Love Shack of Denton and its glorious Bigfat-burgers-with-a-bigfat-egg-on-top were laid to rest in October when Tim Love decided to close the doors and revamp the space with visions of dry-aged steak and white tablecloths dancing in his head. Fast forward to now and Queenie's steakhouse (115 E. Hickory St.) is up and running and open to the public after a successful soft opening last week.
Gone are tangly piles of golden fried onion strings and crispy "yardbird" baskets, replaced by chicken-fried lobster and Wagyu steak waiting to be paired with a choice of savory sides and of course a glass of wine. Or four. Love's subtle humor (which rendered me giggly) is present in the form of his "Texas Vegetarian" menu options featuring pheasant confit, a pork porterhouse and lamb chops.
Total number of people confused by this: all of them.
Total number of servers with a "How come nobody thinks this is funny" look on their face: all of them.
The wooden picnic tables and family reunion vibe are gone, but there's something to be said for a live pianist, an array of waters from which to choose and an elegant sweeping of my table crumbs that might just make Queenie's a small oasis of fancy in the middle of Denton. In fact, I think crumb sweeping should be more commonplace. I'm looking at you, 3 a.m. Whataburger shift.
Bonus points: It's Denton, so you can park anywhere and it'll probably be legal. Unlike Dallas, where there's 12 parking spots available for the entire city and five of them are reserved for valet. Queenie's is directly across from the downtown Wells Fargo so their parking lot is large and easily accessible. Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner service, which gives you the perfect window of time to pretend you work at Wells Fargo and skip across the street to steak-in-your-face. Complimentary valet was available when I went last week, but c'mon, it's Denton. Don't be that guy. Plus, you're about to horf down a pile of meat so getting some pre-meal cardio in is just plain logical.
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Super Extra Bonus Points: Our server had the same name as my dog, and he was just as awesome.
Not so much bonus points: I got the vibe that my former Love Shack uniform of flip flops and dirty jeans would not be so appropriate. However, clean pants and a nice shirt without food already on it is a small price to pay for fine dining that doesn't involve me getting on Interstate 35.
The menu is broken up into First (appetizers and such), Second (salads and such), Cow Meat (moo), Non-Cow Meat (Oink) and Sides for your Meat (I don't know what sound a cauliflower makes). A tenderloin will run you about $20 while the Wagyu Tomahawk will set you back $85. Sides range from $9 to $15 and include typical steakhouse fare such as grilled asparagus and a Yukon Gold potato puree.
Queenie's is just far enough ahead of the curve when it comes to Denton dining that it makes the absence of Love Shack a little easier to bear. Hopefully T-Love and his special sauce don't shut it down before I have a chance to experiment with an entire chicken-fried lobster.