I’ll be a mother clucker! Street’s Fine Chicken set to open next month

ThinkstockPhotos-494734302Ever since Black-eyed Pea closed its storied Cedar Springs location in early January, the gayborhood has been awaiting the restaurant to replace it — a new concept from BEP originator (and founder of Lucky’s, Good Eats and more) Gene Street: Street’s Fine Chicken. Well, it’s almost here. Word came today that a May opening is eyed, although the precise date is still undecided. What is known is that the menu will include home-cooking-style favorites, like the griddle-fried chicken-fried steak, roasted-and-toasted chicken, and of course black-eyed peas, plus more some upscale additions like chicken lollipops, boneless-thigh sandwiches and hand-crafted cocktails.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Last day at Black-eyed Pea

The Black-eyed Pea closed on Saturday, Jan. 2. Property owner Gene Street, who created the restaurant in the 1970s and sold it about 10 years later, retained ownership of the property and is creating a new restaurant there.

Dallas Voice photographer Chuck Marcelo went to Black-eyed Pea on its last day of operation and took these photos. Included is a photo of the restaurant’s three longest serving employees: Jose and Frank, who worked at Black-eyed Pea for 25 years, and Arthur, with 30 years’ experience.

—  David Taffet

Original Black-eyed Pea closing today


Rumors have been rampant for months now that the Black-eyed Pea restaurant on Cedar Springs — the original Black-eyed Pea — would be closing sometime in 2016. And as we reported back on Dec. 2, the chain declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As of yesterday (Friday, Jan. 1), it’s official: Today is the last day for the restaurant that has been a gayborhood mainstay since 1975.

A sign posted on the restaurant’s door notified customers — and reportedly, employees too — that it will close for good at 10 p.m. today (Saturday, Jan. 2).

“To all our loyal BEP customers: After 40 years, the building owner has decided to start a new restaurant concept in this location. Our last day is tomorrow, 1/2/16 — closing at 10:00 pm. You can find us at our other locations — Coit/Beltline, Dixie House, Plano (15th and 75), and in Arlington. We appreciate your loyal patronage over these decades! We will miss you and hope you have much luck in the New Year! Hope to see you down the road ……..

— Black-Eyed Pea Staff and Management”

The Black-eyed Pea opened in the Cedar Springs location in 1975 and expanded into its current space in the 1980s. According to rumors, BEP and other bars and restaurants in that block would be closing this year to make room for an expansion of the Melrose Hotel.

Some 15 Black-eyed Pea restaurants have closed in Texas over the last two years. Now you can officially add the original Cedar Springs restaurant to the count.

—  Tammye Nash

Say cheese!

Macho Nacho turns apps into entrees, with queso the star

EVEN PILES | They layer the cheese on thick at Macho Nacho for the short stack, above, though the namesake dish isn’t for the calorie-conscious: It weighs about 8 lbs. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor


OVERALL RATING: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Macho Nacho, 4000 Cedar Springs Road. Open daily at 11 a.m.
Reimagined Tex-Mex with a cheeky retro vibe and kick-ass queso.

Food: 2.5 stars
Atmosphere: 2.5 stars
Service: 2.5 stars
Price: Inexpensive to moderate


If you name your restaurant after one piece of food, you’d better be prepared to do it well and have people judge you by it. The Black-eyed Pea can’t take black-eyed peas off its menu; Chipotle had better damn well have roasted jalapenos every time I come in — and good ones, at that.

So if you’re gonna call your joint Macho Nacho, you’re saying two things: First, we do nachos well. Second, and they can kick your ass, cowboy.

To a foodie, that’s more than a promise —that’s a dare. Bring it on, pendejo.

The fact is, I’ve never actually ordered the signature macho nachos here, a party platter-sized combo of tortillas, cheese and the remnants of a raucous cinch de mayo fiesta: pork, brisket, beef, grilled onions and more. For a single diner, or even two on a date, maybe that is macho (if you consider clogging your arteries “macho”). But the other nachos available? Those are more manageable. And pretty good … if you can get yourself in the right mindset.

One problem is that, while some of these nachos are entrée sized, the concept of nachos themselves conjures up an appetizer — something the comes before. We’ve all ordered the app-portion of quesadillas and made do with them as our main course (or, occasionally, gone to the dark side, making flan and sopapillas the entrée). But actually shoehorning them in as the main dish feels both indulgent and unsatisfying, like using the chapter menu on a DVD to fast-forward to the good parts.

Of course, there’s no reason you have to make nachos the meal; there’s enough else on the menu that you can treat this upscale yet reasonably priced diner with Tex-Mex familiarity.

I was taken aback when my waiter suggested complimentary chips and salsa after I’d ordered the short stack of nachos ($5 at lunch — a great deal), but I said yes anyway. You’d think that the snack chip and the tortillas in the nachos would be the same, yet ours were different. With the salsa (a bland, chunky style), the chips were dusted with chili seasoning, arriving thick-cut and long; as part of the nachos, they were triangular and thinner, though still sturdy.

That’s nothing to take for granted: Nachos — good ones, at least — are harder to get right than you might imagine. The chips have to be engineered to withstand the weight of melted cheese and salsa, not to mention any protein you add on like grilled chicken or, in this case, brisket. But you don’t want heavy pita-like crusts, either — a tortilla needs to be firm but pliant, like a new boyfriend. Macho Nacho’s style held up, never becoming soggy and limp (a sad ending to a good beginning), but hearty, with juicy brisket as the capper.

There are non-nacho items, too, some of which soar. We ordered the “skinny” queso ($6.95), but fattened it up some by adding “muscle” (a dollop of ground beef). So, the beef probably counteracts the fit benefits of the skinny, but what’s not to like about chucks of meat bobbing around in a sea of melted milk fat? It’s like a reunion of cow parts with flavor.

Only the skinny version (60 calories per quarter-cup) has less cheese than the regular version, though you’d be hard-pressed to  notice. It’s creamy and gooey, though the body comes from a cauliflower purée, detectable only if you concentrate on parsing the slight vegetal aroma from the other ingredients.

Similar kudos are warranted for the guacamole, made obviously fresh with big chunks of avocado — like much guacamole, pretty tame on the palate.

Torta is a catch-all phrase for a panoply of sandwiches, though I was disappointed that the one I ordered did not come pressed a la cubana, but on a fluffy, torpedo-shaped hoagie roll. The fajita torta ($7.95), though ordered without onions came with. The beef, while moist, lacked finesse, as if it had been overcooked and reconstituted, and the “spicy” mayo was not, in fact, spicy, though it was improved by dipping in the skinny queso. (That dish goes with anything; I may pour it on corn flakes, just to try it out.)

The street tacos (again, two for $5 at lunch) were hit-and-miss. The chicken was acceptable, like the fajita meat in the torta, but did not pop; the pulled barbecue pork was significantly better, infused with hard-spice aromatics (cinnamon, mace) that kept it interesting. The small corn tortillas were wrinkled and firm but not hard, though no garnishes (salsas, cremas) were offered — they arrived pretty much as-is.

The décor is oddly soothing and slightly elegant — quite a departure from the rough-and-tumble burger dive look of Hunky’s that used to occupy the space. (The move across the street classed up Hunky’s as well.) Macho Nacho looks like a high-end Tijuana cantina moved into a middle-class living room in the 1970s. If I sound like I’m making fun, I’m not — at least no more than the designer, who imbued the space with a sense of humor and whimsy: Dance music echoes off the dark-stained beadboard paneling and retro clocks with go-go leather seats and funky, dia-de-los-muerte colors on the signature “moustache” painting behind the bar. Maybe that’s the real “macho” part of Macho Nacho: A bandito whose affection for Tex-Mex grows not just hair on his chest, but his upper lip, too. If that’s the results of eating here, I can only add, “Ole!”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Death: Douglas Tilmon Bryan

'Dougie' Bryan

Douglas “Dougie” Tilmon Bryan (Dougie), born April 15, 1968, in Ann Arbor, Mich., died April 30 from complications of cancer.

The son of Johnny and Beverly (Ake) Bryan, Doug graduated from Stamford High School in 1986. He worked in the food service industry with Black-Eyed Pea Restaurant on Cedar Springs Road in Dallas for more than 20 years. Doug had many talents, such as landscaping, cooking and interior design, and he was known for his sewing. Doug weaved a life full of love and friends and was never a person to be in the light. Instead he opted to help others shine. He would tell you like he saw it, loved with all of his heart, and danced like there was no tomorrow. He was a regular fixture on the dance floor at the Round-Up Saloon as well.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Orient Street Church of Christ in Stamford, Texas, on Wednesday, May 4. A memorial service will follow in Dallas at a later date.

Due to family financial circumstances, in lieu of flowers, donations are requested in memory of Doug Bryan c/o Kinney-Underwood Funeral Home, 210 S. Ferguson, Stamford, TX 79553.

You also may sign the online guest book at kinneyunderwoodfuneralhome.com

—  David Taffet

Police Blotter

• A woman who left her vehicle in the parking lot of the Black-eyed Pea early Saturday, Feb. 19 because she was “unable to drive” returned later in the day to find it stolen. The woman left her Acura RSX in the parking lot at 3857 Cedar Springs at about 12:30 a.m., according to a police report. She reported the vehicle stolen at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Inside the stolen vehicle valued at $9,000 were the woman’s purse, her keys and a Droid mobile phone.

• A woman reported that a man asked her to dance at Station 4 early Saturday, Feb. 19, then reached into her back pocket and took her credit card before running up more than $700 worth of purchases, police said. The suspect approached the woman at 2 a.m. inside the nightclub at 3911 Cedar Springs. He asked her to dance and “at the beginning everything was fine,” she told police. But when the suspect started reaching into her back pockets, she felt uncomfortable and asked him to stop. When he continued she pulled away and went to the bathroom, where she noticed her credit card was gone. She didn’t report the incident to club staff right away, but called police on Saturday afternoon and told them the suspect had spent more than $700.

• Havana Bar & Grill reported that someone broke out the glass front door of the business early Monday, Feb. 21. The incident occurred at about 4:20 a.m. at the nightclub at 4006 Cedar Springs, and the suspect is described as a black male, in his late 20s or early 30s, standing about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds. He fled in a white four-door vehicle that was possibly a Scion.

• Amico’s Pizza at 4032 Cedar Springs reported that someone broke into the restaurant late Thursday or early Friday, Feb. 18 by climbing through the duct system from an adjoining business, then dropping down through the ceiling. The suspect made off with an unknown amount of cash. The owner of Amico’s told police that “this has been going on for some time” and that on this occasion, he noticed footprints on the shelves and saw that the suspect had entered through the duct system.

—  John Wright