Good to Go is a column in which our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.
Like so many other restaurants during the pandemic, Alamo Club on Lowest Greenville has been on a roller coaster. But this particular spot has been up and down more than once.
They closed March 17, when in-house dining was shut down by the city of Dallas. It reopened for just nine days for takeout.
“It was an opportunity to pay some staff, but overall we were losing money doing it,” owner Austin Rodgers says.
They reopened May 22 with limited dine-in. June 15, they closed after one of their employees tested positive for COVID-19.
They reopened June 19 and shut down late June when the governor announced all bars had to be shut down.
“We have a restaurant [certificate of occupancy] but since we sell more than 51% alcohol, we were considered a bar,” Rodgers says.
So even while more bars are getting those restaurant licenses, even for those who already had them, they had to adjust their sales — essentially, the habits of their customers.
About three weeks ago, Alamo Club reopened its doors. Since then, the roller coaster appears to be on a level track, and we’re hoping they stay that way after the dinner we grabbed for takeout recently.
Start with the fried green tomatoes — sure, you’re getting something in a takeout container and should maybe avoid fried things, but you’re safe with this order ($10). For one, they don’t do that unbelievable act of putting fried goods on top of wilting lettuce. These little discs stay crisp on the way home until you finish them. Dust the goat cheese over them before dipping one into the Old Bay remoulade.
The deviled eggs travel well, presumably why they were at old-time potlucks at church gatherings, come to think of it ($9). The flavor is lovely — they’re pretty classic here with added smoked trout.
Ask about the chef’s special for an entrée — recently, that was a robust, thick pork chop ($24) that was enough to split between two people. It’s a proper meal for the cooler temperatures we’re getting.
Even better comfort food, though, is the pappardelle ($20). This was good last winter, well before we would’ve accepted common mask-wearing to be so normal. On our visit for takeout last week, this thick pasta was paired with tender short rib in what was like a ragu with carrots and onion, topped with a bit of ricotta cream.
“We rotate that, in the winter there’s more of the Jimmy’s spicy sausage ragu,” Rodgers says. “Whenever that’s off the menu, I’m asking the chef for it so I can take that home.”
If dessert is your thing, try the Key lime pie — I can’t personally speak to it, but I never held back coveting it going to other tables last year ($8).
The food’s more than acceptable for takeout, but it’s surely better at the source. Alamo Club is open for limited dine-in now, and they have a sizable patio on the backside of the restaurant if you’re more comfortable with outside dining.
“The patio in the back has been huge for us, people are comfortable to sit out there. Spacing tables out is not really a challenge,” Rodgers says.
Inside is more difficult, being long and narrow, he says. But there are dividers between booths and high-top tables are spaced out.
As for the future, Alamo Club is working to keep selling more food than alcohol.
Before reopening, the owner called the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to let them know he’d be back in business, and now it’s basically a trial period, he said, where they have to accomplish selling more food than alcohol.
It's not the easiest task: Before the pandemic, they were doing virtually no takeout.
“We didn’t have much of a to-go culture then, we weren’t on any to-go sites … if we were busy we wouldn’t even take to-go orders,” Rodgers says.
Without pushing it, Rodgers says takeout has gone from only 5% to just 10% of their food sales; so there's room to grow.
While takeout’s available now, he’s planning to jump on Favor and Uber Eats soon for delivery — they’re still reopening more hours. Lunch will be available soon, and brunch starts — with a whole new menu — this weekend.
Alamo Club, 1919 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville). Open for takeout, patio dining and limited dine-in 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
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