Showing posts from September, 2008

Firehouse Subs ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Based on a tip from one of our three readers, I rolled over to Firehouse Subs the other day. Jacksonville, FL based Firehouse Subs represents yet another niche in the overcrowded QSR sandwich segment. Let's take a look at the different type of subs out there: There's the good old fashioned cold deli sub, most known via Subway, but RJG readers know we favor Jersey Mike's and the Dallas area Great Outdoors. Then you have the conveyor belt hot subs pioneered by Austin based Schlotzsky's, copied by Alvin Ord's (The RJG fondly remembers this obscure chain from the 1980s - one that still exists in Weatherford - and I haven't been since 1991 which was at the old NW Dallas location), and altered to great success by the Denver based Quizno's. Now you have the assembly line created sub, from the enterprising Dallas franchise Which Wich. Then there's the order up, sit down deli's like Jason's and McAlister's. Another variation is the wrap, a concept t…

***CLOSED*** Billadelphia's Authentic Philly Foods ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

May 16, 2016 update: Billadelphia's is now closed. It's a Mexican take out. I mean, where else can you find one of those? Meanwhile, authentic Philly Steaks are an endangered species in these parts.

Here's a place I probably should go to more often than I do. it's just a little far off for a quick lunch, but certainly close enough for a weekend visit. Lately I've been allocating Friday's for places like this. Let's see how long that lasts.

What it says on the sign above, "Authentic Philly Foods". Billadelphia's is all about the food of Philadelphia, including their signature cheesesteaks. My first visit to Billadelphia's was in 2006 (while still in Bedford), and my interchange with owner Bill went something along the lines of: "I'll have a wiz wit", and he immediately struck up a conversation along the lines of "You from Philly?". Nope, but been there a few times for business I said. He then went on to explain tha…

Recent closings: Uncle Joe's Pizza, Enrique's, Green Bamboo

Been awhile since I mentioned some closings.

While driving to Cafe Sicilia, we noticed that Uncle Joe's Pizza and Pasta in Bedford had boarded up. Uncle Joe's were one of the better Balkan owned Italian restaurants in the area. And Mr. Jose still misses the excellent pizza and pasta dishes at Big Joe's, formerly on Hwy 26 in Colleyville.

Enrique's in old town Keller is gone. We didn't really care for the food, but the ambiance was classic Regular Joe's Guide. A tiny white shack on US-377. Hard to image the structure surviving much longer.

And we received word that Green Bamboo, also in Keller, is no longer. That's too bad, as they were one of the few Vietnamese places in the northern sections of NE Tarrant. And quite good at that. We hadn't been in awhile, but it was a place I intended to write about eventually. That leaves Pho Texas in Southlake as the only Vietnamese up north (there are tons in Haltom City and Arlington).

El Rancho Grande ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Recently we wrote about Los Alamos, and on our journey we drove by El Rancho Grande, just a block away. And then I'd remembered the place from a few years ago when Mrs. RJG and I visited the La Playa, a branch of the La Playa Maya local chain minus the Maya (now closed). It seemed to be a happening place that particular Saturday night, and now we were going for our first visit on a Saturday afternoon.

The interior is "Old World Mexico", as found in places like El Fenix, Cantina Laredo and Pulido's. Dark, gold lighting fixtures, stucco and wood trim.

Time for the most important part of the meal: Chips and hot sauce. Why most important? As Fort Worth Hole in the Wall so astutely observes, it's 90% of the meal. May sound funny, but there are times when he's exactly right. The chips are homemade tortillas, a bit thick in texture, and have a taste that I've not had in a chip before. Not sure I'm overly fond of it, but it is different. The salsa is like man…

Five Guys Burgers and Fries ~ Southlake, Texas

Last visit: November 2017 (Greenwood Village, CO)
Last update: December 28, 2017

I myself cannot believe how rapidly Five Guys has expanded. It was only a few years ago that they were practically a local chain operating in and around Washington DC, and the Maryland / Virginia suburbs, which I visited many times on business. And not too long ago, I was thrilled to find out they had a location in Annapolis, MD. But I would've never dreamed in such a short time that they'd be in DFW! And as I update this in 2017, they appear to be thriving.

Five Guys has mastered one aspect of the fast food experience: The limited menu. It's hamburgers, hot dogs, and the one concession to vegetarians - grilled cheese (I appreciate this as there are times when my business group will include vegetarians and I still get to eat at places like this. For example, In-N-Out Burger doesn't have any options for veggie heads.)

And so with that, it's then paramount that the hamburgers are of a hig…

Cafe Sicilia ~ Bedford, Texas

March 2015 update: New location in Watauga does not hold up the standard of the original!

May 2013 update: It's been about 3 years since we last visited Cafe Sicilia. Mrs. RJG and I decided to celebrate Mothers Day here (on a Friday night prior) with both our official Mothers' in tow (imagine that?). Food quality has remained excellent, and the restaurant seems as popular as ever. Strange then, that we find out that Ms. Stoman sold the restaurant not long after our last visit. So kudos to the new owners for maintaining the high standard set forth prior. Cafe Sicilia is quite possibly the best of the NE Tarrant neighborhood Italian restaurant stable.

Original review

Cafe Sicilia was yet another branch to the Moni's Italian restaurant empire. The original owners decided to sell out and open up Dal Italia in North Richland Hills (and they sold out again and the restaurant is now known as Oggi Italia Cafe) (May 2013: Which is now sadly closed altogether). Enter Karin Stoman, bor…

***CLOSED*** Fernandez Cafe ~ Fort Worth, Texas

April 2012 update: From Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat: "Breakfast hasn't been the same in west Fort Worth without Fernandez Cafe. Former server Olga Garcia finally brought back Fernandez's burritos and hot-hot sauce this week, reopening the restaurant months after buying it from Betty Ruiz.Garcia has kept the same Fernandez menu, including the unusual west-side tradition of chicken and tortilla-cut dumplings Thursday nights."

Original review

Looking for the best Tex-Mex enchiladas? Here's an insider tip from The Regular Joe's Guide: Fernandez Cafe.

This is one of the rare great places that I've found using a coupon, but were it not for said coupon book, then I may still not know about Fernandez Cafe. It was the summer of 2003, and our neighbor was selling those big books filled with coupons. They're a good deal, if you actually use them. I decided right then and there that the book would be our guide to discovering places in Tarrant County. At the time, …

Niki's Italian Bistro ~ Keller, Texas

August 2013 update: The NRH location is no longer associated with the one in Keller. We have recently visited, and here's our entry.

Mrs. RJG and I have been regular, albeit infrequent, visitors to Niki's since we moved back to Texas in 2003. In fact, I think they're the first Italian restaurant we visited upon our arrival.

Niki's, like almost all of NE Tarrant's Italian restaurants, are of a Balkan heritage. So there isn't much deviation of taste from others we've written about before on these pages like Oggi Italia, Cafe Italia and Bellisimo's. All the familiar telltale signs are there: A tomato based vinaigrette house dressing, similar desserts, a familiar menu with a mix of chicken / veal entrees and tradition pasta, including baked dishes - and pizza of course. On the latter, of the restaurants we mentioned above, we've only tried Oggi Italia's pizza, and if the others follow suit, we'd be very happy. Mrs. RJG's co-workers swear by …

***CLOSED*** Los Alamos Cafe ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Unbeknownst to me, Los Alomos closed shortly after our last revisit. Devastating news, but we weren't the type of customers they needed to stay in business. At best we made it over here once a year from NE Tarrant (it quite simply was not anywhere close to where we live). In the RJG's opinion, they had the best salsa in town. I hope the salsa (or restaurant) resurfaces at some point.

Lately, Mrs. RJG and I have been just going to our favorites in NE Tarrant, many of which we've already written about in these pages. So this Labor Day weekend, we figured it was time to venture out again and try a new place. Using my patented Random Restaurant Generator, and a bit of careful weeding out, we ended up at Los Alamos near the Stockyards. To be exact, 14th and N. Main near Marine Park. Strangely enough, Google Maps will send you South to near Magnolia. That's entirely wrong...

Located in an old brick building, with a tile roof, Los Alamos is a welcoming place. Once inside, you…