If three years ago you were walking down Main Street in Deep Ellum, telling people they would one day welcome a honky tonk to their neighborhood, you might’ve been deemed crazy.
But in 2018, Mama Tried sits on the west end of Deep Ellum, offering a honky tonk that not only provides a different environment but also serves solid food. It comes from a restaurant owner who knows what she’s doing — Brooke Humphries also owns Beauty Bar, It’ll Do, Mudsmith and Pints & Quarts.
None of those are honky tonks, but Mama Tried fills that need with a fun atmosphere, a giant patio, full bar and menu and, of course, country music. Brunch is open for business starting at 11 a.m. on Sundays.
You can start with coffee, or you can go for a Dos XX Michelada ($5), a blueberry-bourbon lemonade ($6) or a Bloody Mary ($6). Get that last one extra spicy. You won’t be disappointed.
As for food, purists can get the Strait Standard, which gives you a classic breakfast of two eggs with Texas toast topped with a bit of country gravy, bacon or sausage, and fruit or brunch potatoes.
Across the table, the eggs came out how they were ordered (a cause for celebration for those of us who like them over-medium). The gravy has a seasoning and consistency that call for seconds. The bacon is what bacon should be. And go for the Wagyu sausage, which is so good it could be a meal on its own.
Other items include an egg and bacon burrito ($13), which suits a big appetite. The chicken and waffles ($14) are popular — and they come with that hearty rosemary country gravy. If you like a pile of protein and grease in the morning (and who doesn’t?), there’s Willie’s skillet ($10), which will get you crinkle fries, house queso, pico de gallo, chopped bacon and a sunny-side-up egg.
Because it’s a honky tonk, and because we’re in Texas, there is a chicken-fried steak ($16). The steak is pounded, fried in a perfect batter and topped with that gravy. This takes up an entire plate, similar to most places that serve a decent chicken-fried steak (we're looking at you, AllGood Cafe). It comes with the eggs on top, but you can get those on the side if you’d rather prioritize the gravy.
Admittedly, the meat needed some salt on our visit, but that's an easy table-side fix. Plus, you can get that special sausage with it.
If you’re a sweet-lover, there’s the blueberry-pecan French toast ($12). Super thick slices of Texas toast are topped with a blueberry-lemon compote, roasted pecans and bourbon whipped cream. Maple syrup comes in a cup on the side. It’s good, but those extra-thick bread slices come out a bit dry. Thankfully, staff will supply extra whipped cream to help with that.
Mama Tried is a different kind of venue for the area, and its kitchen is doing something right. Give it a shot — and get extra gravy.
Mama Tried, 215 Henry St. (Deep Ellum)
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