Denton is full of hip bars, but in a college town you can never have too many of those.
Treehouse Bar & Grill, owned by Grant McGuire and his father, belongs on that "hip" list. But it isn't just another watering hole - Treehouse is also part restaurant. And a spacious one at that - it's got two floors, an expansive deck, a balcony and two bars to accommodate all your college-aged tomfoolery.
The menu is small but refined; a selection of pub grub that's in a league of its own when it comes to munchies in Denton. If something can be made from scratch, it usually is at Treehouse.
Like the rustic, hand-cut fries ($5) sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, best described as being intermittently crispy and totally awesome. We downed them by the handful. They're served with Treehouse's own jalapeño ketchup.
Also made in-house are the chips (included with some of the entrees), salty and thick; wide cross sections of a once hefty potato. They'll leave a memorable crunch in your mouth.
Other appetizers include mozzarella sticks ($5) and beer-battered onion rings ($5). The spicy poblano Southwestern poppers ($5) earned our highest grade, filled with gooey cheese, corn, beans and pepper bits with a Southwest flavor that comes in loud and clear. We had to keep ourselves from eating the whole basket before the rest of the food arrived.
There are only a few entrees, but they are pleasing selections.
Wings ($6.99) are crispy and smothered in your choice of barbecue, a dry rub, buffalo, or the candied, slightly spicy and gingery General Tso sauce. The "Best Cuban" might seem small, but it's packed with roasted pork, ham, cheese and pickle slices served on crispy bread. It might not be the best of all time, but its big-pickle crunch is certainly one of the best in Denton.
The pork, tender and roasted in-house, is also part of the barbecue pork hoagie ($6.99) with breaded onion straws.
They've also got a juicy bar burger ($6.99), which you can customize with the usual toppings, and tomato jam, a sun-dried tomato and ketchup mash-up that gives an already well-seasoned burger a flavor boost.
In charge of said flavor is Treehouse's very own secret weapon, Nick Carrera, a young and enthusiastic chef and recent marketing grad.
Although his degree isn't in slicing and dicing, according to McGuire, Carrera has already spent years studying the way of the kitchen. And it shows: The guy knows how to make a mean potato chip from scratch.
McGuire is serious about running what seems like a sophisticated version of an adult treehouse with booze, and the place really fits well into the local scene. There are poker nights, karaoke, stand-up comedy performances and things like "Texas Beer Tuesday." Because really, a treehouse isn't really a treehouse without a little tomfoolery.