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Big TVs, big platters at new Blaze’s in Arlington’s College Park

Posted 9:04am on Tuesday, May. 28, 2013

Arlington has its own restaurant village.

But much of Arlington hasn’t found it yet.

In many ways, College Park Center is a smaller version of a West Village in Dallas or West 7th in Fort Worth. It has restaurants, bars and plenty of street or garage parking.

It just doesn’t have the same customers yet as the Highlands or Lincoln Square. And with school out, downtown and College Park need them.

“We’re trying to build up the center of Arlington as a destination,” said Duc Nguyen, who runs the flashy new Blaze’s Sports Grill for owner Vin Nguyen of neighbor Pho Xpress.

Blaze’s has more than 40 TVs, a gourmet chef and a Sunday brunch menu.

“There are a lot of really good places here — pizza [ Pie Five], tacos [ Digg’s], sandwiches [ Smiling Moose Deli] and Mediterranean [ GRIP, by the owners of Ali Baba and Terra],” Nguyen said.

“We see a lot of faculty, but we’re reaching outside campus. We’re trying to be patient and grow.”

Blaze’s already plans to pare back the intimidating, 70-item menu by chef William Keller, who cooked in country clubs and drew attention last year for his “anarchy” menu at Bryan Street Tavern in Dallas.

For example, the UT-Arlington audience didn’t go for mini-knishes.

“I like to do things that are more fun and out of the mainstream,” Keller said, agreeing that the menu is “a little over the top.”

He might have been talking about the giant pretzels, or the jalapeño corny dogs, or the ancho-agave-barbecue burgers, or the bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

Or the homemade cheesecakes in flavors such as honey-habanero, banana split or strawberry-Nesquik.

The $8 lunch specials include simple pizzas, sliders, Keller’s original Philly cheesesteaks or quesadillas, all with soup or salad. Sunday brunch includes sirloin-and-eggs in green chile hollandaise or baked stuffed French toast.

Blaze’s is open daily for lunch and dinner; 593 Spaniolo Drive (South Pecan Street), 817-459-2555, facebook.com/BlazesSportsGrill.

Saturday morning sushi?

Everybody is adding a brunch menu.

Even Tokyo Cafe.

The Pershing Avenue favorite now serves brunch Saturdays only. The menu includes eggs Benedict with roasted pork belly on a shiso-infused not-so-English muffin, a pork belly-and-egg sandwich or a breakfast spider roll with soft-shell crab and egg.

Tokyo Cafe is open for lunch and dinner weekdays, brunch and dinner Saturdays at 5121 Pershing Ave. (at Camp Bowie Boulevard), 817-737-8568, tokyocafefw.com.

More than groceries

Ryan’s Fine Grocer and Delicatessen, a fast success on West Magnolia Avenue, has added a full dinner menu nightly.

Entrees include seafood, chicken, duck, quail, pork chops, lamb chops and a few steaks. Prices range from $15 to $21, with steaks priced per ounce.

Ryan’s, owned by descendants of the founders of Ryan Place, is open weekdays and Saturdays for lunch and dinner and Sundays for brunch at 815 W. Magnolia Ave., 817-945-2770, ryansfinegrocer.com.

Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538 Facebook: Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat Twitter: @EatsBeat Get alerts at RebelMouse.com/eats

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