Monday, July 8, 2013
First look: Waldron Lodge in Bishop Arts will suit the cowboy crowd
There's no Big Buck Hunter here, cuz all the dead animals are already mounted on the walls.
OAK CLIFF In North Texas, perfectly smoked brisket deserves bragging rights. But a new restaurant in town is cooking beyond beef and preparing game meat in creative ways that make it accessible to more than just the avid hunter.
Waldron Lodge, which opened June 13, turned a 1940s house in the Bishop Arts District into a homestyle ranch. The breeze filters in through front and back windows, which open like garage doors and make way for indoor/outdoor countertops. The whole place is decked out in wood, the barstools are covered in animal hide, deer heads adorn the walls, and country music blares from the speakers.
Owner Kenneth Cross designed the bar as an ode to Waldron, Arkansas, where he spent time hunting with his family. Cross decided to literally bring a piece of the wilderness to Oak Cliff — a huge cedar tree that was transported here and designed as the primary bar top.
The menu is what really sets Waldron Lodge apart from other restaurants in the area: Patrons can find a bison burger, elk sausage, roasted quail, or rabbit stew. Chef Beau Johnson’s unique take on a barbecue sandwich substitutes pulled pork for pulled boar in between two slices of pretzel bun. Duck is served with a southwestern flare inside corn tortilla tacos with pickled red onion, cilantro, cheese, and chipotle sauce.
Waldron Lodge also serves salmon, trout, and catfish as well as southwestern-inspired sides, a testament to Johnson’s culinary training in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you’re looking for a sure bet, try the gruyere and pancetta mac ‘n cheese. Feeling more adventurous? Try the frog legs, which are priced based on market value.
Waldron Lodge also offers a seasonal game jerky that rotates monthly. The restaurant is currently serving bison jerky.
As Waldron becomes more established, Johnson plans to offer seasonal items. The restaurant buys meat from a distributor in Oklahoma that too features seasonal game such as reindeer in the winter, he said.
As far as drinks, Waldron Lodge offers 12 beers on tap as well as daily cocktail specials. The flannel-clad bartenders and wait staff are willing to help pair your dinner with a beer or cocktail.
The quirky details of Waldron Lodge, like the fish wall mounts and antler toilet paper holders, add to the rustic yet inviting ambiance of the place. With porch patio lounging areas, an interesting menu, and a backyard sand pit (which is begging for corn hole), this restaurant may soon be stomping grounds for the cowboy boot crowd.
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