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Food & Drink

News Bites: Yo, Nick Badovinus Lobs Lobster Rolls and St. Louis’ Sugarfire Smokehouse Opens Today

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.
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Brisket sandwich from Sugarfire Smokehouse
Courtesy Sugarfire Smokehouse

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between, including coronavirus-related intel. Be safe. Wear a mask. Physically distance.

Yo! Nick Badovinus Opened a Lobster Roll Joint
One of the newest restaurants to open at Highland Park Village is Nick Badovinus’ Yo! Lobster, which took over the restaurateur’s former Perfect Union Pizza that had been closed since the March shutdowns. Yo! Lobster debuted on Election Night, reports the Dallas Morning News, with a roster of upmarket lobster rolls: Connecticut style with warm butter, while others might be served cold with mayo. One nods to Texas with buttermilk dressing and jalapeño. In true Badovinus fashion, the seafood doesn’t stop there. Find salmon and sea bass and a whole manner of bivalves, from oysters to clams. There is also, of course, a “burger program,” one of which includes a hunk of lobster. Will report back on what kind of split-top buns are in use here—this is crucial to the coastal sandwich, yo! 

Sugarfire Smokehouse Opens Today in Northeast Dallas
Texas does not want for barbecue, but a little-seen style has just arrived at the intersection of Skillman Street and Abrams Road. The St. Louis–based Sugarfire Smokehouse opens today, November 11, with its first location in the Lone Star State. As former Airforce vets themselves, co-owners Haydee and Kevin Klika wanted to open on Veterans’ Day. The couple have been working with Sugarfire Smokehouse co-founder Mike Johnson to bring the St. Louis–style ‘cue to Dallas since announcing its arrival almost a year ago. Johnson, who made a name for himself competing in probably every barbecue cooking competition known to man, has been in town to help open the only Texas location (thus far).

Brisket is done Texas style over post oak. They try to use whatever’s local. There’s even Oak Cliff Soda on tap. Ribs are Memphis style, topped with any one of Sugarfire’s half dozen sauces. Pork leans Kansas City in tradition—smoked with a crisp exterior. “It’s not true regional barbecue things, you know, we pull what I think is the best,” says Johnson. They use a Missouri-style barbecue pit (in honoring its new locale, one is even named Reverend Horton Heat) that doesn’t throw as much smoke into its meats. Protein selections include salmon for those who want a break from red meat. Thomas Mattson has been installed at this location’s executive chef, and he’ll be able have more freedom of expression when it comes to what he wants to smoke—duck, pork belly, and they’ll even roll and smoke porchetta on occasion.

While its fairly casual and familiar in setup—order at the counter, pick out your meats, sides, or sandwiches—Sugarfire seems to offer more options in the barbecue realm. They’ll have four beers on-tap, you can bet those will be local. Plus, boozy milkshakes like a caramel bourbon and a White Russian. They’ll even throw a whole slice of pie into a shake and liquify your dessert, too. 

Royal 38 Will Soon Sling Drinks in Uptown
Opening inside The Union Dallas, a contemporary office building in Uptown, Royal 38 comes from the cocktail pros behind HIDE. Beginning November 18, you’ll find dozens of signature cocktails organized by taste profile. Ooh, fancy. You can even opt for tableside cocktail cart service to observe your drink bring crafted in real time. As for food, we have even more crustacean action: lobster corn fritters and a lobster benedict (during brunch). Also: a vegan grain bowl for the health-conscious and a double smash burger with frites for those who aren’t. Find the swanky cocktail bar at 2301 North Akard Street.

Aloha Poke Maybe Thinking About Coming to Dallas
…or Miami, or Atlanta, probably depending on how much hype develops in each city between now and whenever they’re closer to making a decision. The press release landed in my inbox as it I’m sure arrived in those belonging to many other local food writers and reporters. Reporting on a maybe-something, maybe-not-anything story is a fool’s game. So fully acknowledging that I took this bait like a skipjack in the Pacific, I wanted to mention just one, maybe, possibly inconsequential thing. When I saw the Aloha Poke email, I thought, Why is this Chicago-based poke chain ringing bells? With 19 locations across the U.S., it’s prolific enough, but, no, I’d never dined at any. Oh! It’s because in 2018 the fast-casual restaurant was embroiled in negative press when it sent cease-and-desist letters to Hawaiian and native Hawaiian-run poke shops because they also used the words “Aloha Poke,” which the Chicago chain had recently trademarked in its business name—even if Hawaiian natives used that name for years prior. I recognize this is usual practice, but it remains ill-advised to appropriate a cultural food and language against its own native users.

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