Eats Beat

In Grapevine, look for the Mason & Dixie line

A havarti-Brie grilled cheese sandwich served with tomato-basil soup at Mason & Dixie.
A havarti-Brie grilled cheese sandwich served with tomato-basil soup at Mason & Dixie. bud@star-telegram.com

Mason & Dixie has moved over to downtown Grapevine, and also up.

The former antique-mall tea room will add weekend brunch and Dallas’ Ascension coffees to the menu at the new location, open this week at South Main and College streets in Westwood Center.

Mason & Dixie was just too cute to stay in an antique mall, and also too good.

The preview menus lately have featured the restaurant’s fig panini, havarti-Brie grilled cheese sandwiches or house-made pimento-cheese sandwiches with bacon and apricot jam.

Both desserts are the stuff of Grapevine legend: the brown-sugar bread pudding with bourbon sauce, or a coconut cream cake.

Owner Beth Newman is a former interior designer. That shows in the bright, airy decor and antique china.

Mason & Dixie’s menu will expand this week to include familiar down-home Southern favorites, Newman said. (Last week’s menu featured simpler sandwiches and salads.)

If you’re looking for a lighter lunch, that menu offers a blueberry-almond salad and an apple-blue cheese spinach salad.

Sandwiches sell for $8-$11.

In a city bored with corporate chains, Mason & Dixie is a clever, fresh and attractive alternative.

It’s open for lunch daily, except Mondays, at 603 S. Main St., 817-707-2111, masonanddixietx.com.

A new Sammie’s

The local barbecue planet was knocked off its axis this week.

Sammie’s Bar-B-Q, established in 1946 and the frequent site for a rib rendezvous in Fort Worth writer Dan Jenkins’ novels, went dark but new owner Sam Gibbins of the Smoke Pit bought it and reopen it.

Gibbins, owner of the 55-year-old Smoke Pit since 2001, said he will reopen with the same recipes and staff. He now has two East Belknap Street barbecue restaurants a mile apart, and said the Smoke Pit will continue unchanged under co-owner Annette Hinkle.

Fort Worth chefs Grady Spears of Horseshoe Hill Cafe and Michael Thomson of Michaels Cuisine have agreed to cook specials at Sammie’s once a month as guest chefs, he said.

Along with legendary Texas caterer Walter Jetton’s, Sammie’s ruled Fort Worth barbecue until Angelo’s opened in 1958.

Founder “Sammie” Norwood originally ran a dance hall nearby on East Belknap Street. In 1978, the original restaurant’s awnings and car hops were replaced with a new building next door at 3801 E. Belknap St.

Sammie’s was known for thick, bracelet-sized onion rings with a cake-like breading, for smoked bologna and for its thin, vinegary and smoky sauce, a secret recipe.

Jenkins’ novels include at least two references to Sammie’s, one as the host for a coaches’ dinner for mythical TCU Horned Frogs football Coach T.J. Lambert and the other a debate in the 1974 golf novel “Dead Solid Perfect” over “whether Angelo’s or Sammie’s had the best barbecued ribs.”

Gone Green

In Euless, barbecue heir Ray Green has split with family members at the 36-year-old North Main BBQ buffet.

Green said he is considering opening a southwest Tarrant County restaurant.

“It’s been a blessed life at North Main,” Green said: “It was just time to leave it behind.”

Green and his father, Hubert, started smoking barbecue in 1981 and serving it to friends and clients out of the office at their trucking company on North Main Street in Euless.

As the crowds outgrew the office space, the Greens took over a plate-lunch cafe next door and turned it into an informal weekend barbecue buffet.

Crowds grew in the 1980s and ’90s as North Main became a fabled stop for Cowboys crowds en route to then-Texas Stadium. Dallas’ billionaire Hunt family also made it a frequent stop, Green said, and for years North Main BBQ catered the Rangers’ lockerroom.

The McKay side of the Green family will continue running the restaurant, Green said. So far, the changeover has included a cleanup and new paneling.

North Main BBQ remains open for lunch and dinner Fridays and Saturdays and lunch Sundays; 406 N. Main St. Euless, (north of Texas 183), 817-267-9101, bbqnorthmain.com.

Return of Mijo’s

In Arlington, Mijo’s Fusion is making a comeback.

Owner Connie Sheen reopened her tacos-and-sushi fusion restaurant at 1700 W. Park Row Drive, in the strip shopping center where Chop House Burgers started before moving to Pantego.

That’s east of Mijo’s original location, but closer to UT Arlington friends. (Mijo’s expanded to southwest Arlington and Fort Worth locations before downsizing two years ago,)

Even as the new restaurant opened, Sheen wasn’t sure whether to name it something like 013 Mijo’s or 013 Cafe, for its ZIP code, 76013. More in an upcoming Eats Beat.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @EatsBeat. His column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.

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