Thursday, May 29, 2008
Humperdink's ~ Dallas, Texas
I first ran into Humperdink's at their Addison location in the early 1990s. They're still in Addison, but they've since moved to the south side of Belt Line. It wasn't far from where I worked in those days, and it became somewhat of a "guys at work hangout". We'd have lunch, or draft players for fantasy football or baseball there - that kind of thing. At that time, Humperdink's called itself a sports bar, and they still very much have that look and feel. But during the time that we lived in Colorado, they made a key switch to calling themselves a brewery as well. Mr. RJG thinks that's a great move, as local breweries appeals to me greatly. Perhaps I got spoiled in Colorado, as brewpubs are far more active there than here in DFW (2013 note - and we're finally starting to catch up!).
Humperdink's is a local chain and they currently have 4 locations, 3 in Dallas county and one in Tarrant (Arlington). The one reviewed here is their NW Highway location. Humperdink's lies in a sea of Publicly Traded and Corporate restaurant chains, known locally as "restaurant row". The original "restaurnt row" was on Walnut Hill and I-35E (Stemmons Fwy), near the old Don Carter's West bowling alley. That area was hopping in the late 1970s and 1980s, but the area was restricted land wise (not to mention the ridiculous Prohibition era "dry laws" that still pervade in Texas. Everything north of Walnut Hill is still "dry" - in 2008! (and 2013!)), thus limiting growth, and most of the corporate tenants moved out to this newer location near where Loop 12 and Stemmons branch apart. Humperdink's is one of the few non-corporate chains in the area. If coming from the west / Las Colinas, you'll encounter quite the colorful drive, with all the strip clubs / bars / adult themed places / liquor stores that once resided on Harry Hines (US 77), but have now been banished to this non-descript section of town. The city of Dallas did this on purpose in the 1990s, since were no residential areas here, and the area could be self-contained.
On this occasion, former employee from down Austin way, Mr. KC, was in town training at Big Software Company You've Actually Heard Of, that Mr. RJG no longer works at. And what better way to reunite with old colleagues than over a few brews while watching the Stars get clobbered by the Red Wings.
While the brewpub/brewery concept is much welcomed, and the beer is definitely good (not great), their menu isn't... that is to say, it's way too big, and there's no specialty of the house. It's what we said in the Novrozky's post, it's never a good idea to try to appeal to everyone. So while their food is uniformly good, none of it is distinctive. They have good burgers, barbecue, chicken sandwiches. They have every appetizer that every chain has. I had their sliders this time, which isn't an everyday menu item. Certainly better than White Castle, for what it is, though I think I'd rather go to a White Castle (strange as that may sound). Mr. KC goes for the ribs typically, and gave a thumbs up. Since Mr. KC has taken a shine to Humperdinks, there's a good chance Mr. RJG will visit more than he normally would. And I'm good with that. And given the nearby competition, Humperdink's is about the only restaurant in the area that can claim DFW as its only home.