couple toasting with cocktails on a restaurant porchLooking for the perfect dining spots in Downtown McKinney? Our latest itinerary post will give you some expert pointers for places and dishes to check out!

Meet Gavin & Karen (Couple in the Kitchen), writers and avid travelers who live in the Austin, Texas, area and share a love of travel and great food! With backgrounds in marketing (Karen) and the restaurant/culinary industry (Gavin), they've developed a website full of great recipes and travel guides to destinations around the world.

We teamed up with Couple in the Kitchen to bring you a curated guide to the best places to eat in Downtown McKinney. From cozy cafes to gourmet restaurants, their travel guide shares all the must-visit spots to satisfy your cravings and explore the vibrant culinary scene in the historic downtown square.

"During our visit, we learned why people come to McKinney for the fun, and stay for the memories! The historic downtown is the sparkling gem of North Texas, a treasure trove of boutiques and specialty shops, farm-to-table eateries, wineries, and spas." - G&K

While in town, they hit some fun non-culinary spots, too - Arcade 92 in Downtown McKinney; The Picklr McKinney, a new pickleball facility at Central Epwy./Eldorado; and Adriatica Croatian Village in Stonebridge Ranch. And they enjoyed pet-friendly dining patios and shops with their furry companion, Louie!

Following are some of Gavin and Karen’s top culinary recommendations from the spots they visited on their itinerary. For all the details of their visit, read their full McKinney Travel Guide to learn about all the tasty culinary delights they experienced in Downtown McKinney. (Find the link at the end of this blog post.)


Dirty Dog hot dog and fries at TUPPS BreweryTUPPS Brewery (402 E. Louisiana)

If you’re looking for a cold one, head to TUPPS for dinner, beer tasting, and a night of fun! Stay for live music or even free trivia night at this massive brewery that features an adult play zone with cornhole and bocce ball, a children’s area, and a live music lawn. 

G&K's Favorite: The Texas Dirty Dog (shown), a Polish sausage split in half and charred until crisp on the grill, stuffed with sweet corn queso, chopped jalapeno, and even more meat: brisket!

"Enjoy a wide variety of bar snacks, appetizers, salads, and sandwiches at TUPPS." - G&K


Cream of Whiskey milkshake at Cocktail CreameryCocktail Creamery (205 E. Virginia)

Why go to an ice cream parlor when you can go to an ice cream "barlor"? Over 99 ice cream creations at Cocktail Creamery contain about 4% to 4.5% alcohol.

G&K’s Favorites: Particularly Pistachio, which uses pistachio butter imported from Italy and is spiked with amaretto liqueur. Another boozy treat we savored was a milkshake (shown) with Cream of Whiskey ice cream, a shot of Maker’s Mark, and topped with bourbon vanilla whipped cream.

"For those who do not drink or are not old enough to consume, there are also alcohol-free flavors." - G&K


Guava Tree Cuban Sandwich with plantain chipsGuava Tree (104 S. Chestnut)

The Guava Tree Cuban Cafe and Cantina started as a food truck, but is now a brick-and-mortar mainstay in downtown McKinney. 

G&K’s Favorites: The Cuban Sandwich (shown), made with pork lechon (which you can also get in a bowl) that is incredibly tender and flavorful, and features a house-made guava mustard. Also try the cortado coffee or check out Guava Tree’s full bar.

Insider Tip: Since McKinney allows carryout alcohol on the streets of Downtown McKinney, consider getting their frozen mojito with a guava swirl in their reusable to-go cup!

“It’s the best Cuban pork that we’ve ever tasted and we’ve eaten Cuban food in Miami many times.” - G&K

Fried chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and a cocktail

Rick’s Chophouse (107 N. Kentucky)

Rick’s Chophouse, connected to the historic Grand Hotel, is the best place in downtown McKinney for a date night or to celebrate a special occasion, and it is one of the best restaurants on the square for high-end steaks and seafood. 

G&K’s Favorites: The fried chicken is brined,soaked in buttermilk, and fried in pork fat, taking three days to prepare (shown). And save room for dessert: Key Lime Pie with toasted meringue on top.

"The chicken is super juicy with a flaky, crispy skin that has a deep flavor, thanks to the pork fat!" - G&K


Facny deviled eggs and cocktail at HarvestHarvest at the Masonic (215 N. Kentucky)

This local favorite is dedicated to supporting the local community. In fact, 70 cents of every dollar stays in the local community. All of the ingredients making up the menu at Harvest come from within a 150-mile radius or from their own organic farm, Water Boy Farms. The restaurant is located in the historic Masonic Lodge and spralls over three floors.

G & K’s Favorite: Harvest’s menu is filled with house-made charcuterie, lots of dishes featuring their organic produce, as well as meat from local ranchers. (Shown is one of the house specialty dishes - deviled eggs.)

“Harvest features live music every single night that they are open, making this a great option for a date night.” – G&K


iced peach matcha drinkFiltered (218 E. Louisiana)

This self-proclaimed “craft coffee and culture house” also offers a variety of loose-leaf teas and Italian sodas. In the evenings, Filtered offers craft beers and wine selections to enjoy as you peruse the local art on display.

G&K’s Favorites: We loved the rose and pistachio latte as well as their iced peach matcha (shown)!

“We love their focus on highlighting emerging artists and they even have a small stage to showcase musicians.” – G&K


Ham & cheese hot sandwich at Patina GreenPatina Green (112 N. Tennessee)

This farm-to-table lunch spot has been a mainstay for the past 12 years. The only menu at Patina Green Home & Market is the lunch menu, which changes based on seasonal ingredients,

G&K’s Favorites: We savored the roasted poblano and beer cheese sandwich and the smoked ham sandwich with smoked cheddar and jalapeno peach jam (shown), each with a mini cookie sweet treat. 

“The food is made with love, focusing on hand-crafted dishes that have been minimally processed, and the market showcases charming home goods.” – G&K


soft serve ice cream wrapped in cotton CandyMiruku Creamery + Café (207 N. Kentucky)

Texas is a hot state, so there’s never a time when ice cream isn’t a good idea. Miruku’s owners make everything from scratch in-house, from their ice cream flavors to toppings to cotton candy for their super Instagrammable Day Dream treat that we enjoyed (shown).  

G&K’s Favorites: The Miruku Milk flavor is one of the best vanilla flavors we’ve ever had, and it tasted incredible wrapped with the cotton candy. 

“Their Miruku Milk and chocolate flavors are always on the menu, and they have two flavors that change seasonally.” – G&K


pastry at Bresnan with two cups of coffeeBresnan Bread & Pastry (301 E. Louisiana)

This husband-and-wife bakery churns out sourdough breads and French pastries out of a small space.

G&K’s Favorites: The almond croissant (shown) at Bresnan was great, but the Kouign Amann was potentially the best bite we had while in McKinney.  

“The best Kouign Amann outside of Paris is being made in McKinney! It’s flaky, buttery, and when opened, it oozes a delicious caramel.” – G&K


stuffed muschrooms and bread at cadillac Pizza PubCadillac Pizza Pub (112 S. Kentucky)

Cadillac is the perfect place for the best wood-fired pizza featuring homemade dough, all-natural sauce, and locally sourced ingredients. They also serve salads, wings, baked pastas, hot sandwiches, and a variety of appetizers like stuffed mushrooms (shown) and some massively large pretzels.

G&K’s Favorites: The Goat & Fig pizza was SO flavorful. And Gavin couldn’t stop saying how their oven-baked wings were the best wings he’s had all year. 

“You know this place is good because every seat in the house was full at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday!” – G&K


antique Coke Machine - secret doorRoom One Eleven (111 E. Virginia)

There are a ton of places to get a cocktail in McKinney, but a hidden gem of a night spot is located through a classic Coca-Cola vending machine.  (Room One Eleven cocktail bar is located through a secret door of Layered, a brunch cafe by day.)

G&K’s Favorites: We loved their take on the classic Old Fashioned.  They bruleed the bitters and used their house-selected single-barrel bourbon.

“They don’t have a website for Room One Eleven, so search for their Facebook or Instagram page for the entrance password.” – G&K


Check out Couple in the Kitchen's full McKinney Travel Guide HERE then plan your delicious adventure today!

For help planning your visit, check out our online Visitors Guide and our trip planning web widget/app.