Argyle, Texas, isn't the kind of place where people often stop to grab a bite to eat. In fact, the town is home to fewer than 10 restaurants, according to town manager Paul Frederiksen.
That's one reason he and other local residents seemed thrilled Wednesday night during the preview of a new pizza joint called Earl's 377 Pizza, opening to the public on Monday, May 23.
The spot is the latest venture from the entrepreneurial team behind Denton hot spots LSA Burger Co. and Barley and Board, and one that hits closer to home: Co-creator John "Sparky" Pearson lives in Argyle and decided to open Earl's there because he's seen the town growing immensely.
"Most people go to Denton or Roanoke for dinner," Frederiksen says. "Certainly we need more eating establishments here. Residents and the community at large would like to see that."
Executive chef Chad Kelley (Barley and Board, formerly of the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas) helms the kitchen, which turns out Italian-style thin-crust pizzas alongside a few sandwiches, salads and appetizers. Pizza dough is made in-house before being topped and baked in gas-fired brick ovens. Offerings include a meat lovers (mozzarella, meatballs, salami, sausage and cherry peppers), chicken and artichoke (ricotta, spinach, artichoke and mozzarella) and the more unusual Yukon Gold (ricotta, smashed potato, bacon, roasted onions and rosemary).
As far as libations, the bar serves strictly local craft beer and a few wines.
See the eats in the gallery below:
Earl's 377 inhabits the former Argyle Fire Department building, the essence of which is still retained in the rustic, undisturbed original structure and truck bays. A 1950s volunteer fire truck that belonged to the station is parked out front.
"It's very strange to see it as a restaurant," says Mac Hohenberger, who served as Argyle fire chief for 20 years.
All of the furniture and fixtures were custom-made by local craftsman, from the wooden tables and chairs to the chandeliers built from banjos, shovels, and fire and military helmets. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio.
It's worth noting that although actor Jason Lee is a partner in Barley and Board, he is not a partner in Earl's. And no, the restaurant is not named for is famed character on the TV series My Name is Earl.
Instead, the restaurant is inspired by a fictional story that Pearson wrote about an American soldier named Earl who fell in love with an Italian woman named Isabella while stationed abroad. As the tale goes, Isabella's dream was always to open a restaurant, but Earl, he was frugal man. So he built the spot while she developed the menu and picked out flatware. The theme even extends to the kitchen, which is lined with travel chests. The bathrooms that are labeled "Earls" and "Isabellas."
The story and restaurant are "symbolic of a beautiful relationship," Pearson said during a preview dinner.
"It's not the similarities only, it's the differences," he added.
We get it: Earl is the beer to Isabella's pizza. And we suggest you pair both when you visit.
Earl's 377 Pizza, which is located next to Fuzzy's Taco Shop at 427 Highway 377 in Argyle, opens May 23. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.