Now, we're under invasion from the Midwest.
On the heels of an incursion of animal-style burgers and Hawaiian-shirt-clad grocery clerks, we have new havens for Iowa-style pork tenderloin sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs.
I'm talking about Iowa icon Maid-Rite and a new hot dog stand with an imperative as a name, Bite the Weenie.
Maid-Rite is making everything better this time than on its last try here.
The 87-year-old chain misfired last year as a fast-food stand. Now, Maid-Rite returns as a retro diner on West Pleasant Ridge Road with a larger menu, table service and more focus on its signature soft-serve ice creams.
Maid-Rite's primary sandwich is a "loose beef" burger, similar to the "taco burgers" at other restaurants except with mustard, ketchup, onions and pickles.
But the innovation in this market is the fried pork tenderloin sandwich, a Midwestern staple rarely seen in Texas.
Maid-Rite's tenderloin is hand-breaded with what seems like a cracker-crumb crust and topped with a finely chopped blend of onions, ketchup, mustard and hometown Best Maid pickles.
The diner also serves "broasted" chicken -- similar to "Cajun fried" -- along with Wisconsin-style fried cheese curds and a full menu of sandwiches, salads, wraps, Nathan's Famous hot dogs, Tazo teas and homemade pies.
The atmosphere is more like a Steak 'n' Shake than a takeout stand. Maid-Rite will add breakfast hours and root beer on tap in coming weeks, according to investor Bruce Lund, who came from a popular wings restaurant.
South Arlington is home to 6,000 transplanted Iowans, he said.
The Maid-Rite misfire across town "had amazing food but no service or ambience," Lund said.
"We have the ice cream, the menu, the service to keep people coming back."
He plans future locations in Burleson and the Roanoke area.
Maid-Rite is open for lunch and dinner daily on the Pleasant Ridge Road side of Green Oaks Village at 4101 W. Green Oaks Blvd., 817-478-8600, maid-rite.com
Chicago-style dogs are no longer rare.
Even Sonic has them. But nowhere is the hot dog worshipped like at Bite the Weenie, a new North Richland Hills stand in The Crossings center.
Chicago transplant Ludwig Sawicki offers dogs and Polish sausages 20 ways, including a hot dog Veracruz with salsa and guacamole, a Maui dog with crushed pineapple, a Saigon dog with cilantro and radish, a Danish dog with remoulade or a bacon-wrapped, fried Sonora dog.
The top-of-the-line item is a foie gras dog ($19.99) in a croissant.
Bite the Weenie is open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays at 9143 Blvd. 26 (Texas 26); 817-514-2313, bitetheweenie.com.
Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com Weekend. 817-390-7538
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