In-N-Out Burger in Dallas Debate: The Sequel

While the In-N-Out Burger rumors burn out of control, a loyal Disher suggests we open a different can of worms. Hear him out.

So, an interesting corollary to this In-N-Out debate would be “well, what other restaurant institutions in Dallas are over-rated”?

I’d throw the sacred Campisi’s on that burning altar.  Why do they consistently pack them in?

Perhaps Primo’s. Don’t get it.

Definitely Goff’s before Harvey sold it.  Why would anyone put up with his sh*t?

Burger House, an institution with an ordinary burger.

Snuffer’s.  I just don’t get the attraction of those nasty cheese fries.

What About Harry’s: I like Harry himself, but darn, it stinks in there.

Mi Cocina.  $8 to $10 margaritas?  And people pack the place.

Patrizio’s … bad service, generic pasta, great location.  And still proclaimed as a great date place.  Really, I don’t get this one at all.

Wow, I’m handing my keyboard over to this dude. He sure asks a lot of questions for a guy from New Jersey. Go. Fight. Wynne!


  • acrow

    I agree with you entire list (esp. Snuffer’s–I can’t think of one thing I like to eat there), except Patrizio’s. While the food is admittedly generic, the location is too good and the prices are too low to be “overrated.”

  • no more campisi’s

    So with you on Campisi’s. Just awful. Coworkers love it, so I’m subjected to it a couple of times a year at least.

  • Brandy

    Mi Cocina and Primo’s are way more about easy to be seen and mingle crowd. I don’t think anyone goes to Primo’s for the food. Harry’s does stink. Like Highland Park pharmacy. Campisi’s is terrible. Snuffer’s… meh. Haven’t been to the others… but I’d say you are pretty on par.

  • the_sneeb

    If my Harry’s dog, fry, and drink didn’t cost me $11 I wouldn’t mind as much. It is just a hot dog after all…

  • Carrá

    Dallas loves mediocrity as long as it’s a happening scene. Add Nick & Sam’s Grill, Ocean Prime and many more to the list that still pack them in despite bad food and iffy service.

  • Twinwillow

    Nancy, I’m in total agreement with your entire list.

  • DesignBoy

    Agreed on the ridiculously salty Snuffer’s burgers and cheese fries. And most home cooking joints I find overrated: Norma’s, Mama’s Daughter, Dixie House. Blech.

  • in dallas

    Most of these places pack people in because they are familiar. At Mi Cocina there are 3 items on the menu that I routinely order and it is usually exactly what I expect. I’ve been to the Preston Forest location for a late lunch and had my Rico Salad and iced tea within 5 minutes of being seated. I’ve waited longer at Sonic.

  • Brandy

    Twin…. that wasn’t Nancy’s list. It is the list of the “loyal Disher”.

  • One-of-a-kind seasoning salt.

  • m

    Pretty sure it’s not Nancy’s list.

    Anyway, yes, I agree with the Jersey boy’s entire list. I’ve never understood the Campisi’s love.

    While we’re on pizza: Louie’s is overrated. There, I said it.

  • zero

    +1 million to Mi Cocina – overpriced, mediocre food.

  • Twinwillow

    Thank you, Brandy. I’m terrible at reading the “fine print”.

  • John


    Why would people pay that much for less consistent food and in such a bad location? Should they pass on the their rent savings vs. other high end steak places?

  • Drew

    Eno’s in Bishop Arts. Aloof service + frozen meatballs = unacceptable given other choices in the OC these days.

    MiCocina really isn’t that good as far as the food goes and the service is average at best, but I still love a Mambo Taxi.

  • skipper

    Couldn’t agree more with the list and agree with John on Bob’s. I haven’t been there in a while but I want to toss in Eatzi’s too.

    @m- disagree on Louie’s. Try something beside the pizza – their food is fantastic.

  • VM

    Totally agree with Campisi’s, but have friends who have moved away and they must eat there at least 2-3 times when they’re back in town.

  • Gipson

    Twisted Root Burger Co. I actually really like the sister chain, Cowboy Chow, but Twisted Root is a mouthful of bland served up with a bad attitude.

  • Amy B

    Wow, this list is awesome & right on! And what’s funny is most of these places are loved by so many people – that you might be scared to get up & scream, “Campisi’s sucks! Snuffer’s cheese fries are disgusting! Primo’s is SO overrated!”

  • Twinwillow

    We had dinner at Eno’s Sunday night. Couldn’t have had better service anywhere!
    Our server even gave us a bunch of beer samples to try to see what we liked. She was terrific!
    And of course, the food was great as well.

  • acrow

    I agree, Eno’s is very good. As far as overrated, how about Houston’s and (at least considering the price) Neighborhood Services

  • pistol

    Don’t discount the fact that familiarity breeds contempt.

  • George

    Neighborhood Services, Nick & Sam’s Grill, Twisted Root, and Ocean Prime aren’t Dallas institutions. When they’ve been here for 30 years, then we can talk. Most restaurants eventually get what they deserve and fall by the wayside. But those on this list mystically are beloved.

    Don’t know Eno’s. I agree with the comment about Bob’s. Generic steakhouse and mediocre service. Last time I went to Louie’s, it was still very good, but that was long ago.

    Add El Fenix to the list. Generic, stinky, but ok service.

    “in dallas” had a very good observation … he/she wrote: “because they are familiar”.

  • DGirl

    Totally agree, although Snuffer’s cheese fries are good in a bad-for-you way. I think Del Frisco’s is overrated too. Primo’s + Patrizio’s = gag me. And I despise Harry’s vomitous hot dogs.

  • s

    Snuffer’s love the mushrooms…everything else is horrible;
    MiCocina – overpriced;
    Bob’s – overrated;
    Primo’s – bland food; i dont get any of the Lombardi concepts either;
    Campisi’s bland and boring

  • Scagnetti

    Sonny Bryan’s, including the original location, blows.

  • John

    Can we get a blog going on underrated places?

    I will start.

    Grimaldi’s is way underrated. Best pizza by far.

  • firerobin

    Geez. Is there anything people like here in Dallas?

  • acrow

    Grimaldi’s is painfully average

  • luniz

    tried Snuffer’s cheese fries once, they were soggy, gross, and tasteless other than salt. But that’s really not a list of places that people go specifically because the food is good. So I don’t know if you can call it overrated.

  • Chris

    “Geez. Is there anything people like here in Dallas?”

    Of course not. How will anyone know how smart and sophisticated you are if you aren’t shitting on anything and everything the proles may happen to enjoy?

  • John

    How painful can average really be?

  • Me

    Add Chuy’s to the overrated list. The popularity of that place is beyond my comprehension.

  • Kam

    I would add Javiers to the list-other than the HP types that frequent it, does anyone else go? As an SMU alum, I have to say that Snuffers and Burger House are great-after a few beverages. Enos’s is a OC gem-great pizza, salads, atmosphere and the staff is usually excellent-everything else on the menu is an afterthought.

  • joe mama

    put Mia’s on the list of WAY overrated places…

  • Mike

    Pizza –
    Underrated high-end – Olivella’s by SMU. Underrated regular – Pizza by Marco.
    Overrated – Campisi’s.

    Mexican –
    Overrated – Javiers. El Fenix.
    Underrated – pretty much all tacquerias by white people until a couple years ago. Gloria’s.

  • Ross

    Don’t forget S&D Oyster Company – awful menu and food, yet the Parkies somehow keep the place in business.

  • Carolyne

    Love Burger House!! The worst had to be Mooya Burgers. I have been twice and it was horrible.

  • PF

    Campisis – I don’t understand the popularity.

    Off topic – photo on this page-we get the point without the picture.

  • Limestar

    Best pizza in Dallas is by far…
    Insanely good, best by the slice!!

  • Twinwillow

    @Limestar: I concur. Brothers pizza is great!

  • fonzie

    Don’t get ethe Campisis overrated talk. Its different than typical pizza therefore people get excited about it. If you don’t enjoy super thin crist then yes you probably don’t like it. They’re one of the few places mentioned that has had places rip off their style (ifritelli, prego, etc).

    Yes chuy’s is very overrated, didn’t even realize people actually went their to eat until recently….not good food

  • Jacquie

    Just go to Houstons at Preston/NW HWY and you’ll never go hungry or displeased. It’s really the only place that’s consistently delicious. Prime Rib French Dip is the best.

  • IfUSeekFoodie

    Houstons? Where they used to sell Merryville Chard by the glass for $15 (bottle price retail)? I’ve had better French Dip – and almost $18? Please! Overpriced and overrated.

  • George

    The best things that I can say about Houstons is that they are consistently crowded, consistently overpriced, and their food is consistently OK. In other words, the food is not necessarily bad, but not great either.

    I get why people would go to Houstons. @Jacquie said it: “you’ll never go hungry or displeased”. Yes, but I’m not really extraordinarily pleased either.

    To me, the love people show to Houstons is not so out of whack as compared to the love shown to the institutions on the original list.

  • rrt

    Nancy – please have your next list be underrated restaurants because there are plenty of those too.

  • m

    I’m fairly certain Campisi’s didn’t invent thin crust pizza.

  • Kevin


    Oh wait…

    Too soon?

  • DGirl

    Restaurants such as Chuy’s and Campisi’s are casual dining places where you can get a $9 dinner entree. Whether you like them or not, they exist as a market niche for diners who want a decent sit-down meal at a relatively low price. I don’t think either has ever positioned themselves as purveyors of gastronomic excellence. Overrated? They’re not highly rated to begin with.

  • I enjoy nearly all of these “overrated” places. Who doesn’t like Jack’s? S&D?

    We sure do have a bunch of gloomy gusses here. I can’t help but think of the Liz Lemmon line “yeah, everything is the worst!”

  • fonzie

    m @ April 28th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    “I’m fairly certain Campisi’s didn’t invent thin crust pizza.”

    I’m fairly certain you’re debating something restaraunts you’ve never been too. I in no way implied that Campisi’s invented thin crust pizza, i did say if you don’t like thin crust pizza you won’t like it. My point was several popular restaurants in the Dallas area have sprung up making damn near the exaxt pizza, from the taste down to the shape. I have lived in many cities across the country and have yet to run into another pizza like campisis, but somehow Dallas has multiple places that serve that style. So yes it is a knockoff, and no I don’t have a problem with it, but that is what makes it an institution.

  • Emily

    I know it’s actually in Ft. Worth, but Joe T. Garcia’s is the most overrated place I can think of in the area.

    I agree with many on your list, but Snuffer’s cheese fries are heaven on earth.

  • Clark Kent

    You know the old saying ” Build It, Fill It With Douches, and They Will Come!” (see Ocean Prime – have not heard one good thing yet the place is printing money…..for the short-term).

    This is one of the best topics ever!

    First let me say, I enjoy Campisi’s and I will throw in I Fratelli’s too. These are not traditional pizzas – they are not NY, Chicago, etc etc. Its Dallas’ version of pizza and for what its worth, its pretty good pizza. So please stop the comparisons because its comparing apples to oranges.

    Chuys – I don’t get it! People stand in line for hours for this food. Its very average and there are too many better options in the area.

    Louie’s – Pizza is ok, not outstanding and I’m even comparing it to comparable pies (see above).

    Mi Cocina – Food can be good, but $10+ drinks is out of line.

    Add Cyclone Anaya – will never return after getting stuck with paying $14 FOR A FROZEN MARGARITA!!!

  • acrow

    Somewhat off topic, but the $10 and $14 drinks at Mi Cocina and Cyclone Anaya discussed above remind of the $17 chicken enchiladas (just plain old sour cream enchiladas)I had a Luna De Noche last week. Ridiculous.

  • Matt D

    Sprinkles. Granted not a restaurant but I have to say it.The cupcakes are OK at best and yet there is always a line out the door. And yes I realize they give away cupcakes to twitter friends. Still doesn’t warrant waiting in line for a mediocre cupcake.

  • m

    fonzie @ April 28th, 2010 at 10:56 am
    “I’m fairly certain you’re debating something restaraunts you’ve never been too.”


    Anyway, I happen to like thin crust pizza but just don’t think Campisi’s pizza (or other dishes) live up to the hype. Don’t get your panties in a wad. I haven’t had I Fratelli’s pizza in maybe a year but last time I had it I thought it was much better than Campisi’s. It’s not the style I have a [problem with, it’s the quality.

  • rrt

    @acrow – you are correct — luna de noche is SO overpriced. I don’t get it.

  • John

    I am still curious how average can be painful.

  • Mark


    This topic went so long I finally had to throw in my two cents, so WRT the places mentioned so far….

    Mi Cocina: As mentioned to Nancy in response to a FrontBurner post in 2003, they act like they’re doing you a favor by letting you eat there.

    Burger House: Burgers are OK. The guy who runs the store on Campbell is an A-hole.

    Campisi’s: Living off their rep. Prego now makes a better Campisi’s pizza than any of the Campisi’s locations.

    Mama’s Daughters: Never figured out what people found so special about MDD.

    Bob’s: Not what it once was, but still better than, say, Silver Fox.

    Twisted Root: Good fried pickles, good root beer, decent turkey burger, nothing really worth standing in a long line for.

    Snuffer’s: NOT the best cheese fries in town IMHO, and not any other reason to go that I can see.

    Chuy’s: Once great near the river or on North Lamar in Austin, they’ve expanded themselves into mediocrity. There’s a Chuy’s in Waco now, for Pete’s sake. What’s next, Wichita Falls? The Plano location is particularly bad, and you have to make a special request for table sauce.

    El Fenix: For such a small chain, I’ve never understood why the quality at EF can vary so much. Some locations are consistently great at what they do. Others are horrible.

    Pizza by Marco: Excellent, but I wonder if the expansion bug is about to bite them.

    Mooyah: Don’t understand the fuss here, either. Not great, not bad.

    Joe T’s: Back in the early-mid 70’s, when if memory serves all you could get was “the dinner” and beer, and probably Coke in a bottle, the patio at Joe T’s was a great dining experience. It’s no longer the 70’s.

    Luna de Noche: A slightly friendlier Mico clone. Not worth the trip except for the Sunday brunch, which is pretty damn good for $8.95.

    And to add a couple of my own….

    Casa Milagro: So good when it first opened, so average now.

    Tupinamba: Underrated. I’m constantly surprised by the number of people who not only have never been but have never even heard of Tupy’s. The enchiladas are not exceptional, but much of the menu is top notch.

  • acrow

    Campagnia (sp?) pizza is also very underrated. The pizza is fantastic and the restaurant is BYOB, but somehow gets far less hype than inferior rivals like Fireside Pies, Olivella, Coal Vines and Grimaldi’s.

  • tinkerbell

    Amen to Sprinkles!!! Dry, odd tasting, meh. Can’t figure out how they charge what they do.

  • Jay

    I think you have to consider where IN-N-OUT will stand. People pay for Goff’s or Burger House to get a better burger than Mcdonalds. It’s a couple bucks more but considerably better. IN-N-OUT provide a perfect median between the two. A pretty good burger at a lower price.
    And by the way…
    Mia’s beats out Mico’s any day
    And no one has mentioned the best sandwiches in Dallas are from Great Outdoors

  • laurie

    Late to the discussion, but I so agree with all of you.

    Campisis and Ifratelli serve St. Louis-style pizza, not done very well. Same with their toasted ravioli, but we’re 600 miles away, so you take what you can get.

    Javiers–everything is way too salty

    On the Border and Chilis–used-to-be-decent chains that are now horrible.

    I think people in the Park Cities have very mediocre taste in food. Hence Penne Pomodoro and most other restaurants in Snider Plaza and HP Village (except I do like Cafe Pacific)

    Celebrity Bakery cookies and cakes(I like their sandwiches, though.)

    Cindi’s–I cannot believe they have so many locations.

    This is very cathartic. We usually have to keep these opinions secret.

  • Laurie, The pizza may be in a similar shape, but IMHO, Campisi’s and Imo’s (the St. Louis Style) are distinctly different styles of Pizza. Campisis’s is its own style. Dallas style, if you will.

    Imo’s distinguishing feature is the oddly tasty stick to the roof of your mouth almost nacho cheese (or pasturized processed cheese product?). Campisi’s has much more normal cheese.

  • Kris

    I love Burger House on Mockingbird, and it doesn’t make me an idiot or one of the “Sheeple” that love stuff just because of the hype. I love it because it belongs uniquely to Dallas, has been in our Lakewood area neighborhood for decades, is owned by a nice local family, and is a very decent burger for a fair price.

  • mikenfrisco

    Overrated: Pei Wei!

  • Clark Kent

    Pei Wei, considering the price point and quality its pretty good. Now if you say its parent PF Changs, now thats overrated.

    Two more places Dallasites always mention:

    – Barbecs – I don’t get the hype!
    – Highland Park Cafeteria – Why was there such a big fuss about this place reopening?

    Would like to give a shoutout to a great buffet in Richardson’s – Afrah! Food is great, always fresh, clean, great selection

  • A. B.

    Barbecs used to be great–I think management changed a few years ago and the food is awful now. Same thing happened to Patrizio’s. Used to love it. Now I can barely tolerate it.

    Campisi’s, Houston’s–I just don’t get it.

    Pizza by Marco–amazing, but I haven’t been in a while so hope the expansion doesn’t hurt them. Best pizza I had ever had in Dallas.

    @ Mark re; Tupinamba–you are RIGHT ON. Great Mexican food. I wonder if their love of the Texas Aggies is a deal-killer for some?

    Personally, I love Gazebo Burger–various locations. They make an amazing turkey burger.

  • acrow

    Add CHIPS on Lovers Lane to list

  • LizP

    Jay you are so right about the Great Outdoors for sandwiches!!! Best I have eaten and I am
    a sandwich snob

  • Seven

    @Laurie: if you haven’t already, try 5th St Pizza in Allen for STL pizza. KSHE on the walls and Cards on the tv. It’s not Imo’s, but it works for a fix in between visits home. Too bad it’s all the way up in Allen. Central Market may still carry Provel cheese.

    Marco’s is the best thin crust pizza in Dallas.

  • laurie

    @Seven, thanks for tip! I went to college in STL and still get cravings for authentic toasted ravioli. I also miss the (low-brow) Pasta House Company salad. Mmmm