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Ol' South ready to mark 50 years, with syrup on top

Posted 12:07pm on Friday, May. 11, 2012

This spring, two old-time Fort Worth restaurants have found new life.

The rejuvenated Ol' South Pancake House will celebrate 50 years Tuesday, showing off its new look and giving away free helpings of the pancakes that made the restaurant a 24-hour landmark.

Without ever closing, the Ol' South has gradually changed from a smoky diner to a family-friendly restaurant with new menu items such as Greek omelets, spinach salads and turkey bacon.

The lunch and dinner menus are fresher, too, with a hand-battered chicken-fried steak and handmade mashed potatoes replacing worn-out fare.

"We're trying to add things that are fresher or healthier, but do it slowly," said Rex Benson, now running the South University Drive restaurant that has always been owned by the Benson and Brozgold families.

Nothing big has changed, but the menu offers more choices and prices, including $9 fried catfish or pork chop dinners and a $14 T-bone steak breakfast. (For those over 55, dinners cost about $7.)

Ol' South has stuck around long enough to make travel magazines' lists of Texas' "Best Breakfast" and also for its "pancake challenge."

If you eat the $19.99 platter of eight pancakes in 60 minutes, it's free; 1507 S. University Drive, 817-336-0311, www.olsouthpancakehouse.com.

Across town, Billy Miner's is back.

The new Billy Miner's Saloon Stockyards serves a faithful rendition of the old saloon's burgers, hot dogs, fries and nachos, but in a smaller bar on North Main Street.

This is not the same Billy's. Restaurateur Dante Martinez bought the name. But he hired some of the founding McMullin family's cooks and is buying from the same providers, so the food is stunningly close to the Fuddruckers-esque fare.

It's open daily for lunch and dinner; 1521 N. Main St., 817-624-7275, www.facebook.com/BillyMinersSaloonStockyards.

Some Mother's Day choices if you missed making a reservation:

Grady's Line Camp Steakhouse will serve a buffet of leg of lamb, pecan-smoked pork chops, tenderloin, egg dishes, veggies and desserts; $35, 4610 Shaw Road, Tolar, 254-835-4459, www.gradyslinecamp.com.

Cityhouse at the Sheraton Arlington will serve a brunch including roast beef, jerk-chile chicken, breakfast items and desserts; $21.95, 1500 Convention Center Drive, 817-548-2836, sheratonarlingtonhotel.com.

Byblos Lebanese Restaurant near the Stockyards will serve a buffet including kebabs, spinach pies, dolmades and baklava; $19.95, 1406 N. Main St., 817-625-9667, www.byblostx.com.

Near downtown Fort Worth, the nostalgic M&O Station Grill promises free dessert for Mom along with the always-free visit to the Leonards Department Store Museum; 200 Carroll St., 817-882-8020, www.fwscreen.com.

Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com Weekend. 817-390-7538

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