

Next time your pup could use some TLC, be sure to stop by Downtown Pawz and experience their passion first hand.

For a chance to win a gift card to Downtown Pawz and a full service bath for your pup, click here: Downtown Pawz Downtown Giveaway make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and Downtown Pawz (@downtownpawz) on Instagram! For more information on Downtown Pawz, visit

For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit

Downtown Pawz is located at:

1623 Main St., Suite 106

Dallas, TX 75201

Get to Know: City Tavern

Dallas is known for its flashy atmosphere, glamorous population, and rowdy bar scene. While everything is bigger and better in the Big D, we also like to crack a cold one at the original neighborhood hangout known as City Tavern.


While Dallasites flock to glitzy nightclubs and lush lounges for ear-piercing electro music and overpriced vodka sodas, City Tavern is the foundation, free of frills, where locals gather for a good time.


Dallas entrepreneur Josh Florence took over Downtown Dallas’ City Tavern in 2006 and has watched his communal pub grow over the past 11 years.

Florence explained that City Tavern is an all encompassing space, which is of utmost importance to him.

“I genuinely and sincerely love people and love bringing people together,” said Florence. “This is the most welcoming, open-arms bar I’ve ever seen or been a part of. Gay, straight, ethnicity, it doesn’t matter… race, color, creed, political preference, or college football team doesn’t matter. As long as you love the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, I think we’ll be good.”


Florence landed his first job in the hospitality business at Hula Hut in Austin and explained he was hooked on the business ever since.

“I like being in a business where the overall goal is to make people feel good,” said Florence. “Whether that be through food, or through music, or through service, I like that people choose to come where I work when they get off of work.

While City Tavern is beloved by the Dallas community, the bartenders and staff add to the welcoming aesthetic.

When questioning if the Tavern should open on Christmas and Thanksgiving, his staff volunteered to work holidays and it hit a special place in Florence’s heart. He explained that City Tavern is the place where Dallasites gather to celebrate with their family, whether they’re blood-related or not.

“This is where they meet up and it’s a special deal,” said Florence.

Not only does City Tavern have a unique charm that attracts locals and visitors, the neighborhood hot spot serves as one of the prime places to enjoy live music. Before Dallas earned a marker on the music map, City Tavern was a magnet for guests who wanted to come rock out.

“The music scene speaks to me,” said Florence.


Florence, who appeared on the MTV reality show Road Rules respects and takes pride in local talent. After buying City Tavern and booking weekly live shows featuring local musicians, Florence took ownership in Club Dada in Deep Ellum, Off the Record, Independent Bar & Kitchen, the Homegrown Music & Arts Festival, and the Old 97’s County Fair.

“All are very different but the common thread is the music, the live music” he said.

Club Dada features touring Indie shows, Off the Record sells vinyl records, Independent Bar & Kitchen showcases local jazz artists, and City Tavern gives status to the rock n’ roll bands in the city.

Florence’s favorite memory at City Tavern burns vividly in his memory. About five years ago, the Tavern was packed, rocking out to King Tuff and Natural Child, when the roof caught fire during the show. After over an hour of putting the flames to rest, the audience stayed enjoying their beers on Main Street, and doubled in size after the fire truck was long gone.

In a world where bars come and go, the success of the quaint bar known as City Tavern could rely on a number of things… Is it the positivity and energy owner Josh Florence brings to the table? Is it the staff that values each other as family? Or is it the original D-Town vibes the Tavern holds that draws eclectic crowds in a warm atmosphere? There’s no right answer, but we know where we’ll be at happy hour!

For a chance to win a $100 gift card to City Tavern, click here: City Tavern’s Downtown Giveaway and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and City Tavern (@citytaverndfw) on Instagram! For more information on City Tavern, visit

For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit

City Tavern is located at:

1402 Main St

Dallas, TX 75202

Get to Know: Zåtar



Taking roots in the re-energized historic Deep Ellum area, Zåtar draws a fine line between simple and luxurious.


The beautiful eatery features a large, covered outdoor terrace and a chic indoor environment. Rustic decor, glittering chandeliers, and cozy booths add to the lively music and festive ambience of the Lebanese eatery.
Eating in Lebanon is tied to gatherings, and Zåtar is armed with a passion to bring the essence of that vibrant culture to Dallas. The word zåtar is a staple of traditional Lebanese cuisine and culture. It refers to both the Levantine oregano plant and the spice blend where the plant takes center stage. At Dallas’ Zåtar, the warm vibes, positive atmosphere, and exquisite menu bring that Lebanese vibrancy.

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Let’s start with the exquisite brunch. As you walk in, the service is divine as you are seated and greeted by the staff. A basket of warm croissants is placed in the center. The chocolate croissant is to die for as you break it open and warm cocoa oozes out of the flaky crust.
After you enjoy a warm croissant, you discover the twist Zåtar brings to Dallas’ typical boozy brunch. Ladies, try the frosé. It’s frosty, pink, and fun to drink! They also infuse their mimosas with rose water that gives off a fresh, beautiful scent.

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When getting to the main course, you can go with the breakfast tacos or venture to the ‘Mother of all pies.’ The pie features minced meat, a cheese stuffed crust, and is topped with two eggs baked to perfection. It is SO good and shareable. As a side, the fried Brussels sprouts mixed with grapes, walnuts, and balsamic are a must!

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If you’re going for dinner, indulge in Siyadiyeh, a traditional Lebanese dish consisting of roasted mahi-mahi with caramelized rice and onions paired with La Vie-En-Rose (Hendricks gin, Dolin Blanc, rose water spritz). End your dinner with a splurge. The Kenefeh at Zåtar will bring zen to your tastebuds. The Kenefeh is a warm cheesecake with semolina crust, served with orange blossom syrup. Um… Yum!  

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If you are up to trying new things and expanding your palette, Downtown Dallas’ Zåtar is the place to be!

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For a chance to win a $100 gift card to Zåtar, click here: Zåtar’s Downtown Giveaway and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and Zåtar (@zatardallas) on Instagram! For more information on Zåtar, visit

For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit

Zåtar Dallas is located at:

2825 Commerce St

Dallas, TX 75226

Get to Know: Prekindle

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Dallas is unique in a number of ways, but what distinguishes the Big D from others is the local character and prosperity that is evident when you walk through Downtown. That character includes the talent that floods the streets of Dallas.  

Three Dallas musicians make showcasing that local talent easier and more affordable.

Pete Swulius and Dave Howard played rock n’ roll around Deep Ellum in the band The Virgin Trebles. After graduating from college, the Virgin Trebles didn’t want economic troubles and decided to pair their computer software programming knowledge with their passion for music. The pair wanted to continue their involvement in the music scene and started a company that makes independent live shows and events simplistic to stage and promote. That company is Prekindle.


After a year in business, Swulius and Howard added J.R. Denson to the Prekindle partnership. Denson was touring with his band the Greater Good and was introduced to Prekindle by his entertainment attorney at Dallas’ City Tavern over some beers.

From there, Prekindle flourished and averages 4,000 events per year. Local event creators love working with Prekindle because their boutique ticketing company builds personal relationships and is a self-serve platform.


“We’re like the Indie-rock Ticketmaster,” said Denson. “We’re the team building personal relationships. Talent in this city is world-class and we feel lucky to be a part of the Dallas community.”

Prekindle was built from the ground-up in Dallas and has grown to a company that any venue or festival can access. But get this… they are a team of SEVEN people.

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“We can handle anything,” said Denson.

Howard explained they offer a unique perspective to the ticketing business because they all have experience with every job in the company. This workload ranges from scanning tickets at the door to the coding of the website. Each member at Prekindle contributes to the software and writes the actual lines of code that makes up the Prekindle website.

At the actual events, the partners said they hire an army of kids and part-timers who are involved a few times per month to help out.


By offering prices that directly benefit the client, people can log on to their website and create events that flourish and achieve a fan base. Prekindle builds the online tools and services to help further that goal. The company has a weekly newsletter subscriber base of 110,000 in DFW alone that continues to grow. 

The company took off seven years ago and since then has become a competitor for companies like Ticketfly and Eventbrite.

The partners all agreed that they have a certain sense of pride getting to be behind the scenes at so many cool events.

“Getting to see our name [Prekindle] be a part of so many things and getting that recognition is the biggest kick I get out of it,” said Denson. “Seeing someone holding a pass with our logo and knowing how much work went into getting that ticket into their hands is the best feeling.”

Prekindle works with numerous event creators across the nation. They’ve worked with the Kessler Theater, Majestic Theatre, Dallas Morning News, The Rustic and the Dallas International Film Festival.   

In addition to large-scale events, the company also gives back by offering their services to charities and nonprofits.

Be sure to check out Prekindle’s line-up of events this summer. The Oak Cliff Film Fest, the ATX Television Festival, Untapped, and Deep Ellum Brewing Co.’s Brew-BQ are all awesome upcoming events you can attend this summer!

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For a chance to win a 2 tickets to any event of your choice, click here: PreKindle Giveaway and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and PreKindle (@prekindletickets) on Instagram!

For more information on PreKindle, visit

For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit

Get To Know: Frankie’s Downtown

Right on Main Street, Dallas’ hot new hangout is the place to go for handcrafted cocktails and home-cooked food, but also the place the community calls Downtown’s living room.


Frankie’s Downtown is more than what meets the eye. When you first walk in, you’ll be greeted by the aroma of their all-original, house-made, fresh menu items; from their Artisan Pizzas to the Panko Crusted Pesto Salmon. The intimate rustic décor and dimly-lit setting is perfect for getting together with friends or a romantic date night. Then as you walk down the stairs, “The Underground” comes to life.


The Underground provides guests with a speakeasy-style environment with live music and a chance to get away and unwind. The Underground lounge has a full bar, billiards, darts, and TVs for those keeping up with the games. The lounge is also a great spot to host private events!




Now let’s talk about their extensive bar. Frankie’s Downtown loves being a part of the Dallas culture and is truly the real neighborhood hangout. With 20 Texas craft beers on tap and an expansive selection of fresh, handcrafted cocktails, Frankie’s has a little something for everyone. Featuring 44 HD big-screen televisions with all major DirecTV sports packages, the upper-level is perfect for watching sporting events, grabbing dinner and drinks with the family, or simply just hanging out with your crew. Not to mention, Frankie’s has a killer weekend brunch (MIMOSAS)! The lower-level lounge is where you sip on liquor while listening to live, local artists.

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From loaded fries to Parmesan crusted zucchini paddles with spicy tomato sauce and cracked pepper aioli, Frankie’s can satisfy any craving. Frankie’s offers weekly lunch specials, brunch, dinner, and weekend late night menu munchies until 2 am. In Dallas, brunch is a weekly must and Frankie’s was voted DFW’s Best Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar… Need we say more?


If you’re in the Downtown area and need a chill spot with mouth-watering food and luscious cocktails, stroll into Frankie’s! They also offer take-out and order ahead options for easy pick-up.


For a chance to win a $100 gift card to Frankie’s Downtown, click here: Frankie’s Downtown Giveaway  and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and Frankie’s Downtown (@frankiesdfw) on Instagram!

For more information on Frankie’s Downtown, visit


For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit


Frankie’s Downtown is located at:

1303 Main Street

Dallas, Texas 75202