The Railhead Smokehouse is nearing middle age.
When it opened in 1986, the west-side restaurant was considered the “new” barbecue place in town. Diners argued over whether it improved on similar Angelo’s, a debate that has never subsided.
Now-state Rep. Charlie Geren remembers the first day.
“Mainly, I remember there weren’t many people,” he said this week.
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His father, the late Preston Geren, was one of few diners.
“He saw the empty dining room,” Charlie Geren said, “and he was like, ‘This doesn’t look good.’ ”
But Railhead served ribs at lunch, and Angelo’s didn’t have them until dinner. The Railhead went on to add smoked chicken and pork shoulder, and remains a busy stop for barbecue or beer before or after a rodeo or game.
For the 30th anniversary, Railhead has added popular Syracuse’s Sausage from Ponder in Denton County.
When Railhead opened, sausage was an afterthought in barbecue cafes. It ranged from house-made to Eckrich.
Geren said Railhead has served four different sausages in its history, the most recent from a Yoakum meat company. But Syracuse’s jalapeño-cheese sausage has been an instant hit, Geren said.
“We would have had it sooner, but they were busy making sausage for the State Fair,” Geren said: “It’s selling like crazy. That’s the big change from 30 years ago — now we sell a lot more sausage.”
A sausage dinner with coleslaw or potato salad and beans sells for $8.50, or the sandwich is $4.50. That’s the same price as the chopped brisket, with the ribs, sliced brisket or turkey selling for a couple of dollars more.
The current Railhead was built in 1995, but the original location was two miles west on West Vickery Boulevard.
Geren and the late Harry Pilcher took over a newish restaurant and drive-through beer barn named Heine’s Smokehouse, renamed it Railhead, and promoted barbecue and “fresh, home-cooked french fries.”
Railhead remains known for its fries ($2.50).
It’s open for lunch and dinner daily except Sundays; 2900 Montgomery St., 817-738-9808, railheadsmokehouse.com.
Time for a bigger Box?
The Lunch Box is growing, but owner Immy Khan isn’t ready to talk about where and how.
Just say the 36-year-old west-side breakfast, brunch and lunch cafe will add more room at its Village at Camp Bowie mothership soon. That might also mean adding a few items from one of Khan’s other restaurants, Black Rooster Bakery.
The Lunch Box is open for breakfast and lunch daily at 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd.; 817-738-2181, eatthelunchbox.com.
A family turkey buffet
Fort Worth’s newest old-time restaurant will be open Thanksgiving Day.
Heaven’s Gate Restaurant, the new name for the old, remodeled Colonial House buffet north of the Fort Worth Stockyards, will serve turkey, ham, roast and fajitas on its holiday lunch buffet for $14.99.
Heaven’s Gate is a simple plate-lunch cafe with a daily lunch buffet and a weekend breakfast buffet. On Thanksgiving Day, the breakfast buffet will open at 8 a.m. ($12.99) followed by the lunch buffet at 11:30 a.m.
Go take a look. It’s open for breakfast and lunch daily, and also for dinner Thursdays through Saturdays; 3816 N. Main St., 817-624-1262, globalgreenunited.wixsite.com/heavengaterestaurant.
If you’re looking for a fancier Thanksgiving brunch, LAW at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving will serve an $82 buffet.
Yes, that includes turkey or a coffee-rubbed steak, plus apple-smoked chicken or pan-fried redfish.
The 22-item “dessert extravaganza” includes pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate-caramel bread pudding, pies, cobblers and banana-caramel creme brulee.
The price for ages 6-12 is $39; 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., 972-717-2420, fourseasons.com/dallas.