Dude Food: Humperdink's

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Each week the Dude Food guys assess the 'masculinity' of Dallas area dives. The more fried meat and junk on the walls, the better the rating...

6050 Greenville Ave.

Dude Factor: 7, or "____ her? I hardly know her!" on a scale of 1 ("...OF COCK.") to 10 ("That's what she said.")

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that, not counting live-music venues, the Northwest Highway location of Humperdink's is one of the first bars I ever hung out at. Even as a newcomer to the bar scene at age 20, I could tell it was a cheesy, chainy kind of place. But it was close to the hotel where I worked in the kitchen, and a couple of work buddies really liked the place. Also, it was the only bar where the kitchen was still open after our shifts ended.

Generic bro-bar it may have been, but we had good times riffing on the bar's name (usually starting with "Do WHAT to her dinks?") and watching in awe as our former crack-addict Jamaican friend did a pitch-perfect version of Barry White's "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love" during karaoke night. Also, it was the site of my first and last taste of Jagermeister.

I never had any desire to return after that job ended, but I do recall it as a very dudely joint, even if it's not my kind of dudely joint. But feeling hungry, nostalgic and thirsty for good beer a few nights ago, I decided to revisit the chain.

Honestly, the atmosphere was slightly depressing. The dude waiters, with their scrawny tatted arms and overly gelled hair, looked like coke dealers while the females carried a strong essence of Victoria's Secret Love Spell, a.k.a. "Eau De Stripper." Sports bars can be hit-or-miss, but chain sports bars inevitably seem to have a manufactured enthusiasm, as if they're all designed from a blueprint with blank areas that say "Install local sports team banner here."

Of course, none of that matters after a few beers. And that's what sets Humperdink's apart--not only is it an all-purpose bar offering food, karaoke and big-screen televisions, but each location also boasts its own brewery, plus a small but well thought-out selection of other craft beers.

I decided on the Philly cheesesteak ($9.99) and a mug (22 oz, if I remember correctly) of the Strongman Imperial Porter. The sandwich and fries came out steaming hot, with molten mozzarella covering caramelized onions and green peppers and a generous helping of oil-slicked meat shavings that were perfectly crispy at the edges and juicy in the middle. It was a hearty, alcohol-absorbing, satisfying meal. In fact, it was so big I didn't even finish the fries.

As for the beer, I had no problem finishing the excellent dark porter--but you'll probably read about that later. Suffice to say that it was well worth $5.25.

In fact, the beer was so good that I may go back with friends to get one of the 100-oz. "Beer Towers," which is a man-sized glass tube with a spigot at the bottom. I couldn't get one that night, as you have to have a minimum of three people to order one. But maybe I'll look up those old hotel coworkers and split a tower or two.

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