Shelly Francis, founder of Lone Star Food Tours, said she wasn’t looking for a new career when she took a food tour with her daughter in Dallas, but that is exactly what she found.

“It was while on the tour I thought, ‘This is fun; I could do this,’” she said.

Soon after the tour, Francis approached her longtime friend Stephanie Baldwin to see if she’d like to be her business partner. Baldwin was intrigued with the idea, and the duo started researching the concept by taking food tours.

Lone Star Food Tours opened in 2022, and the first tour was May 10, 2022, in downtown Plano. Amy Irons is also a co-owner of the business. Six months later, after speaking with Lisa Bethea with Visit Frisco, they added tours of The Star District in Frisco to their calendar.

“I said, ‘I don’t feel like The Star needs us because they are always popping.’ [Bethea] said, ‘We need you!’ Now, this is our most popular tour,” Francis said.
Lone Star Food Tours formed relationships with five Star District restaurants: Heirloom Haul, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar, Common Table, Wahlburgers and Tricky Fish. Each tour will include visits to three of these restaurants.
“We don’t upsell anything. We’re very transparent. I’ve been on food tours all over the country; they lure you in then say, ‘That cocktail will be $12.50.’ We always visit three restaurants, at least at two of the restaurants, we have cocktails,” Francis said.

Describing the meal portions, Francis said they are equivalent to half a meal per stop.

“We serve it on china and glassware with real utensils; it’s not plastic,” she said. “You will have plenty of food.”

The tour also stops at Lucchese at The Star.

“They learn the story of the boots,” Francis said. “That’s the kind of retail shopping we do. We teach you what’s behind the product we’re looking at today.”

The tour costs $119 per person, lasts 2 1/2 hours and is geared for any fitness levels.

“We walk and talk about the neighborhood, how the apartments got their name, what order the buildings were built; we tell them about the Ford Center tour,” Francis said. “We make them familiar with ... the art and the retail that’s available. We do pictures on the Tostitos Championship Field.”

Francis said she feels lucky to have carved out this new career path.

“I’m learning that I’m not too old to learn something new,” she said. “I’m 62, and I hope people won’t be afraid to try something new.”

She feels skills she honed as a former teacher, such as storytelling, have been beneficial.

“I get to be their entertainment for a little bit and make them happy,” Francis said. “I’ve learned how important it is to just be kind to somebody, smile and make them feel part of the group. I get to do that every day; it’s amazing.”

Top three reasons to go on a Lone Star Food Tour
  • Patrons get to try three restaurants in the time it would take to try one.
  • Two cocktails are included.
  • Patrons learn the backstories of the restaurants.
Lone Star Food Tours


Office hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tour times: Wed.-Sat. at 10:30 a.m. Other tour times are available upon request.