College sports bars come in all sizes and flavors.
Mavericks Bar & Grill in Arlington is one of the smallest, simplest and best.
Absolutely nothing at Mavericks came from a chef de cuisine. The burgers aren't organic bison, the buns aren't huge doughballs, and the fries aren't dusted with local-dairy Roquefort.
This hole-in-the-wall near downtown Arlington grills a half-pound of fresh, loosely packed beef and serves it with fresh lettuce and juicy tomato on a toasted bun just thick enough to contain the burger ($7.49).
The fries are nothing special. But diners finish them all.
In a college neighborhood that has become known for grandiose, gourmet burgers, Mavericks Bar & Grill serves one old-school, barroom-style.
At nights and on weekends, it's a busy sports grill full of fans watching Cowboys or Rangers games or the Longhorn Network through a rigged-up AT&T video feed.
By day, it's a quiet escape from the long lines at the Abram Street restaurants.
The menu also includes simple chicken wraps ($4.99), smoked chicken or brisket quesadillas and nachos, chicken sandwiches, and salads with a choice of six dressings.
Mavericks is open for lunch and dinner daily at 601 E. Main St., on a commercial back street a block north of Abram; 817-548-1442, mavericksbarandgrill.com.
At the other end of the price scale and the county, XII Whiskey Bar & Grill is open near Texas Christian University.
You know what XII Whiskey is all about when the server comes over to the table at 11:15 a.m. and says, "Hi! Do you want any whiskey?"
Joe Ramirez's new restaurant is in a shopping center where restaurants can open but not saloons or clubs. So it promotes a full menu, even though the premise seems to revolve mostly around the bar.
Highlights at lunch this week included a Shiner Bock chili made with smoked brisket. The same brisket was also scattered over chips and drizzled with queso as barroom nachos.
The ambitious menu also includes brisket platters and chicken-fried steak. But customers might want to spend even more time looking over the menu of more than 40 whiskeys, bourbons and scotches.
XII Whiskey serves lunch and dinner daily and is hosting several charity events to introduce the dining menu. It's at 2858 W. Berry St.; 817-927-0822, xiibar.com.
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