Chef Brian Luscher Is on a Red Hot Streak

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The cheeseburger chef Brian Luscher serves at Sunday brunch at The Grape on Lower Greenville was anointed the Greatest Burger in Texas, and he dishes up cozy comfort food to hundreds of devoted Dallas diners each week. That hasn't gone to his head.

But he is looking to grow. Although the city of Dallas thwarted his first attempt to open a permanent place to sell his Post Oak Red Hots, Luscher isn't discouraged. I sat down to talk with him about his foray into the cured meats business, his love of East Dallas and just how he feels about chefs who take themselves too seriously.

How did you get in the hot dog-making business?
About two years ago, Chad Houser, the Cafe Momentum guy, and his wife managed the White Rock Local Market. She asked Chad and I and a few other chefs to do a demo, and it was in my neighborhood, so I thought it was cool. I got there and saw the beautiful produce, fresh baked bread, candles, local cheeses, an incredible array of groceries, but there was nothing to eat.

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Chef Uno Immanivong on Learning from Anthony Bourdain and Growing Chino Chinatown

Categories: Interviews

Courtesy of the restaurant
Chef Uno Immanivong, with fellow TV chef Tiffany Derry.
Since her appearance on ABC's popular cooking show The Taste, Chef Uno Immanivong has been on a pretty wild ride. Just a year and a half after filming the show alongside mentor Anthony Bourdain, Immanivong is three months into owning her first restaurant.

That restaurant, Trinity Groves' Chino Chinatown, serves up Latin-Asian fusion dishes that are as interesting as the chef that created them. Chef Uno sat down with me to talk Bourdain, her background in business, and how she's handled her warp-speed introduction to the culinary world.

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Scardello Cheese Wiz Rich Rogers on Building the Perfect At-Home Cheese Board

Categories: Interviews

Amy McCarthy
An entire wall of delicious things to accompany cheese.
There is little better about life than cheese, especially the good stuff that you get at places like Scardello Artisan Cheese in Oak Lawn. Fancy cheese plates are expensive at restaurants, but it's easy to do a good DIY job at home -- if you know what to get.

Cheesemonger Rich Rogers is easily the most knowledgeable cheese nerd in Dallas, and he wants to help you impress your friends by creating the best at-home cheese plate possible. We visited him recently to get some pointers on building an Instagram-ready cheese plate.

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Lakewood Brewing's Wim Bens on What's in His Fridge and His "All-Consuming Adventure"

Wim Bens founded Lakewood Brewing Company in 2011, riding one of the early craft beer waves to wash over North Texas. He sold his first keg of beer in August of 2012, and his brews now pour through busy taps all over the city.

Bens was born in Belgium but moved to Texas when he was 7. He's traveled back to Belgium often and developed an appreciation and taste for the beer there. After graduating from SMU, he moved to East Dallas, where he fell in love with the vibe and decided to make really good beer for the neighborhood.

Here's a recent chat as part of a series of interviews with local brewers:

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Underground Dallas Chef David Anthony Temple: "Our Food Is Better Than Yours"

Categories: Interviews

Lauren Drewes Daniels
For someone who's never helmed a fine dining restaurant in Dallas, David Anthony Temple has a lot of opinions about the city's food and restaurants. Cooking under the nom de guerre Chef DAT, Temple has been hosting underground pop-up dinners across the city for the last four and a half years, and diners are loving it. Attendees rave about the exclusive, trendy dinners, Chef DAT's plates, and most of all, his spicy Louisiana-gumbo-influenced take-no-shit personality.

If you haven't been to one of Chef David Anthony Temple's underground dinners, you probably aren't as cool as you think you are. Lauren Drewes Daniels interviewed DAT for the Observer in 2012, when he was making big plans for future restaurants, and a lot of them. Two years later and countless underground dinners, DAT still doesn't have his own brick-and-mortar restaurant.

But that may be changing in short order. I ventured out to DAT's location for the evening in Deep Ellum to talk to him about his plans for the future and food, but somehow the conversation took an odd turn and we ended up talking about twerking and Tesar.

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Gemma Chef-Owner Stephen Rogers Talks Sustainability and Surviving on Henderson

Categories: Interviews

Courtesy of the restaurant
Rogers and his wife and business partner, Allison Yoder.
Just a year ago, a drive down Henderson Avenue in East Dallas was a depressing trek through a graveyard littered with the ghosts of restaurants past. Even the most accomplished restaurateurs (including James Beard nominee Nick Badovinus) have tried and failed to sustain a successful business in this seemingly prime location.

Since December, Chef Stephen Rogers and his wife, Allison Yoder, have been breathing a large dose of fresh, California air into one of the city's most "doomed" locations for a fine dining restaurant. I sat down with Rogers to talk about Gemma, his food, and why the hell he decided to bring his laid-back brand of coastal cool to North Texas.

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Hotel St. Germain's Norman Grimm on Sneaking F-bombs and Pork into His Kitchen

Categories: Interviews

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Chef Norman Grimm's work was highly praised at Kitchen LTO, but all good things must come to an end, and at LTO it happens fast. After a four-month stint at the newly-opened pop-up spot in Trinity Groves, the 23-year restaurant industry veteran accepted the executive chef position at Hotel St. Germain in Oak Lawn just a few weeks ago.

After stints at a number of Dallas restaurants and cooking in some of San Francisco's best, including working under famous chef Traci des Jardins, Grimm has the chops. Few chefs in Dallas have the cooking credentials that he brings to the storied but struggling Hotel St. Germain.

The menu at his Kitchen LTO-stint was thoroughly French-influenced, but now Grimm is ready to go full-scale French. I talked to him about his experience at Kitchen LTO, what he expects to do at Hotel St. Germain, and what he thinks about Dallas diners.

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CBD Provisions' Mike Sindoni on Getting Dallas to Eat Pig's Head: "We Sell the Shit Out of It"

Categories: Interviews

When I walk up, Mike Sindoni is sitting at the bar at CBD Provisions, the restaurant in downtown Dallas' Joule Hotel, making edits on a menu with a No. 2 pencil. He's an unassuming, gentle-looking man of about six feet with bright eyes, short curly hair and a generous smile.

Sindoni is still fairly new to Dallas, having moved here from Washington, D.C., in 2012 to take the reigns at the Joule's Charlie Palmer steakhouse. When that restaurant closed and his bosses at Consilient, a restaurant group, announced plans to open two new restaurants in the downtown hotel, they brought Sindoni on to craft the menu for CBD Provisions. As the executive chef, Sindoni's nose-to-tail philosophy has captured the esteem of nearly every food critic in town, including our own Scott Reitz, who said the restaurant makes magic.

In our interview, we chatted about the restaurant, his hometown, where he dines out in Dallas and what it's like to live downtown.

So where are you from?
Washington, DC. I'm not from there but that's where I was working most recently. I'm actually from Upstate New York.

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Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin on Leaving Pakpao, Landing in Fort Worth and Cooking at Home

Categories: Interviews

Just six months into his post at Pakpao Thai, chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin left, or that was the official story. He won't divulge more than that "in the long term it's better for both me and the owners," Tiffanee Siri and Richard Ellman, also of Oak and Belly & Trumpet. Whatever the full story may be, as of January 1, Eddy was without a kitchen.

Last week he turned up in Fort Worth, with news of a restaurant in the works in Montgomery Plaza, the city's cultural district. Although he caught the attention of Dallas foodies with his authentic Thai food, the new joint, BITE, will serve modern American cuisine with global influences.

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Bacon, the Cat at Lee Harvey's, Took a Six-Day Homer-like Odyssey. Here's What We Know.

Categories: Interviews

Bacon at Lee Harvey's
Bacon is a cat. Lee Harvey's is a bar. Kaz is Bacon's keeper and Lee Harvey's social media authority. Bacon recently took an unannounced odyssey, leaving nothing but conspiracies in his wide, panicked wake. A well known local music critic, no one understood why Bacon would give up his fat, lazy, lush cat-life for greener pastures. After a search that included night-vision goggles, pet psychics, and masses of frazzled followers, praise Hosanna, Bacon was found.

Here's what we know (and don't) after an interview with Kaz.

What's the story on Bacon?
Bacon showed up as a scrawny, dirty, hungry kitten at Lee Harvey's in 2005. They were feeding him food from the kitchen (his favorite was bacon) and he just started living there. Bacon lived at the bar until about 2008, when we decided he should "retire" and live with me. For a while, I would still take him up to the bar for special events and visits. He doesn't like that anymore.

Over the years, he has become like a grandpa to all the ferals in my neighborhood. (My neighbor and I have trapped and fixed them all, by the way. Bacon was fixed soon after he showed up at the bar.)

How does Bacon bide his time now?

Bacon's favorite thing now is holding court on our front porch. The other cats look up to him as both a father figure and as Fonzie. He wants to be on the porch all the time during the day (he comes in at night). Most of my neighbors on the block and around the area know him and love having a celebrity neighbor.

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