Food News

Tim Love Shacks Up in Hometown Denton

Chef Tim Love of Fort Worth's Lonesome Dove Western Bistro is a very busy guy. On top of his flagship fine-dining restaurant, the Denton native owns the White Elephant Saloon and three Love Shack burger joints, the third of which opened in early April in Denton at 113 E. Hickory St. City of Ate caught up with him for a few minutes while he was taking a break from the final preparations before opening and learned about his newest Love Shack, EaDo and something called Dirty Love in the Boom Room. Tomorrow, we share Love's recipe for grilled pickles, a great accompaniment to all the summer barbecues coming around the corner. On Wednesday, we'll give you the lowdown on the new Denton location and our thoughts on the Dirty Love Burger.

You had a lot of critical success with the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. What gave you the inspiration to open a burger joint? Well, quite frankly the inspiration came from serving a ton of beef at the Lonesome Dove. We had lots of scraps, so we'd make burgers from time to time. We started looking at the White Elephant, a saloon I own next door, because we were always trying to figure out what we could serve in the beer garden without taking away from the fact that it was a saloon. So one day I decided to turn it into a burger joint. The first burgers came from playing around with the scraps of the beef tenderloin. Five months later we got to this blend: It's prime tenderloin, mixed in with prime brisket. It just made for a beautiful combination.

You were raised in Denton, Was that why you decided to open a Love Shack there? Yes it is. I think it's going to be a great little area; we're kind of renaming it EaDo.

EaDo? East of Downtown. That's our new deal.

I saw you helping your construction crews on the first day of the 35 Conferette last month. Are you always so hands-on in construction? Absolutely. Every store that I open, I'm there a ton and I'm very hands-on; the only way you get the project done right and correctly and as on-time as you can is if you're there. I like to take on different projects -- I did all the landscaping with my operations director. A, it forces me to be there and B, it gives me something to do when I'm waiting around for different inspections or answering questions for people.

Can your fans expect to see you in the kitchen at this new location very often? Absolutely. I can't be there every day, but for the first couple of months I am. I do have four other restaurants that require my attention.

Will the Denton location have live music performances like the other two locations? All the time - in fact, we built a big stage and a big sound system - we're investing a lot into live music here in Denton.

So between you and Dan's Silverleaf around the corner on Industrial, that'll be a cool music spot. Absolutely. We really like Dan's, and we want to complement everything in the EaDo area.

Do you have any acts lined up yet? Initially, we're booking bands we're familiar with, making sure we get all the sound right, and then we most certainly want to dip into the Denton music scene heavily.

How did the Dirty Love Burger get its name? It sounds cool, doesn't it? You gotta have a hook, if you have a burger joint. So in designing the Dirty Love Burger, I came up with the name first and designed the burger around it. It lives up to its name pretty good -- it's nice and sloppy and runny and juicy and gooey, it's got some funky stuff on it, and it has done really well.

What do you like to order when you eat at Love Shack? I order what we call Dirty Love in the Boom Room. It starts with the Boom Room burger, which is a grilled and then fried portobello mushroom with cheese, Love sauce, lettuce and tomato. I like to take that and combine it with the Dirty Love Burger. It's pretty badass, is what it is.

Now you know people are going to be asking for this. Can anyone order it? Yeah, it's not necessarily on the menu, it's a "find out" kind of menu item. We do make it but you gotta be in the know to order it.

Aside from Love Shack, what's your favorite burger in town? I'd say Fred's in Fort Worth. They're in one of my neighborhoods, they're good people there. It's a good joint.

At the South Beach Wine & Food fest in February, you talked about opening a global taco restaurant representing 10 different global cuisines. Can you tell us anything more about your plans for this concept? I can tell you that it's under construction, but I can't tell you anything besides that. It's rolling, and it's close.

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