Barbecue and Music Join Up For a Downtown Fest and Bishop Cider Co. Is Ready For Its Closeup.
Welcome to The Spread, our weekly feature that aims to share all the area restaurant, food and beverage industry news that's fit to print. Except, this is the Internet, so space isn't a concern. Also: Good thing, because this is Dallas and this town always has breaking restaurant news going down like whoa.
There's pretty much a festival for everything in this town.
Unless we're talking music-infused barbecue festivals, though. Those are kinda few and far between.
“With Smoked, we wanted to create an event that combined things almost everyone loves — music and food — but add our own unique twist to it,” says Tami Thomsen of Kirtland Records' SONAR Management offshoot, which is the entity responsible for the new fest. “There are tons of great barbecue fests and an ever-growing number of foodie fests. What if you combined the best of traditional barbecue and then added in some unexpected chefs? We saw a unique path there, and we like the twist of old and new. It's a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll.”
Smoked Dallas will feature food offerings from 15 different pitmasters from across the immediate region and beyond, among them Lockhart Smokehouse and Denton's newest joint, Bet The House. And not by accident, either: Careful thought and attention went into the pitmaster selection to ensure that the best of North Texas is represented.
“Pitmasters for Smoked were chosen from months of painstaking research, including sampling at several BBQ festivals around the state and visiting great BBQ joints,” says Dale Brock, who spearheaded the barbecue selections for SONAR. “Miles were logged and pounds of brisket were devoured. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.”
Just don't expect many vegetarian barbecue options. At the moment, Smoked has yet to find any up to snuff.
“Anyone brave enough to do veggie barbecue in Texas,” Thomsen says, “call me!”
In addition to the food, the festival will also feature appearances from a few celebrity foodies, and live music will be provided by Black Joe Lewis, Bob Schneider, The Tontons and a band called Lost Coyote that's fronted by critically acclaimed chef Dean Fearing.
The festival will take place on Saturday, October 4, at Main Street Garden Park. VIP tickets allow festival goers early access to the barbecue tastings at 1 p.m., while general admission for the tasting and concert will go from 2 to 5 p.m. After 5., tickets are for the concert only, with barbecue purchases available separately. Get your tickets here.
In non-barbecue news, Driftwood in Bishop Arts is catching a second wave, as the renowned seafood joint got a makeover from the Misery Loves Co. management group. Changes include a 12-foot bar extension with more seating, an overhaul of the beverage program and an updated menu. The beverage program, it's worth noting, takes on inspiration from South France, and will feature the largest premium absinthe collection in North Texas, as well as a by-the-glass wine service by Robert Hall (Abacus) with 25 new and old world choices alike. The new menu features Boston- and Cape Cod-inspired fare such as Kusshi and Duxbury oysters, Day Boat Fluke with candied melons, Meyer lemon gel and truffled snow crab with frisee, among other options.
And, down the road a bit, Bishop Cider Co. is now selling kegs. The recently opened Oak Cliff cider brewery is now taking orders for retail and private keg sales alike. There’s a limited number of kegs for restaurants and bars, though, so those interested should email owner Joel Malone for details. Everyone else can place orders here, with kegs available for pick up starting on July 21.
In the meantime, tickets are still on sale for Bishop Cider's formal grand opening bash on July 19 from 3 to 10 pm. Tickets cost $22, and that gets you a BCC growler, a sample flight of the inaugural brews, a large slice of Zoli's Pizza and live music from The Roomsounds at 8 p.m.
“We sell a lot of to-go coffees,” says CHC manager Charles Stewart about the reason behind the cafe's newest addition. “We have a lot of people who come into the restaurant to order to-go coffee, so we thought we’d make it more convenient.”
Drive-through patrons are able to order from the full coffee menu — including everything from frozen drinks to espresso items — as well as a limited drive-through menu of pastries, sandwiches, salads and other cafe items. One caveat: There will be no advance call-in orders for the drive-through. That' what going in and enjoying the sexy leather atmosphere is for.
Elsewhere, Oak Lawn's Good Eats is calling things quits after a 22-year run, with its last day coming on Thursday, July 17. According to reports, the reason behind the shutdown is that the joint was denied a lease renewal by its property owner.
Things are less contentious over at Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Uptown, though, where you can try a new fried green tomato burger and a blood orange bourbon cocktail. The summer-inspired burger, available until July 13, is made with cornmeal-fried green tomatoes, avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions and a roasted tomato remoulade. The blood orange bourbon has fresh mint leaves, hand-squeezed orange juice, sweet agave nectar and a blood orange syrup, and is available for the month of July.
Over in Trinity Groves, Phil Romano's long-anticipated, Chipotle-esque spud spot, Potato Flats is finally open for business. Menu items run $10 or less and hungry customers can choose from a “protein potato” with a choice of meat and vegetables, a selection of fried baked potatoes, chopped salad and a dessert sweet potato (made with caramel, pecans and marshmallows).
Meanwhile, West Village is getting a Buda Juice spot starting this Saturday, July 5. The McKinney Avenue location — across the street from The Gap — will be the third outpost for the cold-press juice connoisseurs. In addition to juices made out of fresh fruits and vegetables, Buda also makes soup, raw and organic almond milk, and a line of various juice cleanses.
In brew news: Malai Kitchen, also in West Village, has a new seasonal house brew available called The Golden Triangle. The hybrid beer is made with a Belgian pilsner malt, Japanese Sorachi Ace hops and saison yeast, yielding an 8.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Meanwhile, Rabbit Hole Brewing is doing something slightly different for its upcoming brew tour in honor of the Fourth of July. On Saturday, July 5, the brewery will have Rapture Fusion Brown Ale ice cream floats for boozy summer goodness in addition to other samplings and unveilings. There will also be autograph signings by former Dallas Stars player Craig Ludwig, and Fort Worth’s Perrotti's Pizza food truck will be on site. Tickets for the event are $10 and come with a free 16-ounce glass, plus three full pints of beer.
Lastly, this week, a programming note: Following in the footsteps of Dallas chef Tiffany Derry and her Spike TV show Hungry Investors, Fort Worth's Tim Love will be serving as a judge and investor on the similarly-inclined (albeit spread out over a whole season) CNBC food show Restaurant Startup. The show, which premieres on July 8, finds love and other investors holding court over a group of young restaurateurs seeking backing for their new concepts.
Cover image by Kathy Tran. Got a tip for The Spread? Email us!