Food News

We Tried Savorite, Dallas Cowboys' JaQuan Hardy's Favorite on Hard Knocks

Two-piece chicken entree with corn and mashed potatoes and a square of cornbread.
Two-piece chicken entree with corn and mashed potatoes and a square of cornbread. Lauren Drewes Daniels
The fourth episode of the HBO sports documentary Hard Knocks featuring the Dallas Cowboys premiered earlier this week. It's the tail end of training camp and the pressure is on for a few players to make the final cut, including JaQuan Hardy, a 5’-10” 225-pound running back from Ohio. After the player ahead of him in the pecking order gets sidelined with a season-ending injury, he's encouraged to “Grasp the opportunity,” by the coaching staff.

With a gold pacifier-shaped mouthpiece, goggle-esque glasses, and long braids tumbling out of his helmet, Hardy’s hustle and speed captivate. Even Ezekiel Elliot gets on Team Hardy and worries about his glasses-versus-contacts dilemma (contacts can pop out, but glasses fog up).

The team sweats it out, quite literally, during practices at the sparkling Star in Frisco. Alas, Hardy has a huge calorie deficit he needs to refill each day. And to our foodie delight, he shared his favorite local restaurant: Savorite Southern Cuisine in Plano.

In the episode, Hardy and then-teammate Anthony Hines dine at the restaurant. He gets fried chicken along with two sides: candied yams and macaroni and cheese, which he reveals he likes to mix together. Like refried beans and rice, all smushed up on the plate.

On Wednesday, just a day after the show premiered, Savorite was busy but not swamped. The dining room is shut down for now, with chairs stacked on the tables, so all orders are for take-out only, something many of us are now used to anyway.
click to enlarge The macaroni and cheese and yams are the stars of the show. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The macaroni and cheese and yams are the stars of the show.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The cashier said they want to re-open the dining room, but like a lot of restaurants right now, are short-staffed. There were only three workers last night, keeping up with phone orders, DoorDash and walk-ins; they were running at a fast clip, but nothing they couldn’t handle.

Taking Hardy's lead, we got the sweet yams and thick macaroni and cheese for sides. The latter is some of the best I've ever had, seasoned throughout with lots of melted cheese and more layered on top, not at all runny. The yams, too, are stop-you-in-your-tracks good. And, per Hardy, try them together; you’ll never look at those two sides the same again.

Six grilled shrimp were actually the sideshow comparatively — not like a long-snapper, but a reliable kicker who can split the uprights from any decent distance. They were bright pops of protein served with rice in a savory sauce. A photo on Savorite's Instagram shows all that atop fried fish, and YES! Do that.

The slightly sweet biscuit could easily serve as dessert — pop that in the microwave for 12 seconds then laden with butter and honey.

The fried chicken was extra crispy and well seasoned. But again, the sides were the playmakers here. A mountain of mashed potatoes has a crater smashed into the top, which is then filled with brown gravy. Every dish on both plates was its own story. But next time, I'd get three sides: mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and the sweet yams, with a biscuit.

The dinner entrees, which include a main and two sides, range from $10 to $15. Proteins include white or dark fried chicken, wings and waffles, pork chops, fried catfish, shrimp and salmon croquettes. All come with a biscuit or cornbread.

Bright squares of red velvet cake behind the counter fill up the entire clear plastic shells they were packed in, each topped with an extra-thick layer of white icing.

For now, they’re only open for dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., except for Sundays when they’re open from noon to 8 p.m. Spoiler alert: Hardy made the practice squad so he'll be back for sure.

Savorite Southern Cuisine, 2400 K Ave. B (Plano), 4 to 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday, Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.