Eats Beat

Here’s the dish on Olenjack’s new restaurant: burgers, grits and more near Saginaw

The new Eagle Mountain Tavern opened this week, still showing a few rough edges.

The bread and desserts weren’t quite ready at lunch. “Blue cheese vinaigrette” came out as a balsamic. Tiny Tabasco bottles were more decorative than functional.

But the shrimp-and-cheddar-grits tasted like chef Brian Olenjack’s, and that will bring his fans from former stops at Reata, the now-gone Chisholm Club and Olenjack’s out to the new bar-and-grill on Boat Club Road.

Eagle Mountain Tavern faces high expectations. Lake Country- and Saginaw-area families need a restaurant where they can take the soccer team, and another for a steak dinner with wine.

Eagle Mountain tries to be both, with a front dining room, and a bar and back dining room with TVs. It’s similar to the former steakhouse in that location, but with family-friendly prices.

The most expensive item on the menu is a grilled mahimahi with pico ($18). The other entrees cost $12-$16, and burgers with fries start at $8.

The shrimp-and-grits platter ($16) came with andouille sausage in a rich broth. It was almost enough for two to share.

Onion rings ($6) were lightly battered and steakhouse quality. (If you like more onion than breading, these onion rings are for you.)

A blue cheese-bacon wedge salad came with blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic vinaigrette instead of the expected blue cheese dressing. Advice: Lightly dress the wedge with the balsamic. Don’t douse it.

Overall, Eagle Mountain Tavern appears well on its way to becoming a reliable daily lunch or dinner destination for the Lake Country and Saginaw area.

It’s in the long-ago Eagle Ranch steakhouse location recently vacated by Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans, which moved to a new $1 million-plus home two miles south.

“This is an area where there’s not a lot of options, so basically you have two or three really good restaurants and that’s where everybody goes,” said co-owner Mark Caffey of Fort Worth.

It’s an easy drive three miles west of Saginaw on W.J. Boaz Road, or four miles north of Lake Worth on Boat Club Road. Eagle Mountain Tavern becomes a lunch or dinner option for hundreds of residents in new subdivisions north of Saginaw.

“Somebody at one of our preview dinners said, ‘If you’re not careful, you’re gonna become a family restaurant. I hope to heck we are a family restaurant, and then late at night a sports bar with live music and a fine place for people to come,” Caffey said.

They plan to add more locations in Fort Worth, Arlington and maybe Aledo, Caffey said.

Eagle Mountain Tavern is open for lunch and dinner daily and late weekends at 7255 Boat Club Road; 817-720-5355,

For a taco bargain, better try Betos

Inflation has struck the taco market, and don’t fall victim.

Sure, there are great tacos out there for $4 or $5. But places like Tres Betos Taqueria sell excellent street tacos for $1.25, and a lunch platter with three tacos, rice and beans for about $6.

Tres Betos Taqueria is a working-class place. At lunch one day this week, I was the only diner who wasn’t wearing a yellow safety vest for construction workers. I considered that a good sign.

The tacos al pastor, Mexico’s slow-roasted pork version of Mediterranean restaurants’ shawarma, were perfect corn tortillas with soft, flavorful pork, cilantro and onion.

Tres Betos offers traditional salsa but also the familiar creamy jalapeño sauce, mild tomatillo sauce and fiery salsa arbol.

Heriberto “Beto” Ramos came home from a U.S. Army tour in Iraq and opened Tres Betos more than 10 years ago. But lately, he has expanded the menu.

Along with tacos and burgers, Tres Betos now serves a huge menu of breakfast items all day, including fluffy pancakes, chilaquiles verdes, steak-and-eggs or pork chops.

If you’re paying $7 or $8 for huevos rancheros, Tres Betos has the same platter for $4.99. Breakfast “tacos locos” are $1.85, and chorizo tacos sell for $1 on Wednesdays.

The lunch and dinner menu now offers burritos, gorditas, tortas and soups (including the seldom-seen albondigas, a meatball soup).

It’s a cozy restaurant with a few large tables, so expect to share.

Tres Betos opens at 5 a.m. daily for breakfast and serves until late afternoon Monday through Wednesday, staying open through dinner Thursday through Sunday.

It’s at 2418 N.E. 28th St., two blocks west of Interstate 35W; 817-624-1250.

Back Dough doughnuts in the Stockyards

Chef Tim Love has made good on his promise to bring his Back Dough gourmet doughnuts to Fort Worth.

Already a hit in Denton, Back Dough is a pop-up doughnut shop that operates out of the back of a Love restaurant. In Fort Worth, it’s in his Love Shack burger stand in the Stockyards.

The Denton location is known for flavors such as chocolate mousse doughnuts or strawberry shortcake.

It’s cash only, 11 p.m.-1 a.m. The Love Shack is at 110 E. Exchange Ave.; 817-740-8812,

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @EatsBeat.

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