Food & Drink

Eats Beat: Bentley’s, Bobby V’s build on Arlington legacy

Chocolate lava cake with homemade cherry-bourbon sauce at J.R. Bentley’s English Pub in Arlington.
Chocolate lava cake with homemade cherry-bourbon sauce at J.R. Bentley’s English Pub in Arlington.

Two of Arlington’s oldest favorites are worth a new look.

J.R. Bentley’s English Pub, known for 35 years for its charbroiled hamburgers, has reopened after extended repairs to its landmark location, an old home on West Abram Street near UT Arlington.

It has been a long wait — Bentley’s has been under repair for three years since a fire — but owner Dana Ladd persevered to restore the same burgers and the same cozy corner-tavern atmosphere.

“This has been my life, my passion, my will to live, to get this reopened,” she said this week. “Opening back up is like starting all over. The students are new. We’re seeing people who never knew about Bentley’s.”

When Bentley’s opened across campus — Ladd said it was 1979, but Star-Telegram archives say 1980 — UTA had only 20,000 students and the pub was a popular competitor to downtown burger mainstay J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill.

A Star-Telegram review in 1980 described wooden booths with brass fixtures and philodendrons, and a drink list including Guinness (“which is Irish”) and wine (“a good Sebastiani”). The 1980 Duke’s Burger sounds exactly like today’s: mushrooms sauteed in wine sauce atop a sourdough roll with Swiss cheese and a half-pound of charbroiled beef ($8.75 with a side today, up from $3.25 in 1980).

A “Baron Burger” ($8.25) came blackened and seasoned with a Bentley’s spice blend for a home-cookout flavor. There’s also an ever-changing “London Burger” chef’s special ($9.95).

A complete surprise at Bentley’s: daily desserts such as a chocolate lava cake with a homemade cherry-bourbon sauce.

Bentley’s is more of a homey pub than a sports grill. It’s also smoke-free.

“Other bars have the big TVs,” Ladd said. “We want to be a place for friends and conversation.”

Bentley’s is open daily except Sundays for lunch and dinner; 406 W. Abram St., 817-261-7351,

Bobby V’s lunch lineup

Nearing its 30-year anniversary in Arlington, Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Cafe is showing some wear and tear from three decades of hosting sports fans.

But Bobby V’s is ready to take a swing at a new market: weekday lunch.

In a stretch of Interstate 20 that is dominated by newcomers such as Oldwest Cafe, Bobby V’s is winning back lunch diners with home-run prices: $6 sandwiches and combos, $6-$7 entree salads and pastas, and $7.50 lunches.

A club sandwich on toast with fries and a drink costs less than $10 at lunch one day this week, which is cheaper than most plate-lunch cafes.

Regulars swear by the hand-breaded cheese sticks or wings, both served with homemade sauces.

Bobby V’s serves the bargain lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays (dine-in only). It’s open for lunch and dinner daily at 4301 S. Bowen Road, on the corner at Interstate 20; 817-467-9922,

Olé every day

Also open again after remodeling (and an air-conditioning upgrade): Enchiladas Olé, the tiny Sylvania Avenue Tex-Mex cafe that specializes in enchiladas with slow-roasted, artisan sauces.

Enchiladas Olé has added pork carnitas enchiladas with ranchera sauce and also a Hatch green chile smothered burger.

It’s open for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner Thursday through Saturday (closed Sundays) at 901 N. Sylvania Ave.; 817-984-1360,

Bud Kennedy's column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in 817-390-7538

Twitter: @EatsBeat