Situated near the shore at Port Aransas, the hospitable gourmands at Pelican's Landing serve up a blend of fresh seafood and steaks, including a special seafood option—diners can bring in their own catch for the chef to fry up and serve in a bed of market rice, mango salsa, and steamed broccoli ($10 for up to 12 oz./person). For a meal without a DIY portion, delve into the standard menu for appetizer fare such as the spicy twice-baked potato ($5). Specialties of the house include doors and a roof, as well as entrees such as the saucy hickory-barbecue danish ribs and fries ($22), a jumbo lump-crab-cake burger, topped with a hearty dollop of jalapeno tarter sauce ($15), and USDA-Prime rib eye, served in a 16-ounce slab grilled to order ($36). A slice of Pelican's key lime pie closes the meal with a fusion flourish, housing its fruity cargo within a pecan pie crust ($8).
A white neon marquee burns an alligator into the night air, pointing the way toward Frilly's Seafood Bayou Kitchen in Denton. For more than a decade, this dim brick eatery has been an outlet for Cajun culture and cooking, which the kitchen describes as a swamp version of Creole cuisine notable for its creamy, full-flavored sauces. The alligator on the sign is not a red herring, as you can order it fried from the menu along with frog's legs and pickles, two other fried delicacies served in papered plastic baskets with Cajun mayo or bourbon sauce.
Gulf Coast seafood is the main event and is proudly on display in the crawfish trio and the house special, blackened catfish st. charles, which is topped with crawfish and crabmeat in an herb butter sauce. Po boys arrive on a hoagie roll rather than french bread, and entrees of fresh grouper or chicken and andouille jambalaya are spooned over dirty rice and can be washed down with gallon pitchers of iced tea. Aware that Cajun meals are social happenings, the catering staff can whip up a seasonal crawfish boil if your event falls within several weeks of the creature's Mardi Gras celebration. Live local acts, including Joe Tucker, create a multisensory immersion for diners.
After years devising his ideal pizzeria, David Davydd Miller dispensed his first slices in 1984 to patrons in College Station, Texas. Back then Dave recruited the help of a flourmill and cannery to generate customized blends of his crust and sauce formulas. These days, within DoubleDave's Pizzaworks restaurants' 30 Texas and Oklahoma locations, chefs concoct Dave's signature honey whole-wheat crust daily from hand-tossed dough along with batches of sauce made from scratch with Escalon tomatoes. Those ingredients join hand-cut veggies and meats from Tyson and Burke to collectively form a delectable disk that proves once and for all that pie can be divided evenly. Along with half a dozen specialty pizzas, DoubleDave's Pizzaworks appeases palates with signature pepperoni rolls, sandwiches, and Dave's favorite dish, the philly-cheesesteak stromboli.
At BoomerJack's Grill & Bar, diners feast on spicy and savory dishes, complemented by refreshing drinks and the frequent shouts of cheering sports fans. Appetizers include hand-battered and fried mushrooms, pickles, and the restaurant?s eponymous Boomer chips, freshly sliced jalape?os served with a homemade sauce. Chefs also sculpt a half pound of ground beef into a behemoth of a burger, adorned with aged cheddar or blue cheese crumbles. Lemon pepper or Cajun seasoning spices up a fillet of farm-raised catfish, while grilled peppers and onions top Ray?s sizzling sausage sandwich made from ground filet mignon and pork.
Behind the counter at Top That! Pizza, a colorful collection of more than 30 toppings, 10 cheeses, and 8 sauces await each pizza-lover’s creativity. They first pick from three crusts, including honey wheat, then choose sauces such as Thai peanut and basil pesto to adorn their personal-sized pies. Lastly, they select from locally sourced toppings such as marinated ribeye, Polish sausage, and applewood bacon, as well as regional cheeses including asiago and gorgonzola, before their creation is baked to a golden crisp in just three minutes. Customers can then sit down to enjoy their customized pie at the restaurant, or take it home. It’s the concept of combining choice, quality, and speed come to fruition that Top That’s creators envisioned years ago. Today, locations stretch across Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado, and menus make room for baked dishes such as chicken alfredo and meatball marinara.
Luigi's Pizza Italian Restaurant's three founding brothers came from Italy to forge a menu of homemade pastas, pizzas, and Old World entrees. Noodle-laden classics such as lasagna ($6.95) and fettuccine alfredo ($7.95) mingle with freshly washed bibs and dinner specialties that include chicken marsala over spaghetti ($8.95) or shrimp scampi caught in a net of linguini ($11.95). The simple Neapolitan-style cheese pizza ($8.95 for large) struggles with topping envy as it admires the fully loaded, four-sided deep dish Sicilian Special pizza with its black olives, green peppers, and meaty morsels bursting forth from under a blanket of melted cheese ($16.95).