Most of the restaurant news this week is big stuff: small chains opening new locations, big chains introducing new menus, and, last but not least, chicken. We're in the throes of an irrational fried chicken sandwich mania unlike any that has gripped the country before.
Here's what's happening in Dallas dining news:
True Food Kitchen has a new beet thing going on, and that includes a new vegan burger whose main ingredient is beets. It's called the Unbeetable Burger, and it's made with a beet-kuzu-chickpea patty topped with jicama slaw, crushed avocado, butter lettuce, and vegan mayonnaise on a flaxseed bun.
Brand chef Robert McCormick says that, when they created the burger, they decided to emphasize a single ingredient — beets! — rather than the "typical veggie burger hodgepodge." That said, the beet burger does have chickpeas, quinoa, and oats. "We wanted it to be vegan in case you wanted to order it that way," McCormick says.
This beet burger is part of True Food's largest menu change to date. It's woven in four autumnal ingredients — beets, sea buckthorn, butternut squash, and pomegranate — throughout the menu. You see it both in the food, for example, a beet and goat cheese flatbread with arugula, pumpkin seed, and cilantro pumpkin seed pesto; and drink, such as a cocktail made with beet juice.
Lupe Tortilla, the Houston-based Tex-Mex institution, has opened the second of four Dallas-area locations in Addison, at 4535 Belt Line Rd. in the former Romano's Macaroni Grill space. The menu features 60-plus items, including lime- and pepper-marinated beef and chicken fajitas with tortillas made in-house. Lupe Tortilla opened its first DFW location in July 2019. A third is opening soon in Allen and a Fort Worth location will open in early 2020.
Butcher Board, a small sandwich shop chain with locations in McKinney and Frisco, closed on September 9. The concept debuted in downtown McKinney in 2016 as a side project of Sugar Bacon, overseen by Jon Thompson, who was chef at the time; he left in late 2017 to work at Zaytinya, the concept from famed chef Jose Andre that opened in Frisco in 2018. "Thank you for dining with us at Butcher Board over the last three years. We have made the difficult decision to close and want to thank our loyal guests and the Downtown McKinney community for embracing our style of sandwiches," the restaurant posted.
Pax & Beneficia Coffee is a new coffee shop in Irving at 5244 N. O’Connor Blvd., Ste. 150, in the same center as Hugo's Invitados, from friends Mouyyad Abdulhadi and Mamdouh Khayat, serving espresso drinks, coffee, Turkish coffee, teas, and other beverages such as mint rosemary lemonade slushie, with house-made syrups in flavors such as cardamom.
Marie's Kitchen is a new office building deli at 11910 Greenville Ave., Ste. 103, in Lake Highlands, which serves American and Filipino breakfast, paninis, sandwiches, and salads. It's open 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays.
Knife, the John Tesar steakhouse at The Highland Dallas, has added new dishes for lunch and dinner, including four lighter starters and two scratch-made pastas. There's an arugula salad with squash blossoms; ceviche with yellowtail and local melon; gazpacho with Heirloom tomatoes; a tomato salad with Heirlooms and feta; zucchini risotto with Taleggio cheese; and squid ink tonnarelli with lump crab and spicy marinara.
Capital Grille has a new "Wagyu & wine" special with three coveted wines rarely available by the glass paired with gourmet burgers: Wagyu burger with steak sauce, grilled onions, and Vermont white cheddar, paired with Beringer, Knights Valley Reserve, and Cabernet Sauvignon; Wagyu mushroom burger with soy-braised shiitake, Jarlsberg cheese, and truffle aioli, paired with Beaulieu Vineyards, Carneros, and Pinot Noir; Wagyu cheeseburger with fried egg and Havarti cheese, paired with Stags Leap The Investor, Napa Valley, and Bordeaux Blend. They're $25 and are available through November 17.
The Porch has a new brunch menu with chilaquiles rojos with smoked beef short rib, hot fried chicken and biscuits, banana bread French toast, and granola and yogurt. Other new dishes are part of the regular all-day menu and include tuna crudo, quinoa bowl, Niçoise salad, and smoked chicken enchiladas. Brunch cocktails are $5, including mimosas, Bloody Marys and Micheladas. Saturday, 11 am to 2:30 pm, and Sunday, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.
V Eats, the vegan restaurant at Trinity Groves, has a new fast-casual service model and a new menu focusing on its most popular items like sandwiches and handheld favorites. The restaurant hours will remain the same: dinner is offered Monday-Saturday night, lunch on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday brunch from 10 am to 3 pm.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has a three-course menu featuring filet mignon with a lobster tail, plus choice of Caesar or Fleming's salad with walnuts, tomatoes, dried cranberries, red onion, lemon balsamic vinaigrette; and Key lime pie or carrot cake.
18th & Vine BBQ has launched a new take-home dinner for two, for $45, with choice of appetizer, two smoked meats, two sides, and one dessert. Appetizer choices include fried okra, burnt ends, smoked salmon, potato skins, smo-fried wings, and pork rinds. Meat options include brisket, ribs, sausage, chicken, pulled pork, and turkey. Sides include apple cider slaw, collard greens, seasoned fries, jalapeño cheese grits, beans, barbecue mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and barbecue veggies. Desserts include crumble, brownie, banana pudding, and fried apple pie.
Ebesu Robata & Sushi in downtown Plano debuted a new full menu. New dishes include cold soba, robata-grilled sardine with ume (Japanese apricot) paste, Maine lobster with uni masu-mushi and sea urchin sauce, and Osaka-style sushi, pressed in a wooden box and then sliced.
McDonald's has jumped into the chicken fray with a Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich, hotter than the sweet and spicy honey barbecue tenders it introduced in 2018. It's actually a spicy barbecue sauce with jalapeño that diners can add to the buttermilk chicken sandwich, or by ordering "spicy BBQ glazed tenders."
Hooters joins chicken mania with a new Chicken Chips dish, where the chicken looks like potato chips but is actually chicken. They're served with choice of Hooters sauces, which includes two new limited-time sauces, honey sriracha and Korean BBQ.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse locations in DFW will offer their fixed Prime Pair menu for $49, instead of the usual $59, for a limited time. The menu includes choice of salad, an entrée like New York strip steak with jumbo lump crab cake, and a side dish. Through September.
Fireside Pies has a new Express Lunch menu that includes a 9-inch one-topping pie, meatball sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, Bolognese with noodles, lasagna with spinach noodles, bucatini with pancetta, and butter noodles, served with choice of a small salad. 11 am to 4 pm at the Grapevine, Plano, Lovers Lane, and Fort Worth locations.
Babb's BBQ at Trinity Groves has introduced a cocktail list plus frozen drinks. Trinity Groves hired a new beverage director, Faith Railey, who will focus on creating different ways for guests to experience cocktails at the incubator, while staying true to the unique restaurant concepts.
Bisous Bisous has a new limited-edition line of State Fair-inspired treats, including cotton-candy macarons, sweet and salty kettle corn macarons and ice cream, and corn dog cruffins, with a cornbread filling, chopped hot dogs, and mustard drizzle. Shortbread cookies are decorated in festival favorites such as a Ferris wheel and the state of Texas. Priced from $2.25 to $10, they'll be available starting September 23.
Sprinkles in Dallas and Plano have two seasonal flavors: German Chocolate with chocolate cake, coconut, and pecans, through September 29; and Pumpkin, with pumpkin cake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, through November 30.
Rusty Taco has three new seasonal menu items. Carne Adovada Taco has smoked red chile pork, potatoes, onion, cilantro, and cheddar cheese on a hot corn tortilla. Cherry dessert taco has cherry pie filling in a flour tortilla, fried and tossed in cinnamon sugar for a decadent dessert. A new Prickly Pear Margarita is loaded with the flavor of prickly pear cactus with a pink sugar rim. Until November 3.
El Pollo Loco has a new set of combos that blend traditional Mexican flavors with Los Angeles inspiration: Chicken taquitos with guacamole, chicken nachos, tacos al carbon, chicken burrito, and the pollo bowl. The Combos will be available through October 30.
Taco Bell has launched a vegetarian menu nationwide with a permanent menu board displaying 13 items available at more than 7,000 participating restaurants. The menu will feature the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, Black Bean Quesarito, the classic 7-Layer Burrito, and Bean Burrito, plus nine other items sprinkled throughout the larger menu. The menu debut follows a successful test in Dallas earlier this year, and the launch will be accompanied by a digital campaign that will have even the ultimate meat-lover questioning, "Am I a vegetarian?"