Campo Verde’s Christmas lights are up.
All 160,000 of them.
After 30 years as the Arlington area’s holiday wonderland, the restaurant is again bedecked with more lights and tinsel than ever.
It all started when one of “Smiley” Williams’ family members asked to hang a few lights.
“Before long,” he said this week, “it was totally out of control.”
Now, Campo Verde customers dine on fajitas or enchiladas while classic holiday songs play amid Santas, 40 Christmas trees and a miniature train track longer than a football field.
This restaurant will cure any humbug, even one frightened at first by Campo Verde’s classic bright yellow cheese sauce and warm chips with a heavy dusting of chile powder.
This is what Tex-Mex was like in the 1980s, when fajitas were exotic and Texans were just learning the dangers of the top-shelf margarita.
But no other restaurant serves classic chili-and-cheese Tex-Mex with Christmas lights twinkling at every turn and Elvis’ Blue Christmas playing at full disco-floor volume, even at lunch.
Have I made it clear Campo Verde is not for the faint of holiday heart?
Williams and his staff added 20 more trees and some toy snowplows this year, hanging decorations from the ceiling after they ran out of space everywhere else.
“We always add more lights,” he said.
The decorations include more than 5 miles of garland.
Miniature trains clickety-clack their way throughout the several dining rooms at the sprawling restaurant, part of childhood memories for two generations of Arlington children.
This is the Arlington area’s Rockefeller Center — a holiday mainstay for executives and for residents such as late Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who called it his favorite restaurant.
The menu also includes bison or rattlesnake fajitas, steaks, chimichangas and vegetable dishes such as calabacitas rellenas (stuffed squash).
Campo Verde also is known for what might be the region’s original food challenge, a 7-pound “World’s Biggest Burger” ($60) that is free if eaten within an hour.
Feeding time again
The original Feedstore BBQ in Southlake has reopened, just in time for the holidays.
The 64-year-old town-feedstore-turned-barbecue restaurant is a city landmark, and the host Lafavers family has expanded and added a patio.
Feedstore BBQ is known for brisket and ribs, but also serves burgers and fried catfish.
Countdown to Chuy’s
Also new in Southlake: Chuy’s Tex-Mex, under construction at Carroll Pointe, 1221 E. Texas 114, with a scheduled Jan. 22 opening.
The planned Spin! Neapolitan Pizza in Southlake Town Square has signs up but does not appear close to completion.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.