Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summary of updates from past postings in the RJG

Starting from the oldest restaurant post to the most recent. A quick status only on the DFW restaurants that we've frequented since January 2014 - or had recent closings/relocations/expansions in that time frame. I won't link to them, as that will be too admin intensive. You can easily find quick notes on each entry by searching by the name in the Google box. I've added Facebook links to each entry where appropriate.

Bellisimo - Italian - Colleyville. Last visit: Dec 2014. It was the first restaurant post in the RJG! Though we are infrequent visitors. Bellisimo is good, not great, and very similar to other Italian restaurants in NE Tarrant.

Palio's - Pizza/Italian - Keller. Oct 2014. Good for what they do. Fast food Neapolitan pizza basically.

Sea Siam - Thai - Keller. May 2015. A restaurant we still go on an almost weekly basis, ever since they first opened!

Taco Casa - Keller. May 2015. A twice a month lunch spot for me. Best fast food crunchy tacos around.

Johnny B's - Hamburgers - Southlake. Feb 2014. We need to get back over there soon!

Mi Pueblo - Mexican - NRH. May 2015. And who doesn't want a frozen margarita for lunch? A Mexican standby for us ever since they first opened in 2004.

Chapps - Hamburgers - Keller. Nov 2014. Solid burger option.

Jersey Mike's - Sandwiches - Keller. June 2015. Brand new location and the closest to us by about 3 minutes from the Centennial Park Southlake locale (lol). New regular lunch spot!

Feedstore BBQ - Keller. Dec 2014. Yep - the old Up 'n Smoke place. All remodeled! Excellent, though we'll probably go back to the original in Southlake, with its beautiful ranch setting.

Love and War in Texas - Texana - Plano. Jan 2015. Haven't been to the Grapevine location in many years. Plano has proven convenient for work related events. Remains an excellent option, especially for out-of-towners.

Tolbert's - Texana - Grapevine. Apr 2015. Still one of our absolute favorites! And their beer selection continues to improve.

Grapevine Subs - Grapevine. Feb 2014. Not as good as the old Cero's Heros. Starting to fall off the RJG map.

El Paseo - Mexican - Keller. May 2015. A reliable Tex-Mex standby ever since we moved to the area in 2003. Good frozen margaritas too.

Bangkok Cuisine - Thai - Haltom City. May 2015. Another regular rotation restaurant. Been going here for over 10 years and it's still great!

Niki's Italian Bistro - Keller. Oct 2014. This location no longer related to the NRH store by the same name. Only decent food and no BYOB, makes it for a very infrequent visit.

Cafe Sicilia - Italian - Watauga. Mar 2015. New location was a big step down from the original in Bedford, at least on our one visit. Too bad, as it's a more convenient locale to the RJG homestead. Not sure we'll return even to the Bedford store at this point.

Billadelphia's Authentic Philly Foods - NRH. Jan. 2014. Oh my, it's been too long since we ate the the "shack". Need to remedy that.

Anamia's - Mexican - Southlake. Apr 2015. Anamia's remains our favorite Mexican in all of Tarrant County. We usually go at least once a month.

Peace Burger & Dive Bar - Grapevine. Apr 2014. Definitely living up to its name. A decent option, but there's better. Falling off our radar.

Fresco's Cocina Mexicana - Watauga. Feb 2015. Still a favorite, but we don't go that often. Love their selection of salsas! Great margaritas too.

Kirby's - Steakhouse - Southlake. Oct 2014.  I only go here for business dinners anymore. Really good food, and certainly one of the best steakhouses around. But too expensive for normal dining.

Kincaid's - Hamburgers - Southlake. Nov 2014. Still a favorite in the RJG household, though we go infrequently.

Freddy's Steakburgers - Keller. Jan 2015. New location and much closer to us than Euless. I would like to go more often, but it's so tough to resist those frozen custards!

Texadelphia - Irving (Las Colinas). Jun 2014. This was a regular rotation spot for me in 2005-06 when I had an office nearby, so this one-off visit was a bit of reminiscence. It's not what it once was and the novelty appears to be yesterday's news. Might not go back.

Sweet Basil - Thai - Hurst. May 2015. Along with Sea Siam and Bangkok Cuisine, Sweet Basil is a regular dining spot for us. Outstanding in every way!

Italian Bistro - Roanoke. May 2015. A solid Italian option, very similar to others in the area. But perhaps in a nicer setting. We only go a few times a year.

Thai Riverside - Grapevine. Aug 2014. While not in the top tier of Thai restaurants in NE Tarrant, it's still a decent option. They keep changing owners though, making it seem like a public domain company. We go once a year to try the new owner's recipes....

Great Outdoors - Subs - Carrollton. Mar 2015. I used to go to this location on a weekly basis from 1988-1993 when I worked and lived nearby. Now I have a new excuse to go again somewhat regularly, as one of my favorite craft beer stores (Lone Star Beverage) is not far in Carrollton! I think Great Outdoors makes one of the best old fashioned subs. My dad used to love this place when he was alive. When we first moved to NE Tarrant in 2003, there was a location in NRH, but of course they closed right after (argh!).

Yu's Gold-In - Chinese - Keller. Mar 2015. Still our favorite Chinese take out joint!

Tex's Star Grill - Watauga. Aug 2014. If you're looking for the Chicago food experience, the misnamed Tex's will satisfy.

Mooyah - Hamburgers - Southlake. Jan 2015. A good local option for me, and a place I go often when in the mood for burgers. BTW, if you're ever in the oil kingdoms of the Middle East, you can actually eat at Mooyah now!

Schlotzsky's - Southlake. Apr 2015. Another local option that is convenient for lunch since I work from home. I really enjoy their sandwiches - especially after taking it home and re-toasting!

Pietro's - Italian - Dallas (Lower Greenville). Apr 2015. Still the RJG's all-time favorite restaurant. And it likely will always be as long as Pietro is still alive. If you like old school Sicilian style red sauce Italian food, then do not waste any more time. Get over there before it's too late. We try to go about 4 times a year. It's worth the 45 minute drive.

My New York Pizza - Keller. Apr 2014. I used to like this place a lot for a good old fashioned sloppy slice of New York pizza. But the last few times weren't the same. Maybe I'll try it one more time to see if there's been improvement. Seems the reviews are uniformly positive, so that's a good sign.

Fuzzy's - Tacos y Margaritas - Southlake. Aug 2014. I know they're now a national chain and all, but I still think they're great. I love their tacos, habanero taco sauce, and frozen margaritas. Sometimes we go almost weekly, and other times it can be months between visits, as evidenced by the fact we haven't been there now for 10 months. But Fuzzy's is exactly the type of place we cut out when eating more at home.

Funky Baja's - Tacos y Margaritas - Keller. Apr 2014. We used to rave about this place, but it really started to go downhill fast. They charged the same for tacos but reduced their size by about half. That's just crazy. It's been a full year, so we may give it one more chance. Maybe it's improved again.

Abuelo's - Mexican - Hurst. May 2015. An excellent choice for Tex-Mex in a nice setting. It's a chain, but this location has always been managed well. They have new digs right across the street from their old spot.

Esparza's - Mexican - Grapevine. Mar 2014. I would have told you this was our favorite Mexican spot in 2003-2004 not long after we moved here, and its quality hasn't changed one bit. Perhaps even improved with the much needed remodel. We just don't get over here as much as we used to. We should remedy that soon.

Mexican Inn - Bedford. Jan 2014. New location. Probably need to visit more often, but so many good places to choose from. Love their greasy fritos styled chips though!

Taco Diner - Southlake.  Aug 2014. With the arrival of places like Torchy's, Taco Diner seems only a good option if shopping in the Town Square. And since I don't do that....

Malli's - Mexican - NRH. May 2015. This one was a sleeper. But Mrs. RJG and her mom, both natives of Mexico, love this place for breakfast. So I've been tagging along once in awhile too. It's the real deal!

Whataburger - Keller. Feb 2015. Well, every once in awhile the RJG likes to slip over to the drive thru for lunch and get a double meat with cheese...

Taco Bueno - Keller. Jun 2014. Been going to Taco Bueno since the early 1980s, but now they blow suddenly. What happened to their old recipes? I'll give it one more try, but this could be it.

Cool River - Steakhouse - Irving (Las Colinas). Jun 2014. Another business expense account restaurant. Not a place we would go on our own.

Bottlecap Alley - Hamburgers / Sports Bar - Keller. Feb 2014. Good, not great. Falling off our radar.

Tacos y Mas - Keller. May 2015. We just started going back here after a long absence. About as good a taqueria as we'll get in these parts, without having to head much further south.

Il Calabrese - Italian - Southlake. Dec 2014. Changed name from Patrizio Osteria and is no longer associated with the Dallas chain. Generally I go here for business lunches. A bit too fancy for Mrs. RJG and I to dine on our own - or at least with any regularity.

Don Mario's - Mexican - Arlington. Apr 2015. Wanted to try the new location since they moved from Fort Worth. OK, we did that. May not again....

Cavalli's - Artisan pizza - Irving (Las Colinas). Jul 2014. There's better out there these days, so not worth the drive. They never improved on their flaws. Besides, Burrito Jimmy's is next door and who can resist....

In-N-Out Burgers - Hurst. Jul 2014. Actually we really like In-N-Out (don't care what anyone says). We just stopped eating burgers for the most part. We need to get over there again.

Taco Villa - Fort Worth. Apr 2015. Still one of my favorite crunchy fast food tacos. Worth the drive every once in awhile. And beats having to go to Amarillo! Benbrook is now closed, so I hope this isn't the end of Taco Villa in DFW.

Lee's Grilled Cheese - Fort Worth. Jan 2014. Still the best grilled cheese sandwich I've ever had. We just rarely think of eating grilled cheese sandwiches... Need to get over there for an update.

Baker Bros Deli - Fort Worth. Jan 2014. Seems we don't get over to the Alliance area much, but this is a great option for lunch if we do.

Jet's Pizza - NRH. Nov 2014. Probably our favorite pizza takeout chain. Love their sauce and Jet Boats! I see our healthy eating habits stopped us from going here. Oh dear, need to have it again!

The Burger & Philly Shack - Watauga. Feb 2014. Arguably the best burger in NE Tarrant. Again, burgers fell off the menu for awhile.

Los Molcajetes - Fort Worth. Mar 2015. We were in the area, so we stopped in. But since it is essentially the same as Mi Pueblo, there really isn't much reason to drive over for us. Certainly an excellent choice, though, for classic Tex-Mex.

Silver Fox - Steakhouse - Grapevine. Apr 2015. Like Kirby's and Cool River, this is just a place I meet with my business partners. Though I have to say that my experience here was far improved from an earlier visit back in 2006 or so.

Campisi's - Italian - Fort Worth. Sep 2014. We love Campisi's, so it was great to see they opened one in Fort Worth - and a real restaurant too. We should try to get over there at least every quarter or so.

Grimaldi's - Pizza - Grapevine. May 2015. Still my favorite coal oven pizza place in the area. There's a lot of new competition that I'm looking forward to trying.

Banana Leaf - Thai - Dallas. Apr 2015. We still meet with the India Mafia about twice a year here and have a "summit". Excellent Thai option if in far North Dallas near Plano.

Back Forty - BBQ - NRH. Jul 2014. Like with burgers, BBQ fell off our menu. But Back Forty was our local favorite. And I'm itching to go back!

Torchy's - Tacos y Margaritas - Southlake. May 2015. We don't go here much because it's always very crowded. We went for the first time in 15 months last week, and sure enough there was a line almost out the door with very little seating options. On a Sunday morning! Despite that - it was excellent as always. If there was ever a place that should consider expanding in the area, it's Torchy's. We can't be the only ones who avoid those lines.

Expansions (NE Tarrant only)
Taco Casa - Grapevine, Hurst (both coming soon)
Jersey Mike's - everywhere it seems.
Feedstore BBQ - Keller
Cafe Sicilia - Watauga
Freddy's Steakburgers - Keller
Jet's - Bedford

Closings
Fernandez Cafe - Mexican - Fort Worth. At one time the best Tex-Mex enchiladas in all of DFW (at least that we'd tried). Never seemed to get their footing once they closed the first time. Even though the second incarnation was good, but not great. Looks like there's a burger joint there now.

Tirelli's Deli - East Coast Deli - Keller. We followed them from Roanoke, but it looks like the competition was too stiff in Keller. There's now a Thai restaurant in that spot.

Antonio's - Mexican - Hurst. There was a time when Antonio's was the finest Mexican restaurant in NE Tarrant. And then it went downhill fast, and the smell from the cigar bar next door finally put them under. Tragic really.

Up-N-Smoke - Barbecue - Keller. As stated above in the Feedstore entry. It was dilapidated and smelled of stale smoke. So it was either remodel or retire. The owner chose retirement. A fine BBQ joint until the very end. It went out gracefully.

Ted E's Burgers and More - Fort Worth. Too many items on the menu, and not enough focus on their core.

FasTaco - NRH. Honestly for old fashioned crunchy fast food tacos, they were pretty average. If you can't be great at that, well it was only a matter of time before they shuttered.

Del Taco - Hurst and Watauga. Not a good time for fast food tacos in the area. Del Taco ate their own competition, managing to put both their NE Tarrant locations out of business at the same time. They're still open in DFW, but nowhere near where the RJG resides. Sigh. I like them too!

Oscar's - Haltom City, then Sanger. They moved to Sanger and then managed to close again. Amazing. They should have stayed in the old building in Haltom City instead of going upscale there. They never recovered.

Yourway / Sharx Pub - Hamburgers / Pub - Keller. They never could figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up. So... closed. Now it houses Maria Cuca's, a fine Mexican place we plan on telling you all about.

Taco Mayo - Justin. Darnit! This was the only location of the Oklahoma based taco chain that was even remotely close. Bridgeport is next. Ugh. Oh well, back to stopping in locations off of I-35 when in OK.

Taco Villa - Benbrook. This came as a surprise to me. Not that we would go this far to eat here, since we have one 20 minutes away in Fort Worth. But it always seemed crowded when we did, and Benbrook is the perfect locale for such a chain. Maybe the novelty wore off.

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