Let's Do Lunch

Fresh fast-casual cafe finds another Dallas-area lunch crowd to serve

Fresh fast-casual cafe finds another Dallas-area lunch crowd to serve

Newk's Eatery
Salads are a big thing at Newk's Eatery. Photo courtesy of Newk's Eatery

Irving's lunchtime crowd has a hot new option: A second branch of Newk's Eatery has opened in the Cypress Waters development at I-635 and Belt Line Road, and it's serving sandwiches, salads, and pizza with California-style toppings, such as barbecue chicken.

Newk's was launched in 2004 in Oxford, Mississippi, by Don Newcomb, Debra Bryson, and Chris Newcomb, founders of the McAlister's Deli chain, which they sold in 2001. Newk's (an abbreviation of the Newcomb name) was conceived as a more foodie-friendly place, with some menu items taken from family recipes. 

Newk's debuted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in West Plano, where it opened in April 2013. Local franchisee Andrea Gage Cheek discovered Newk's while traveling for her last job.

"I was working in the nonprofit industry, but I thought it was so good that I wanted to bring it here," she says. "And it's practical. The food is fresh, but you can get in and out for lunch in 10 minutes or less."

Unlike some other quick-serve options, this is a "scratch" concept, where lettuce and fruit are chopped in the morning and ingredients are prepared to order. They use real silverware, not plastic, and they also serve beer and wine.

The food has an upscale twist, Cheek says.

"The Newk's 'Q' has grilled chicken, bacon, Swiss cheese, and our white barbecue sauce with horseradish, which is something you might not expect," she says. "We also do a unique vegetarian club sandwich with portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, goat cheese, and garlic pesto sauce."

Salads are numerous and include one with grilled chicken, artichokes, grapes, cranberries, and Gorgonzola cheese. Pizzas range from pepperoni to veggie; one with barbecue chicken is reminiscent California Pizza Kitchen's signature pie with chicken, red onion, tomato, and sweet barbecue sauce.

There will also be seasonal specials, such as the grilled veggie salad, kale Caesar, and a farmer's market sandwich, which are being offered for the summer.

The chain has been growing throughout the Southeast, with Texas currently the westernmost frontier; Cheek says another location is planned for North Texas in early 2017. "We look for great neighborhoods," Cheek says.