TJ's Seafood Market Has a New Home, a Bigger Menu, and More Booze

Categories: First Look

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Joey Stewart
Oysters that will make you be shellfish.

TJ's Seafood isn't exactly new to Dallas. It started in 1989 at Preston and Forest, serving up seafood out of a fish case. A few years ago, they expanded to the Oak Lawn area and added a dine-in restaurant component to their business. Now, they've shuttered the original TJ's Seafood and opened up the brand new TJ's Seafood Market and Grill in the Preston Royal Shopping Center.

It's beautiful:


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Denton Loves its New Hypnotic Donuts-Cultivar Coffee Shop, Judging by the Line

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler

Living up to its name, Hypnotic Donuts seems to have cast a spell on the people of Denton. During my visit on Saturday -- four days after the Lakewood shop opened its newest location in Denton's town square -- a line stretched out the door. Parents, their gazes eerily transfixed on the soft glow emanating from the donut case, waited for half an hour to place orders while children tried in vain to get their attention. No mere donut could inspire such devotion.

A donut with bacon on top? Yep, that might do the trick.


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Checking Out Cold Beer Company (CBC), Now Open (and Burger-Free!) in Deep Ellum

Categories: First Look

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Welcome to CBC
CBC (Cold Beer Company) opened in Deep Ellum over the weekend, serving up a mix of casual pub grub and (of course) plenty of cold beer. Keeping a good mix of local craft beers on tap is hardly a differentiator in Dallas these days, but CBC does have some change-ups that make the space worth a look.

You can start with the patio. Exposition Avenue, Main Street and La France Street all converge to form a triangle around CBC, and every side but the back is wrapped with patio seating, some of which is covered. When the temperatures begin to fall later this year, it's hard not to imagine most of these seats full.

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First Look at Proof + Pantry, the New Dallas Restaurant by Cocktail Wiz Michael Martensen

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Photos by Catherine Downes
Proof + Pantry, located in One Arts Plaza, in the space that once housed The Greek and before that The Commissary, is now open. The highly anticipated restaurant is the product of Michael Martensen, the barman previously behind The Cedars Social and Smyth, and his business partner Driftwood co-founder Sal Jafar II.

The food menu is limited, with dishes divided into four sections. "Bulk" offers family-style share plates, including a whole chicken with salsify (a root vegetable in the dandelion family), asparagus and mushrooms ($44). "Soil" is filled with vegetarian dishes like melon soup ($12), cauliflower with soft cheese and black truffles ($16) and heirloom tomato salad ($14). "By Land" offers bone marrow ($19) and a day-old duck egg with lamb belly and frisee ($16). And the final section, "By Sea," offers seafood. There's a shrimp cocktail with lemon gel and horseradish ($24), raclette tart with smoked salmon roe, honey creme fraiche and green onions ($16) and snapper crudo ($17).

See also: An Interview with Michael Martensen

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Gym, Tan, Lunch: Sizing Up the Muscle Maker Grill, the New Restaurant on Lower Greenville

Categories: First Look

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Just back from the gym? This is your place.
If you've driven down Lower Greenville Avenue lately, you might have noticed the Muscle Maker Grill, a restaurant that quietly slid into the old Company Café spot. A bright red sign announcing the place was recently illuminated, and the "EST. 1995" caught my eye.

It turns out the casual restaurant is a chain based in New Jersey, which, if you've spent any time in New Jersey, makes the name all the more awesome. If you don't get it, watch a couple of episodes of Jersey Shore. Everything will come into focus, bro. No seriously, bro. Bro. Seriously.

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Ashwood, Which Replaced the Awesome Bonchon, Is Not Awesome

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Ashwood's namesake burger boasts pickled peppers.
If you've been missing Bonchon, you might want to let that lament go; no trace of the excellent Korean-fried chicken joint remains. Bonchon closed about three weeks ago, after a short-lived existence on Greenville Avenue. The owners said revenue hadn't been what they expected.

For their new concept, they gave the face a minimal face-lift. The greasy sheen that was ever-present on the floor during the Bonchon days is gone, and some brick work has been added behind the bar. There's a patio space now, complete with two sets of cornhole decks but hardly enough room for anyone to use them. They face each other in a bed of mulch, maybe 20 feet apart from each other and tightly packed side-to-side.

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Kate Weiser Is Making Chocolate into Art in Trinity Groves, and It's Delicious

Categories: First Look

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Amy McCarthy
More than just a pretty face.
Fine chocolate is a finicky thing, especially when you're talking about the kind of tricked-up, hand-painted beauties that Kate Weiser is crafting at her new spot in Trinity Groves. You'll probably remember Weiser from her stint at Chocolate Secrets a few years ago, but this new shop is inarguably all about her own fresh and creative approach to an art form that has always been known for being a little too traditional.

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With Noisy Pies and Moonshine, Stonedeck Pizza Fits Right in in Deep Ellum

Categories: First Look

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Pizza pizza
If you've driven down Elm Street in the past few months, you know it's a mess. There are as many potholes as there are pothole patches and just two blocks or driving can rattle the shocks off your car. But behind the rubble and concrete there are glimmers of hope about the future. You can envision the equivalent of the newly renovated Greenville Avenue, only drunker and louder and more covered in ink.

Stonedeck Pizza Pub hopes to be a part of Deep Ellum's future. The restaurant opened about a month ago with crisp, modern lines and massive windows. While much of the neighborhood's bars and restaurants are obscured in darkness, Stonedeck wants to let the light inside. It could almost be a scene from an Edward Hopper painting, if the counter were a little longer.


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A First Look at Ramen Hakata in Addison

Categories: First Look

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler
Coming in, sitting down, scanning the menu, ordering, waiting, eating and finally, satisfactorily patting our bellies while saying "wasn't that good" before going home. This is the order of things, the way we eat out. It is a complacent activity by design. Often, the joy we take in having a meal at a restaurant is preceded by a reluctance to do work. We don't want to cook, and we certainly don't want to clean up after ourselves. Thus, the luxury of being served dinner by someone else -- usually someone we don't see, or think about -- forever appeals.

Sitting at the bar that faces the open kitchen of Ramen Hakata, one is reminded of just how much work it takes to make dinner out so easy, and so passive, for restaurant-goers. The galley-style kitchen is just big enough for four or five cooks and the occasional waiter bearing clean dishes. Any more staff and the rapid, fluid movements of the workers would be stalled.

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Melt Ice Creams Is Simple and Awesome and Worth the Drive to Fort Worth

Categories: First Look

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Amy McCarthy
Sunshine in a sea of beige.
In an area that is hot for most of the year, it's somewhat surprising that there aren't more local ice cream shops in Dallas-Fort Worth. There are plenty of places to find paletas and popsicles, but a pint of hand-churned ice cream made with local ingredients is a little more difficult to find in Dallas.

You'll have to drive to Fort Worth, but Melt Ice Creams' "farm-to-cone" frozen treats are worth the trip.

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