First time? Love wine? 8 guides for where to eat and drink at the State Fair of Texas

There’s something here for everyone from first-timers to tired parents and wine enthisiasts.

Visiting the State Fair of Texas is overwhelming no matter how seasoned the visitor. The variety of food and drink selections alone are staggering, and they’re spread out over a sweeping 277 acres. Knowing what to eat, and more importantly where to find it, is hard work, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are eight curated guides for where to eat and drink at the fair.

Big Tex, who is 55 feet tall, stands in the middle of 12 million square feet of fairgrounds...
Big Tex, who is 55 feet tall, stands in the middle of 12 million square feet of fairgrounds in Dallas. Here are some other by-the-numbers data about the State Fair of Texas.(Ashley Landis / Staff Photographer)

For the first-timers

Fletcher’s Corny Dogs

The most iconic spot to grab a Fletcher’s Corny Dog is at the main stand in front of Big Tex, the 55-foot tall cowboy that watches over the fair and belts out the occasional greeting. The lines can be long, but they do move fast. If you don’t want to deal with the crowds that accumulate at Big Tex Circle, you can find Fletcher’s Corny Dogs at six other stands throughout the park — MLK Jr. Boulevard, Nimitz Circle, Cotton Bowl Plaza, Thrillway, Midway and Fun Way on the Midway. Here’s a map of the fairgrounds to help you find your way around.

Fried Oreos

It wouldn’t be an inaugural fair visit without eating something fried. You can find just about anything deep fried here, but Oreos are a good place to start. Fried Oreos are located at Stiffler’s Mom’s Cookie Factory on the Midway.

Turkey leg

There’s just something alluring about moseying through the fairgrounds while gnawing on a turkey leg the size of your arm. Where else would you do such a thing if not at the fair? Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que & Home Cooking sells turkey legs that perfume the air with an intoxicating smokiness. Find them at Cotton Bowl Plaza, Tower Building, Nimitz Circle and the Midway.

Go Texan Pavilion Samples

This is a great place to go for small bites. Think Costco samples, but all from Texas-based agricultural vendors selling their retail products. The pavilion is located across Nimitz Circle from the Embarcadero.

Tower Building Food Court

If you’re looking for one centralized and air conditioned place to grab something to eat, head to the Tower Building Food Court. It’s near the Big Tex Circle and it houses dozens of concessionaires that make everything from Greek gyros to fried ribs. You can find several of the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards winners in here, too.

The Chamoy! Pickle at the State Fair of Texas in 2022 is, literally, wrapped and stuffed...
The Chamoy! Pickle at the State Fair of Texas in 2022 is, literally, wrapped and stuffed with fruit snacks and fruit roll-ups. (Courtesy of the State Fair of Texas)

For the adventure seekers

Chamoy Pickle at Candy Pickle Factory

This vendor is a new addition to the fair and they’re coming in hot with the Chamoy Pickle — a whole dill pickle wrapped in a fruit roll-up, stuffed with Fruit Gushers, and then doused with chamoy sauce and sprinkled with Tajin.

Doh-Muff at Vandalay Industries

Vandalay Industries is where you’ll find the wild creations of Abel Gonzales who’s behind fried butter, fried lobster tail with champagne gravy, and deep-fried PB&J. This year he came up with the Doh-Muff, which is a yeast doughnut coated in banana nut muffin batter and fried, then stuffed with Bavarian cream. This is located at the Fun Way and on Nimitz Circle across from the Go Texan Pavilion.

Deep-Fried Country Cookout at Benavides Foods

Head to this vendor to try the new Deep-Fried Country Cookout. It’s pulled pork and goat cheese formed into a patty, which is then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. It’s topped with coleslaw and potato salad, and drizzled with jalapeño barbecue sauce. Benavides Foods is located in the Tower Building Food Court.

Fat Elvis at Holy Biscuit

Holy Biscuit is where you’ll find the Fat Elvis — a biscuit sandwich made with peanut butter, strawberry jelly and toasted marshmallow fluff. But that’s not all! It also has bacon and fried plantains in the middle. It’s located in the Tower Building Food Court.

For the novelty seekers

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest the fair has to offer, use the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards winners as your roadmap. This year’s winners include a horchata milkshake, a fried charcuterie board, deep-fried lasagna, and a monster dessert of brownie, cookie marshmallows and cheesecake. Here is the list of this year’s winners and the prices of each. And here is a map of where you can find all 10 winners at the fair.

Farmhouse Vineyards wines are shown at the Go Texan Pavilion at State Fair of Texas in Dallas.
Farmhouse Vineyards wines are shown at the Go Texan Pavilion at State Fair of Texas in Dallas.(Allison Slomowitz / Special Contributor)

For the wine lovers

Texas Beer and Wine Garden

This is the place to sip Texas-made wines in a patio setting with string lights and live music. Different wineries are featured each day, and you can buy wine by the glass, bottle or as small tastings. The beer and wine garden is located at the Yuengling Stage in between the Go Texan Pavilion and the Poultry Barn.

Bailey’s Deli

At this spot inside the Tower Building Food Court, you can find wine, wine cocktails, wine spritzers and even wine margaritas.

The Bluebonnet Roadhouse

Come here for paradise cups — sliced fruit soaked in wine and prepared daily. You can also buy wine and wine-based spirits here. You’ll find The Bluebonnet Roadhouse next to the Go Texan Pavilion.

Donna Rubio (left) and Pepe Sanchez pull beers at the Beer Haven under the ferris wheel...
Donna Rubio (left) and Pepe Sanchez pull beers at the Beer Haven under the ferris wheel during the State Fair of Texas in Dallas on Sept. 29, 2017. (Nathan Hunsinger / Staff Photographer)

For the beer lovers

Magnolia Beer Garden

This beer garden offers a large selection of global beers with shaded seating. It’s located next to the McDonald’s Amphitheater and Truck Zone.

Hans Mueller

Kick back at a table under the Hans Mueller tent with a beer of your choice and watch the performances at the Chevrolet Main Stage next door.

Fernie’s Skyway Porch

If you like to drink beer and sort of eat it too, Fernie’s Skyway Porch sells beer-battered fried shishito peppers. It’s located under the entrance of the Texas Skyway near Big Tex Circle.

For families with small kids

Howdy’s Hangout

This is a newish restaurant space where kids can run around while parents sit at shaded picnic tables. It serves things like funnel cake, shaved ice and lemonade. It’s conveniently located right next to the Dallas Children’s Aquarium, and it’s also a great spot to camp out and watch the nightly parade go by.

Newport Kiddie Land

When it’s time for a quick break from the games and the rides, this stand is a good stop for hot dogs and pretzels for kids, and adult beverages for parents. Find it at Fun Way on the Midway.

Trio on the Green

Have a napping baby in a stroller? Post up at Trio on the Green, where you can sit under a canopy of trees and order flights of wine, beer and bites like pimento cheese tater tots and sliders. It’s located next to the Coliseum near Chevrolet Park Plaza.

Mac Loaded

This vendor on Nimitz Circle is a good stop for a kid-friendly meal that can also be exciting for adults. Go with the classic or spice it up with the Buffalo Chicken Bowl or the Big Texas Bowl Mac made with brisket, chives, bacon, fried onions, jalapeños and a pickle.

Oak Farms Dairy

Need milk for the little ones? Head to the Oak Farms Dairy booth inside the Tower Building Food Court.

For the cost-conscious

Thrifty Thursdays

A State Fair visit can get expensive fast. One way to make it a more affordable experience is to take advantage of Thrifty Thursdays. Every Thursday during the fair, participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price. In some cases they’re mini versions of the menu item, but in others they’re full size. The map of participating vendors and the more than 85 dishes they’re selling can be found here.

$1 water

At the Daughters of the American Revolution House, which is located near the front entrance gate, water is only $1, so you don’t have to shell out to stay hydrated.

BYOB (and food)

You can actually bring your own food and drinks into the fair, as long as that doesn’t include any alcohol or silverware. Pack a picnic and save your coupons for rides and games.

For those with specialty diets

Every year the fair compiles extensive lists of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. The 2022 lists can be found here.

And if you’re looking for keto and Whole30 options, here is a list we compiled in 2021. It also includes vegan and gluten-free options throughout the fairgrounds.

Your guide to State Fair of Texas 2022
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