A Bennigan's-inspired list of all the Monte Cristo sandwiches in Dallas
In the world of sandwiches, the name Bennigan's brings to mind one thing: their world-famous Monte Cristo. Many fans were thusly elated back in February 2023, when the chain revealed that the sandwiches could be ordered through its Bennigan's On The Fly ghost kitchen concept.
The sandwich — featuring wheat bread layered with ham, turkey, Swiss & American cheeses, battered and fried, and served with a side of preserves (most often raspberry but often lingonberry) — boasts a collision of sweet, savory, and cheesy that seems to satisfy a craving shared by many.
But Bennigan's is not the only Monte Cristo in town. There are all sorts of Bennigan's knockoffs as well as Monte Cristos that have become classics in their own right. Whether it's the influence of Bennigan's or not, the Monte Cristo is kind of having a moment. The State Fair even has one for 2023.
Here’s a comprehensive list of other places to get a Monte Cristo in DFW. Note: This list does not include any of the various Croque Monsieurs and Croque Madames found around town at places like Toulouse, La Madeleine, Mixtitos and more.
BoomerJack's Monte Cristo - said by many to be the closest to Bennigan's.Facebook
BoomerJack’s Bar and Grill: Monte Cristo sandwich, $13
Sports bar chain with 17 locations across Dallas-Fort Worth, with wings, burgers, drink deals, and wall-to-wall TVs.
This Monte Cristo is said by many to be strikingly similar to the Bennigan’s classic: Deep fried with Swiss and American cheese, it's served on Wheatberry bread (a nutty, chewy, slightly sweet whole grain bread), with powdered sugar and preserves. It's a valiant effort to recreate the Bennigan’s classic, but sticklers should note that they quarter their sandwich, instead of halving it like Bennigan’s.
Armoury D.E.: Benny Houdini, $15
Low-lit exposed-brick Deep Ellum bar serves craft cocktails, Hungarian goulash, traditional Hungarian fried flatbread, and fried meatballs.
Chef spin on the Monte Cristo has house-smoked turkey, ham, Swiss and cheddar cheese, but also Hungarian bacon, which is pork fat that has either been salt or smoke-preserved (Armoury’s is smoked). The whole thing is fried in funnel cake batter and served with lingonberry sauce for a sweet and highly comforting sandwich. Perhaps the best part is that the kitchen is open until 1:45 am every day – night owls rejoice!
Monte Cristo sandwich at Crafty Irishman.Crafty Irishman
Crafty Irishman Public House: Monte Cristo sandwich, $17
Downtown Dallas pub owned by a Dublin native features Irish whiskeys, scotch, and bourbon, plus burgers, wings, and Irish classics: Scotch eggs, Irish bread pudding, and a traditional Irish breakfast with bangers and black & white pudding.
Unsurprisingly, you'll find some Irish touches on this Monte Cristo: There's smoked turkey, ham, Wexford cheddar, and Swiss, on sourdough bread. It's dipped in beer-batter, giving the outer shell an extra-satisfying texture and golden-brown hue. Dusted with powdered sugar, with raspberry preserves. Pair with a nice Guinness for the ultimate experience.
Note: The same basic sandwich is served at Crafty Irishman's siblings: Cannon’s Corner Irish Pub in Oak Cliff, or the new Patrick Kennedy's Irish Pub downtown, Trinity College Irish Pub in Fort Worth, or The Playwright Irish Pub in Dallas' Arts district where it's only $12.50.
The Biscuit Bar: Monte Cristo, $8.80
Fast casual DFW chain serving – you guessed it – biscuits has six DFW locations from Deep Ellum to Fort Worth, with biscuit sandwiches, tater tots, salads, and cocktails. Two locations (Deep Ellum and Arlington) serve coffee from DFW chain Ascension Coffee.
At $8.80, TBB’s Monte Cristo is a bargain and is also the sweetest on the list. You’ll find the usual smoked turkey + ham + Monterey jack cheese, but done biscuit-style, with their twist of French toast: biscuit halves dunked and pan fried in vanilla custard. Served with strawberry preserves, some liken this sandwich to the Bennigan’s classic, while others conclude that it’s just too sweet.
Ida Claire Monte Cristo definitely has the drippy cheese factor covered.Ida Claire
Ida Claire: Monte Cristo, $15.50
Part of the FB Society restaurant group, Ida Claire specializes in Southern dishes like shrimp & grits and fried green tomatoes.
Ida Claire’s Monte Cristo is one of the more savory options and does some surprising variations on the classic recipe. Southern country ham and peppered bacon with aged white cheddar are served on thick brioche French toast, and grilled, not deep fried. While still dusted with powdered sugar, the house-made apple jam is more peppery and savory than the typical berry preserves.
Vickery Cafe: Breakfast Monte Cristo, $13
Retro-style diner near TCU in Fort Worth serves morning staples like Texas-shaped Belgian waffles and a five-meat omelet. Make sure you come hungry (or at least hungover).
Similar to Ida Claire, this Monte Cristo comes on brioche French toast and swaps out the more common turkey for bacon. Ham, Swiss cheese, and fried eggs finish it off and it’s topped with powdered sugar and cut into quarters. It’s served with chipotle raspberry jam for an extra kick, and includes one side, which most popularly seems to be hashbrowns – what a dream!
Cheddar's Monte Cristo: almost as tall as it is wide.Cheddar's
Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen: Monte Cristo, $15.95
Darden Restaurants' chain with more than 170 locations including seven in the DFW area is noted for homey dishes like chicken pot pie.
The Monte Cristo served by Cheddar's is a love-it-or-hate-it deal with fans and detractors debating its merits. It's a strange bird, distinctive for its bulky shape, with its smoked ham, turkey, and two cheeses stacked high but not wide. They promise it's "hand-battered," then deep-fried, served with the standard raspberry preserves and powdered sugar.
Vida Cafe's vegan version of a Monte Cristo sandwich.Vida Cafe
Vida Cafe: Monte Cristo Panini, $15
Vegan Italian spinoff of Belenty’s Love Mexican Vegan Restaurant features pastas, minestrone, and Italian staples, plus baked goods and brunch.
Fort Worth restaurant does a vegan rendition of the Monte Cristo with vegan ham they say they make themselves, and vegan cheese similar to the Chao label; they won't say what brand name they're using but it has the same melty consistency as Chao. It's served on French toast, stacked tall at three slices, and has a touch of heat. Powdered sugar and agave syrup.
State Fair of Texas is getting in on the Monte Cristo action.SFOT
State Fair of Texas: Fried Monte Qristo
In recent years, the annual State Fair of Texas has transformed its food program into a moderately trendy event and right on cue, it'll make its 2023 debut on September 29 with a Monte Cristo as one of its 40-plus new options.
Their Texas BBQ spin on the sandwich is served up by Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ and comes layered with brisket, American cheese, smoked turkey, and Swiss, fried, powdered sugar, and raspberry chipotle BBQ sauce.
Ol' South Pancake House: Big Tex Cristo $9.99
Beloved Fort Worth restaurant with diner food and low prices is a favorite for all walks of life.
Speaking of the State Fair, that's the inspiration for Ol' South's entry into the Monte Cristo field. Called the Big Tex Cristo (and hats off to them since the SFOT is quite litigious about its various trademarks), it's a triple decker sandwich with turkey, Swiss, American, and mayo, and their special touch: Dipped in their buttermilk batter, for a springy, pancakey outer shell. Powdered sugar and lingonberry preserves.
Snooze an A.M. Eatery: Monte Cristo Brioche Toast $15.25
Buzzy, boozy breakfast-and-brunch chain from Denver with six locations in the DFW area.
Just announced for fall '23 is Snooze's Monte Cristo Brioche Toast: like a deconstructed version featuring French toast dipped brioche smeared with raspberry pepper jam, with Havarti and Gruyere cheeses, shaved ham, sunny-side egg, prosciutto, with a side of raspberry pepper jam and a salad. On this list because it's trendy.
Seven Mile Cafe: Monte Cristo sandwich $18.50
Small locally owned funky-upscale chain from Denton specializes in bodacious breakfast and brunch, and is a particular favorite among vegetarians and vegans.
Seven Mile recently added a Monte Cristo to the menu, and it's a creative and decadent rendition. Brioche bread gets stuffed with Canadian bacon, turkey, and smoked Gouda cheese; then dipped in their French toast batter, fried, a dust of powdered sugar. They serve it with blackberry coulis, vanilla Anglaise, and a fruit cup.
Some of the Monte Cristos we missed in this roundup include Holy Grail Pub in Plano, Ye Olde Scarlet Pimpernel Tavern in downtown Dallas, the Sports Garden in Coppell, Aspen Creek in Irving, The Irishman Pub in North Dallas, Chef Point Cafe in Colleyville, Honey Berry Cafe (multiple locations), Hugs Cafe in McKinney (served on Saturdays), and Sweetie Pie's Ribeyes (Decatur and North Richland Hills).