By Joshua Benton
A wise man once said it’s better to be insulted at the start of a date than the end.
So we start our evening out at Goff’s, the famed burger joint on Lovers Lane. Proprietor Harvey Gough has made a decades-long shtick out of being nasty to his customers. Alas, on the night we try out this Cheap Date, Harvey is nowhere to be found, but the staff makes up for it by ordering us to have the Deal (a combination burger/hot dog) for me, the Saladburger for her.
While the silverware may not meet your standards – “That fork’s been here 20 years,” the guy behind the counter points out – the beef’s divine. And where else in Dallas can you dine 10 feet from a statue of Lenin?
A key Goff’s feature of note to Cheap Date aficionados: The cup you’re handed when you ask for the free water comes filled with crushed ice, not the lesser huge cubes of other establishments. And the foot-operated water fountain is always available for rapid refills.
Next, we head up to Carrollton to Nickel Mania, one of several nickel arcades in the area. For less than nine bucks, you get admission for two and 100 nickels to dump into arcade games you’ll remember from the 1970s. Sure, some of the games are only a half-notch above Pong – but since when is that a bad thing?
WARNING: You may feel intense shame if your date whups up on you in every game.
INSIDER HINT: Play Spider Stompin’ on the easy setting if you want to earn tons of tickets. Then turn those tickets into kitsch. I am now the owner of a blue apple-shaped pinky ring, a plastic green scorpion and one eye patch deemed “sexy” by my companion.
A quick hop down the Tollway back to Lovers Lane brings you to The Lounge, the bar attached to the Inwood Theatre. Aside from a cozy atmosphere and well-poured drinks, The Lounge offers an evening bonus. From the seats at a pair of two-seat tables in the back room, you can peer into the Inwood’s ground-floor theater and watch whatever movie is playing. (And since it’s the arty Inwood, the fact you can’t hear the movie usually doesn’t matter – you can read the subtitles.)
ONE PIECE OF ADVICE: Check the movie listings before setting out. The night we go, the midnight film is Flesh Gordon, the 1970s soft-porn classic. The Dallas Morning News cannot be held responsible for your date’s reaction.
The Bottom Line
WHAT: Burgers, nickel games and movie spies.
Goff’s, 5702 Lovers Lane, Dallas, 214-351-3336. Burgers with a side of venom.
Nickel Mania, 2661 Midway, Carrollton, 972-713-9500. When you can’t spare a quarter.
The Lounge, 5458 Lovers Lane, Dallas, 214-350-7834. Drinks and movie hijinks.
THE TAB: $28.65
THE SCORE: Worth your spare change.