That new Babe’s Chicken? It’ll be open before turkey time

The new Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, three years in the planning, has posted a “now hiring” sign and is expected to open in early November.

It’s the first highway location for the nationally known Dallas-Fort Worth family-style chicken restaurant chain, and will be the closest to Fort Worth.

This is not just any Babe’s. It’s a super-sized version of the original Roanoke location, serving the restaurant’s full menu of hickory-smoked chicken, fried catfish and chicken tenders along with Roanoke’s familiar platters of fried chicken, chicken-fried steak and buttermilk biscuits with sorghum syrup.

When this Babe’s opens, work will begin on a steakhouse next door, Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes.

Owner Paul Vinyard originally opened a smaller chicken restaurant, Bubba’s Cooks Country, in 1981 in University Park. The restaurants use a variation on the old recipe from a 1950s Texas chain, Youngblood’s Fried Chicken.

Babe’s was ranked one of the three best fried chicken restaurants in America by Southern Living (along with Kansas City’s legendary Stroud’s), and saluted in The New York Times ( “New York has nothing to compare with the excellence of Babe’s”).

Sweetie Pie’s has more than 20 items, including salads, and desserts such as red velvet cake and apricot fried pie.

Watch for the new Babe’s at 6711 N.E. Loop 820, just east of Rufe Snow Drive.

Babe’s has nine regional locations, including in Arlington, Burleson and the cozy Roanoke original, open daily for lunch and dinner (lunch starts early at 10:30 a.m. Sundays); 104 N. Oak St., 817-491-2900, babeschicken.com.

Sweetie Pie’s is open daily for lunch and dinner at 201 W. Main St., Decatur, 940-626-4555, sweetiepiesribeyes.com.

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