Dallas – Fort Worth area


Bone Daddy’s is a restaurant that’s easy to miss in an evaluation. It’s a barbecue restaurant in Texas, but their best barbecue may be their smoked chicken wings. It’s a restaurant with a largely female staff dressed in a revealing style: short skirts, tight leather vests. The staff is professional in my experience, very much so. Asking staff what is good here won’t hurt you a bit.

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I did a bit more than that. I asked waiters in restaurants nearby. They pointed out the strengths of the food aren’t in the traditional sliced brisket, but in other dishes, like their stuffed jalapenos and their wings. On one of the days I showed, the chopped brisket was better than the sliced. Ask staff what is good here.

Sliced brisket sandwich. Not bad, but other meats are better here.

Sliced brisket sandwich. Not bad, but other meats are better here.

Their chopped brisket was more flavorful than their sliced.

Their chopped brisket was more flavorful than their sliced.

The stuffed jalapenos are excellent, with BBQ chicken and cheese.

The stuffed jalapenos are excellent, with BBQ chicken and cheese.

The smoked wings are the "must order" here, richly smoked and delicious.

The smoked wings are the “must order” here, richly smoked and delicious.

This is a good spot to watch football. Get seated in the right spots, and you’ll have wall to wall televisions on either side of you. If a local team is playing, the effect is pretty amazing. Beers here run from American industrial beers to craft beers. The craft beer selection tends to Texas brews, Southern brews, and tends to lighter beers (witbiers, pilsners and the like). That said, even if you tweet every beer you’re served via Untapp’d, you should find plenty to drink here.

One last word about staff. Often staff in restaurants of this kind have the habits of incurably spoiled brats, spending more time with friends and themselves than their own customers. I saw none of this here. The impression overall was of a professionally trained staff that knew what they were doing, giving both large parties and small groups adequate time to order food. There is a lot of tag team staffing here. On a typical day, multiple staffers will be involved in delivering food to a single table.

My impressions may been affected by the staffer I had on my first visit, who later I found was a part time bartender. That leads to the last word of advice if you’re in a restaurant whose pretty girls are part of the routine: if you can’t get enough service, head to the bar. The best of staff will be there. They will be the most busy, but you’ll get treated right.

Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke
8856 Spring Valley Rd
Dallas, TX 75240
(214) 575-3050

Bone Daddy's House Of Smoke on Urbanspoon

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In Richardson, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, they have a seafood spot called Big Shucks.

This isn’t a place to eat and watch football, unless your game is fútbol. But it does offer some Latin influenced dishes. This shrimp cocktail, rich in cilantro and tasting more like a juiced up salsa, is one of them.

Big Shucks
103 S Coit Rd
Richardson, TX 75080
(972) 231-8202

Big Shucks on Urbanspoon

Going to this place was like stepping into my past. I recall a time when I was in grad school in Houston, in the 1980s, where, if someone really wanted to treat you, they would take you to this chain. The one we knew of was in the River Oaks district, near a Chili’s and not that far from the River Oaks theater. It was fantastic. And when we moved later to Orlando FL, the local Black Eyed Pea was one of the hardest restaurants to get into.

Move forward some years and in Atlanta, Black Eyed Peas weren’t all that good. Service was terrible. Food might be good, but who could tolerate the lousy waiters of the time? It wasn’t too long before all of these in the ATL were converted to Folks restaurants.

Evidently there was a bankruptcy in the chain at one point, and staff at this Black Eyed Pea said that there had been some staff loss to Denny’s, that the improvements in the Denny’s you guys have seen came at the expense of BEP. Hey, I can’t confirm it, but merely can report it.

decent fried pickles.

Chicken fried chicken was excellent. Good green beans. Fried okra weren’t crisp at all.

So, was it as good as we rememberd? Well, entrees, yes. Sides ranged from very good to a very ordinary serving of fried okra. Service was excellent, and the chicken fried chicken my wife got was transporting.

Maybe this chain will grow again. We’ll see.

Black Eyed Pea
7979 Belt Line Rd
Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 490-1932

Black Eyed Pea on Urbanspoon

These are two restaurants with a common name, largely compatible menu, and yet in many ways, these restaurants are markedly different. The Addison Original Pancake House is in a large modern building on the edge of a divided highway and when we went, it was packed. We had a thirty minute wait, in overstuffed chairs and sofas. This eatery were used to their crowds. Once seated, we were offered a choice of rolls and they were good ones. The kitchen area was well separated from the dining areas. There was plenty of staff, and the feeling of substance, abundance, luxury was ever present.

Addison Original Pancake House

Rolls are served in Addison.

The Stone Mountain Original Pancake House is in a modest round building that reminds me of the “mushroom cap” buildings that many older Mellow Mushrooms are found in. There is limited seating, due to the size of the building, and no waiting area. There was a modest staff. The menus were much lighter weight than the Texas menus. No rolls were offered when we sat. If we wanted, we could see some of the goings on in the kitchen. The feel, if I had to compare it, was closer to that of a Waffle House than the Addison restaurant.

Stone Mountain location.

The menus are different not only in look and feel, but also the Texas restaurant has additions that suit the Texas breakfast eater. For example, there are migas in Texas, a selection not found in Georgia. That said, the food delivered to the table in both eateries was of high quality.

Bacon pancakes, from Dallas.

Pumpkin pancakes (Dallas).

Migas. Usually you wrap these in tortillas.

Corned beef hash.

Dutch baby, no dusting of sugar. My wife was curious about this.

Western omelette. Good and enormous. Like the hash, came with a side of pancakes.

We had pancakes and migas in Texas, pancakes, corned beef hash, a dutch baby, and an omelette in Georgia. Serving sizes were ample. There was more food than we could eat at both locations. Service to the table was excellent in Texas, and quite good in Georgia.

Original Pancake House
5220 Belt Line Rd
Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 385-6468

Original Pancake House on Urbanspoon

Original Pancake House
5099 Memorial Dr
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
(404) 292-6914

Original Pancake House on Urbanspoon

Casa Milagro is a highly regarded Richardson restaurant, and checking out reviews by Regular Joe and Bill Hensley, I decided it was promising. It was close enough to the hotel to make it worth a trip, and this eatery ended up being my #1 target while in Texas. There was no guarantee I’d have family, as my daughter and wife were attending a Supernatural convention at the time.

With some luck, my family was available for a late lunch, so we headed up US 75 to this eatery. It’s in a L shaped strip mall, and the restaurant itself is back from the road. Inside, it’s neat, unassuming, clean, and efficient.

Salsa and chips are free with the meal. The salsa here has plenty of cilantro, the red having a bite you don’t get in Atlanta. The chips were dry.

Eight different kinds of “honest to God” chile rellenos.

One of the things I was looking forward to from a Texas Tex Mex eatery was a chance to get a real chile relleno. You don’t see very many good ones in Atlanta. And very often, ordering a chile relleno in Atlanta gets you a ring of bell pepper with 3-4 tablespoons of ground meat in the middle (if Atlanta Tex Mex serves a real chile relleno, they will call it a chile poblano). So, to my great pleasure, Casa Milagro served 8 different kinds of chile rellenos.

I ended up ordering the brisket and honchos relleno. My wife had a pair chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce, and my daughter had enchiladas de guiso, cheese enchiladas on which pork guiso, a Mexican pork stew, was poured.

A real chile relleno, stuffed with brisket and mushrooms.

Inside of the relleno.

Enchiladas de guiso, the hit of the meal.

Chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce. Brown rice was the side.

The favorite dish of the meal was the enchiladas de guiso. We all thought it had more flavor than anything else we ate. My relleno was pretty popular as well. The tomatillo sauce on my wife’s enchiladas ran a little more sour than what she was used to, but they ended up being finished as well. All in all, Casa Milagro served a really fine meal. We left happy we had been to Casa Milagro.

The Impalas. Supernatural fans will know what this means ;).

Casa Milagro
1403 East Campbell Road
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 234-6999

Casa Milagro on Urbanspoon

PS – for those unfamiliar with pork guiso, the Busy Gourmand has a nice article on this Mexican stew.