Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DFW Roundup - Chains edition

And the final of our promised guides. This post revolves around national or regional chains that have either recently popped into the Metroplex or ones I've just not spoken of prior. As mentioned years ago, the RJG really appreciates regional chains, and becomes a bit less interested when they have a national presence. But even the larger corporations are doing a better job of "localizing" their franchises. As long as they stay out of the Public Markets, they generally can do anything they want, and that flexibility helps them tremendously.

So the big news in chain food is the arrival of...

.... not what you're thinking.....

Taco Villa. Benbrook (July) Review moved here

Freebirds World Burrito. Grapevine (July). The wife and I first tried Freebirds when they arrived to the DFW market with their store on Greenville Avenue in Dallas (2004 time frame). I was pretty impressed with their wide selection of tortillas, rice, beans, meats, and sauces. It was like Chipotle on steroids. But Upper Greenville is a long way from NE Tarrant, so we didn't venture back. Then they opened one up in Addison, near our office on the Tollway. But of course it was just as we were being bought out by another company, and I only managed to get their once. But I thought it was great still. And here comes store #3 for us - in far north Ft. Worth on the edge of Keller. Still a bit of a long drive and the place was absolutely packed to the ceiling. Of course, Freebirds was still quite a novelty then. I heard they opened a store up in Hurst by NE Mall, which was even a bit closer to us, but we never went. And now they have a new location in Grapevine on William D Tate nearby to many other chains (Red Robin, Boston's, Hooters, etc...) that is even a bit closer. And its this location that the RJG decided to have his July 4th lunch at. Meh. What happened? The chicken tasted boiled not grilled. The tortilla was overly sticky, the rice was mushy, the beans were bad. The salsas on the table had goo all over them. What the heck? Looks like Freebirds has outgrown their management. They have a great concept, but they clearly don't have the infrastructure to support it. Time to invest fellas! Or your good name is going to suffer. Of course, I'll go back and try it again. In a few months that is....

In-N-Out Burger. Hurst (June). Review moved here

Mellow Mushroom. Southlake (June). For all the vitriol that In-N-Out Burger receives, I seriously doubt Mellow Mushroom will suffer the same fate. Duuuude.... SHROOMS. Mellow Mushroom glorifies the late 60s and early 70s psychedelic culture, and it would be way uncool to attack it, right man? But fun decor and themes aside, it's about the taste of the food and the variety of drink that matters right? I first went to a Mellow Mushroom in their home base of Atlanta in 1996 while on business there. I figured it was one of those places I would only get to if I was in the area. But their immense popularity has allowed them a rapid growth. So I was shocked when I heard they opened near TCU. We never did get over there, and now they've made it very easy for us - they're here in NE Tarrant! Right on! They're in Southlake in the old Baker Brothers location. Remember how we predicted that Baker Brothers would close there? I could never understand how a sandwich place could survive in such a large building in a high priced real estate market like Southlake. Mellow Mushroom, however, is the perfect tenant for the space! They specialize in pizza of course, and they hand toss them. It's a really good tasting pizza with excellent crust and ingredients. Perhaps even better for the RJG is their robust beer selection. They may have more selections of draught and bottle than any restaurant or bar in NE Tarrant! At least until Ginger Man arrives in August (hurry, hurry!). If you haven't been to Mellow Mushroom, give them a try. This location is very comfortable and well managed.

The only other news I'd like to report on is Taco Mayo is creeping closer and closer to DFW! Bridgeport had been their closest locale, but that's still quite a hoof to get up there. Now they're in Justin, which is about 10 miles north and a little west. We haven't been yet, but for certain we will by our next update. Taco Mayo is a fantastic crunchy fast food taco chain from Oklahoma that is slowly penetrating our market.

OK, that about does it here for awhile. I may jot down some other thoughts on restaurants around the US. Especially Denver, as we just spent the last 3 summers there. Denver is a great eating town, especially if you like Mexican, Pizza and Italian.

3 comments:

Cowboy fan, burger junkie, GodFather of Tech said...

my friend was at Taco Villa when they opened and spoke to Bobby Cox. He told Bobby they needed one in Wautagu/Keller and Bobby said they had heard that a number of times and they were looking into it.

So, fingers crossed, we might get a TV up in our area soon.

RJG said...

That would be awesome!! Thanks Cowboy Fan.

Jessica said...

I love your site! You should post some of your stuff on flauntmyfood.com

you would probably get more viewers.

that's the site i go to view foods and stuff.. cool site you have though!