Results of Denton Signage Poll/Interview with Nicole Probst

Two weeks ago, we ran a post asking you what your favorite piece of signage in town was. We gave you a scant few choices and after whining about places we left out, about a third of you ended up voting for Denton’s newish breakfast spot, Loco Cafe (read our review here). Here are the results of that poll:

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We can surmise a couple of things from this vote. The primary thing being that Denton must now favor understatement. Sure, quite a few of you voted for Atomic Candy’s exciting rocket ship sign, but... not enough, and our statistics say that those of you who did vote for that one were either children or people with adult onset ADHD. One could make the argument that Denton was once a town of bombast, however, we seem to have become quite a bit quieter since The Undoing of David Wright split up a few years ago. This brings us to the beautiful simplicity of Nicole Probst’s Loco Cafe sign. We had the chance to ask Probst a few questions about her design of the Loco logo and her views on design in general. Read on below...


Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, how long have you lived in Denton, what do you do, etc...

I moved to Denton in 1994 to pursue a Dance Major at UNT, but did not graduate. I have worked for GreenHouse Restaurant since 1999 and am currently General Manager. My other favorite job in Denton was my second job at Rose Costumes for 2 years. It was there I met my husband and had the benefit of Judy Smith’s [the owner of Rose Costumes] confidence in my design abilities as well as Ken Currin’s support, which allowed me to go back to school. I traded my second job for classes at UNT as a Communication Design Major and graduated in 2010 receiving a BFA in Communication Design with a focus in Art Direction/Copywriting and a minor in Dance. I’ve been married to Nathan Probst for 5 years and we are expecting our first child in October.

What influenced you during the creation of the Loco Cafe logo?

The owner of GreenHouse Restaurant and Loco Café, Ken Currin, is always a big influence. When we work on projects like this he becomes the client I’m designing for so having him stand behind the design is the number one goal. It’s like the relationship between Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and Heinz. Classic diner and shop signs of the 50’s and a Bass Beer Tap handle influenced the shape of the sign itself. We were talking about round signs one day and I walked by the Bass Beer tap handle and there was a perfect example of the style of round sign we were looking for. The typeface for Loco and 603 is American Typewriter and was integrated to pay homage to Ken’s roots as a UNT Journalism major and lover of literature and reading.

How does the Loco Cafe logo represent the actual cafe, itself?

“Loco” represents our location on the corner of LOcust and COgress. The round shape is influenced by our friendly, neighborhood atmosphere and a dot on a map. 603 is our address and if there ever happens to be more than one Loco Café the 603 will change to the street number of that location.

Working on the Loco Café logotype was a new experience for me because we were in the process of creating the concept of Loco Café as we were working on the logotype. Usually the brand/concept of the business is established and there are a lot of available resources to inspire the logotype itself. A designer writes a creative brief for the design based on established information about the company and in this case the creative brief for the design was part of the influence we used to establish the brand of the company.

Have you designed any other things that we might see daily in Denton?

Inside Loco Café I designed all the menus, even the big one on the wall, as well as labels on tea and coffee urns. I also designed the map graphic you see on the Loco windows, t-shirts and mug. I redesigned the logoype for GreenHouse Restaurant in addition to creating a simplified logo, as well as the menu. I also designed websites for both Loco and GreenHouse.

How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?

In my degree you take both Graphic Design and Advertising Art Direction classes. Before your senior year you choose a focus and the obvious choice for me was Art Direction and Copywriting because Graphic Design was not my strong point. Therefore, I like clean and simple logos with a smart use of type, that way I’m not trying to draw anything. I’m not much of an artist.

What makes a good logo or visual brand in your opinion?

For small businesses, I feel that a logotype, a visual representation of your business that includes the name of the business, is the way to go. This gives the business a chance to get both a visual cue of their concept as well as getting their name out there. I think presenting the name of the business and then providing a complicated graphic logo alongside it is not as successful. Then when it comes time to print a business card, invoice or other collateral you’re left with a design that is only successful in a large format and in multiple colors. Simple and smart logos can translate to any size and make an impact in even one to two colors.

I prefer a smart logo that with one glance tells you what that business is all about or a logo with clean type that is organized and therefore easy to read.  Though the Loco Café logotype doesn’t scream “biscuits” at you, the feel of the logotype provides a sense of location and friendly atmosphere.

What’s your favorite font?

My favorites are versatile and have enough variations to complete a project with one typeface. I use Akzidenz Grotesk, Horley Old Style and PMN Cecelia a lot.

What’s your least favorite font?

Comic Sans, Curlz and Papyrus. 

What other signs (or design-related things) that we may have seen have you designed?

After winning Iron Bartender Denton in 2007, GreenHouse Restaurant hosted the next year and I created the logo, poster and t-shirt for that event. I have also designed wedding logos for couples to use in invitations, programs and other reception paraphernalia. Before I went to school for Communication Design I designed my first logo for Big Baby Boutique when they moved to their 288 location. My work can also be seen in Minnesota on the storefront of Forget Me Not Flower Farm.

What’s your favorite piece of signage in town? Why?

I think many of the local businesses on the square have successful signage that represent Denton well, like Atomic Candy, Mad Records, Denton Square Donuts and The Ghost Note. I’m happy to say that GreenHouse Restaurant and Loco Café bring that trend just a couple blocks North. I believe The Ghost Note has the best logotype because it’s simplicity lets you know immediately the business relates to drums.

Thanks, Nicole!

The Dirty Circus is Coming to Town

Step right up, step right up for the Denton original, Cirque du Horror!

Cirque du Horror is a spooky, Halloween-themed production that began Halloween night of 2009. In its third year of production, the Cirque du Horror aims to be bigger and better than ever before.

What does that entail? To begin with, it will be staged at the FREE, family-friendly, all-day Denton Day of the Dead Festival. The Festival will be sure to please and entertain with a salsa cook-off sponsored by the Denton Community Market, “Hot Rod Trunk-O-Treating” sponsored by the local vintage car club, a pumpkin patch, a bake-sale, a raffle, local art and food vendors, and performances and story-telling throughout the day.

The highlight of the Festival will happen in the evening, when the Cirque du Horror takes the stage for two otherworldly outdoor performances at 6 and 9 p.m. The Cirque du Horror is comprised of an orchestra and actors who will perform “Those Creepy, Crawly, Spooky Things,” this year’s series of songs and stories. The very best of Denton’s homegrown talent, along with some of the very finest artists and musicians in the DFW make up the cast of this “phantastic” event.

David Pierce, the mastermind behind the Cirque du Horror, arranges music for a living, and all the skits and songs in “Those Creepy, Crawly, Spooky Things” are 100% original. But he needs our help to make the Festival and production a success….

He has set up a Kickstarter project to raise the funds needed for the event to be purely “spooktacular.” The goal is to make this the only year to use Kickstarter to raise funds, because the distinction and local fame the Cirque du Horror will gain from this year’s amazing production will undoubtedly earn the trust of “big time” sponsors for the years to come. The deadline for your donations to the Kickstarter campaign is October 2nd; let’s help Cirque du Horror meet their goal!

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This is a pure-Denton original masterpiece, so let’s make it a success! Bring your family, friends and neighbors to the 1st Annual Denton Day of the Dead Festival and Cirque du Horror. Be sure to wear your costume!

When: Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Where: the 100 block of Industrial Street


A Look at Denton Crowdfunding: Winter 2012

Back in September, we took a glance at a few projects going on around town that were looking to family, friends and kind people to help get their dreams and ideas moving forward through the donation of money. It's called crowdfunding or crowdsourcing and is becoming more and more popular. Websites such as and are two of the pioneers. Some of the projects we highlighted were successful and some were far from it. It's a few months later so we thought it appropriate to check back in and see if anything interesting was happening in the world of crowdfunding. 

Here’s a look at a few of the current Denton-specific Kickstarter projects that are in need of funding and some of the returns you can get in exchange for donation. Feel free to watch the videos and if any strike your fancy, by all means donate and tell us in the comments what you donated to and why!

1 - Girl remaking her childhood in photos

First up, Alizsha Pennington wants your money. She’s a fine arts photographer who wants to complete a project in which she purchases specific items that she owned/played with during her childhood and takes photographs with them for a catharsis of sorts. Pledges of at least $50 receive a print of one of the resulting images from the series.

2 - Donation for expansion of Masjid

The Islamic Society of Denton is looking for $100,000 for an expansion of their mosque. Apparently, there is a lack of space for the current attendees of the mosque (not-to-mention to accommodate for Denton’s future population growth). In addition, they’d like to make more room for students and classes that are already being held in cramped offices and the like. Any one person who provides a monetary donation will apparently be rewarded through sadaqa jariah which stays with you even through death, dudes. So there’s that.

3 - Virgin Wolves

Local rock band, The Virgin Wolves, is looking for cash to complete their first full-length record. A $25 donation will net you a digital download of the record a few days before it’s release. Interested in hearing The Virgin Wolves? Check out the video below:

Do you know of a Denton-related project that is currently looking for funding? Would you like for us to highlight it on our website? Shoot an email to and we’ll see what we can do.


There are several hallmarks of a good restaurant. “That’s the place where the chefs eat.” “I eat there because cops are always eating there.” Heck, I’ve even overheard, “Ya gotta eat at La Mexicana because that’s where the Mexicans eat.” By these regards, Gerhard’s should be chockfull of people in black turtlenecks, critiquing Werner Herzog movies. It’s not, though. I’m about 1/256th German (my great-great-great-great Grandmother French-kissed a German once) which makes me the most viable candidate to review this sausage-fest of a restaurant.
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Kaleo Bubble Tea and Coffee

Kaleo Bubble Tea and Coffee is the new boba tea café that opened this past summer off Loop 288 near J Sushi and Buffalo Wild Wings. The Denton boba/bubble tea scene has long been dominated by the oft-wandering Naranja Café. Currently located on Avenue C, Naranja Café was also once on the part of Fry that doesn’t exist anymore. Anyway, they’ve got competition now in Kaleo.

Upon entering Kaleo, you will find a hodgepodge of drink and dessert options which can be a bit overwhelming if you are not an experienced boba tea drinker. Kaleo offers the requisite smoothies and tea mixes. In addition, they have Beth Marie’s ice cream in the mix. While the store was clean and put together like you would expect any new business to be, their actual boba tea was less than stellar. I immediately noticed how shockingly sweet the drink was. There was a layer of sugar hanging out at the bottom. Also, the same drink size at Kaleo is nearly double the price of a drink at Naranja. Luckily at Naranja you also have the option of requesting less sweetener if it is a little too much for your taste buds. The coffee was okay.

I did think it was notable that Kaleo offered a frequent buyers card that fits nicely on your keychain and gives you a free drink after purchasing nine. Maybe this is incentive enough to make a few trips back, but unless I’m on the loop and have a hankering for boba, I’m going to stick to my favorite spot Naranja Café.

-Naomi Wood

The Day We Didn't Open the Time Capsule


Here's a great photo of the event from the always informative Denton Wiki who also already has a page about the event up!: 


On September 12, 1992, the good people at First State Bank, Denton, TX buried a time capsule with the hopes that we would be responsible enough to open it twenty years later. Even though it's been engraved in brass on the sidewalk of the southeast corner of our square, a corner that many of us pass by multiple times a day, coupled with the fact that we had twenty years (7305 days with leap years) to prepared for this day, somehow we failed to follow these simple directions and September 12th came and went, time capsule unopened.

Instead, several Dentonites gathered en masse at the site of the capsule to honor “The Day We Failed to Open the Capsule” at 12:01AM. They spoke from the heart about the capsule and it's symbolic meaning and shared many stories. This seems to speak volumes about Denton as a community. What it says, however, we're not yet sure. Should we be upset at our inability to make sure someone digs/opens up a box on a specific day or be happy that we were able to easily turn a negative into a positive? Do we need to point a finger at any one person or organization that should have been at the ready for this time capsule? Should we be upset with Wells Fargo for not being aware of what’s outside their doors? Do we shun the former employees of First State Bank? And while having a party to celebrate a day we screwed something up is very, very Denton, is it also hanging our bad report card on the refrigerator? If so, why should we care? 

Before the party was planned, several concerned citizens had made plans on social media to bring industrial tools to the site to ensure that the capsule was for sure exhumed. Plans never came to fruition, however, and once word of the party started to spread, the excitement of celebrating our forgetfulness overcame our unfocused anger.

District 1 city councilman, Kevin Roden, has plans to get the time capsule on the list of historical landmarks in town. A list on which it would trump the current youngest item by a good measure. If that goes through the “The Day We Failed to Open the Capsule” will be sure to be an annual event (although it will arguably stay at cult status) at which much alcohol is consumed. So we posit this to you, dear readers, should we be ashamed at our lack of ability to be prepared for a simple event or joyful about our ability to turn an unfortunate event into an annual party? Tell us in the comments!

Below is a video from Kevin Roden's Youtube account of the event. He also has a great post with his thoughts that you can find here

Even More Secrets of Denton County

Last year, we shared with you some of the tips, hints and secrets that make living in Denton easier for us. Many of you enjoyed them. Very few of you were able to find the secret passageway from Recycled to Rubber Gloves, though. Anyway, school is back in session and with it, a whole new crew of Dentonites have arrived. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a new list for 2012. Before reading it, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with last year’s list.

The following list of secrets is written for the uninitiated, those new to Denton who might not be familiar with the niche that the rest of us have already readily carved and devoured. It’s written for those who need help. Know something that we missed? Tell us in the comments.

  1. Is your toilet broken? Is that bench at the park kinda sticky? Or are you just upset that your dietary specifications aren’t being met at Thai Ocha? If you live in Denton and have an issue WITH ANYTHING tweet your problem to @KevinRoden and he’ll take care of it. He’s on the city council, after all.

  2. Paradise Spirits and Wine, the liquor store we recommended last year, also offers a student discount of 10% off their hooch if you’ve got a student ID.

  3. While UNT’s football team may have a new stadium, watching them play can still leave you feeling a little...asleep. Thankfully, this year saw the opening of the North Texas Derby Revolution inside of the House of Quad. Go there and watch some fierce roller derby action. Better yet -- join a league and play, yourself. There are the de facto women’s teams, but also teams for men and children. Abnormally large dentist bills for all! Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the schedule of games, but follow the House of Quad and the North Texas Derby Revolution on Facebook and you can be sure to catch the best games.

  4. Aside from various free events, the city also provides citizens with tons of free stuff if you’re on the ball enough to get ‘em. From time to time you can pick up coupons at events or in the mail to score free Dyno Dirt at the landfill. Also, Keep Denton Beautiful has an annual fall tree giveaway. Sign up in advance, show up at your designated time and -- BOOM -- free tree. In addition, the City of Denton's ReUse store is a spot where Denton residents can drop by and score up to six free cleaning items. It's open the first and third Saturday of every month from 7am to noon and Wednesdays from noon until 6pm. The ReUse store is located at 1527 S. Mayhill Rd.

  5. If you’re a LARPer or enjoy some pretty excellent people watching, keep an eye on the Shire of the Arlac Woods Facebook group. They meet up every once in a while in different wooded areas in south Denton by Wiggly Field. We’ve also witnessed LARPing at McKenna park over off of Bonnie Brae, as well.

  6. If you want coffee that is definitely freshly brewed and locally roasted at Jupiter House, order a French press of Bookish Coffee. You won’t be disappointed and you can rest assured that it will make some guys named Clay and Wade smile.

  7. Did you know that Denton has a small water park? Unfortunately, it’s only open for a few more weeks before it closes for the season, but you’ve got one last weekend to go and take a dip in the lazy river. By the way, show up after about 5:30 or 6 and sometimes you get a free entry. When the waterpark does close up shop, the Natatorium next door remains open year round and is a lovely alternative to the city pool or the UNT Rec center pool.

  8. Never exit Pennsylvania.

  9. Need an events website to figure out live music in town? Check out one of the following: Dentr0n,, or

  10. Having a hard day and need to leave your car in one of the two hour spots on the square (during the week) for an extended amount of time so you can day drink at the Oak St. Drafthouse? Simple enough. Just wait for the first Parking Enforcement Officer to come by and mark one of the back tires of your car with a piece of chalk. After they’re gone, walk over and brush it off and you’re good for the rest of the day (this has worked in our experience).

  11. If you like being screwed by your landlord, rent property (commercial or residential) from Scott Brown.

  12. Stuck driving north to Denton from Dallas during rush hour? 288 will almost always steal your soul (unless you’re on the A-Train!). You can avoid some of the traffic by exiting State School/Mayhill and turning right at Mayhill. Cut through the area of town inhabited by white walkers and wildlings and eventually you’ll get back to civilization. Visual learner? Click here.

  13. Are you trying to get into audiobooks, but you’re also really cheap and/or antisocial? The Denton Public Library offers you a way to rent audiobooks online without ever having to speak to another human being. Just download the Overdrive Media app to your phone and go to the DPL’s website and rent a few books or put some on hold to download when they’re available.

  14. The mustachioed fellow at Paschall who used to work at Banter is an excellent bartender. He’s worth waiting in line for. Just don’t ask him for a bloody mary. Actually, on second thought, they’re all great bartenders. Just remember to bring a change of clothes if you don’t want to smell like smoke the rest of the evening.

  15. There are free shows at the basement of J & J’s Pizza all the time. Look for flyers while you’re enjoying a slice of pizza and attend a bunch of ‘em.

  16. You can golf for $15/round (public price on week days) at the TWU golf course. You know, if you like golfing and stuff.

  17. Kroger is the least crowded early in the morning. We’re talking like 8 or 9am, sometimes even 10 or 11am. You might think that if you show up at 10pm that no one will be there, but YOU’D BE WRONG. It’ll still be crowded.

  18. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at about 9pm, you can catch a great haunted tour of the square. The tour starts at 9pm and they meet at the steps on the east side of the courthouse. For $10, you get a pretty good amount of information and entertainment. Go here for more information.

  19. Next time you’ve got an open night and there’s little to nothing going on, check out a show at the UNT Sky theater in the Astronomy building. It’s open to the public and often has cheap shows that are great family fun.

  20. Denton does have a nicer hotel than the Holiday Inn. The Wildwood Inn is over on Lillian Miller Parkway. They even have an excellent restaurant that’s open to the public Thursday - Saturday evenings, too. Heck, you can even get married there, if you want. You might want to read the Texas Marriage License Application and Report of Divorce Records first, though.

  21. Ladies (both granola and non) seem to dig Juliet’s Jewels over on Sycamore. Get some eggs and a banh mi at the Community Market one Saturday morning and follow that up by walking across the street to the jewelry store.

  22. Did you know that Denton has a skate park that is free to enter and is open from 6am until 10pm. It’s in north Denton by the aforementioned waterpark. They even sometimes host classes and clinics every once in awhile. You can view their schedule here.

  23. After you get hit by a jerky UNT student whilst riding your bike, hop on over to the Querencia Community Bike Shop over on Oak St. They’ve got the tools and know-how to help you get your bike back in tip-top shape.

  24. Denton Wiki is a great resource for various and sundry things around town. They even have a page dedicated to eating and drinking cheaply around town and weekly drink specials, too.

  25. If you fancy yourself a photog, do yourself a favor and start taking pictures somewhere other than the square. The personified version of the courthouse asked us personally to let you know that it’s tired of being a backdrop and that there are plenty of other beautiful/interesting places in town. Don’t shoot the messenger!

The Pickled Carrot

The City of Denton recently lifted the ordinance that kept mobile food vendors from staying in any given location for more than 15 minutes. It was the single-most rule that had been keeping food trucks/trailers/etc... out of Denton during what is arguably their heyday. We were late enough on the whole cupcake thing. Do we really wanna miss out on this, too? The lifting of the 15 minute rule is a temporary measure during the indefinite amount of time it will take the city to draw up a new ordinance. In the interim, the city will hopefully see many interesting Denton-based trucks pop-up and bring an even bigger draw to town. Hopefully, that will cause the powers that be to be a little nicer to vendors when they actually get to rewriting the ordinance.

It’s now been about two months since this happened, and we’ve still yet to see many trucks out and about (UNT campus, withstanding). This is soon about to change. Many people are putting the finishing touches on their businesses and should be hitting the streets very soon.

We worked together with Denton Food Trucks, to highlight a few of our future lunch providers. First up, a truck centered around the most delicious sandwich known to man, the Vietnamese bahn mi. The Pickled Carrot have been operating out of the Denton Community Market for some Saturdays this summer, selling their sandwiches, Vietnamese iced coffee, and cucumber limeaid to the masses. We can’t wait to be able to purchase one any day of the week. Below is an interview with The Pickled Carrot. Read it and get hungry.

pickled carrot logo.jpg

What sets your food/service apart from other trucks?

As we grow, one of our main goals is to be a strong supporter of the Denton Community. We will source as many of our vegetables as we can from local farmers. We have current UNT students working on our images and logos for our concept. We would also like to be part of charities and fundraisers around Denton. So that is kind of our vision which will set us apart from the others.

What’s the foremost menu item you will be recommending people order the most?

Grilled pork sandwich and a cup of our fresh squeezed cucumber limeade.

What are some of your favorite food truck grub?

We enjoy Ssahm BBQ's Korean tacos. Angry Friar has good fish and chips. And the double Decker? AWESOME! Visually, its my favorite. Reminds of my trip to London. Haha.

What are you planning for your operating hours to be?

Once we go mobile, our plans are to open from 10AM-2PM/5PM-9PM on weekdays and extend the hours on the weekends for the bar/nightlife crowd. Hours of operation, however, are subject to change depending on many variables.

What are you hoping for in the city ordinance changes regarding food trucks? 

After reviewing the proposed ordinance, we are fairly happy with it. We would like to see less restrictions on places we can and cannot set up to serve food.

Do you have any locations in mind?

Denton is our location! We want the fans to choose where we will be on certain days, but we also plan on being near UNT and TWU as well as Fry St. and the Square.

What are you hoping for in the ordinance changes?

We are hoping for changes that will make serving the community easier and more efficient.

Next up, Shiitake Swerve, the truck that will have Dentonites on ‘shrooms.