Alton Brown Stops By On Tour, A Gourmet Cinnamon Roll Shop Opened, All You Can Eataly Returns, Graffiti Pasta Takes J&J’s Pizza’s Spot & More. 

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.

You may love barbecue, but would you wake up at 4 a.m for some?

Early Monday morning, Good Morning America hosted the first installment of The United States of BBQ, a traveling competition series that crowns the best ‘Q in four American cities. The competitions will lead to a grand finale in New York City where the overall champ will be declared GMA‘s Ultimate Pitmaster and win $10,000.

Local favorites Pecan Lodge and Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que were the two to represent Dallas and went head to head for a panel of celebrity judges which included Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott, former quarterback Troy Aikman, sportscaster Joe Buck, and WFAA’s Joe Trahan.

Trahan interviewed Prescott before the competition and gave us a glimpse into his barbecue mind. We learned that an important factor in his judging is whether the meat can shine on its own without the sauce, and that his grandma’s house is where the best barbecue can be found.

Pecan Lodge served its pitmaster sandwich made with brisket, pulled pork, sausage, coleslaw and jalapeños and Smokey John’s brought out its big John — hickory smoked brisket, sausage and coleslaw topped with an onion ring, according to GMA. Smokey John’s came out on top and won owners Brett and Juan Reaves a trip to the finals next Monday against Chicago, Washington D.C and Tampa — you can watch their victory here.

Speaking of barbecue, celebrity chef Alton Brown gave the aforementioned Pecan Lodge a shout out as one of his favorite spots in an interview with Eater Dallas. He also gave some tips on making a good corn dog and margarita. Brown is in town for his book tour, which went down at the Williams Sanoma in Northpark Mall. In Good Eats: The Finals Years, he reviews 145 of his old recipes that were featured on the hit cooking show and gives them an overhaul.

To keep the theme of television going, let’s talk about a little business called Cinnaholic that was featured on Shark Tank. The gourmet cinnamon roll shop has expanded to 60 shops in North America, with 25 more on the way, according to Dallas Morning News, and we just got one locally. Cinnaholic’s Mansfield location had its grand opening last Friday where customers per treated to $1 rolls (limited to one per customer.) The shop offers vegan rolls as well as customization options with 20 different frosting flavors and a whole lot of toppings. 

Cinnamon rolls…roll…rock and roll…music…new music venue and restaurant — a masterful segue, we think.

In February, we mentioned that area chef Tim Love is opening a new venue in Fort Worth called Tannahill’s Tavern & Music Hall. It’s set to open Oct. 1, but partner Live Nation just announced the opening series of shows. Local acts include: The Texas Gentlemen, Green River Ordinance and a tribute show to the late, Dallas-born Meat Loaf featuring his backing band The Neverland Express.

Love is the owner of Love Management, which brought you Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Love Shack and Queenie’s Steakhouse, to name just a few. The new tavern will offer an extensive cocktail menu and dishes such as grilled oysters, bologna sandwiches and smoked baby back pork ribs, according to Fort Worth Magazine.

While we have to wait until fall for that place to open, here’s a summer event that can keep you busy until then. Eataly Dallas just announced that its All You Can Eataly event is coming back for another year. The immersive experience has more than 100 wine tastings, live music, chef-curated tastings, open-flame grilling stations and other Italian food and drink encounters. There’ll be hand-sliced Rovagnati and Ferrarini prosciutti and salami, freshly shucked oysters and authentic Neapolitan pizza from Rossopomodoro. Plus, the Business Council for the Arts will host Art Spotlight, an art competition where the top 10 finalists will get free tickets. Submissions will be accepted through June 12 and the winning piece will be voted on by attendees at All You Can Eataly.

Finally, let’s end today’s roundup on the theme of new beginnings. Last summer it was announced that the staple pizza joint of Denton’s Downtown Square of 24 years, J&J’s Pizza, was closing due to rising rent. Now, a new place has officially taken over — Graffiti Pasta. The Dallas Observer went to check the colorful Italian restaurant during it’s first week of opening. While the menu is still expanding, you can find Pasta al Denton (spinach spaghetti topped with a creamy pesto sauce,) Calabrese Caprese (heirloom cherry tomatoes, smoked mozzarella balls, calabrese chili oil, basil, house-made pesto and a drizzle of balsamic reduction,) and the Sideways Mac Attack (cavatappi noodles, Italian cheese sauce and herbed panko topping.)

There’s also house cocktails available, like the Force Awakens (Dulce Vida Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila, lemon, agave, arugula, jalapeño wheel and wasabi oil) and the Blue Milk (Rum Haven Coconut Rum, Rumchatta, blue curacao and honey.)

And don’t worry, The Ol’ Dirty Basement downstairs is getting a second life, too.

Cover photo via Good Morning America.

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