For Shoals Sound and Service, having a Deep Ellum establishment with a stellar bar program and a ridiculously good bologna sandwich isn’t enough.
It has to have brunch.
What’s different about brunch at Shoals, though, is that you can get a different menu and different style of food almost every time you visit — and still expect that meal to be a pretty damn good one.
Last weekend, the Good Food Table’s chef Devan Cunningham was in Shoals’ small cooking space, preparing plates from the six-item menu during a pop-up visit.
For starters, the “danks” ($8) are imminently shareable. These waffle fries were especially crispy after being tossed with onions, peppers and plenty of herbs. Served with a simple malt aioli, they’re a perfect excuse for having fries as an appetizer.
The take on chicken and waffles was hotchicken and a waffle cone ($13). More than enough little Nashville-style, hot-fried chicken bites filled the bottom of the bowl, and a sweet and spicy sauce made them addicting.
The upside-down waffle cone that topped them was drizzled with buttered maple syrup. It’s a welcome change from heavy waffles, and the flavor worked surprisingly well with the chicken — something many similar plates at other places fail to accomplish.
Other items included chilaquiles verde ($10), a bean burrito ($9) and shrimp and grits ($12). But what was possibly the best option was one taken from Shoals’ regular menu: bologna.
The “Daddy will” ($8) is described as “Granddad’s favorite breakfast sandwich.”
Granddad sure has (or had) seriously good taste: It comes with griddled bologna, sausage, a fried egg and melted American cheese between slices of toasted white bread.
For those who grew up with a parent who made bologna sandwiches, this tastes like home. For those who want thick slices of sausage in a meal, this is your sandwich. For those who just want a sandwich they’ll be drooling over days later, this will do the trick.
But if you didn’t order it last weekend, sorry, you missed out. Such is the nature of the pop-up.
The Good Food Table is out of Phoenix, Arizona, but Shoals owner Omar Yeefoon will have another pop-up brunch worth checking out soon.
Earlier this year, he had a series of pop-ups with chef David Anthony Temple, who filled Shoals with the smell of Cajun spices. The busiest day Shoals has had to date was this spring when DAT did a crawfish boil.
Go to Shoals any time, and you’ll get a well-made cocktail. Sunday specials this time around included a double rye sour ($7). Yeefoon makes it almost too beautiful to drink, but after the first sip, you’ll gladly drink down the beauty.
The cocktail specials are part of the weekly Sunday offerings, which, along with a live jazz band in the afternoon, Yeefoon is calling Laissez Faire.
“We just want to create a laid-back, all-day Sunday vibe,” he says.
While Shoals has been doing pop-ups for meals, this weekend was the first true brunch pop-up, Yeefoon says.
“The chef pop-up thing has proved to be the most difficult to keep up with, as well as probably the most
rewarding,” he says. “I feel like doing brunch is more aggressive than the random pop-ups we have done in the past because it is possibly validating us as a restaurant as well as a bar.”
That’s not a random goal for a place one might normally call a cocktail bar.
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“We always want to sell more food. I loved the flow of last Sunday,” he says. “I really want to eventually add our own brunch menu. I probably won’t abandon the pop-ups, though.”
To keep up with what’s going on at Shoals, follow its Facebook page.
Until then, enjoy the jazz on Sundays and take advantage of the excellent cocktails any day.
Shoals Sound and Service, 2614 Elm St. (Deep Ellum)