Friday, February 19, 2016

A Strong highway back.jpg

Tri-Five Classic Chevy Experience with Cross Town Travel to Wylie, Texas

  -Alan Arnell

Normally, I try to drive my non Belair, 1957 Chevrolet, Model 150, 2-Door Sedan out in the country where she was designed to drive.  In 1957 things still moved a little slower and happened on two lane country roads.  You didn’t really need side view mirrors or even good brakes.  You were happy to be on the open road, not mad stuck in rush hour traffic like today for most of us poor souls.

Looking for a new place to have breakfast along with a nice drive my wife found on the web, after a “best breakfast” search, the restaurant “Taste of Home - a Quaint Country Eatery”.  The Restaurant is located in historic downtown Wylie, Texas at 302 North Ballard Avenue.  Not really a drive in the country.  The intended route was more like a drive across town on a Turnpike with a 70 mile per hour speed limit.  However, for variety's sake we took a Farm to Market County road back home, even though with the area’s enormous population growth the Farm to Market road  is now a suburban city the whole way.  

Taste of Home Restaurant in Wylie Texas.

This Chevy Experience was more about getting a great homemade style breakfast (and a romantic Valentine’s dinner the following week) than the actual drive.  Still the experience is a Classic Chevy activity none the less.

Now make no mistake, this was not a short drive to the local IHop.  From garage to restaurant is 35 miles.  Texas is big and the DFW Metroplex is a big as well.  And, from my house to Wylie is only about one third of the distance that the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex spans from east to west.

DFW Metroplex

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area contains 13 counties.  The area is often referred to as DFW or the Metroplex.  The Metroplex is the economic and cultural hub of North Central Texas and is the largest land-locked metropolitan area in the United States.  DFW is home to almost 7 million residents making it the largest metropolitan area in the southern United States.   DFW has for decades gained almost 150 thousand new residents each year.

The population of  DFW has grown by about 1 million since the 2000 US census and all of those people are standing in front of me in line at the grocery store.  DFW is larger than Houston.  The Metroplex is by population, the largest metropolitan area in Texas, the largest in the South, the fourth-largest in the United States, and the eleventh-largest in the Americas. The Metroplex is 9,286 square miles in size (24,100 km).  DFW is larger by size than the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. It also has the fifth largest gross metropolitan product (GMP) in the United States, and approximately tenth largest by GMP in the world.  Whew, who knew?

I have been told the name Metroplex came from the combination of the terms "metropolitan" and "complex."  The name was coined in 1972 as a replacement for the lackluster "North Texas."

DFW in Texas

The area I live in is called North Dallas.  It has grown so fast that the state and cities could not keep up with road building.  DFW is a driving city with little or no mass transit.  To keep up, the area came up with the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) that builds, maintains and operates toll roads, bridges and tunnels in the North Texas area.  


With that in mind, I took the first toll road made in Dallas called the “Dallas Toll Road.”  We don’t try to make things complicated.  After a short trip down the Toll Road, I exited on a 100 foot tall clover leaf onto the The President George Bush (41 not 43) Turnpike for a 27 mile run of a 8 lane highway.  Not taking federal funds the speed limit is 70 miles per hour, but the average speed is 75.

George Bush is a 52-mile long toll road that runs along the Dallas northern, northeastern and western suburbs.  The turnpike forms a partial loop around Dallas.  It is named for George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.   The turnpike is assigned the State Highway number 190 (SH 190). However, "190 TEXAS" signage appears only along the Garland, Richardson, Plano, and Carrollton sections of the frontage road with the undersign "frontage road only." At intersections with city streets, only the Bush Turnpike signs are displayed, not the "190 TEXAS" signage.

Zip Cash

The turnpike is notable, because it was originally equipped with traditional toll plazas for cash payments. However on July 1, 2009 the cash plazas were closed and replaced with "ZipCash", an OCR-based camera system which reads the license plate and bills the owner by mail. This made the turnpike the first in the United States to transition to all-electronic toll collection.

The Taste of Home Restaurant in Two Parts

As said earlier in the blog we went to the restaurant for breakfast.  We liked the food and atmosphere so well, we signed up for the Valentines Candle Light Dinner, which was a week later.

In 1999 the Taste of Home Restaurant evolved from the Taste of Home which was an antique shop just down the street.  In early 2008 the owner purchased and renovated a great little house built in 1901.  Taste of Home went from a “lunch only” restaurant with seven employees to a “full service” restaurant open six days a week with twenty-three employees.  

Taste of Home

My wife and I found the restaurant without any trouble and found ample parking in a free parking lot kitty corner behind the restaurant.  The restaurant is a double threat, in that, it is quaint and has delicious food!

We were served a great breakfast. The service from the start was great and all the staff were friendly and courteous. The meals were all delivered quickly, correctly and hot. The coffee came with real cream, which is definitely my thing.  Refills came quickly.  I drank so much coffee I had to stop on the way home.  I will not tell you why, you will have to use your imagination.  I was happy to see that the restaurant was well staffed and managed unlike many other restaurants I have been to lately.   The owner meets patrons at the door and seats them.  She is a sweet-loving person and sets the perfect tone for your dining pleasure.

All and all,  we really enjoyed breakfast. The food and atmosphere were great. Probably the best pancakes I have ever had.  But, we knew that the minute we drove up to the restaurant.  Any home that has a wrap around porch has my attention.  

My wife had the Eggs Florentine and I had the Griddle Breakfast.  Mmm Mmm Good!

Eggs Florentine.

For a little of Wylie history we walked across the street from the Taste of Home to look at the Thomas and Mattie Brown Home.  In the front garden is a statue of Mattie and Thomas Brown.  The home  is a large Queen-Anne style home that was built around the turn of the century.  I wonder, if they give tours that show the inside this historical house.  Too bad it was winter as I have been told that the gardens that wrap around the porch are beautiful.

taste of home 13
Thomas and Mattie Brown
The home was not alway as grandiose as it is today.  The home’s owners originally built a small folk-style Victorian house at the corner of Ballard Avenue and Jefferson Street. Then in  1905, the Browns decided to relocate their old house just to the west of its original site to make it a bigger and nicer home.  The newer, two-story house was updated to seven rooms downstairs, a larger room and bathroom upstairs, with turret and fish scale shingles.  The house is a Texas Historical Commission landmark.  Thomas Brown was one of the city’s first aldermen and owned a mercantile shop on Ballard Avenue.

Thomas and Mattie Brown Home

For a Valentine's Day treat the wife and I went to a candlelit dinner at Taste of Home.   The party was a reservation only event featuring a four course meal including champagne.  

The restaurant and dinner was nicely set up for the evening's festivities.  The lights were dimly lit and each table had floating tea light candles.  Very Romantic.   The restaurant was filled, subdued and comforting.  All in all the experience was alive with the Valentine's Day Romantic Candlelight Dinner Spirit.

Wylie, Texas History

The city of Wylie is an interesting place.  When I moved to Texas in 1982, Wylie was out there in the country. Today, it would be best to describe Wiley as another Dallas suburb that still has a great deal of open space. 

Down Town Wylie, Texas

Wylie It is located on State Route 78 about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of central Dallas and on the way to nearby Lavon Lake.  Wylie is also very close to the great recreation area of Lake Ray Hubbard.

Railroads help build the town.

The town was organized in the early 1870s. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway laid tracks a half mile north of the original townsite in 1886. Wylie bloomed after the railroad came to town and within a year the City of Wylie was incorporated in 1887 along the railroad right-of-way.  Wylie was named for Lt. Colonel William D. Wylie, a right-of-way agent for the railroad and Civil War veteran.

Two years later, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway also reached the town. The two railroads and the rich agricultural region of the Blackland Prairies contributed to the town's growth.

Onions were the town's cash crop in the 1930s and '40s. “Wide Awake Wylie” became the city’s nickname in the late 1940s and '50s, a result of late night get-togethers of its citizens and businesses that stayed open until midnight on some evenings.

Wylie Festivals 

Sadly, what I remember about Wylie is that in the 1990s, Wylie saw two disasters. On May 9, 1993 a Mother's Day tornado ravaged downtown Wylie.  In December 1998, two fires destroyed and damaged several businesses.  After that, the downtown area was renovated, while preserving the many century-old buildings that remained standing.  

Driving old Texas State Highway FM 544

For a change in scenery we decided to take FM 544 back home instead of the turnpikes we drove to the restaurant.  FM stands for Farm to Market.   Needles to say, there are no longer that many farms to take crops to market on FM 544.

FM 544 was built in 1945.  The road runs from SH 78 in Wylie to Plano, Texas and was extended west in two different projects to SH 121.  In 1995 as growth from Dallas engulfed FM 544 it became an urban road to finally be removed from the state highway system and given to the city of Wylie.
FM 544 passes through the cities of Plano, Murphy, and Wylie within Denton and Collin Counties. The road has been assigned names in the  different cities it passes through instead of still using the FM 544 name.  Parker Road, Plano Parkway, Charles Street, Hebron Parkway, Park Boulevard, Coit Road, 15th Street, G Avenue and 14th Street are some of the new names now used for street signage.

The Big "D"  Dallas, Texas

Why the growth in North Texas?

Experts do not expect the growth boom in North Dallas to end any time soon,  as the population in Denton and Collin Counties have nearly tripled over the last 20 years.  But still despite all the growth the past few decades, there is still plenty of open land available. And, housing costs are generally at least half of the same home on the two United States coasts.
I have witnessed over and over where a developer builds large tracts of homes on land that had been a pasture or some other agricultural land.  That builder is able to do a planned development on the cheap.  Retailers see that, and they build the kinds of stores people want.   And, Texas schools have gotten better in the last 30 years to rise up from the bottom of the ranks to the best schools in the nation.
All of this is a recipe for the populous to have a major incentive to move.   The new homeowner coming into the area is looking at what they can get in terms of square footage and quality of life.  North Dallas has all of that in spades.  People just keep deciding to move to DFW by the thousands and thousands.
Also,  having high-tech jobs, financial services or the jobs that requires highly educated labor really helps  anchor an economy and promote growth.  This growth entices other companies to move into the area just like dark rich soil would do for the farmer.
Growth entices companies to move into the area.
Finally, I have to brag.  Texas is the second-most-populous state that has a pro-business tax structure.  DFW is relatively inexpensive to buy property that is still in abundance.  I expect continued rapid growth to the north of Dallas and Fort Worth, perhaps into the Red River counties in coming decades.
If you keep reading my posts you will find this story is a little different than the flora, fauna and view descriptions of most of my drive stories in my 1957 Chevy.  But, hey I’m a city boy and I do city boy things from time to time.
And, no, the mascot for Wylie High School is not the Coyotes...they are the Pirates.
Classic chevy, Tri-Five, Classic Car, Chevy, Chevrolet, Belair, Car show, Custom car
Muscle car,  Hot Rod, Street Rod, Drag Racing, 55 Chevy, 56 Chevy, 57 Chevy, Street Racing

!!!Support Texas Classic Experience!!!
Did you like the blog?  If you did, the best way to support Texas Classic Experience is to share this post!  Please tell others that you liked this post by sharing it with your car friends by sending them a link to this page.
Don’t forget to visit and like Texas Classic Experience on FaceBook:  LINK to FaceBook

Texas Classic Chevy Experience will post blogs about: Travel, Hot Rods, Chevy, Chevrolet, Drag Racing, Car Shows, Classic Cars, Custom Cars, Muscle Cars, How to Tech. posts, Dallas Area Classic Chevy Club, Texas Muscle Car Challenge, Tri-Five Nationals, Lone Star Chevy Convention, Classic Car lists, Classic car links, Spotters guides, Car Shows, Swap meets, & Book reviews

1 comment:

  1. I have to say I absolutely loved going to this place the other night. The people that work there were trying to create an optimal dinner experience while making your choices their priority. I would definitely recommend these venues for any kind of fancy event.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.