^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

10 Questions: Dan Landsberg of Tillman's Roadhouse

After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Landsberg cooked at restaurants in Sacramento and San Francisco. However, he became a star after moving to Dallas in 1996.

Working alongside David Holben and Gilbert Garza, he helped open Toscana. From there, he worked high end places like Seventeen Seventeen, the Atruim Cafe and hosting events for the Dallas Museum of Art. He even assisted Stephan Pyles' nationally recognized kitchen.

Pretty fancy digs and pretty big names, all of them. So why does he like hanging out in a roadhouse with a Shiner in hand...?

1. So what's a fine dining chef like you doing in a roadhouse? We are trying to carry on Ricky Tillman's tradition, that fine dining doesn't have to cost and arm and a leg. We want people to walk away thinking 'that was fun.'

2. Does the rise of Oak Cliff surprise you? I don't know if it's surprising. Neighborhoods go through cyclical periods--it was down and then it came back, and it's still on the rise. There's a lot of character here. And it's nice to see restaurants like Bolsa and Eno's.

3. You're one of the chefs who trained under David Holben... Before meeting him, I didn't know a lot about him. But he's the largest contributor to how I run a kitchen--even down to the wording on a menu. There are a lot of great chefs in Dallas, but he's quiet, steady and does it the right way. He's my mentor. I don't know why he hasn't received the media accolades of a Pyles or Fearing.

4. Are menus getting too wordy? You know, it's important to list the origin of ingredients if it's a specialty item. It helps add value--and at high end restaurants people expect to see it.

5. Is it hard to write a menu? I guess if you really love and understand the concept--you know what the public wants to see, but to make it your own it can be challenging. Tillman's Roadhouse is vernacular Texan, which opens the door for creativity. I haven't looked at writing a menu as a difficult thing. What do people like, what's fun and what won't they expect.

6. Do you ever stop learning as a chef? I haven't yet and I pray that I don't. The neat thing is the more people you work with, the more you learn from their experiences, from your sous chef to the dishwasher.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

7. Anything you hate to eat? Oh, boy. You know, if it's prepared properly, I'm open for anything.

8. Even junk food? At home, we do a lot of grilling. I love making pizza dough--light up the fireplace, throw on a stone. We don't have a lot of convenience items. Chocolate ice cream, maybel

9. You must sneak into McDonald's once in awhile...I try not to. If I'm going for fast food, it's going to be Whataburger.

10. OK, roadhouse chef, how about cheap beer? Shiner. Oh yeah. I took me 25 years to taste my first--because I didn't move here until I was 25--but that's what's in my fridge at home.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.