Restaurant Review: New on Burnet Road
A basket of new dining establishments serving everyday eats to everyday folks
Reviewed by Rachel Feit, Fri., June 17, 2011
Cutie Pies7329 Burnet Rd., 452-PIES
The mint-green interior of this cheerful cafe space evokes Grandma's 1950s kitchen, which is what pie trailer queen Jaynie Buckingham is going for with her new Cutie Pies home. Here you will find all your childhood (and your mother's childhood) favorites – the lacy buttermilk pie, puckery lemon meringue, and a mixed-berry crumble that tastes like a sleepy summer afternoon. At her new Burnet Road home, Buckingham is also experimenting with savory chicken pot pies and quiches, so don't skip an opportunity to visit for lunch. Buckingham has mastered the art of crisp crust, and each individually sized pie is always fresh-tasting, never soggy. Lemon squares, Rice Crispies squares, and chocolate chip cookies are also now on the menu.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit5350 Burnet Rd. #1, 467-6653
I know Dallas natives who get sentimental when anyone mentions Dickey's Barbecue. Dickey's has been a venerable presence on the Dallas barbecue scene for nearly 70 years. Best known for brisket and ribs, Dickey's nonetheless offers a satisfying variety of meats, from pulled pork to sausage and smoked chicken. The meats are serviceable, though when weighed against other Central Texas choices, not memorable. Dickey's sells a variety of sides, including fried okra, onion rings, and macaroni and cheese, in addition to the usual suspects. These days Dickey's is a franchise operation with stores in almost 40 states. But this doesn't mean the business has forgotten its humble roots: Each store still smokes its own meat overnight in a wood-burning convection smoker, and brisket, ribs, and sausage are sliced to order.
Monkey Nest Coffee5353 Burnet Rd., 505-8033
Across the street from Dickey's, Monkey Nest is developing its own loyal following. The tasteful corporate-style decor of glass subway tile, dark wood, and comfortable, matching leather chairs belies the coffeehouse's homespun roots. Owner Koros Derakhshani was tired of spending all his money at Starbucks, so he decided to open his own coffee shop offering all Fair Trade and organic coffees at reasonable prices. Monkey Nest has been an instant hit with neighborhood residents. Mornings offer breakfast tacos from Elsi's and pastries from local bakeries. Don't miss the vegan doughnuts from Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery paired with Monkey Nest's signature Spiced Monkey Mocha (grated cinnamon and cayenne in a mocha latte). For an afternoon pick-me-up, try a cafe glace – espresso enhanced with a scoop of Tèo gelato. The cafe also offers a tempting variety of sandwiches made on fresh bread, and in a nod to the owner's Iranian roots, also stocks Persian tea scented with cardamom and orange blossoms.
Lucky J's Chicken & Waffles5035 Burnet Rd., 524-2917
Lucky J's owner Jason Umlas has done his best turning a dark and unappealing snack shop space into a cute, quirky, and permanent home for his chicken-and-waffles trailer business. Walls are painted red and yellow to match the iconic trailer's flame design. Tables inside and on the street encourage dining there, but ordering still takes place at a small window that seems more like a mobile confessional than a counter. Chicken-and-waffle combinations are still the mainstay, but the new space also has an expanded menu of sandwiches and breakfast items.
Hat Creek burger Co.5400 Burnet Rd., 452-2025
Although Hat Creek has been flipping burgers at this location for more than a year, it's still a relative newcomer to the brick-and-mortar world. What started as a trailer parked around town quickly found a dedicated following and a permanent home in a former Arby's. The sign was conveniently repurposed with the Hat Creek logo, and the restaurant reopened to adoring fans. The guys at Hat Creek make their own Angus beef patties and spice them just right. The flame-grilled burgers are juicy, substantial, but not so thick you can't get your mouth around them. Hat Creek cuts its own fries, and they're invariably among the best in town. Oh, and did I mention creamy root beer floats and milkshakes made with Blue Bell ice cream?