If you live in Dallas and ever travel to Fort Worth, (which you should, the wings and art and music are all great there) you should stop at Tom's Burgers and Grill. If you live in Fort Worth and ever travel to Dallas, you should stop at Tom's Burger and Grill too. If you live in Arlington you likely already know about Tom's and good for you. The rest of you, listen up.
The potato chip encrusted chicken-fried steak drew me in first. Katharine Shilcutt, who recently left our sister paper Houston Press , called me out months ago with regards to the crispy, fried specimen. I finally made it over there a few weeks ago to give it a try and found a whole lot more.
It's the staff that stood out the most across every visit. During my first, a waiter warned that the queso didn't look so hot that evening. That sort of honesty is pretty rare at most restaurants -- let alone a diner. And it was a welcomed respite from the endless chorus of "everything's good here." On every visit the staff was warm and welcoming. Good service makes all the difference.
Of course, free beer doesn't hurt things either. It may be just enough to catapult Tom's into the best diner in the history of forever. Sure, it's Bud Select, but it's hard to argue with the cost. And if you're going to be eating deep-fried meat inside a potato chip crust and beer battered onion rings, you need to save all the calories you can.