Your First Look at Black Forest Biergarten, the New Beer Garden on Henderson Ave. (Photos)

Categories: First Look

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Photos by Catherine Downes
The much-anticipated Black Forest Biergarten, wedged between The Slip Inn and Mid-Century furniture store Form at the corner of Henderson and McMillan, opened for business on Wednesday. The space was in shambles Tuesday evening as construction workers scurried around the spacious patio, assembling large beer garden-style tables. The smell of sawdust overpowered that of Chef Scott Colby's cooking as he prepped meals for the staff.

Owners Blake and Di Ann Bogus remained confident and insisted they'd be ready to open their doors to the public the following day. The Boguses embarked on their German-themed business adventure after selling Knox Street Pub, which they ran together for seven years, last July. "We like this part of Henderson. It's a different crowd. It's more laid back," Di Ann said. "We thought the [beer garden] style would fit in here."

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Palapas, Your New Mexican Seafood Restaurant, Is Now Open on Greenville

Categories: First Look

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The view from the bar
If you drive up or down Lower Greenville Avenue with any frequency, you've likely noticed Palapas Seafood Bar slowly taking shape next to a tire shop over the past few months. Construction workers gutted the place last fall and dug deep holes to set a patio out front. They laid palms for a thatch roof and installed windows that could open wide and invite a cooling breeze.

Then they didn't do much of anything. The restaurant sat dormant for weeks until it finally opened its windows and opened for business this February. A bartender behind the bar topped in rough hewn lumber says it was the thatch that held them up. Dallas city inspectors didn't know how to permit roofing made of palm leaves, and when they did figure it out, extra fire precautions were necessary.

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Your First Look at Henderson Tap House

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Photos by Catherine Downes
Henderson Tap House, located in a strip center at 2323 N. Henderson Ave., opens its doors to the public this weekend. The restaurant and bar, which was created by the people behind McFadden's and Mason Bar, took over the space that once housed Snack Global Kitchen and a portion of Sushi Axiom. The interior is decked out in dark woods, sports memorabilia and flat screen televisions that span the newly renovated 7,000 square foot space. Their motto, according to managing partner Tim McEvilly is "Creative brews, addictive food, sports central, unforgettable party." The menu is a more grown-up version of McFadden's, but remains casual and bar-food driven. Items offered include prime rib and potato nachos ($12), lobster and artichoke dip ($11), shrimp and grits ($16). Naturally, there's a menu filled with specialty cocktails and beer. Lots and lots of beer (24 on draft and more than 50 bottles, to be exact).

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Your First Look at Lockhart Smokehouse Plano, the Suburbs' Newest Barbecue Mecca

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Rachael Cleaver
The Whole Enchilada. Not pictured -- an enchilada.
The new Lockhart Smokehouse, right on Plano's main square, is up and running, and the crowds are already forming. Tuesday afternoon, your peak-time lunch wait would have been a good 40 minutes or so, which is cruel given that you can smell Plano's barbecue mecca from more than a block away.

After its attempts to subtly open last week by way of inviting locals over on Twitter to try a few things out, the Morning News burst the dam of smoked meat during the soft opening, and now the barbecue cat is out of the grease-soaked paper.

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Your First Look at AF+B, the Fort Worth Restaurant Starring Bolsa's Former Chef

Categories: First Look

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Jeff Harris is likely feeling pretty good after the opening of AF+B over the weekend. The chef left Bolsa last year to join Consilient Hospitality, the restaurant group behind CBD Provisions, Fireside Pies, Victor Tangos and others, and debuted his new menu at hit new home, sending out elevated tavern food to a dining room packed with customers who where slurping oysters from Massachusetts and smacking their lips with sorghum hot sauce. The sticky glaze clung to deboned grilled quail that ate with more sweetness than heat and proved the perfect foil to a solid local beer list, which prominently features Dallas and Fort Worth breweries.

First announced in November 2012, AF+B has been a long time coming, but the wait seemed worth it Saturday night. A sizable bar of cast zinc curves through the front bar room filled with high tops, and two dining rooms in the back feature large tables and booths. (Tables that seat two are oddly missing from the dining room. If you come with less then four expect a table that feels empty.) All of this is illuminated by uniform lighting cans that hang from above throughout the space. It's an attractive dining room.

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In East Dallas, the New Chip's Is Cheap, Good and Stocked with Local Beer

Categories: First Look

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So much more than a burger spot
Like chefs who strive for consistency across each dish that leaves their kitchen, big time restaurateurs try to achieve consistency across multiple locations of their restaurants. They're trying to create brand consistency in the hopes that customers who have fallen in love with one location will eagerly charge into the next. Empires have been built on the principle, and a lot of money too.

So you might have thought that Brent Gamster would keep the new Chip's he recently opened on La Vista Drive in East Dallas a carbon copy of the business he bought a few years ago on Lovers Lane. And he did, for the most part. But there's one glaring difference.

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Gemma Restaurant, a Culinary Tribute to the Hamptons, Is Open on Henderson

Categories: First Look

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Courtesy Gemma Restaurant
Add a bit of salt to the air and Henderson Avenue's newest joint might have you convinced it's just steps away from the beach at the Hamptons. If you've been there, that is. For the rest of us, Gemma Restaurant is everything we might imagine about the almost mythical beach get-away for richy-rich New York City residents.

From the blue accent walls to the white marble bar to the kitschy floral fabric lining the banquettes, it's a vision of a fancy beach village. But if you sip wine on this patio, you'll watch grackles waddling through a parking lot instead of seagulls swooping down to a sandy beach. But these trivial observations aside, Gemma is a welcome addition to this previously doomed pocket of Henderson Ave.

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Checking In On The Newly Remodeled Oishii

Categories: First Look

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Everything looks settled in at Oishii. The Oak Lawn restaurant had been closed for nearly a year after a fire damaged the dining room and neighboring Sal's pizza. But while a year-long closure is surely tough on a business, the neighborhood favorite pan-Asian spot looks all the better for it, now.

The new dining room is a significant upgrade from the Oishii of old.


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Your First Look at Bonchon, Dallas' New Korean Fried Chicken Restaurant

Categories: First Look

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Bonchon drumsticks, in spicy and soy-garlic sauces.
This week Dallas got a new addition to its fried food repertoire with the opening of Bonchon, a Korean chain specializing in fried chicken and beer. Bonchon opened in Korea nearly 12 years ago and has since spread to 70 restaurants in Southeast Asia and 30 in the United States, mostly along the East Coast and in California. The new location, on Greenville Avenue, is the first one in Texas.

Bonchon specializes in fried chicken in the form of wings, drumsticks and strips, with either a spicy red chili sauce or a soy-garlic sauce. Order sizes range from 10 wings or strips for $10.95 to 40 for $35.95, and there are various-sized combos of wings, strips and drumsticks.

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A First Look of Grub Burger Bar, the New Budding Burger Chain on Greenville

Categories: First Look

Welcome to your next burger bar.
With so many burger bars, it's hard to come up with something that really differentiates a new joint from all the others. House-ground meat is an angle many places are taking these days. Some burger restaurants offer house-baked buns to raise the bar higher. Awesome personal service is a big talking point, too, but after those you've pretty much got to offer a laser show or a french-fry cannon with gravy hydraulics if you want to stand out.

Don't get too excited. Despite the sleek exterior, Grub Burger Bar will not provide you with raining shards of colored paper, or piercing, colored beams of light. No fry gun, sadly. The rest of the stuff, though, that's what Grub is all about.

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