Sriracha, the pleasantly spicy chili concoction, has lost much of its underground cool by going corporate. Global bread landfill Subway even offers its own wretched spin on the stuff as an option to slop across whichever sandwich your depression has driven you to eat, goblin-like, on any particular day of the week. Not to mention Taco Bell's new Sriracha Quesarito, a cheesy celebration of Western excess so calorically decadent it appears designed to radicalize terrorists. Let's face it: The sauce got swallowed by the Man.
But don't bother telling the people of Denton. The town's still bonkers for that red junk -- and they seem to appreciate it on a much deeper level than Dallasites. Little D's chili cult started with a stunt by City Councilman Kevin Roden, who attempted from 2013 to 2014 to entice the Huy Fong Foods company to relocate the Sriracha factory from Irwindale, California, to Denton after the company encountered environmental complaints from its heat-sensitive neighbors. Despite mountains of publicity, the #sriracha2denton campaign ultimately proved unsuccessful, but a spectre of crimson pepper sauce still haunts the town's hippest dishes a year later. Thankfully, only a few of them are ridiculous.
Hypnotic Donuts: "The Jim" It may be known for quirky donuts topped with bacon and pistachios, but the unsung heroes of Hypnotic's menu are the chicken biscuits. The Jim doesn't have much biscuit either, instead tasking a split and toasted glazed donut as foundation for spicy fried chicken and a side of Sriracha, which you're definitely going to pour all over the whole joint immediately. They'd probably run you out of town on a rail if you didn't.
Service Industry: Chicken & Waffles Bacon gravy and patriotic garnish aside, Service Industry's signature late-night brunch gem really pops from the gentle heat of whipped Sriracha butter served on the side. It may seem like overkill to put gravy, syrup and butter on one dish, but then again, it's not. You'll never eat regular butter or live past 50 again.
Oak St. Drafthouse & Cocktail Parlor: Cucumber Sriracha Margarita A squirt of hot stuff gives the traditional Oak St. cuke marg a mellow glow, and it doesn't go down half bad either. The bar introduced this mix, which makes a few cameo appearances in the above video, for Councilman Roden's #sriracha2denton rally. Apparently enough brave souls liked the remixed cocktails for the bar to keep making them to this day. Just don't knock back more than one or two on an empty stomach, or you're going to start feeling really weird.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Weinberger's Deli: California Club with Sriracha Honey Mustard Denton's favorite deli will technically put their Sriracha mustard and mayo blends on anything your hungry heart desires, but the California club is the way to go. Sure, the crisp bacon and avocado slices don't hurt either, but the sweet and spicy rooster mustard sends this turkey straight to space.
West Oak Coffee Bar: Sriracha Latte The town square's coolest new coffee spot came correct at its grand opening last year, allowing the "coffee hipster" and "food hipster" circles on Denton's Venn diagram to finally overlap in the form of a Sriracha latte. It's unclear whether the cock-sauced coffee is an actual menu item enjoyed by human people or an inside joke you can also reluctantly drink. If you're brave enough to give it a shot, feel free to ask one of their very kind baristas to completely mess up your latte and let us know what happens.