The Open Face Meatloaf Sandwich at Ellen's Southern Kitchen Can't Be Topped.

Welcome to Look At This Fucking Dish, our recurring feature highlighting the craziest, most decadent dishes found in and around Dallas. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Open Face Meatloaf Sandwich.
Ellen's Southern Kitchen.
1718 N. Market Street.
The West End.

Downtown Dallas' West End boasts a number of places for satiating the gluttons of local diners. The comfort food Mecca that is Ellen�s Southern Kitchen is no exception in this regard.

The spot's is the result of a joint venture between executive chef Russell Mertz and general manager Joe Groves. After opening Ellen's doors in late 2012, Mertz, who started his career at Mercury Grill at Preston and Forest, set out to formulate a menu that he felt would fill the void he saw in downtown dining at the time. As he saw it, the whole area was criminally lacking in comfort food.

Now, sporting a menu filled with fried meats, mashed potatoes and grits out the earholes, Ellen's has solidified itself as a go-to place for some good old-fashioned, just-how-mama-made-it cooking.

That's where the Open Face Meatloaf Sandwich ($9.99) comes in.

At first glance, this thing may seem like some sort of unholy amalgamation of all those dinners your mother used to cook after football practice. And it kinda is — well, minus the unholy part.

Beginning with a slice of toasted bread at the base, Mertz loads a heap of mashed potatoes on top, followed by a slice of meatloaf that has been cooking in its own juices for the past five minutes. On top of that, he places a piece of hollowed-out green bell pepper that has an egg cooked over-easy inside of it. Next, he piles on a handful of fried onions. Once this tower of power is fully constructed, Mertz then drowns that puppy in the meatloaf juices that jumped ship earlier.

The result is something that would get any natural-born Texan's mind racing. But don't think too hard: This sweet thing is tailor-made to satisfy that hole in your belly — and your palate — sure as sunshine.

Below, Mertz tells us all about this behemoth.

Let's start from the beginning: What prompted you and Groves to start up Ellen's?
We wanted to open up something that Dallas' West End didn't have. It was simple: comfort food and breakfast.

Yeah, it seems like with all this high dining, you don't get a whole lot of comfort food around here.
You don't get hardly any comfort food, y'know? I think it�s really taken off here just because of the simplicity of it. It's breakfast all day, and people love it. That's comfort food for a lot of people.



How did the Open Face Meatloaf Sandwich make its way onto the menu?
It actually came from a good friend of mine. We went to a place many many years ago and they had a meatloaf sandwich, but it wasn't open faced. I put my own little twist to it. [The sandwich] was his favorite thing. They called it The Gaffer. It's been one of the biggest successes here. It's meatloaf, mashed potatoes, you got your side of bread, you got your egg with it — just like mama used to make.

So is the meatloaf recipe a special one to you?
It's my mother's recipe. It's prime ground beef with garlic, onion, some seasonings and tomato, and then it's just roasted up in the oven.



Is it one of your most popular dishes?
It is. It's not the most. The most-popular [dishes] are still the chicken-fried chicken and the chicken=fried steak. Catfish would be number three, and then the meatloaf sandwich.

How many would you guess you serve weekly?
Probably 40 to 60 a week. We probably sold 20 today. They're most popular right around lunch time. It's a hearty lunch meal. I don't think it�s too large. It's rich, but it's not too large. So it's a good midday snack.

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