Building Better Bar Food At Local Oak

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The last time I was in Oak Cliff and writing about bar food, it was in response to the meals I'd had while reviewing Ten Bells Tavern. I was impressed that the owners of what seemed like just-another-pub took the time and spent the resources to bring on a serious chef into their kitchen.

That's not the case with most bars, which instead hire a cook, fill a menu with the standard burger, wings and nachos playbook, and then mostly forget about things. So many bars operate this way, when you encounter one that puts a little thought into its menu, the bar food stands out quick.

Like Local Oak, which I reviewed this week. I stopped in on a random weeknight, had their Spam snackwiches known as Texas Surfers and made it a point to come back. When I did, I found enchiladas that crush what is served at most Tex-Mex restaurants, the Frito pie you see pictured above, which easily bests what's offered at the State Fair, and a burger that's worth a few extra hours at the gym.

Eat here too often and you're going to be disappointed when you return to your just-another-pub, have a drink or two and then get hungry. With any luck, though, more bar owners will see what's going on at Local Oak, Ten Bells Tavern and a few other spots around town (here are 10 to start) and follow suit. When they do we're all going to need a new pair of pants.

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


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