A Square Meal
Jan 28, 2016 11:46AM ● Published by Dia
Denton is all grown up. Well, at least when it comes to food. Barley & Board, the city’s first brewpub restaurant, caters to grown-up tastes. If you thought the college town just 25 miles north of Southlake only served dollar beers and greasy bar food, give it a second look.
Menu selections at Barley & Board range from eclectic (Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates and
Parisian Gnocchi, for example) to classic (Turkey Melt and Mom’s Meatball Sub). Classified as New American cuisine, we just call it good.
Chef Chad Kelley, who heads up the kitchen as Executive Chef, says the restaurant is all about fun plating and clean, honest food at a decent price. “For an all-scratch kitchen, we have a lot of labor-intensive items on the menu at a good price point,” he says.
To wash down all the affordable gourmet fare, Barley & Board offers 36 craft beers on tap, which are made in 20-gallon batches.
For those who would rather sip on something other than beer, there are plenty of craft cocktails to pick from, including many with unique ingredients such as strawberry-sage syrup, bacon-infused rye and honey-lavender syrup.
As for the menu, it’s gourmet but not fancy. Anything too fussy wouldn’t fit in with the area, and Barley & Board is assuredly right at home in Denton’s historic downtown square. There’s even an interesting history to the restaurant’s location. It’s situated in the Lacy Hotel, an establishment built in 1884 that, according to reputation, served some of the best meals around. More than 120 years later, the site is still a place to enjoy good, authentic food.
Barley & Board stays true to its historical roots while incorporating modern elements such as dis- tressed wood and metal. The outer walls reveal the hotel’s original brick, while the inside overflows with rustic charm. No detail was overlooked, from the giant light-bulb fixtures suspended from the ceiling to the old-fashioned pull-flush toilets.
If you visit during the day, the main dining hall is sunny and bright, flooded with natural light from windows all around. A smaller space upstairs is suited for more intimate dining. Contemporary rock filters through the restaurant by day, with music transitioning to jazz for evening diners.
The hip atmosphere wouldn’t mean much if the food wasn’t any good. But thankfully, it’s delicious and well worth the trip. The menu offers an appetizing selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads, as well as larger plates such as Hanger Steak, Brazen Two-Faced Quail and Slow Roasted Pork Tenderloin.
With so many creative bites on the menu, it’s actually something simple that stands out: the B&B Burger. “It was unintentional, but our burger has been a huge success. We tested all different kinds of things: little gourmet burgers with roast- ed mushrooms and smoked cheeses. We tried getting really fancy with it,” Chef Kelley says. “But at the end of the day, it wasn’t a burger I wanted to eat all the time.”
What ended up working best is a mouthwatering combination of double meat, double slices of American cheese, Thousand Island dressing and house-made pickles. It’s sheer burger euphoria that’s put over the top when served alongside thin, crunchy French fries.
“I don’t often use American cheese,” says Chef Kelley, “but sometimes it has its place. Certain things like that just make [the burger]. And I love the matchstick fries. Each one is crispy.”
There are also plenty of classic pub items that are perfect for pairing with a cold beer – snacks such as German Rye Soft Pretzels and Blue Cheese Potato Chips. We enjoyed the Oliversity Board, a creative plate featuring a half-dozen olive variet- ies including the soft Gaeta and the vibrant-green Castelvetrano.
If Denton wasn’t on your radar as a culinary destination, it should be. Barley & Board brings sophisticated flavors and homemade brews to the heart of the college town that’s just a short trip away. Perhaps it’s time to visit a different square, if only for a meal and a cold one.
BARLEY & BOARD
100 W. Oak St. Denton 940.566.3900 BarleyAndBoard.com