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...
The Grill At Reno's
212 N. Crowdus St.
I'm not a cocktail type of dude. If you ask me, the best mixer for Crown Royal Whiskey is more Crown Royal Whiskey. But there is one mixed drink I will proudly order: the Black Tooth Grin. Invented and popularized by Vinnie and "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott of Pantera and named for a line from a Megadeth song, it's simply a chilled shot or two of whiskey (usually Crown) just darkened with a splash of Coke.
It's also the inspiration for Dimebag's Blacktooth Whiskey Burger, which uses whiskey-marinated ground beef and onions caramelized in Coca-Cola. Ever since DC9 ran this item about the metalhead-friendly grill adjacent to Reno's Chop Shop Saloon, music editor Pete Freedman and I have been eager to check the joint out and try the burger. Last Friday, we finally got our chance.
Knowing it's owned and managed by Pantera/Damageplan/HellYeah videographer and graphic artist Videobob Moseley, I expected the place to be full of metal memorabilia. But I wasn't expecting to see the very Doc Brown invention that made time travel possible in Back To The Future.
We walked in at around 2 p.m. Friday to find the place empty except for Rachel behind the counter and Videobob working at his laptop in the corner as Uncle Buck played on the TV. Both of us ordered the $9.99 Blacktooth-burger-and-fries basket and soft drinks. There was a sign promoting a deal where you can get any beer or margarita for $2 when you order the whiskey burger. Unfortunately, I didn't notice this until after Rachel had already run my credit card.
But even with iced tea, the burger was excellent, still juicy even cooked about medium well. The whiskey definitely added flavor without overwhelming (and whiskey in a burger is a bonus, with or without overwhelming flavor), and the generous slathering of gooey, sweet grilled onions were a nice touch. Spice livened up the crinkle-cut fries, as did the grill's selection of hot sauces and a house-blended jalapeno ketchup.
As we ate, we took in the dozens of photos on the walls: Videobob with King Diamond, Videobob with Dave Attell, Videobob with the cast of Back To The Future, and, of course, Videobob with the Brothers Abbott.
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When Pete (who, no joke, dressed as Marty McFly for the office Halloween celebration last year) asked about the Back To The Future pictures, Videobob explained that along with doing video work and running a restaurant, he designs movie props.
"That's the Flux Capacitor right there," he said pointing behind him at what looked from our vantage like an ordinary fuse box.
I never put down a hamburger before I'm finished with it, but this got us both up and out of our chairs. Sure enough, the distinctive Y-shaped prop blinked back at us, safely fastened to a wall unlikely to achieve the 88 mph necessary for time travel.
Really, the grill had me with the burger and fries. They were certainly good enough to ensure I'll be back to try the Vinnie-inspired cheesteak, onion rings and the 12-inch corn dog (which is free if you can finish it in one bite; that won't be a problem). But the opportunity to buy a copy of Rebel Meets Rebel and gawk at one of the most iconic film props of the '80s puts Reno's Grill in the top tier of dude-friendly restaurants.