Former expat, queen of snark, and determined vegetarian, Rachel B., recently returned to the motherland, Dallas, Texas, where she shares her initial impressions of the new bar and eatery on the scene, Anvil Pub.
For those of you not intimately familiar with Dallas' foodie scene, it's like this: shopping and eating are king in this town and new restaurants, bars, and clubs open and close at an astounding speed as the locals rave and then, 30 minutes later, find a new hotspot to frequent until they once again grow bored. Entrepreneurial restauranteurs must seek the happy medium of becoming the neighborhood hang out as well wooing hipsters to a trendy new locale. It's a status seldom achieved and many promising and delicious start ups fall by the wayside in a sad collection of once celebrated venues now forgotten. Read on as Rachel details her experience and pronounces Anvil a temporary success:
Over the past decade Deep Ellum has lost its shine and what was once the hip epicenter of Dallas was abandoned by fickle clientele who migrated to upscale establishments on lower McKinney Avenue and UpTown who are best known for their $15 martinis and $30,000 millionaires. However, Deep Ellum doesn’t go down without a fight and slowly battled it’s way back as a prime spot for urban dining and nightlife.
Deep Ellum’s Elm Street is seeing a revitalization with the renewal of the popular live music venue, Trees, and new dining options including Anvil Pub. While Dallas has its fair share of English pub grub, this is the first pub to test the waters in Deep Ellum.
I ventured out on a Friday night at the request of a friend who insisted that we needed to try Anvil for ourselves since “there’s more than beer and meat.” As a vegetarian I wasn’t sure what options I’d have at a traditional English pub, but I’m willing to try anything once, even if it means I’m drinking my dinner. We arrived around 7 pm, which is a great time to join the neighborhood crowd for a round of drinks and dinner and early enough to avoid drunken hipsters on their journey towards an impetuous tattoo.
While crowded, we were able to find seats at the bar relatively quickly and the bar staff immediately took our drink orders and returned for our dinner selections. I was suitably impressed with the kitchen as it is “green” and everything is cooked in a convection oven that cooks everything faster with less waste and no grease. I was even more impressed with the vegetarian and vegan options; I ended up going with typical pub fare with a twist, cheese fries topped with vegan chili and my friend had the chicken sandwich with fries. The food was excellent, and my friend who is a carnivore, declared that the vegan chili was “just like real chili”, which is a ringing endorsement in my book.
The atmosphere was laid back and genuine though there were more skinny jeans and ironic facial hair than I care for with my dinner. But this was more than made up for by our delicious food at a reasonable price. As my friend used a Groupon we walked out spending $14 (including 20% tip) for 3 Shiners and 2 meals. Even without the deal of the day we would have out spending no more than $30 for the evening. All in all, Anvil succeeded in its new role as the “pub next door” and next time I plan on trying the Texas Sage Pizza complete with jalapeno raspberry sauce.