Nov 04, 2016 10:36AM ● Published by Ashley Pape
Have you been to Denton lately? Let us suggest the local college town as a refreshing change of pace for date night. A visit to 940’s Kitchen & Cocktails, a buzzy hotspot in the downtown Denton square, is just the place to reinvigorate your weekend plans. The year-old restaurant on Oak Street exudes Denton charm and character (think neon signs and exposed brick), but it’s also upscale with handsome leather seating, elegant globe lights and a menu that begs to be explored.
The space has a surprisingly urban feel that’s much more Big D than Little D. It’s part eclectic restaurant, part cocktail lounge. Although children are welcome, we recommend booking a sitter. On our evening visit, we didn’t observe a single kid in the restaurant. The atmosphere and menu are much better suited for a night on the town with your spouse or a group of friends. And when you can get your favorite cocktails on tap, well, you might not be home before your kids’ bedtime.
As for those cocktails, the Black Cherry Vodka Basil Mule is one of the best on tap at 940’s. If you’re part of the Moscow Mule-loving crowd, it’s one you won’t want to miss. This refreshing variation is bright and light with a delightful zing of ginger beer and exhilarating basil. The cocktail is both addicting and delicious, and for $8, it’s a reasonably priced kickoff to your evening.
Another thoughtfully crafted libation is the Caipirinha. We weren’t positive how to pronounce it, so we consulted the bartenders. (No one wants to fumble over names at the bar.) It’s pronounced (say it with us): kai-pi-reen-ha.
If you’re looking to mix up your usual mojito or margarita, this is the way to go. 940’s rendition of the classic Brazilian cocktail packs a punch. It’s simple— made with cachaça, lime and sugar— but potent. The restaurant also offers an appealing variety of wine and beer in addition to its extensive cocktail menu.
No matter your beverage of choice, rest assured it will have an appetizing accompaniment; the kitchen doesn’t close until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. So if you’re catching a show or just want to enjoy some Denton nightlife, you don’t have to resort to greasy bar grub or fast food.
Chef Kellie Doyle is at the helm in the kitchen, which brings forth local, fresh and inspired food. You can order classics such as cheeseburgers and pizza, but expect everything on the menu to have a gourmet slant. Standouts include the Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad (candied pecan, apple, goat cheese and honey lemon vinaigrette) and the Slow Roasted Agave Pork Sandwich (shredded pork, peach habanero barbecue, fried jalapeños, shaved red onion and red cabbage slaw).
The most popular menu item is the Short Rib Grilled Cheese (house-made mozzarella, farmhouse cheddar, short rib, caramelized onion and egg), but our group gravitated toward the Shrimp and Grits. 940’s version of the Southern staple is deeply satisfying—and undeniably Texan with Poblano cheddar, Spanish-style cured sausage and chipotle. We needed another Caipirinha to cool down after that showstopper.
The menu at 940’s changes seasonally, so there’s always something new to try. The restaurant also offers a handful of vegan and gluten-free items, and many dishes can be adjusted to accommodate special dietary requests. Chef Doyle even welcomes feedback on the food she prepares. “I have a very open-door policy with staff, guests and friends who have great ideas or would love to try a particular type of food,” she says. “Inspiration is all around.”
If a late-night drink in Denton isn’t your speed, 940’s weekend brunch is also noteworthy. With menu items such as Stuffed French Toast (Nutella, raspberry and sweet cream cheese) and Veggie Benedict (sautéed veggies, grilled arepa, egg and Bloody Mary hollandaise), you’ll have plenty to contemplate on the short drive north—including whether to order a carafe of sangria or bubbly mimosas. Chef Doyle says, “The brunch menu is definitely something to crave on your Sunday Funday!”
Before your schedule fills up with talk of turkeys and holiday itineraries, carve out some time for a trip to Denton. With handcrafted cocktails, gourmet bites and a unique ambiance, 940’s offers the perfect way to spice up your next night out.
940’S KITCHEN & COCKTAILS
219 West Oak Street