A First Look at Yucatan Taco Stand, Now Open on Greenville Avenue

Categories: First Look

Scott Reitz
The picadillo turnovers and Yucatan's signature fish taco.
Welcome to Dallas, Yucatan Taco Stand (2023 Greenville Ave), though you're not really a stand at all. You're a full blown restaurant complete with a copper-clad bar, a spacious patio and enough tequila to erase any memory that you or any other taco stand ever existed, ever.

See also: BBBop Opens on Greenville

It's just past noon, though, and I'm here for the tacos, starting with that signature number touted at the top of your menu. The tempura fish taco presents simple white fish with a crispy coating and garnishes that include cabbage and a garlic sauce. The tortillas are store bought, but they're steamed, which lends that freshly cooked texture without resorting to an oily grill.

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A First Look at Sugar Skull, Trinity Groves' New Taqueria

Scott Reitz
Barbacoa, pastor and fish tacos from Sugar Skull.
Yet another Trinity Groves restaurant opened this week. The culinary hatchery filled out the final space on the front of the main building, just past Resto Gastro Bistro, with a new taqueria called Sugar Skull Cafe. It's the first restaurant in Trinity Groves to specialize in breakfast food alongside lunch and dinner options. They open up at 7 a.m. and more than half of the menu is devoted to breakfast tacos and breakfast plates.

Unfortunately, I arrived just after 11 a.m., when all the eggs turn to pumpkins and breakfast at this West Dallas calavera ceases to exist. Not that I was too disappointed: There are lots of other tacos to choose from at Trinity Groves' latest.

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AJ's on Main: Nice Meats, Nicer Treats in Downtown Grapevine

Matthew Martinez
I choo-choo-choose AJ's hickory fire. The smoker fits in with Grapevine's town history as one of the stops along the old Cotton Belt Railroad.

We are generally skeptical of menu items labeled "poppers." I mean, we're not doing any first looks at Chili's anytime soon.

But the chicken poppers at AJ's on Main in Grapevine have a way of making skeptical heads turn. Crunchy bacon encapsulates a longways jalapeno slice and a chunk of fried chicken breast for a rudimentary yet delightful starter fit for the fair. A little ranch? Why not? Even through all the layers of crunch and spice, the moist chickeny goodness is what you remember most.

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Spin! Pizza, DFW's Newest Pizza Import, Is Now Open in Richardson

Categories: First Look

Kellie Reynolds
The primavera pizza + pepperoni from Spin!

On Saturday, Kansas City-based Spin! Pizza began pizza-bombing the Lone Star State with its grand opening in Richardson. This is the first of four locations slated to launch in Texas (with Southlake, Irving, and SMU to follow), offering Neapolitan-style pizza in a fast-casual environment.

The menu is loaded with options. Pizzas are divided into two categories: pizza rossa (with marinara sauce) and pizza bianca (white pizza with a roasted garlic olive oil glaze). Specialty 12" pizzas range from $10.25-$13.45, with choices such as the Tre Carni (meatballs, pepperoni, and Italian sausage) and a roasted potato pizza with pancetta. If you opt to create your own pizza, you have a wide palette of toppings to work with, including roasted vegetables, gorgonzola, glazed pecans, and fig onion marmalade. With any pizza, you can take your pick of crusts: original, wheat (+.50), or gluten-free (+3.00).

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A First Look at Service Industry, Denton's Latest Working Class Hero

Categories: First Look

Service Industry
James Rambin
Are you tired of old fashioneds yet? Incidentally, are you a communist?

It seems you can't swing a hipster in Denton these days without hitting a trendy new bar, but is that really something to complain about? Service Industry, tucked away just off the town square behind a boorish sports bar that shall not be named, is the latest effort to saturate the drinkers of Little D's already saturated market.

Fortunately, Service Industry has a few tricks up its sleeve to set itself apart. Having completed its soft opening at the end of March, the establishment is now fully armed and operational, and since we're apparently running with the Death Star metaphor, its superweapon is undeniably the late night brunch menu. Your waistline is the doomed planet of Alderaan.

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A First Look at Kessler Park Eating House

Scott Reitz
Go eat these very soon
If you stop by the Erdeljac's new Kessler Park Eating House and don't order the pierogis, you're doing it wrong. They're listed on the menu with the other appetizers like there is nothing special about them, but there is. They should be listed in a bold font, maybe five to six points larger than the rest of the menu.

Actually the Erdeljac's should just consider calling their latest restaurant Kessler Park Pierogi Place, if that's not too alliterative. They're that good.

You likely know the duo from their debut restaurant Jonathon's -- the one that smells lightly of waffles, and always has a line snaking out the door. They announced the opening of a second restaurant last year, and have been slowly and softly opening over the last few weeks.

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Travis Heim Learned Barbecue from the Best, and Now He's Serving it in Fort Worth

Thumbnail image for Heim Meat
Greg Cella
Meatopia displayed here.
Travis Heim's passion for meat can be traced to when an early ancestor sneaked into America by way of cattle boat in Galveston, to when Heim attended a barbecue event and chatted up Aaron Franklin, seeking advice on meat-smoking. Soon after, Heim and his wife, Emma, began their meatopian journey by way of backyard pop-ups at their Arlington home, before picking up and heading west to Fort Worth.

After a few weekend stints at Swiss Pastry Shop, a vacant food trailer parked outside of Republic Street Bar magically made itself available to this relative newcomer. For the last month, Heim Barbecue and Catering (201 East Hattie, Fort Worth) has been located here, not far from Rahr Brewery, to whom Heim provides barbecue for tours.

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The Return of Mr. Max

Categories: First Look

Scott Reitz
Get ready to ditch those bluchers.
Last winter, we told you, reluctantly, that Mr. Max in Irving had closed, seemingly forever. People loved this place, were deeply passionate about it. But the owner had died; there was no succession plan. Down went one apparently great izakaya.

But in February, news came that Mr. Max had been resurrected, and I've been dying to get back out to Irving to try the restaurant. I wish I could say that I'd visited the first iteration, so I could offer some sort of comparison, but it really doesn't matter. The Mr. Max that is serving up Japanese snacks right now deserves praise on its own merit.

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A First Look at Ten, the New (and Table-Free) West Dallas Ramen Restaurant

Categories: First Look

All photos Scott Reitz
You won't get lost in the menu at Ten.
If someone in the know tells you that Ten, the new ramen restaurant from Tei-An's Teiichi Sakurai, is standing room only, they don't mean that when the restaurant's seating is full you have to dine on your feet. They mean there are no chairs or tables in the tiny restaurant at all. A low counter runs the length of the dining area just inside the door, and the only option is to eat standing up. If you're in the mood to linger over a steaming bowl of soup, Ten is not the place for you. Come during a lunch or dinner rush and the next round of soup slurpers will be breathing down your neck for their own piece of real estate.

Everything about the place is meant to get you in and out quickly. Beside the door, a touch screen waits to take your order. There are only three options, along with some spicy varieties, a rice dish and customizable toppings. Get in, slup 'em down, and get back on with your life already.

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Primo's, a Tex-Mex Staple, Moved to the Design District and Got a Serious Makeover

Categories: First Look

All photos Scott Reitz
The semi sizzlin' fajitas
I measure all Tex-Mex restaurants by their fajitas. The simple dish of grilled meats and vegetables gives a great window into how the restaurant handles ingredients and, usually, what you can expect from the rest of the menu. So when I walked into the new Primo's to dine for the first time, I didn't even have to look at the menu. I ordered the fajitas, steak, and reluctantly said yes to the basket of chips and salsa that were offered up gratis.

Primo's, it appears, has gotten a serious upgrade since the McKinney Avenue days. The old location had decades of Tex-Mex smells clinging to the walls, years of margaritas spilled by local Uptowners. When the restaurant unexpectedly closed, a subsequent location was not announced. It seemed like Primo's had tossed in the napkin.

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