Men's Health magazine has set out to find the nation's most manly restaurant. Their website listed a seemingly arbitrary selection of eateries around the country and asked what makes for many eating.
Must a manly restaurant mean mass amounts of prime-cut protein? Must it have a selection of esoteric craft beers on tap? Should it have a Harley night? Our advice: Sift through the finalists and trust your gut.
Two Dallas restaurants made the cut with sufficient manliness. Bob's Steak and Chop House, which serves up "no-nonsense beef prepared Texas-style -- big, bold, and flavorful" and Maple and Motor, the beloved burger joint on Maple Avenue. Burgers and steaks are masculine perhaps, but not necessarily manly. Bob's uses white tablecloths and everyone knows linens are for girls, and Maple and Motor may make a decent burger, but they're kinda small. What's manly about a diminutive meat patty?
What about Smoke's big rib? That thing invokes the old Fred Flintstone days where everyone wore a shirt but no pants, you powered your car with your feet, and a steak was too big to fit through the front door. That's manly. But that's just one dish, and one dish does not a manly restaurant make.
Or maybe The Lodge in its entirety? A "restaurant" that refers to appetizers as "teasers and pleasers" and sandwiches as "fun with buns" certainly has manly overtones, but I like my food served alongside the fully clothed, and there's something about watching a dancer clean smudges off a stripper pole while I'm eating meatloaf that leaves me unsettled. Manly for some, perhaps, but just not for me.
Lockhart Smokehouse used to strike me as Dallas' most manly restaurant. The menu features burnt ends, which taste of glistening fat and cigarette ash, and you once had to eat with your hands. But then the restaurant got soft and offered forks and barbecue sauce. You used to be able to watch dudes tear into brisket with gnashing teeth, but now they saw away with plastic forks and knives with their pinky fingers extended. Manly in the past perhaps, but manly no more.
Maybe Dallas isn't that manly after all?