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Aug 18, 2012 12:05 PM

Time for BBQ

I'll be in DFW for around 36 hours on Labor Day weekend, and would very much like to squeeze in some great BBQ. I'm an enthusiastic foodie -- I'm tempted to drive to Louie Mueller for lunch -- but some companions have other passions in life.

I did my homework and found Lockhart Smokehouse, Pecan Lodge, Sweet Georgia Brown, Off the Bone (near Arlington), and Longoria. The problem is, our only opportunity is Saturday, and we're staying at a hotel near the airport and going to a 7pm game at Cowboys Stadium.

How do I get great BBQ without my compatriots waiting on long lines (a risk at a restaurant on Labor Day Saturday) or enduring heavy traffic (if we don't eat near the stadium)? I'm hoping a local can advise. For example, perhaps the traffic from Off the Bone to the stadium won't be so bad?

Thanks very much in advance!

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  1. Don't know how many of you there are, but my temptation would be heading to Off the Bone in south Fort Worth and getting a box full of bbq and return to Cowboy Stadium for improvised "tailgating". Off the Bone is extremely consistent which Lockhart is NOT. Pecan Lodge is only open until 3pm or until they sell out - so you make the call on that. The other 2 I cannot offer any input.

    To get to OTB from the airport area (assuming you're talking about D/FW airport and not Love Field), take 360 southbound to I-20 west bound, then 287 (Mansfield Hwy) north about 1/2 mile.

    OTB's ribs cannot be beaten by anyone, IMO. The brisket is better than most, but I found the sausage greasy with not much flavor. Have fun and enjoy your bbq, where ever you end up.

    6 Replies
    1. re: CocoaNut

      Ah, takeout and 'tailgating' is an excellent idea. Considering traffic, is OTB much less travel time than the other options? It looks closer on the map, but traffic could make a big difference.

      (And yes, we're near DFW airport and not Love Field.)

      1. re: CocoaNut

        I was wondering how to answer the OP's question but CocoaNut did it for me. I second "Off The Bone". Besides, the line is around the block at Pecan Lodge on Saturdays.
        And if you care about cost, Lockhart Smokehouse is very "pricey".
        Sweet Georgia Brown's food is really very good! It also isn't cheap but, one meal (a meat and three sides) will feed three people! They give you HUGE portions. However, it is a "madhouse" on Sunday's after church. With a line out the door! We only go there on Saturday's for lunch.

        1. re: twinwillow

          oooooo - twin - you're saying Sunday, but guanxi is saying Saturday.... I hope. If I'm not mistaken, OTB is closed (as are a lot of BBQ places) on Sunday.

          As far is which is closer, it's probably a toss up on miles, but 360 northbound nearing game time will be the problem regardless which city your starting from.

          The picture with the ribs as the star is an OTB combo plate (brisket is underneath). Portions are very large. Actually, they're both combos.

            1. re: CocoaNut

              They have been closed on Sundays.

              For whatever it's worth, I heard some grumblings about places selling out on Memorial Day weekend; I'd beware on Labor Day weekend. Since OTB is closed Sunday, I am sure people will be going on Saturday, and some things will be sold out if you go late. You can call, but they don't always answer the phone if they're swamped. In short, you might try calling. Or go early. They really are wonderful ribs, and I can compare to City Market, Arthur Bryants, etc. (although I haven't had Pecan Lodge - shame on me, huh?). I prefer City Market, but I'd take OTB over Bryants if I had them all in a row.

              From I-20, you can take Collins north rather than 360 - might be a stitch faster unless there's a wreck or something.

              1. re: CocoaNut

                I had never heard of OTB. I will have to try it.

          1. No love for North Main BBQ?
            5 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from the stadium, BYOB. When they're on, they're mighty fine.
            Another one that has decent bbq, and is close to the airport is Bartley's

            1. Thanks for the tips everyone (and I'd appreciate any other ideas that people have!). Sarah - thanks especially for the tip about OTB not answering the phone when busy and possibly selling out. I may try to call that morning with an order.

              Any other restaurant suggestions for an early dinner near the stadium, in case BBQ logistics don't work out? Can we get a decent meal inside the stadium? North Main is a helpful idea. We'd probably want someplace we can make a reservation and that is not too slow or formal. Also, to please my companions, it would have to be a European or American cuisine (and not tex-mex).

              Many thanks!

              2 Replies
              1. re: guanxi

                Just a note - Should you decide to eat in at OTB, they only have soft drinks and do not allow BYOB. N. Main used to be BYOB, but I think they now serve beer (call ahead if it matters) - as to the N. Main BBQ, you have two menu choices: a sandwich with sides or an all you can eat buffet. Both smokehouses are definitely "no frills" - OTB is in an old (DQ?) Drive-In.

                In Arlington, there are no worthy BBQ joints, but I'd suggest Babes Chicken Dinner House. It's always crowded, but with the game, will probably be crazy, so go early. They have excellent fried chicken plus other wonderful down-South options at a very reasonable single price ($12?) and it's guaranteed you won't leave hungry - all you can eat vegetables. (insider tip - if you order fried chicken, it's half a chicken... cut up of course. Doggie bags available for a later snack) Worth a look at the menu, but I think no alcohol here either.

                Other near-by eateries along Collins (Lincoln Square) just north of the stadium or 5-10 south of stadium off Division St.: Buffalo Wild Wings, Boomer Jacks Bar and Grill, Sherlock's Baker St. Pub, Fuzzy's Taco Shop (NOT Tex-Mex, not really even Mex), Twisted Root Burger (wild game options), J. Gilligans Bar and Grill.

                You can always call, but most non-formal restaurants won't take reservations and on game day, I'm sure policy is first come, first serve. One exception I'd rec with hesitation (the 2 times I've been, the service has been comically bad) - Olenjacks. Good food, but.... You might also try Pappasito's (Gulf Seafood/Cajun).

                1. re: CocoaNut

                  Thanks CocoaNut. Babes looks good, if we can get in. If someone could recommend a restaurant inside the stadium (I'm not hopeful, but you never know ...) or something nearby that is upscale enough to take a reservation? We're more concerned about time (and food) than cost.

              2. You may have guessed by now - Arlington's main-attraction venues just don't attract the "reservations needed" crowd. There are an abundance of chain restaurants along Collins/Hwy 157 near I-20, which also has restaurants along the east bound service road. Perhaps with big games/events in town, some may take reservations. Google "arlington restaurants", click the ensuing map and hover your pointer over the restaurants near the above mentioned intersection for contact info.

                Casharel Restaurant is a long-standing, fine dining restaurant at the top of one of Arlington's multi-floor'd buildings. I'm sure they take reservations and might be what you're looking for. I don't know your game time, but check their hours - not sure if they only have dinner service.

                3 Replies
                1. re: CocoaNut

                  There is always Potager which has a nice selection of fresh daily made options. I have never seen a crowd there.

                  Might read up a bit on they way things work as it is "out of the norm". I have had consistenly good meals there.


                  If you would like some other ethnic options close to the stadium let me know. Mexican, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Chinese are within a very short distance from the stadium

                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    Thanks LH. I'd love to try the ethnic options, but I'm not going to find one that will satisfy everyone in my crew. Potager might be a good option, though. Much appreciated!

                    1. re: guanxi

                      Potager offers excellent farm to table food but,
                      because of the "mish-mash" of their tables and chairs, I personally find the restaurant somewhat uncomfortable.
                      But, the food's a different story altogether.
                      It's local, sustainable, and organic! And as said, a very
                      good option.

                2. If you're staying on the north side of the airport you'll be pretty close to Hard 8 BBQ. I'm not sure how bad the lines will be but they do have a lot of seating (especially if its not too hot to sit outside) including big tables which are good for a large group.