For our August edition of Where to Eat Right Now, we took our inspiration from Yahoo's recent listicle of 10 U.S. restaurants worth waiting in long lines. Yahoo recognizes an essential truth: If people are lined up for something, it has to be good. Nothing succeeds like success.
Best to ignore the possibility that lines may be a manipulative technique to woo customers who find something more enticing if they see that other people like it too. Or that lines might represent a restaurant that is poorly managed or designed. You don't see diners lined up in the parking lot of the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, because the Mansion has a civilized reservation system.
Dallas-Fort Worth has a few places well-known for lines, like Houston's/Hillstone, Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth, and Bread Winners in Uptown during Sunday brunch. Make that any restaurant at Sunday brunch. If you like to wait in line, you'll definitely want to eat out at brunch.
Lines can backfire. Some would say that no restaurant is worth waiting in line. This edition of Where to Eat is not for those people.
Cane Rosso/Chop House Burgers
Call it the #DDD effect. Both of these already popular restaurants are enjoying a boost (and new round of lines) since the airing of a new Texas-themed one-hour version of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. Nothing makes the Neapolitan pizza of Deep Ellum's Cane Rosso or the bountiful burgers of Arlington's Chop House taste better than having to wait 30 minutes or more to enjoy them.
East Dallas Vietnamese restaurant does well enough at lunch and dinner, but if it's a line you seek, you'll need to take a disco nap and catch your second wind. Dalat joins Velvet Taco in serving local night owls with food that helps soak up a night's worth of indulgence. Dalat does it with pho, which you can't otherwise find too many places late at night.
Fireside Pies in Fort Worth
Fort Worth's West 7th district has had some hits and misses, but the crowds have never abated at Fireside Pies since it opened in 2010. This is also true of its siblings on Henderson Avenue in Dallas and in Plano. But Fort Worth Fireside is a different beast, with a broader menu that goes beyond pizza, including house-made pastas, seasonal dishes and more. This fall, the restaurant will be "rebranded," with a new name: Thirteen Pies.
Lockhart Smokehouse in Plano
This is not to take away from the Lockhart Smokehouse in Bishop Arts. But the citizens of Plano have fewer places where they can line up, and the line at neighboring Urban Crust is too long. Lockhart also does barbecue, and barbecue fans seem to need help with the socialization skills that a line can provide. Lockhart makes it worth their while with specials such as Kreuz Market jalapeño sausage mac and cheese, and s'mores bread pudding.
Monkey King Noodle
Tiny stand on the edge of Deep Ellum features "legit" Chinese hand-pulled noodles, wontons, noodle soups, dumplings and great Chinese veggies. It's a half takeout, half patio restaurant, with a few tables in front. The line comes from the fact that it's so small and everything is done to order. But line-waiters get "entertainment," in the form of noodle-meister
Mike Andrew Chen, whose art is visible through a broad glass window.
Chef Nick Badovinus was one of the first restaurateurs in Dallas to understand the social implications of a line — namely, that it forces interaction. He and former partner Tristan Simon defined the model at The Porch, and Badovinus has carried the strategy to Neighborhood Services. The restaurant has a waiting area in the bar by the entrance, where you can see and be seen. It's waiting in line as a singles scene.
Dallas' most famous barbecue joint developed a reputation for its long lines while still at the Dallas Farmers Market, where it had a tiny stall and limited seating. They have a lot more space in Deep Ellum — and yet the lines are still there. Despite all that space, there wasn't room for more cash registers, forcing everyone to queue up into a single line — unless you get a big order, and some people do just to gain access to the second register. But, hey, it's part of the fun. And the brisket's worth it, am I right?
For the savvy young foodie of 2014, the only thing better than a line is ramen. If there is ramen, you must go. Even if that means Addison — home to the newest (and therefore hottest) ramen place in town. This mom-and-pop has been swamped since the day it opened, with its dozen varieties of ramen — from the traditional tonkotsu to garlic ramen, vegetable ramen, spicy miso ramen, cold ramen and more. If you want to wait in line for it, go soon.
Scotch & Sausage
Ladies, you may have too much common sense to wait in line for dinner, but you may find another reason at this new Oak Lawn restaurant. For now, this place featuring a dozen varieties of sausage and scotch is a man magnet. No guarantees on the caliber of man, but S&S is to men as any salad bar place is to women.
This concept from Darden Restaurants, in which everything on the menu is 475 calories or less, opened in Plano way back in 2011, and another branch has since opened at NorthPark. But the fire has not dimmed at this original branch, proving that "healthy" restaurants are a win. Expect 45-minute waits on the weekend, but that's no problem: Its bar has a sexy atmosphere that's catnip for Plano's slightly older singles scene.
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