Saturday, March 28, 2009
Best Bites: Dining out in Dallas-Fort Worth March 28
Talking turkey -- no beef or pork.
Owner William Sherman calls The Turkey Hut, his three-month-old restaurant on Jupiter Road in Garland, an "alternative eating restaurant".
"We’re the first of our kind that serves no beef or pork," he says. "We still have hamburgers and pizzas and hot dogs, including a lot of home-cooked stuff. We have a full deli where you can order your deli sandwiches. We also have chili -- a lot of chili people have come in and gone nuts over it. The only difference is that nothing on our menu has beef or pork."
Sherman, 44, developed the concept because he's allergic to beef and pork, and has developed a bank of recipes for people who can't or don't want to eat them, either.
"Our burgers are one-of-a-kind," he says. "People come in all the time and say, 'I cook with turkey and I can't make it taste like this.' But I've been doing this kind of cooking for 17 years. My background is in science. I worked in the computer and medical industry. But my grandmother and then my mom and dad owned restaurants. So I had that background from being around them. When I quit computer industry, I decided I’m going to open me a restaurant."
Breakfast ranges from $2.25 to $5.95. Hamburger plate with fries or slaw is $4.95. He also does a meal-of-the-day lunch special that's $6.95. On Thursday, it was smothered patties and gravy with corn and mashed potatoes. On Fridays, there's all-you-can eat catfish with hush puppies and cole slaw for $11.95.
He says his unusual location on Jupiter Road in an area that's primarily industrial-commercial gives him a ready-made market.
"A lot of these people sit behind a desk, the last thing you want is a nasty heavy meal," he says. "You're not physically athletic. I thought, what a better thing to give them than something light and good."
Swirl Bakery is a former Celebrity Cafe whose fortunes changed when the original Harris family who started the chain sold it a few years ago to a corporation that didn't want to continue franchising. Swirl owner Rob Downey kept much of the salad-and-sandwich concept intact, but with some tweaks and additions.
"We do five varieties of chicken salad, we roast our own turkey, we make very good homemade food," he says. "We also have a takery case where we make up homemade meals that you can take home. In the evenings, we do large pan comfort dinners. We take a black skillet and fry chicken the old fashion way. We do chicken-fried-steak. We also have grilled salmon, homemade pot pies, and pot roast that we roast for five hours in a large Dutch oven. We have beef burgundy served over noodles for $7. I’m proud of our food."
Chef Stephan Pyles, owner of Stephan Pyles, is consulting on a new "casual, creative upscale American restaurant" (can you say "Houston's") to open this spring in Plano by first-time restaurateurs who aren't ready to announce the specifics. But it has Stephan Pyles! That makes it news. Meanwhile, Pyles' own new project, Samar, looks like it will open in mid-July.
"We got held up with the design but we're presenting plans to city within the next week," Pyles says. "It's going to be small and casual inside and inexpensive. That sounds like something you'd come up with during the recession, but I actually had it in mind long before."