Though waiters are commonly revered for their courtesy, the servers at Dick's Last Resort skip the usual niceties in favor of sarcastic quips. When they aren't jotting down orders and engaging in verbal jousting matches, they happily dole out balloons and paper-made dunce hats to diners willing to play along. Live entertainment and sports games shown on big screen TVs sustain the restaurant's festive, freewheeling atmosphere. Over in the kitchen, chefs complement the front of the house's high spirits by incorporating different kinds of spirits into bar food classics, from salmon coated in a Jack Daniels glaze to buckets of shrimp simmered in beer. The culinary team crafts plenty of other alcohol-free goodies, including deep-fried gator and frog legs, BBQ pork ribs, and half-baked chicken cooked over a half-extinguished fire.
Sebastian Dangerfield starred as J. P. Donleavy’s protagonist in his 1955 novel The Ginger Man. Characterized by his hard-partying habits, womanizing ways, and undeniable charm, Sebastian’s exploits had something in common with Bob Precious’s life journey. So when Bob opened his first pub in Houston in 1985, he named it for Sebastian. And though The Ginger Man has since expanded to locations throughout Texas and along the east coast, Sebastian’s freewheeling demeanor still pervades the atmosphere of each. The lengthy lists of draft and bottled beers fuel the vibe. Since the staff regularly swaps out underperforming brews for new options, just like parents swap out underperforming children for newer models, the beer menu never gets stale. Just ask the readers of D Magazine, who crowned The Ginger Man’s beer selection the best in 2010.
The tradition of Sonny Bryan?s award-winning barbecue started more than a century ago on February 13, a date that would become circled on the calendar again and again throughout Bryan?s Barbecue history. February 13, 1910, marked the opening of Elias Bryan?s Oak Cliff restaurant, Bryan's Barbecue. Exactly 20 years later to the day, his eldest son, William ?Red? Jennings Bryan, launched his own restaurant. When February 13 rolled around again 28 years later, Elias? grandson, William "Sonny" Jennings Bryan Jr., and his wife, Joanne, opened another restaurant, the first Sonny Bryan?s Smokehouse.
Although a different Dallas family now manages multiple locations of the restaurant chain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the legendary barbecue lives on. Sonny Bryan's original barbecue sauce spices up its savory pulled meats and ribs, which have been devoured by famous entertainers, sports legends, and A-list celebrities alike. Sonny's seasoned chefs also cater heaps of smoked brisket and jalape?o sausage to parties and events.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse has been on the culinary radar since 1989, snapping up awards and publicity from Food Network, the Travel Channel?s Man V. Food Nation and 101 Tastiest Places to Chowdown, and Emeril Lagasse?s The Originals with Emeril. The modest joints have also earned some highbrow epicurean chops through a 2006 Zagat rating and a 2000 James Beard Foundation award for Culinary Excellence and Achievement.
The menus at Meddlesome Moth gastropub are just as eclectic as the stained-glass cathedral windows of pop culture icons behind the bar. Executive chef David McMillan relies on international elements to create such dishes as mussels simmered in French, Spanish, and Thai ingredients, along with fried hominy, tandoori lamb, bangers and mash, and pork belly with figs. Small plates heavily populate the menu to encourage communal dining and beer pairing, but the chef also designs his own gourmet versions of classic pub and brasserie fare, including pilsner-battered fish and chips and blue-cheese-topped steak frites. Co-owner and resident beer expert Keith Schlabs ensures that each menu listing includes its complementary brew, and also organizes themed beer flights to demonstrate which ales are the most aerodynamic. He curates a selection of more than 40 draft beers and 85 bottles, including rare cask ales. Once diners have decided, servers parade the dishes and their chosen pairings out on the covered outdoor patio or through a dining room that D Magazine describes as a "funky-cozy venture."
Inside The Stand, chrome buses refashioned into pickup counters and drink stations evoke 1950s-style burgers joints of the future. Neon lights perched atop the buses' awnings illuminate classic American fare, eight types of heaping franks, and hovering cheeseburgers that take in condiments with their tractor beams. The inimitable eatery has garnered attention from news outlets including NBC 5, the Dallas Observer, and Good Morning Texas, which praise The Stand's gourmet take on concession-style fare.
It's not just the fact that drinks are served in Mason jars that gives The Mason Bar its name—this eatery operates in a building that was once used as a Freemason meeting hall. Built in 1920, this historic structure boasts decor elements such as tall, arched windows and high, lofty ceilings that remind patrons of a jazzier yesteryear. Today, chefs use fresh, local ingredients when serving up the flavors of the Gulf Coast in dishes such as pork tacos, shrimp 'n' grits, and mussels, whereas bartenders stick to the classics, pouring old fashioneds, tom collinses, and snifters of Jay Gatsby's ambition.