News You Can Eat

Happy meals, gourmet dogs and classic cocktails make this restaurant news roundup feel retro

Happy meals and gourmet dogs make this food news roundup feel retro

Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs
Samson's puts the gourmet in hot dogs. Photo courtesy of Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs
Dallas bartender Michael Martensen
Michael Martensen is reimagining cocktails at Knife. Photo by Hoyoung Lee
Emporium Pies in Dallas
Emporium Pie, coming at you seven days a week. Photo courtesy of Emporium Pies
On the Border enchiladas
On the Border is promoting dishes that are 600 calories or less, including chicken enchiladas. Photo courtesy of On the Border
East Hampton Sandwich, FW
This is how the East Hampton Sandwich Co. in Fort Worth is projected to look. Photo courtesy of East Hampton Sandwich
Nobu chef
Nobu Dallas has a new chef: Carl Murray. Photo courtesy of Nobu
Hopdoddy burger
Hopdoddy opens in Uptown June 2. Hopdoddy/Facebook
Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs
Dallas bartender Michael Martensen
Emporium Pies in Dallas
On the Border enchiladas
East Hampton Sandwich, FW
Nobu chef
Hopdoddy burger

More restaurants are opening in downtown Dallas, while a quiet strip of East Dallas finally gets a cool hangout. There are lots of menu makeovers too, and you can now buy pie seven days a week.

Oak Cliff restaurant Jonathon's Cafe will have a spin-off called Kessler Park Eating House, to open by the fall. Owners Jonathon and Christine Erdeljac took over the space at 1619 N. Beckley Ave. that was previously Mama Connie's Cafe (and, before that, a Pitt Grill). Jonathon described it to The Advocate as an "upscale greasy spoon" with house-made noodles, brunch and soft-serve ice cream. That is quite an unusual menu for a greasy spoon, upscale or otherwise.

Open now on Ferguson Road is The Whistling Pig, a neighborhood bar from the owners of Cock & Bull. The menu has some high-end touches that elevate it from the usual bar food, with sole amandine, pork belly and rack of lamb, along with the more expected burgers and wings. Starters include a bacon corn dog and flatbread pizza, and there's even an arugula salad. If there's arugula, you know it's good.

DRG Concepts, owner of downtown restaurants such as Dallas Fish Market and Dallas Chop House, will open an Italian restaurant called Oven and Cellar this fall, in the 1900 Elm building. According to SideDish, the menu will include handmade pasta, pizza and sandwiches with former Wild Salsa chef Kelly Hightower rejoining DRG.

The Uptown location of Hopdoddy Burger Bar opens June 2. This is the second Hopdoddy in Dallas, following Preston Center, which opened in 2012. A third is slated to open this summer in Addison, at the Village on the Parkway.

The vintage Big State Drug pharmacy and soda fountain in Irving closed in May, but it has been given a second chance by Rick Fairless, Irving native and owner of Strokers Dallas. Fairless will keep the Big State name and create a 1950s soda fountain shop. Fairless, 57, is no stranger to retro concepts. Strokers, a motorcycle-tattoo-shop-bar-grill which opened in 1996, has a '60s and '70s theme. He hopes to remodel and reopen Big State Drug within the next 60 days.

East Hampton Sandwich Co. will open a third location in Fort Worth in August, at 1605 S. University Dr., in the WestBend mixed-use development. It follows the original Dallas branch, which opened in 2012 in Snider Plaza, and a second that opened in 2013 at the Shops at Legacy in Plano. The menu features sandwiches and salads, as well as beer and wine, but East Hampton is best known for its lobster roll.

The Landmark Restaurant at the Warwick Melrose Hotel has introduced a new dinner menu. Items include black Angus filet, Chilean sea bass, chicken roulade, duck ravioli, rack of lamb with Sicilian-style caponata, grilled quail, pork chop with chipotle spaetzel, tuna tartare, and pork belly mac and cheese. There is also a revolting-sounding sandwich with foie gras, cashew butter and blackberry spread.

Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs has unveiled a full menu of items that fulfill the definition of gourmet. Fancy dogs include the Manhattan with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, grilled onions, Parmesan and spicy brown mustard on a Samson's roll; a veggie dog with vegan chili, quinoa-lentil salad, onions, vegan cheese and smoked pickled jalapeños; a turkey dog with mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken chili, Asian slaw and goat cheese on a pretzel bun; and a smoked brat with beef chili, hummus, guacamole, cheddar and chipotle sauce.

On the Border Mexican Grill is trying to get a piece of the Seasons 52/LYFE Kitchen action by promoting menu items that are under 600 calories. Options include chicken enchiladas, chicken fajitas, chicken fajita tacos, Mexican grilled chicken breast and mango chicken salad. So, basically, chicken.

The Grill on the Alley is giving its lunch and dinner menus a makeover with a new selection of sharable side dishes: cauliflower gratin; chipotle cheddar cream corn; Brussels sprouts with carrot, onion and bacon hash; mushroom risotto; and lobster mashed potatoes.

Knife barman (not bartender, barman) and Tastemaker Award winner Michael Martensen is doing some reimagining on the cocktail front. He takes retro drinks such as the Harvey Wallbanger and Sex on the Beach and replaces sweet-and-sour mixes with fresh juices and syrups. These go along with seasonal cocktails such as the Oaxcan Mule, a Moscow Mule spinoff made with pear liqueur, and the Able Apple with apple brandy, gin and lemon juice.

Del Frisco's Grille introduces an adult version of a "happy meal," wherein "adult" translates into booze. It consists of a cheeseburger with two patties, plus choice of fries from regular, Parmesan or sweet potato. It's accompanied by an adult milkshake with two flavored liqueurs, including creme de cacao. According to a release, it has a level of decadence that "the most mature of palates" will appreciate.

Nobu Dallas recently promoted Carl Murray to the position of executive chef. He has been with Nobu since it opened, first as a chef de partie, then as a sous chef.

Previously closed Mondays, Emporium Pies is now open seven days a week. And Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar Plano is open for lunch at 11 am Monday through Friday. And the Trader Joe's in Inwood Village opened its doors on May 30.