In 2000, husband and wife restaurateurs Dana and Andy Thompson moved from Dallas to Virginia to run Thornton River Grill, a market-turned-restaurant located in a renovated 150-year-old country store along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When he wasn’t manning the counter, Andy worked on refining his sausage recipes, which were inspired by growing up in a household that celebrated Oktoberfest. Now the couple has returned to Dallas, recipes in hand, and opened District 9 Draught Haus.
The cozy German-inspired restaurant, located in a shopping center in Old Lake Highlands, has become an unpretentious hang, frequented by workout-attire-wearing, beer-guzzling neighborhood regulars. How it works: order up front from the limited menu (there are 13 items to choose from), have a seat at the bar or one of the small wooden tables, and wait for your grub.
We recommend the large sausage and cheese board, which comes with three sausages (bratwurst, weisswurst, and spicy chicken, or a vegan option can be subbed in). The bratwurst is the hotshot of the bunch. A thin casing, surrounding tender pork, provides a subtle snap. The meat is juicy, with hints of onion, garlic, and peppercorn. The sausages are made at Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House’s off-site kitchen with the aid of Brian Bell, who worked as a chef at now-closed Blind Butcher. The board is served with an enormous soft pretzel, pub cheese, house-spiced Texas pecans, sliced apple, smoked provolone, mustard, and cornichons.
Other standouts include the corned beef Reuben with kraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. And the spicy chicken sausage sandwich with grilled onions, red peppers, and Düsseldorf mustard.
Finish the meal with a float made from a scoop of Mexican vanilla from Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream topped with draft beer—there are 27 options.