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Apr 21, 2013 06:33 AM

3 hour layover at DFW--BBQ?

We have a 3-hour layover at the DFW airport, and, as I've never been to Texas before, would like to take advantage of a quality local meal. No chains, obviously. Since we really only have about 2 hours to play with before getting back to the airport, is there somewhere we can get to, eat, and be back in time? I guess I'd probably prefer BBQ, but if you have other suggestions on authentic Texas cuisine, we're open! One side note--we do have some pretty amazing & authentic Mexican taquerias where we live, so we'd prefer to stay away from that. Any help is appreciated! Thank you!

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  1. This is dated info, but I used to connect through DFW some years ago a few times a year.

    I used to like Dickey's BBQ in the airport. They only had a few locations but now appear to be a midsized chain. Fun memories and several cuts above what was typically at airports.

    I see there are now a few other BBQ places in the airport now.

    Too bad you're not flying out of Love Field. The original Sonny Bryant's was right there.

    Hope fully the locals will provide more recent recs.

    1. Hard eight is a good BBQ place not far from the airport. Also good for a Texas-y BBQ experience.

      6 Replies
      1. re: demigodh

        I concur with demigodh. Hard Eight is about the best you're going to get within your time constraints.

        Fair warning: Stay away from Dickey's! It's nothing more than a franchised chain now with horrible BBQ! And Sonny Bryans isn't far behind.

        1. re: twinwillow

          I have to agree about Dickey's and Sonny Bryans.

          My most disappointing experience has been Sonny Bryans, because I think it started out as a great little authentic BBQ place. I went to the original one on Inwood, and really dont have anything good to say about the quality of meats - dry, tough, bland. Also, my workplace (UT southwestern) loves to get catering from there, and its consistently lousy.

          1. re: Mellicita

            Thx for the update.

            I guess memory plays tricks on us. Best that I don't revisit Sonny Bryants and keep the good memory intact..:)

            My Dallas trips were longer ago than I first thought. Sonny B's used to close when they ran out of food..early PM. I remember changing plans so as to stay over another day on occassion if I misssed it. The look on my face was priceless when they told me they were out. You're kidding..:) NO. This was long before the CH website was found; but I still had a love for food.

            re Dickie's, Again, memories can play tricks. The only other game in town (town being the AMR terminal at DFW) was a BK or Pizza Hut. The bad old days..:)

            I don't connect through DFW much anymore but Hard Eight sounds like the way to go.

            Thx for the chance to reminisce..but it sounds like the past should stay in the past :)

            1. re: 9lives

              @9lives - It looks like you live in Boston so in your defense, Dickeys (which is probably the worst bbq in dallas) is still better than pretty much anything I could find in D.C. or N.Y. when I lived in those cities 5-10 years ago. I assume the same holds true for Mass.

              I would probably act the same way for the worst lobster roll in Boston :)

              1. re: 9lives

                Dickeys is to BBQ kinda like what PF Changs is to Chinese, or Red Lobster is to seafood. Its a very standardized chain version of BBQ.
                Fancy Foodie types feel its the most abhorrent thing in the world...tons of Americans eat it and love it... most normal people would find something to eat and be happy, while recognizing its not an authentic experience or representative of "the best" in BBQ.

                1. re: Mellicita

                  I think that's a good comparison. I will walk a mile to avoid horrible food, but Dickey's & PF Chang's are fine. Now Sonny Bryan's, I personally consider that something to avoid.

        2. Hmm.. I would be a little concerned about you having enough time to leave the airport, drive (Taxi?) to a BBQ place, have enought time to eat, and then get back through security all in three hours.

          The dirty little secret is that Dallas really doesnt do great BBQ. The better places are in Fort Worth.

          Having said that, my boyfriend really enjoyed the meats at Lockhart Smokehouse. Its a tiny little hole in the wall place. They serve up really good meat. There is a wide selection of beer. The side dishes arent great - potato salad and coleslaw from a litlte refrigerator. Its VERY low key - eg there are no plates... you just eat your meat with your hands and sides out of the plastic deli containers with a plastic fork. Its more of a takeout place. There are no waiters. You refill your own drink, etc.

          In Fort Worth, if you go to an area called the Stockyards (A very scenic, "old west" area with lots of little shops with western wear, many restaurants, they herd longhorn cows down the street twice a day)..... there are two BBQ places that I enjoyed - Riskys BBQ and Coopers BBQ - although I wouldnt be so bold as to advertise them as the best BBQ.

          RIsky's BBQ - one really good experience where BBQ meats smokey but tender and juicy with a nice crust, someone also had a perfectly cooked steak..... nice selection of sides and beers. A second experience where the ribs were rather tough, not juicy. This is a casual sit down resturant where you will have a server bring your food and refill drinks.

          Coopers BBQ
          You go through a long line, and order whatever looks good to you, and pay by the weight. Many feel its a little expensive for BBQ, but the meats are smokey and tender (sometimes a little salty from the rubs). They use direct heat to cook them. They offer free beans (all you want) at the self serve drink stations.

          If you want to play it safe and stay in the airport. Dickeys BBQ does have a little mall court style place to get BBQ... not the greatest, but its reasonably good. (Dickeys is a huge nationwide chain of BBQ)

          The best place I have eaten in the airport is Pappadeaux, its a sitdown Cajun style restaurant. It is a chain, but given all options in the airport, this is the best option, in my opinion. I have had consistently good food when I've been there at the airport. (I acutally ate at their airport location a few weeks ago, upon arriving home!) I've also eaten at their Dallas location several times. They primarily serve seafood. Fish has always been fresh and cooked correctly. I love the crab cakes. The lobster or crawfish bisque is super delish!

          PS. the links all have menus, prices, and you should be able to plug their addresses into a GPS or Mapquest or Google maps and be able to get driving distance from the airports to see if you think it would fit with your schedule.
          Early morning or late evening, I get through DFW security in about 15-20 min. Midday, Its taken me up to 45 min-1 hr to get through.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mellicita

            Of the above, I would second Pappadeaux at DFW airport. Both in food quality and the use of the limited time you have available.

          2. I second Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell. It's as close as you will get to central Texas BBQ in all of DFW, in my opinion.

            There is also a new Salt Lick BBQ location in the recently renovated Terminal A at DFW. I've seen it a few times, but haven't eaten there yet. The original location outside of Austin is incredible, but that's a totally different experience.

            If you have time, do Hard Eight, but be aware it can be really busy around lunchtime, so you may be forced to take it to-go, given the limited time you have. Otherwise, I'd hit up Salt Lick. You can't go wrong either way.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hypemnd

              Was going to say the same thing about the timing issue; try to go to Hard 8 during off-peak times.

            2. Since time is an issue I would probably go with Mi Dia from Scratch in Grapevine or Dona Lencha in Irving both within a 10 min drive of the airport if you are in the Mexican kick.

              Mi Dia from Scratch is going to have Mex-Mex, Tex-Mex and New-Mex cuisine and it going to be considerably more upscale than Dona Lencha. You will not have a bad meal here! I have been several times now and I really can't put a finger on my favorite dish.

              Dona Lencha is one of our top five taquerias in the metroplex. Expect quality and authenticity. The tacos are about two bites big but only cost $1 each. You have anything from your safe options like fajita, chicken and al pasto to the more adventurous in brain, sweetbreads and blood sausage. All of these options on fresh made corn tortillas, it really doesn't get better. I have yeat to try any of the main dishes like the rotisserie chicken but I had heard it is great. The atmosphere isn't much but I was blown away by the food. The aguas frescas are also top notch and I believe everyone gets a free glass if waiting on a to go order. They do speak perfect English and the menu has been translated for you.

              I have a different opinion about Hard Eight as I have had their catering several times at work and it is terrible, to the point I will not visit the restaurant. I have given them three chances on the catering to get it right and they have failed each time.

              I would recommend FM Smokehouse a bit further away from the airport. Intial reviews have been very good. I have been wanting the smoked ribeye chicken fried steak. Brand new and hot!!


              2 Replies
              1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                I've had very inconsistent experiences at Hard Eight. I'll also say that i think their best item is the jalapeno poppers (and that's not meant to be a complement of a bbq restaurant). That said, I've had it when it's good and I don't know a better BBQ place around the airport. The experience is also worthwhile with the huge smoker out front and huge pot of beans (which are in fact delicious, especially with the corn bread crumbs).

                One other suggestion I would make within 10 minutes of the airport is Nepali food. Dallas has the third largest Nepali population in the U.S. (mostly in Irving) so that would be a cool experience. My favorite is Everest off of New Rochelle. Go get some momos and a Nepali thali.

                1. re: demigodh


                  Just wanted the OP have the correct info as far as the address for Everest and don't mean to be snarky. I posted the yelp review below. I think that is also a great option for someone at the airport.


                  Oh and Dona Lencha has two locations I prefer the one on Hwy 183 and Story Rd. It is actually about one block south on Story Rd.