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Dallas indie restaurant kicks up comfort food with trendy touches

Dallas indie restaurant kicks up comfort food with trendy touches

Kickshaws is opening in North Dallas. Photo courtesy of Kickshaws

A former Mooyah burgers location in a chi-chi North Dallas neighborhood will make way for a new, original fast-casual restaurant with sandwiches and craft beer.

The intriguingly named Kickshaws — or, more formally, Kickshaws Fast Gastro Food & Drink — will open at 6713 W. Northwest Hwy., at the corner of Hillcrest Avenue, in a highly trafficked shopping center that also includes El Fenix.

Owner is Joe Elliott, who is using the wisdom he's accumulated working for decades at companies such as TGI Friday's and Chuck E. Cheese to launch his very own first concept.

The name has a well-developed backstory. It’s derived from the French expression quelque chose, which can be loosely pronounced as Kickshaws, and which translates to "choose something."

Elliott has done some reading. According to the restaurant's website, French peasants used to sell small bites of food from pushcarts in London, all the while urging customers to choose something. He goes on to say that the earliest Anglicized spellings of Kickshaws are found in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night; how often do we get to quote Shakespeare in a restaurant news story? The terminology has stuck around to mean "a small delicacy or treat, an unexpected taste of appetizer."

Kickshaws' menu is a well-considered thing that hits lightly on the trends while remaining grounded. Enticing appetizers include deviled eggs, lamb meatballs, avocado toasts, shishito peppers, sriracha chicken wings, and edamame hummus. Salads include arugula, kale-quinoa, and a wedge.

Sandwiches are clever, from the banh mi with brisket to two kinds of grilled cheese, one with short rib and the other with butternut squash and broccoli rabe. Sides include comfort items such as cheesy grits along with au courant dishes such as charred Brussels sprouts and the uber-hip grain farro, jazzed up with dried cherries, hazelnuts, olive oil, and sea salt. Let's just have a bowl of that.

Five burgers include one with maple bacon jam and a fried egg, one on a baguette with soft Taleggio cheese, and a house-made veggie burger with mushroom and quinoa.

Main offerings include roast chicken, K-Town chili with short rib and brisket, and a vegetarian mushroom-barley bowl with walnuts, dates, and a poached egg. Almost everything is priced at around $10. What is not to like here?

A kids’ menu has chicken strips, yes, but also a salad and a veggie dish with kale, Brussels sprouts, pickled onion, and blue cheese.

Desserts include an ancho-carrot cake with cookie-butter icing, and alfajores, the Argentinan cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche cream. There is craft beer, wine, and Stubborn Soda, a new craft soda line from Pepsi. Who could have predicted five years ago that we would type the words "craft soda line from Pepsi"?

The restaurant is a family operation, says Elliott's daughter Sidney, who gives "early March" as an opening date. "It's not fine dining, it's fast-casual, but we're putting a lot into it," she says.