Showing posts from January, 2009

***CLOSED*** Campania Pizza ~ Southlake, Texas

June 2016 update: Looks like a fire destroyed their kitchen, and the restaurant decided to call it a day. They had gone downhill for some time in our estimation. They were a pioneer in Northeast Tarrant for this kind of pizza though, and they should be commended for that at the very list.

November 2011 update: Since I wrote the below, it appears Campania have lost their Vera Pizza Napoletana certification. Whether that's due to an authentic lack of consistently meeting standards, or Campania just didn't want to pay the fees, is anyone's guess. The RJG thinks certifications in the business world are nothing more than a racket, so it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. But worth mentioning all the same. On our last visit, I felt the pizza was slightly undercooked, and this is the second disappointing visit in a row for me. I'm concerned it's "not the same as it used to be." Mrs RJG had the penne arrabiata and the sauce was very good - and spicy as…

Galligaskin's Submarines ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Thanks to a reminder from Food and Fort Worth, Texas, the Mrs. and I decided to journey over to Ft. Worth and visit Galligaskin's. You may think it's a bit far to go for a sandwich, and it is, but I wanted to revisit a place I haven't to in over 20 years.

Galligaskin's started in Dallas (near SMU) in 1972 by some guys who wanted to recreate the sub sandwiches they could get in Boston while attending college there. According to their website, they are the oldest sub shop in Texas. Really? Well a quick check of two of the most known of Texas sub chains, The Great Outdoors of Dallas (1973) and Thundercloud of Austin (1975) does indicate that Galligaskin's may indeed be the original - at least of those that are still around.

At one point, the chain had grown to quite a few stores throughout DFW, including one near Bachman Lake in NW Dallas. Even though Dad and I were loyalists to the nearby Great Outdoors, we did cheat on them a couple of times and gave Galligaskin'…

Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Started in 1958, Sonny Bryan's is a Texas legend for barbecue. Its original location on Inwood Rd. and Harry Hines in Dallas remains a tourist destination. As the menu itself states, the area was then considered "Far North Dallas". Hard to imagine that today.

While I've still never stepped foot in the original location with its DISD school desks (saw enough of those... in DISD schools), I do remember going to the Red Bryan's on Lombardy (Thanks Mr D for the catch!), just west of Webbs Chapel, not far from the "North Dallas" I grew up near. We had gone a couple of times on the way back from bowling at Circle Bowl when I was still a young boy in the mid 1970s. Curious - any of my readers ever bowl at Circle Bowl? Any of my readers ever bowl in a "Bantam League" (generally for kids aged 11-12)? Today, the old Circle Bowl is a dive bar of ill repute (11/4/10 update: it's been torn down to make way for the DART light rail). And the area where t…

Mancuso's Italian ~ White Settlement, Texas

In 1987, Cathy Mancuso opened up an Italian restaurant in far west Ft. Worth for the simple reason that there wasn't any Italian eateries out that way. Coming from Utica, NY where her Dad ran a place called Nash's for many years, Cathy comes from the New York tradition of making high quality Italian meals for the public at large. She would have a hard time finding a more incongruous spot than this.

We've had good luck at the RJG recently in finding Old School Italian hole in the wall's: Siciliano's in Garland and I Fratelli in Irving are but two examples. Add Mancuso's to the list. We have others to spring on you, including the RJG's favorite restaurant, and we hope to write about them in the coming months ahead.

As we mentioned before, the Mrs. and I like to use Saturday's for our "road games" as it were, and try places outside of NE Tarrant. We first visited Mancuso's in the summer of 2007, and this is our first return visit. It's qu…

Texadelphia ~ Irving, Texas

Everything you need to know about Texadelphia can be derived from the name itself. As a base, they put forth the Philly cheesesteak concept, but with a Texas infused twist. They start with the soft hoagie roll and finely chopped and seasoned beef, just as in Philadelphia, but you also get chips and salsa on the side. And a host of toppings like BBQ sauce and Mustard Blend. No cheeze whiz or even provolone, but rather mozzarella is used. The salsa reminds me of Pace, so nothing special, but a nice accompaniment all the same.

So as you can see, it's not "authentic", and that's just the point. That's why they refer to themselves as a "Texas Cheesesteak". And the RJG will always reward a new fast food concept.

We first started going to Texadelphia when the RJG started to work for Software Company You've Actually Heard Of at the beginning of 2005. Nowadays the Mrs. and I visit a couple of times a year, as it's a convenient stopping point on the way …

Kassandra's Mexican Kitchen ~ Keller, Texas

Roughly four years ago, the Mrs. RJG and I visited Kassandra's one Sunday for lunch, enjoyed it immensely, and.... inexplicably never went back. I cannot put my finger on any one reason why. It had been suggested from time to time. "How 'bout Kassandra's?" either of us would ask."Maybe next time". Finally one recent evening I put my foot down, and said "We're going to Kassandra's". "OK". No explanation what our hesitation was, especially considering how good it is - as we found out again.

Kassandra's is a typical hole-in-the-wall you find in worn out suburban strip centers from the 1980s and before. The kind that breeds the non-denominational start-up churches and a handful of other small businesses. For any dedicated RJG follower, this is where you have to look to find the gems.

Once you walk in, it feels like an old diner somewhere in small town West Texas. It's a family restaurant, where the lighting is a bit too b…

Rosa's Cafe & Tortilla Factory ~ Hurst, Texas

January 2013 update: Some quick updates here on Rosa's. First off, interesting to note that Taco Villa itself is now in the DFW area (in Benbrook). This is my first revisit since I wrote the below review - almost exactly 4 years ago. I decided to go back because the place seems to be popular still, and maybe I'm just not ordering the right thing? So this time I tried a chicken fajita burrito. What a joke. It was practically the size of a taquito, with a mushy tortilla and tough chicken. Seriously I would've needed 4 of them to fill me up. But I passed on that temptation since quite frankly it wasn't good. At all. The salsa bar is still there, and their chile de arbol sauce remains the only thing I can recommend about Rosa's. Their ground beef tacos mix in potatoes to cheapen the product (I know it's authentic, but authentic doesn't always translate to the best experience). There's only one thing I can say about Rosa's: It's cheap. Cheap. Cheap. …

Weinberger's Deli ~ Grapevine, Texas

November 2013 update: I seem to get over about once or twice a year. Tried the LA at Night this time. Basically like a chili dog but with pastrami instead of a frankfurter.

December 2011 update: Managed to squeeze a visit to one of our favorite deli's earlier this week. They have tons of different sandwiches, so it's always difficult to just pick one. On this visit I tried the Wallstreeter, which is a hot pastrami with Russian dressing - and quite good.

The Weinberger legacy goes back to the early 1950's and a rejuvenated old chicken parts store in Homewood, Illinois. At its zenith, Weinberger's grew to 5 stores and covered the south Chicago suburbs as far as Indiana. A few years after the last store closed, the second generation picked up the name and opened a Chicago styled deli right here in Northeast Tarrant - specifically in old town Grapevine. And we're all the better for it. This was in 2003, coincidentally at the same time the RJG relocated back here …

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburger ~ Euless, Texas

Review of new Keller location here!

Freddy's Frozen Custard is exactly the type of regional chain the RJG loves. Started only a few years ago in Wichita, Kansas, the chain has slowly expanded in a circumference, with a stronger market penetration to the south and west, naturally enough since it's following population trends. Texas has been a key focus area for them starting in San Antonio and working their way up.

Freddy's seems to have modeled their chain after two different, but iconic, Midwest concepts: Steak & Shake and the proliferation of Custard stands in Kansas and Missouri (Sheridan's, Fritz's, Ted Drewes, etc...) This blend has proven to be a hit, and Freddy's continues to grow at a rapid rate despite a deep recession. And its no surprise why: The food here is great, and offered at a good value. One reason for both of these qualities to remain true is that Freddy's is still a relatively small independently run chain, where the owners maintain …