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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grind so fine: “Fort Worthy” Rodeo Goat’s freshly ground, all-natural fare is plate-licking good

The name comes from a little teenage mischief involving a goat-roper and a warm Falstaff beer.

Rodeo Goat's epic (and epically-named) noms make it truly "Fort Worthy."

Photo by Jenni Hanley

Rodeo Goat's epic (and epically-named) noms make it truly "Fort Worthy."

— Burger lovers, tip your hat. There’s a new brigade in Cowtown, and this ain’t their first rodeo.

I’m not sure what’s most enticing about Rodeo Goat — the freshly ground natural goods, the impressive craft beer list, or the quirky personality. New from the folks who brought you the Flying Saucer and Meddlesome Moth, they call themselves an ice house/patio bar, but I don’t think that does the place justice.

Just down the street from Will Rogers Coliseum and legendary Cowtown eatery Fred’s, Rodeo Goat (with its laid-back cattle-pen decor) injects a bit of Stockyards charm into the cultural district. We arrived just in time for March Madness, but you can expect to find anyone from post-teeball revelers to folks in three-piece suits. Long community tables invite anyone to make themselves at home — assuming they don’t hate good food.

The menu reads like a who’s who of folk legends. The already-famous Caca Oaxaca packs in beef, chorizo, avocado, pico, fried egg, and queso fresco, naturally topped with Tabasco mayo. For the truly brave, the Hot Bastard (with its red chile spice, marinated peppers, and habanero cheddar) has been proven to make a grown man cry.

“I’m not trying to prove I’m tougher than this burger,” my dinnermate admitted, opting for the mushroom-filled Oh Whitney.

The craft beer list is immense, but calling it a mere "ice house/patio bar" doesn't quite do Rodeo Goat justice.

Photo by Travis Hudson

The craft beer list is immense, but calling it a mere "ice house/patio bar" doesn't quite do Rodeo Goat justice.

I chose the Neil Young, a veggie burger with sprouts, tomato, avocado, and green goddess dressing. The patty didn’t hold together that well, but that didn’t matter since I was already licking my plate for runaway cheese fries. I can’t wait to come back and try the Ravi Shankar, a far-east-inspired burger with red curry, coriander chutney, carrots, lettuce, tomato, onion, and — wait for it — peanut butter. Our waitress said she was scared of it, but I’m up for the challenge.

So what’s in a name, you ask? As Goat staffers tell it, legend Bowie (Flapjack) LaDue wasn’t just trying to be cute. Between goat-roping competitions at the Stock Show, he got into a little teenage mischief feeding warm Falstaff beer to one of the goats. Turns out, he says, “goats like beer.” So he fed it another one.

That there’s a “Fort Worthy” inspiration for a very worthy burger.

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