There’s a never-ending breeze at the Cold Beer Co. It rolls in through the open bar, lifting menus out of their holders and skating potato chips around on their metal trays. The bar feels open and doorless, like any Dallasite could saunter in the dining room from any point in its structure on 3600 Main St. Everything in the world whisks through and disappears at this bar.
Cold Beer's back faces Expo Park, wedged among Sons of Hermann Hall, the loud bangs of construction in Deep Ellum and the honking traffic of downtown Dallas. Yet the food at Cold Beer Co. has been noise-free for years.
It’s not the best bar food in the city. It’s the food you imagine when you order it and nothing more. There’s no wheel-reinventing here: It’s simple dishes delivered fast, and every sandwich and hot dog tastes exponentially better with an icy beer or a strong cocktail. Chips come from a snapped-open bag that you can buy at any store. Why reinvent chips that are already crunchy as hell?
Burger Tuesdays are the best days at the bar. I’m sitting at the counter with a Topo Chico and the breeze. Nearby, a couple discusses fish sex — fish genitals, specifically — because of the recent film The Shape of Water. It's the kind of place where you can talk about whatever you want. The tiny kitchen fires a Wagyu-style beef patty. Bacon, a few hits of cayenne, garlic, salt, pepper, egg and mustard have been blended right into the beef. Then, the patty hard-sears on the flat-top. On my visit, the patty shows up with a charred crust.
The result is a smoky, strikingly beefy flavor that lands somewhere between a great meatball and a holiday meatloaf. The patty is wrapped in American cheese, as yellow as the bar gods intended, and a soft bun, and that’s it. It’s $8, $10 if you feel like a double.
“You can cut corners on that beef really easily,” says Cold Beer Co.’s marketing director, Rick Shew. “It’s very easy to do when it’s a burger ... that beef is not cheap.”
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The team, including owners Kelly Wesner and Gabe Whatley, opened the Deep Ellum bar three years ago while managing the Fillmore Pub in Plano.
Pickles, beaming with vinegar, sit on the side with a ring of onion, two tomato slices and lettuce. The bun’s a brioche cloud, rich with egg and buttery soft. Condiments don’t show up homemade. Unless you want to spurt on some Gulden’s spicy brown mustard from the plastic packet, sauces, especially the in-house kind, are a world away.
You'll find the joys of a simple beef sandwich, and then you'll head home. Maybe you add more bacon to it, or some grilled onions and jalapeños. (Shew says the most ordered is the plain, just-cheese option.) The important thing is that you leave your food-critic cap at home. The fuss and the frills just left in the breeze.
Cold Beer Co., 3600 Main St.