After the first bites of collard greens or sweet-potato cake, customers ask Rosako Bailey the obvious question.
Why a soul-food restaurant in Bedford?
“Because there wasn’t one for miles around here,” he said, and that explains the sudden success of Rosako’s Soul Food & BBQ.
“People had to drive from Keller to Dallas or Irving for this. Now it’s closer to home.”
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Bailey, a former partner in franchise steakhouses, grew up in Gary, Ind., and went to Ball State University. He calls Rosako’s “Midwest flavor,” but the hot links, turkey legs, fried okra and jalapeño-cheddar cornbread are universal.
Rosako’s also offers some distinctive items such as a “Thanksgiving 365” dinner of turkey with a bread-stuffing waffle, or a double-double smoked bologna-cheese-egg sandwich. Smothered pork chops are a Thursday special.
The daily special menu of pecan- and hickory-smoked barbecue includes pulled pork, pork rib ends, turkey “tips” and links. (Breakfast is also served all day, featuring a pork chop-waffle combo.)
2pounds of meat on Rosako’s “I Need a Nap” platter. It also comes with four sides and six jalapeño cornbreads.
Rosako’s doesn’t add salt to dishes and tries to avoid preservatives, Bailey said. The result is fresher-tasting vegetables than the syrupy-sweet sides at some soul-food restaurants.
Even the pulled pork is notably lean and flavorful.
Bailey has a pay-it-forward charity campaign and also a drive to help feed war veterans. He’ll tell you about that.
Rosako’s is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, lunch Sundays; 2816 Brown Trail, 817-785-3393, facebook.com/RosakoSoulFoodBBQ.
Classic catfish, too
Also new in Southern or soul food: Southern Classic Daiquiri Factory, in the Bridgewood shops of east Fort Worth.
The Daiquiri Factory is a classic example of a bar that doesn’t know it’s a good restaurant.
Big signs promote happy hour and the multiple flavors of frozen daiquiris, New Orleans-style.
But the menu also offers some serious fried catfish, either as fillets or covered with crawfish étouffée as “catfish Atchafalaya.”
Other items include a shrimp, chicken and sausage pasta Alfredo, or with Parmesan as “Pontchartrain carbonara.”
Southern Classic also offers boudin balls and — a rarity hereabouts — Natchitoches crawfish pies or meat pies, small Cajun-style empanadas. The owners are from Natchitoches.
It’s open for lunch and dinner daily; 6751 Bridge St., southernclassicdaiquirifactory.com.
Save now, splurge later
This is your first notice for two dining festivals this fall:
Taste of Arlington, featuring more than 20 restaurants, is Oct. 20 at the Arlington Convention Center.
33How many years Taste of Arlington will be celebrating at this year’s event
Tickets cost $35 before Sept. 30, $40 after, and $45 on Oct. 20. (VIP tickets, $60, include better seating.)
It’s a benefit for children’s programs at Theatre Arlington; 817-275-7661, tasteofarlington.info.
Taste of Northeast, the Hurst-Euless-Bedford counterpart, is Nov. 12 at the Hurst Convention Center.
Tickets cost $25 in advance or $20 with the Star-Telegram Press Pass; 817-283-3406, artscouncilnortheast.org.
(The next Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival is March 31-April 3.)