It seems you can't swing a hipster in Denton these days without hitting a trendy new bar, but is that really something to complain about? Service Industry, tucked away just off the town square behind a boorish sports bar that shall not be named, is the latest effort to saturate the drinkers of Little D's already saturated market.
Fortunately, Service Industry has a few tricks up its sleeve to set itself apart. Having completed its soft opening at the end of March, the establishment is now fully armed and operational, and since we're apparently running with the Death Star metaphor, its superweapon is undeniably the late night brunch menu. Your waistline is the doomed planet of Alderaan.
For a town of Texan bohemians, you'd be surprised how hard it is to hunt down good breakfast food in the wee hours in Denton, at least without resorting to a memorable but ultimately regrettable Waffle House trip. Most bars in the city close their kitchens by midnight, and even then, how many of those are slinging chicken and waffles?
Service Industry's kitchen offers late-night brunch from 10 p.m. to closing at 2 a.m., which means they've got your stumbling-around-the-square-at-midnight munchies game on lock. From the look of things, that's not a responsibility they're taking lightly.
It may be a simple dish at heart, but the bar's chicken and waffles ($7) puts a gentle spin on the classic with Sriracha whipped butter and bacon gravy. The result is a dish you'll enjoy just as much completely sober -- and that's actually kind of a compliment. But if you're trying to soak up more than just the atmosphere, give the Egg N' Sausage Sandwich ($7) a spin, with breakfast sausage, a fried egg, cheese and hash browns served between a split and toasted glazed donut, provided by the geniuses at Hypnotic Donuts across the street. Isn't cooperation a beautiful thing?
For extra points, pick up the Plate O' Bacon ($5) from the selection of side items and just tear into it like a Christmas present. It arrives swimming in brown sugar syrup and sprinkled with black pepper, and if you think that's a bad thing, we just don't understand your life. For early risers and other killjoys, the bar also serves up sharable small plates until 10 p.m. when brunch takes over. Short rib sliders with gorgonzola ($9) and fried cheese curds with spicy brown gravy ($6) are proper choices, and you can add an egg to the latter option for a dollar more. Definitely do that thing.
With all this food, it's easy to gloss over the drink menu, but we must press on. Service Industry's name implies a connection with the working people of Denton, and there's nothing more blue-collar than a boilermaker. This time it's the Cheap Date ($4), a choice between tallboys of Lone Star, PBR or Keystone Light (No, seriously), and a shot of Jim Beam, Jäger, Rumple or a mixed tango shot with flavored vodka. Who wouldn't just get Beam? Either way, it's nice to have options.
The bar also has a few craft beers and local options on draft, but the main attraction is its extensive cocktail menu. Locally themed cocktails include the Art School Girl ($7) with vodka, Campari, rhubarb bitters and a splash of pomegranate juice; along with the Frenchy's Mi-Mow-Sa ($6), a cognac-spiked mimosa named for the famously patriotic local lawn care company and topped with an American flag. Springsteen would love this place.
The menu also offers a few classic mixes, including a deliciously simple daiquiri ($7) and an old fashioned ($6) made with Old Overholt straight rye.
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The interior of Service Industry is befitting of its working-class name, with plenty of dark stained wood, rugged light fixtures and an exposed brick wall running opposite the bar that points to the space's history as a print shop. In fact, according to the bar's creative partner Matt Slider, the Denton Historical Commission wouldn't let them touch that wall even if they wanted to, so it's a good thing it fits the theme of the place so perfectly.
There's always room in Denton for another hideaway to serve the thirsty proletariat, and as far as we know, there's no other bar in town that will bring you a plate of just bacon without a side of judgment. That alone is reason enough for you to check out Service Industry next time the whistle blows.