Sitting inside Bombay Pizza Company, owner Viral Patel watched the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, waiting alongside family and friends for a mention of his Slumdog pizza, a fusion of Indian and Italian flavors. After the 30-second spot, the restaurant erupted into a standing ovation.
Patel's journey to that moment first began when he quit his job in restaurant management to travel around India learning how to cook. Hoping to one day open a restaurant of his own, Patel returned to the United States and became interested in pizza, buying his own pizza stone and experimenting with new recipes, which fused Indian flavors with the traditionally Italian pies. He opened Bombay Pizza Company with the help of his mother, Sonali, who also inspired the Sonu's Rita pizza, which combines house-made cilantro-mint chutney with a margarita pizza. Soon after the restaurant opened, it was awarded Houston Press's Best Pizza in 2010. In addition to pizza, the menu features Indian street fare such as the kati roll with tandoori chicken and paneer and traditional Italian dishes such as lasagna and chicken parmagiana.
Today, Bombay Pizza Company has two locations, the original in Houston and a second, larger location in Sugar Land. Both eateries feature saffron-hued walls, the soft glow of Thomas Edison–style filament light bulbs, and photos of Bombay residents performing daily activities including washing clothes, fishing, and playing chess. The Sugar Land location also features an outdoor patio, microbrews on tap, and a private dining area.
Located downtown Comstock Park with the White Pine Trail leading to its back door, Mad Dogz invites guests to stroll, bike, or mash potato in and enjoy a menu boasting 23 gourmet hot dogs. A place where regulars are greeted by name, the friendly frankfurter maestros slather the all-beef or veggie dogs in chili and cheese and get adventurous under a pile of chili, peanut butter, pickles, and Fritos crumbles. All franks can be prepared extra fiery, as the bun-fillers turn up the heat to “insane,” “unstable,” or “psychotic”. During clement weather, Mad Dogz seats guests out on the patio to relish a juice box or iced tea along with views of squirrels playing kickball at Dwight Lydell Park across the street.
Though Casie Caldwell loved posh restaurant salads, she couldn’t afford to eat them on a regular basis. And casual salad bars, though inexpensive, were too often stocked with limp iceberg lettuce and tasteless tomatoes. Frustrated by this state of affairs, Casie quit her corporate job and opened Greenz, where she filled reasonably priced salads with gourmet ingredients such as brie, portobello mushrooms, and daikon. Her hard work quickly paid off; Greenz’s tasty, healthy food drew a wealth of media attention from the likes of WFAA’s Good Morning Texas, the Dallas Observer, the Dallas Business Journal, and Examiner.com. Soon, Casie was launching additional Greenz locations across the state.
Although their menus vary slightly, each of these spots draws diners in with fresh ingredients in creative combinations. Goat cheese and crumbled bacon rest on foundations of mesclun greens, baby spinach, and chopped romaine. Hawaiian influences come out in a salad topped with pineapple and seared ahi tuna, and Asian flavors yield a medley of panko-breaded shrimp, daikon, and wasabi peas. Diners can also design their own salads or transform them into wraps that, like babies born during a blanket shortage, are snugly swaddled in tortillas. The menu also extends to meatier options, such as a barbecued-pork sandwich or the turkey-chili soup featured on CBS DFW’s list of the Best Bread Bowls in DFW.
Kenneth Threadgill stood in line all night to be the first person in Travis County to get a beer license. It was 1933, and the bootlegger and country-music connoisseur had plans to evolve his filling station into something bigger?though even Threadgill probably couldn't have anticipated how big it would become.
It started with touring musicians stopping in for drinks after their shows. By the ?60s, Janis Joplin was on stage, polishing her unpolished sound for crowds from all walks of life. The evolution continued, with Threadgill's hosting artists from Jerry Lee Lewis to Captain Beefheart and expanding into a Southern-style restaurant where the love of music ironed out disagreements and engendered an atmosphere of tolerance.
Today, the original location on North Lamar harks back to Threadgill's beginnings, with current owner Eddie Wilson decking the place out with decor that evokes the Austin of the 1930s to the 1960s, including vintage signs that say, ?I can?t wait for the internet to be invented.? The second location on West Riverside celebrates the 1970s music scene that thrived at the Armadillo?Wilson's former establishment at that location. At both venues, chefs churn out classic Southern food, such as chicken-fried steak and fried green tomatoes, while frequent live music entertains guests.
At YourWay Burgers & Wings, ordering your meal is an exercise in free will—the burger order form that greets guests can yield more than 340,000 combinations of patty, bun, and toppings. The range of choices is more appetizing than intimidating, though, and begins with five types of filling: certified Angus beef, chicken, salmon, turkey, or vegetarian. From there, patrons decide on a bun, cheese, and infused toppings, which chefs hand-pack into the meat before grilling it. The result distributes bits of chopped onion or tomato within each bite of patty and imbues the surrounding meat with a rarely experienced depth of flavor.
Even outside of its countless burger formulas, the menu embraces customization. In addition to signature twister tornado fries, manager Victor Nguyen spoke to Pegasus News about YourWay’s other french-fry and seasoning variants, listing off his creations like a father proudly reciting his children’s potato-themed nicknames: “shoe string, Tater Tots, curly, and battered, which are regular fries with a thin coat of batter that makes it crunchy. And five seasonings: salt-pepper-lemon, garlic Parmesan, Cajun, chili, and cheese." Visitors can also order chicken wings slathered in mango-barbecue or spicy-ranch sauce amid a sophisticated and sports-ready ambiance, with several HD televisions and cushioned booths flanking the full bar.
A notoriously calorie-heavy food gets a makeover at The Healthy Pizza Company. Its pizza makers take great care to make their pizzas nutritious, beginning with the crust. They use either 100% organic whole-wheat flour or almond flour, for those on the paleo diet, for their dough, which they twirl into fresh pizzas every morning. They also blend sauces from fresh ingredients every morning. And when it comes to toppings, only lean meats and cheeses make the cut, due to their low calorie counts and minimal saturated fat. After pizzas are assembled, they cook to bubbly brown in about three minutes thanks to a high-tech oven. Try unusual pizzas, such as the Hummus Yummus, chicken marinara, or hawaiian.