It's not uncommon to hear about Dallasites lining up -- sometimes even overnight -- when a buzzy new restaurant comes to town.
In fact, sometimes it happens even when a restaurant isn't new ... or even particularly buzzy. Take, for instance, the recent opening of a new Chick-fil-A location in Addison. It may have been the company's 30th in D-FW, but more than 70 Dallas-area residents still queued up for over 24-hours in 90-plus-degree weather to win a year's worth of free meals.
In other instances, homegrown restaurants with cult followings boast lines not on their opening day or week, but when word-of-mouth mystique reaches the masses.
Have you ever considered waiting for barbecue, risking the possibility that your cut of choice has sold out once you have a chance to order? How about eating in your car because picnic tables are all taken? Both are common occurrences at Cattleack Barbeque -- though that might soon change, when the temporarily-closed hot spot reopens on July 7 with about 100 new seats.
Are some of these spots really worth the commitment? Or, are we talking pure hype?
We'll leave that you. Here are some of D-FW's most notorious ongoing food lines and a few explanations as to why locals think they're worth the wait. Agree? Disagree? Have a favorite we're missing? Tweet us your suggestions -- that is, unless you're trying to keep a coveted favorite on the down-low.
Probably the most famous food line in D-FW, Pecan Lodge began as a food stall in Shed #2 at the Dallas Farmer's Market, and word got around. Quickly. It was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2012 and Texas Monthly named it among the top 4 barbecue joints in the world. Line began forming a full hour before the stand even opened.
It became so popular that owners Justin and Diane Fourton closed the original and relocated to a full-blown restaurant in Deep Ellum. They expanded their hours, too, which means that you won't always have a wait. That said, if you're looking for what's considered the best brisket this side of the Hill Country, hand-made sausage and burnt ends that rival anything you'll find in Kansas City during lunch hours (11 to 11:30 a.m., especially) or on weekends, come prepared with calming yoga techniques.
Pro-tip: Skip the line and opt for the express counter. There you can order The Trough, which serves 4 to 5 people for $75. Even if you're not dining with friends, take the leftovers to go for brisket breakfast tacos the next morning.
Carlo's Bake Shop
Sure, it's showbiz, but when Carlo's Bake Shop -- the subject of TLC's Cake Boss -- finally opened its first Texas location at Preston Center in March, locals were blown over with the real-deal tastes, particularly when it came to the shop's renowned cannolis and lobster tails.
Being featured on a popular television show certainly helps hype the shop when it heads into a new region, and Dallasites were prepared for a long wait on opening weekend based on rumors of camping customers in other recently-opened locations. That's to say nothing of the 2-plus hour lines that regularly snake out of the original Hoboken, New Jersey, location where most scenes for Cake Boss are filmed. In fact, the line there is almost as famous as the 106-year-old shop, itself.
When the Dallas shop opened, the Cake Boss himself -- Buddy Valastro -- stayed up until 3 a.m. signing autographs and more than 10 days later the shop still had to put up metal gates to corral eager customers. Joe Faugno, COO for Carlo's Bakery, called the Dallas opening "off the charts ... something like we've never seen."
With funky menu items like the Indian cuisine-inspired fried paneer taco or the down-home delicious cornmeal fried oysters taco, Velvet Taco quickly became a conversation starter in a taco loving town. The hype has held up: Visiting the Dallas location during lunch hours or on weekends can be tricky, and that's just getting into the parking lot.
New-ish late night hours expanded tacopportunities to 5 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, which any Henderson Ave. bar regular likely enjoys, but if you're not among the stumble home set, there's another option that might be worth the wait: Backdoor Chicken to-go on Monday nights.
Skip the front entrance and knock on the backdoor. Yes, really. You'll get a whole rotisserie chicken, two sides of elotes, six corn tortillas, roasted corn pico de gallo and hot sauce for $20. The once off-menu option became so appreciated, it's been added permanently at all locations.
The Wicked Pig at Globe Life Park
With five types of pork and three buns, this larger-than-life concession is among the biggest ever from Globe Life Park, and that's saying a lot. The home of the Rangers is known for having fostered the creation of the 2-feet-long, 2-pound Boomstick hot dog in 2012.
Unveiled for the 2016 season, the Wicked Pig contains meat multitudes, specifically pulled pork, bacon, sausage, prosciutto and ham, doused in barbecue sauce and topped with coleslaw and pork rinds. You even get three slice of Hawaiian roll to keep it, and yourself, together. The Wicked Pig will set you back $27, but taste-wise, food writer Sarah Blaskovich and sports writer Evan Grant ranked it number one in the class of 2016.
In fact, Grant waxed poetically over its virtues, lamenting his lack of a boa constrictor's jaw to facilitate a fuller bite. Ready for "hog heaven"? You might not be the only one lining up at 557 Smokehouse in the stadium's section 49. Is it worth missing a key play or maybe even an inning? Blaskovich and Grant give it an emphatic yes.
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM / Ice Cream Shop
The Beverly Hills-based chain might be best known for its cupcakes -- that is, after all what helped owner Candace Nelson first gain attention on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Not to mention, the Dallas location also installed a 24-hour cupcake ATM in 2013, meaning you might see a line queuing up during or after normal business hours.
Owners also run a nearby ice cream shop, also in Preston Center Plaza, which sells sundaes and shakes, with a cupcake on top, among other frozen treats. You might be there awhile, but that means having your cake and eating ice cream too.
Jimmy's Food Store
It's a quaint corner market with a food counter in East Dallas, but no one underestimates Jimmy's Food Store, at least not twice. That's likely why tons of local restaurants feature Jimmy's handmade Italian sausage in various dishes. At-home cooks also love to browse the shop's specialty products like imported cheeses and meats, as well as DiCarlo family products like Mama's meatballs and frozen lasagna.
But, one of the bigger draws is Jimmy's takeout menu, featuring delectable deli sandwiches from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and this is where the long lines can come in, particularly around lunchtime on weekends. One thing that makes the line feel a little less daunting? Occasionally, you'll score free samples of wine, olive oil and red sauces while you wait.
Coming soon, bringing more long lines near you
If you scoff at the idea of waiting in line for fast food, you're not alone. But, we'd like to take you back to 2011 when the first In-and-Out Burger locations opened in North Texas. The California-born cult chain instilled utter madness in Frisco and Allen; fans reportedly cried tears of joy. Something similar happened when North Carolina company Krispy Kreme came to D-FW in 1999. An Arlington store sold 800 dozen doughnuts in its first two hours.
So, it doesn't seem all that crazy to expect a similar reception to Shake Shack, when the New York City favorite opens in Uptown Dallas in the second half of 2016.
Have a friend who spent a semester studying in NYC? Yeah, you won't heard the end of their "insider knowledge." But, if you're inclined to believe others' claims, Shake Shack -- which originated in a literal shack (or, rather, a hot dog cart) -- might be among the better quick burgers you will find. Also on the menu: a crispy chicken burger, hot dogs, fries, frozen custard and, of course, shakes.
Can you expect a line? Almost certainly, at least at first. Some New Yorkers still queue up at the flagship location in Madison Square Park. Expect Yankee transplants and curious Texans to turn up in droves.
Another coming-soon spot that's likely to make a fuss is 85C Bakery, which already boasts more than 900 stores in Taiwan, China and Australia. The company moved into America in 2011 and so far has remained solely on the West Coast, but the company is planning its first spot outside California when it opens in Carrollton Town Center in mid-to-late September, just in time for Mooncake season.
85C Bakery is a coffee shop and bakery hybrid featuring sweet and savory pastries and pan-Asian delicacies, in addition to gourmet espresso drinks like the oft-raved about Sea Salt Latte.
What's up with the lines? Many of 85C's California locations boast daily lines, particularly the original American spot in Irvine, but that's in part due to that location's smallish size. Still, there's a good chance you might have to wait, but luckily servers bring out warm batches of bread and other baked goods, most costing just a dollar or two, on trays to pursue while you're waiting.
Food writer Sarah Blaskovich was indispensable in compiling this list.