This is only my second visit to Babe's, the first being about 7 years ago with a former co-worker from my days at Lockheed-Martin in Denver in the late 1990s. Mrs. RJG had been curious about what the fuss was, so we took this day to head over for lunch and get us some fried southern food.
Babe's is a now legendary place in the DFW area and it's not an uncommon sight to see large lines on weekend nights. Babe's first opened its doors in 1993 in old town Roanoke, long before anyone else was there. Due to its increasing popularity, Roanoke is now the town that never was, and is a re-creation of a classic old Texas settlement as one might find at the turn of the last century. Lots of independent restaurants and local chain legends line the streets. It's quite an awesome sight to be honest. I think few would argue against the notion that Babe's popularity was the impetus behind the entire development.
Like many truly legendary places, Babe's offers an extremely limited menu. That is to say, "Wat' you want? Chicken Fried Steak or Fried Chicken?" That's it, though some of the other locations have a slightly extended menu. As we talked about with the "& more" moniker in a prior post, and our general dislike for the term, the RJG loves it when a place focuses solely on what they do best. If you don't want fried chicken, then don't come to Babe's - that's basically the message. Fair enough.
So what do two people typically do when they go to Babe's. One orders chicken fried steak, the other fried chicken - and proceed to split it. It's $12 a person, and along with your main meal it comes with a variety of sides. For openers there is the tossed salad, which is nothing more than crisp iceberg lettuce and a sweet vinagrette dressing (oh and a cucumber and tomato...). Just the way the RJG likes it. Simple but good. Then comes some buttermilk biscuits, which are awesome really, but fortunately they start you off with one each so you don't stuff yourself on bread. Then out comes the half chicken (leg, thigh, breast and wing) and the slab, and I do mean slab, of chicken fried steak. This is not the best fried chicken the RJG has ever had my any stretch, but it is indeed very good - juicy with a nice flavorful crust. I'll be perfectly honest and state that chicken fried steak isn't our favorite meal - but this is a very good rendition of the classic dish. The cream gravy is served on the side, and we sampled a few pieces in it. Good peppery flavor, though not something I'd want to dump on the steak itself. As for sides, you get "Grandma's corn" which is cream corn and whipped mashed potatoes. The potatoes are top tier, so smooth and tasty. I prefer whole corn to cream, but it was good all the same. You can wash all that with a Royal Crown Cola (not something you see everyday).
Babe's is in an old historical brick warehouse with table and chairs that are a mishmash of styles.
A great place to take out of town guests if they're looking for some southern food with a Texas twist.
As of this writing, the original Roanoke location is the #6 highest rated restaurant in all of DFW according to Urbanspoon.