Owner, The Aria Stone Gallery
razilian native Vinny Tavares is nothing short of a stone hunter. His treasured gems? Exotic, natural-stone blocks he hand-selects from quarries spanning Madagascar to Brazil, Turkey to Italy and Iran to Mexico. The Aria Stone Gallery owner selects each block of material–whether pristine Calacatta Gold marble, gilded onyx or glimmering quartzite–and displays the resulting polished slabs in art-gallery form in his white-walled Houston and Dallas showrooms. An avid world traveler thanks to his work, Tavares is now offering clients the chance to journey alongside him to quarries and see firsthand the mining and selection process. Trips are fully arranged, from luxury lodging to world-class cuisine nodding to the region. Because how many people can say they hand-selected their home’s own stone? Here, Tavares shares his can’t-miss spots while in Dallas.
9 a.m. Every good morning starts with a swing through Local Press + Brew in Oak Cliff for a nitro cold-brew coffee. I also always grab a cold-pressed juice to go–I like The OC, with beet, carrot and green apple.
10 a.m. Embark on the 90-minute walking tour hosted by the Dallas Center for Architecture on the third Saturday of each month. It begins at the Dallas Museum of Art and winds through the Dallas Arts District, where our showroom is located.
11:30 a.m. Take a short drive to the Dallas Farmers Market for a farm-to-table lunch at Mudhen Meat and Greens. I love any dish with seafood and usually go for the build-your-own bowl option with grilled salmon.
12:30 p.m. Hop on one of the free streetcars operating from Union Station downtown to shop the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, home to a collection of boutiques, galleries and eateries. It’s worth a ride if only to see the panoramic views of downtown architecture as well as the Margaret Hunt Hill and Margaret McDermott bridges, both designed by Santiago Calatrava.
2 p.m. Return downtown for a visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Be sure to browse the magnificent specimens in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall.
4 p.m. Stroll over to the Dallas Design District to shop the eclectic showrooms and galleries. While there, make a quick stop in Quill to grab an afternoon drink–the cocktails are some of the best in the city.
6 p.m. Dinner at Uchi is hands-down a must for sushi and dishes that are artfully presented. The menu changes daily, much like our stones, so I appreciate the limited uniqueness. My favorites include hama chili and machi cure.
7:30 p.m. Grab a cocktail at Stirr in Deep Ellum; here, the bar is topped with Aria’s Zebrino black-and-gold stone. As you sip, soak in the exceptional rooftop view.
9 p.m. Wrap up your day in Dallas with a drink at The Bar at Stoneleigh, where the cocktails are inspired by each decade of the hotel’s history. Reminisce as you sip your favorite year.