Cardo Runs Down His Favorite Dallas Food Spots, Talks Ranch on Spaghetti, And Shares His Favorite Little Debbie’s Creation

At almost 15 years in the game, Cardo is finally prepping for his first solo album in 2024. His historic run includes placements with a Mount Rushmore of hip-hop heavyweights, such as Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, Freddie Gibbs, Drake, Curren$y, Mac Miller, Nicki Minaj, Snoop, Travis Scott, Migos, and Kendrick Lamar. Inspired by his Dallas roots, Cardo’s brand of production is the next generation of Texas rider music — with his trademark sub-busting 808s paired with the melodic stylings of West Coast G-funk.

Most recently Cardo punched the clock with Larry June on his latest “Night Shift” and the pair’s labor manufactured one of the most cohesive rap projects of last year. His sonics are the perfect sound bed for Larry June’s signature humorous brags and bars. But despite his A-List affiliations, Cardo clearly still relishes the glory of cooking up with like-minded friends such as Larry June and Curren$y as much as producing hits the biggest chart toppers in music.

We sat down at a smoothie shop in Austin, TX to discuss Cardo’s newfound healthy lifestyle and smoothie obsession, we learned what gives him the bubble guts, his go-to spots in Dallas, and how his Grandma sparked his love for all things coffee. We also demystified Taffy Grapes, got put onto the goodness of ranch on spaghetti and the magic of wrapping a Snickers bar in a Little Debbie’s Honeybun.

So my first question is what’s on your rider?

First off, we got to kick it off healthy, we got to have hella alkaline water. Got to keep the pH levels right, you know what I’m saying? That good old alkaline for your body. I know a lot of people got they own opinions about alkaline, whatever. Definitely chicken nuggets, McDonald’s, preferably. Shout out to McDonald’s. We love french fries, so we got to have the french fries; 100 french fries for the gang so we can all eat. Of course, we got to have a few Caesar salads for the healthy people like myself, even though I’m a snack on them chicken nuggets too though, but I’m also (going) to try to play it healthy. (All of) That, some hot wings. It depends what kind of day it is, if we there for a minute, the rider list can get crazy. Definitely have espresso shots, coffee for me ’cause I love coffee. Shout out to my grandma for the coffee.

What type of sauce are you dipping the nuggets in?

Come on man, sweet and sour. And the barbecue too, the tangy barbecue. You can never go wrong with the barbecue. But that sweet and sour, come on, man, it’s hitting the spot every time, never fails.


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So would you say when it comes to snacks, are you more like a sweet or savory kind of guy? Like salty stuff or more like candy, cookies and fruits and stuff?

I like savory things. I don’t like too sweet. I used to love Zebra Cakes and then when I got older Zebra Cakes just taste like pure sugar, like marshmallows. So I grew out of that phase. Like Honeybun, same thing.

So you’re Little Debbie’s guy?


… as a kid?

Always, man. When I was a kid, I used to go to the corner store (and) get a Zebra Cake for 25 cents. I used to get some shit for a whole dollar, get that, an A&W cream soda or root beer, or I get the Starbucks Frappuccino. Either way, get that Honeybun, get the snicker. You get the Snicker, you can wrap the honeybun around and melt it.

Wait, what? Explain that, please.

So what me and my cousin and my brother used to do, we get the Honeybuns, we get a whole four pack and then we get the Snicker. We put the Snicker in the middle of the honeybun, wrap it up like a taco almost put it in the microwave, fold it down.

Oh, in the microwave too?

Yeah. Put it for a good 15 seconds. That motherfucker is like a delicacy, like a nice little hood dessert.

That sounds amazing.

Yeah, it’s a honey-nicker. Or a honey… We had a different name for it, ’cause we can’t go with the honey one. What is it some ghetto shit? Some good ghetto gold for you to cook up with.

You said you’re a little more on the salty side, so what’s hitting on the salty side?

You could never go wrong with… What’s the name? They got a whole bunch of different bags. They got the pecans, they got the…The pistachios. They be coming in different flavors. They be like clustered with like…

Oh, with the fruits and dry… Sahale, it’s called?

That’s an amazing snack to have. Not only is it healthy — it’s a little on the sodium side — but it’s a healthy snack. Get in your protein.

So when you’re in the studio cooking up, are there specific foods or snacks that you need to have around? You have a home studio or are you out?

Whenever I’m out, I usually like to have the fruit bowl.

What’s in your fruit bowl?

Pineapple, mango, dragon fruit, kiwi. I like tropical fruit. Might be some soursop, you never know. Soursop looks a little weird, but we love it. It’s good for your gut and everything, it’s good for your soul.

What’s soursop for people that may not know? That’s something I’m not even really that familiar with.

I’m not even sure where the fruit even hails from, I just know from reading up on it and what is the benefits of it, and it tastes like juicy fruit bubblegum.

So fruit in the studio and that’s pretty much it?

Definitely have to be water, I got to be hydrated.

What’s your alkaline water of choice?

Essentia. And I love Core too, Core is amazing water. Put a little chlorophyll in there, get your healthy on, get on about your unhealthy eating habits for a quick second, and get back to it.

And do you have a time of day when you are snacking or what are your habits?

I’m a real snacker, I don’t like to eat dinner like that. I’ll snack on some, I don’t know, some noodles. Not only just regular noodles, some ramen noodles from somewhere, from K-pop or something like that. Places around the way around the neighborhood (in Dallas) and kind of go from there.


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When you’re on the road and you get to a hotel or your destination, is there stuff like food or snacks that you got to have in your room so you feel settled and comfortable?

I’m taking the Snickers out of there, automatically. Taking the M&M’s, the peanut M&M’s, you know what I’m saying? You can never go wrong with peanut M&M’s. Sometimes they have the Clif bars in there. I take the Clif bar depending on the flavor. If it’s the macadamia peanut butter one, it’s over with, I’m taking it. With the white chocolate? Taking it all.

When you get there and there’s nothing in the room, what are you stocking up with?

I’m just leaving that room, going to a whole ‘nother hotel. I’m playin’. I’ll go down to CVS and grab some Funions, I might grab the Doritos, the sweet chili ones. The purple pack, it’s me and my son’s favorite chips ever. And I might grab a Sprite. Can never go wrong with a Sprite. Might get a little bubble guts from eating these snacks or something, might have to calm the guts down, the bowels.

How did you get into the healthy wave of food? What was that for you that made you change or get more into that side of things?

I feel like health is important. For you to get wealth, you have to have health first. Your health got to be in the greatest shape. I see family members suffer, go through things and that made me look at life differently and try to change up my habits too. And also my father had cancer, this is a long time ago. My dad, he’s been in remission for over 20 years now. God is good. That’s what matters.

I know a lot of artists don’t like to eat before they perform, after the show, are you going out to eat? Are you getting room service or Postmates? Or what’s your move?

Man what? We going to get something to eat. I like diner spots. I like unique hole in the wall, mom and pop shops. I feel like without these mom and pop restaurants, I don’t even think there’ll be any kind of color to the cities. You can go to Ruth Chris, and you go to Prime and there’s nothing that you’re going get out of it, compared to a Mom and Pop type restaurant. Go to a Rudy’s or Heartache or a Hutchins (all in Dallas).


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What are we ordering at Rudy’s?

Now, we’re going to get the two-piece wings with the fries, get the extra pickles. Might get that serendipity. You can go to Hutchins, you get the ribs, they got everything man. You can go to… Blacks too. Blacks is all barbecue as well. Fuel City Tacos…


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Do you have a favorite steak spot in Dallas? I know everybody thinks about Dallas for steak.

Yeah, that’s a real battle. You could say Truluck’s, you could say Drake’s.

And what’s your order? Are you a ribeye, sirloin? You getting a tomahawk?

I want the wagyu. I want to do a tomahawk, that’s some Flo Rida shit. You ever see that picture with Flo Rida with the big tomahawk? I’m going to go with the Wagyu. I’m not really a steak kind of guy. I feel like steak is like zombie meat, damn near. I mean, but it’s good for you too, protein. But I could never go wrong with a T-bone. A butterflied filet.

What sides are we getting?

I’m going to get the mashed potatoes. We’ll get the mac and cheese. If they got a broccoli salad, that’s going to make it even better. I love broccoli, I love cucumber. So if they got cucumber salad, oh yeah, I’m in heaven with it.

Are there any foods or snacks in Texas that are regional that other people should know about or may not know about that are amazing?

They got the candy lady that sells the pickles, the candy grapes and shit. But I feel like Chicago kind of started all that. First place I ever seen people doing that was Chicago.

Wait, what type of grapes?

Taffy grapes.

Okay, please tell us what those are.

The first ones I got was at Chicago at Harold’s. I don’t even remember which Harold’s it was. Me and Don C and my cousin Mike-Mike was there. It might’ve been off of Wabash over by Lakeshore when it used to be open and seeing them my cousin was like, “Yo, these grapes right here, taffy grapes, these different. They have candy on them.” Soon we got them and shit, bro we was standing in front and ate them all, we went right back in, got some more.

They’re fresh grapes?

Fresh grapes but they candied, they put taffy and all that shit on them.


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Going back, you had mentioned your Grandma getting you into coffee and espresso. Can you break that down a little bit?

Shout out to my grandma Annie Brown, I just talked to her. She told me the first day I was born, the first week she gave me my first sip of coffee, a teaspoon or something like that. I didn’t believe my grandma, but apparently she did. And then ever since then, I always loved coffee. From day one, I would drink anything coffee tasting or coffee flavored, like ice cream, cookies, you name it. Listen, this is how I know my daughter is me all day, ’cause she loves anything coffee flavored. Bro, I eat the chocolate covered coffee beans. I go so crazy on them. I be geeked for like a whole week off of those, just running. But I love it though, this is a coffee smoothie.

I’m glad you said smoothie because obviously we’re at a smoothie place. What’s your go-to smoothie? I saw you drink the green ones and all that?

I love Green ones. I love my little healthy glow ones from over at Clean Juice. I think that’s Tebow’s juice shop, that he owns, or franchise. But yeah, my go-to is the glow one. It has celery, apple, ginger, chlorophyll, I put chia seeds in there extra. I keep it simple though, just to get rejuvenated, give my bowels a good swim.


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Did you like the taste right away or was it a learning curve for you?

I loved it. I always loved it. I was drinking smoothies since I was a kid. So it was always something I been a fan of. Like this fruity flavor, I was a pina colada type of guy.

And then for healthy food, people that are just starting to get into that, what are some things that you would recommend that they try to get their foot in the door?

Beyond Meat, like a burger. I had a vegan chopped cheese that tastes like a real chopped cheese. Fucking blew me away. So that’s for starters right there.

I like eating buffalo cauliflower or cauliflower pizza, it’s not bad as people think, it’s amazing to me. If you got your little dipping sauces or whatever, make sure they ain’t over the calorie limit, you good.

I even eat the lettuce wrap burgers and shit, like the keto shit. My girl got me into that, so I started doing that more. She’ll get the little wrap from Cheesecake factory, even though I know people have hate towards the Cheesecake Factory, it will always have a place in my heart, always.

So speaking of franchises, if you could own or operate any restaurant, somebody’s like, yo, I’m going to give you a free Franchise of a restaurant, it’s yours and you can take it and run with it. What would be your pick of something that’s out there already that you would love to work on?

Automatically McDonald’s, for My kids. Everything I got to do has got to be for my kids. So when I do it, my kids going to be like, “Damn, my dad is running McDonald’s? What? I get free Happy Meals every day? I get a cheeseburger every day?” Generational, generational, generational income. Their kids, kids, grandkids, grandkids, grandkids, grandkids won’t have to worry about a thing in life ever.

If you could be the ambassador or a Spokesperson for any restaurant or food or snack brand, what would your pick be?

It got to be Doritos. It got to be Doritos. Man, we grew up eating Doritos. Doritos may be a part of our life and our family since the beginning of the times.

So Sweet Chili is your number one Doritos flavor?

Yeah, me and my son go crazy over that. We damn near be fighting over them last bag of chips.

And so your kids like a lot of the same foods that you do?

My son, he a little picky, but I’m trying to open them up more to try new things. My daughter though, she’s grown into it ’cause it’s one of them things, it takes a little process for her to kind of do some things and it goes from there.

And is there anything that they like that you feel is weird or you’re like, whoa, that’s different, kids are growing up eating this?

Yeah, my daughter, I try to get her into new things ’cause she’s more open to it versus my son. My son, he ain’t about to eat nothing that has pizza sauce on it.

When he orders pizza it has to be straight cheese bread. I don’t mind it, but I’ll be trying to break him out of that. My daughter, she’d be willing to try it, it just got to look good to her. If it looks any kind of discoloring, like green or whatever, hell no, I ain’t touching that. She’ll grow to it naturally though I feel like ’cause it’s just like me, same way.

I ain’t start liking eating pickles until I got 35, 36 years old. Here I am, 39 I love pickles now, pause.

Is there any food trend or weird thing that you’ve seen lately with food where you’re like, why are people doing that? It sounds kind of nasty, but-

I ain’t going to lie about that pink sauce shit. The pink sauce thing. Remember the lady came out with that pink sauce last year. I’m not trying to talk down on her or nothing like that, but it was mixing dragon fruit I think and making it almost like a ranch-based sauce.

Like a dipping sauce?

Yeah, I didn’t even want to try it because it was pink and it looked like Pepto Bismol. I thought that was so weird.


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And is there anything that you eat that people might think is weird or unappetizing?

I’m glad you asked that, ’cause I just seen somebody talking about it, but I’m probably going to get ate up about this. But with spaghetti, I put a little sugar in my spaghetti, yes. Not like a shitload of it. I mean, I come from a black background, my mama Black. So I know that different households do not do the same, like how my mom makes spaghetti.

My mom put real sugar in spaghetti. But what I do, I put ranch on mine.

Just ranch and spaghetti?

And hot sauce. I got to have the turkey sausage, I got to have the nice little meat sauce.

In the spaghetti as well?


You ever considering having your own wing franchise? Considering Cardo Got Wings?

We’re working on it, man. We’re working on it. The ideas are definitely endless. They’re definitely endless.

And where’s your favorite wing spot, period?

Oh, you going try me like that? Oh shit. Rudy’s Chicken for sure at the crib. Hutchins for sure at the crib as well. And then Chicago Harold’s, even Uncle Remus. Even JJ’s. Man, I’m everywhere in New York.


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What’s a good wing spot in New York?

I want to say… No, they don’t got a good wing spot in New York. I ain’t going to lie, Blue Ribbon. Blue Ribbon got some amazing – That’s some bougie wings, that shit is fire.

You can’t go wrong at Blue Ribbon.

No. They got a location. They got one that’s in the LES, then they got another one that’s around the corner from the Sixty. This one was different though. They make a different fried chicken compared to the other one. Their sauce at the Sixty, they do it with the little wasabi… And I hate that shit, I hate wasabi. I’m not a big fan of wasabi. Wasabi just taste like the devil’s asshole, pause.