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8 Local Chains We Love in Dallas

By Farah Fleurima
January 20, 2014

Dallas loves its local chains. You know the ones; mini collections of concepts that started here and are embraced as the city’s own. From Latin American to burgers and barbecue, these chains altogether have our favorite types of food covered. Here are some networks of restaurants that are worthy of a try, with must-eat menu picks and the average cost of a lunch dish and drink.

  • Bread Winners

    The Formula: A friendly neighborhood restaurant for from-scratch fare including a hugely popular weekend brunch
    Number of Locations: Four
    Lunch for One: $15
    Menu Highlights: The egg-on-top Croque Madame, the BW Cuban and the Abita-Braised Beef Brisket Sandwich
    Tasting Notes: Check in and expect a wait on the weekends; Bread Winners wide variety of breakfast favorites are worth the wait behind every other foodie in the neighborhood.

  • Twisted Root Burger Co.

    The Formula: Crazy topping combos on burgers served in a cheeky, kitschy environment
    Number of Locations: Seven (8 if you count the DFW Airport location!)
    Lunch for One: $9
    Menu Highlights: The Frito Bandito with chili, guac, cheese and corn chips, and the adult milkshakes
    Tasting Notes: As the menu notes, burgers come medium-well unless you pipe up, and we like them firmly in medium mode. Sides here are unforgettable, especially the fried green beans, fried pickles and nacho cheese-adorned Ballpark Fries. Don’t leave without a spiked adult milkshake.

  • Cane Rosso

    The Formula: Authentic Southern Italian-style pizza made in a custom oven
    Number of Locations: Three; Fort Worth’s is set to open any day now. Zoli’s NY Pizza is the American-pie offshoot of the Cane Rosso family.
    Lunch for One: $18
    Menu Highlights: The housemade Caesar with white anchovies, and the super-spicy sausage-bedecked Paulie Gee
    Tasting Notes: Jay Jerrier’s pizza havens induce swoons, and, happily, the same attention goes into non-pizza items like salads, pasta and dessert.

  • Neighborhood Services

    The Formula: Nick Badovinus’ chef-crafted, thoughtfully sourced comfort food sports an upscale edge
    Number of Locations: 3, including Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill and Off-Site Kitchen
    Lunch for One: $20 at the grill (the flagship doesn’t serve lunch), $8 at OSK
    Menu Highlights: Chicken Fricassee Pot Pie at both NHS and NHSBG, and Green Chile and Bacon burger at OSK
    Tasting Notes: We’re suckers for starters like Jonah Crab Dip and Fried Little Asparagus, and mains like Caramelized Sea Scallops and Veal Schnitzel satisfy our palate.

  • Gloria’s

    The Formula: A tasty menu mix of Salvadorean cuisine and Tex-Mex favorites
    Number of Locations: 12 in DFW; there are also two in Austin and one in Houston
    Lunch for One: $12
    Menu Highlights: In addition to the pupusas, tamales, the juicy carne asada and the endlessly craveable steak nachos
    Tasting Notes: We love perching on the patio and pairing steak nachos with the frozen swirl margaritas during happy hour.

  • Norma's Cafe

    The Formula: Southern home-cooking classics Mom and Grandma used to make
    Number of Locations: Three
    Lunch for One: $12 for the chicken fried steak (because that IS what you’re there for) and a drink
    Menu Highlights: The CFS, meat loaf, fried catfish and fried pork chops. Oh, and all those vegetables with definite influences of bacon …
    Tasting Notes: In addition to dishing out lunch and dinner classics, Norma’s does a brisk breakfast service. We love anything eggy with a side of pancakes the day after a night of partying.

  • Kenny’s

    ‎The Formula: Kenny Bowers pours his heart and soul into our favorite types of cuisine, all to delicious effect at Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill, Kenny’s Smokehouse, Kenny’s Burger Joint and Kenny’s Italian Kitchen
    Number of Locations: Four
    Lunch for One: $15 will do plenty of midday entrée-and-drink damage at all Kenny’s locations
    Menu Highlights: The Ahi Tuna Salad at the Grill; the three-meat Kinahora sandwich at the Smokehouse; the eponymous Pepperjack Guacamole at the Burger Joint; and The Italian Grinder at the Italian Kitchen
    Tasting Notes: While the Kinahora may cause you to exceed any weekly meat quota you may have, the jalapeno cheddar sausage-on-brisket-on-pulled pork sandwich is worth going vegetarian till next week for.

  • Lombardi Restaurants

    The Formula: Casual, palate-pleasing takes on European cuisine: Taverna, Toulouse Café, Bistro 31, Sangria and Penne Pomodoro Number of Locations: Eight, including three Penne Pomodoros and two Tavernas in DFW. Lombardi also operates a Taverna in Austin Taverna and a concept called Romagna Mia in Las Vegas
    Lunch for One: $15 is plenty at Penne Pomodoro; $17 at Taverna and Toulouse; $22 at Bistro 31 (Sangria doesn’t serve lunch)
    Menu Highlights: Lasagna Bolognese at Taverna; Shrimp Club BLT at Toulouse; Ham and Gruyere Galette at Bistro 31; Pumpkin Ravioli at Penne Pomodoro
    Tasting Notes: One thing the Uptown (Taverna, Toulouse) and Park Cities (Bistro 31) properties have in spades, in addition to yummy Eurofood is phenomenal people-watching. Order a glass of wine and gawk!


Places Mentioned

Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill

American • Preston Royal

Food25 Decor22 Service23 Cost$41
Neighborhood Services

American • Bluffview

Food25 Decor22 Service23 Cost$41
Food22 Decor20 Service21 Cost$23
Kenny's Wood Fired Grill

American • Dallas

Food26 Decor21 Service25 Cost$39
Twisted Root Burger Co.

Burger • Deep Ellum

Food23 Decor18 Service17 Cost$16
Bread Winners Cafe

American • Uptown

Food21 Decor18 Service18 Cost$22
Cane Rosso

Pizza • Deep Ellum

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
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