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Eats Beat: Arlington restaurants ready to play for Final Four

Posted 7:52am on Wednesday, Apr. 02, 2014

Fort Worth, Arlington and Roanoke restaurants will be full this weekend.

If the speedway crowd didn’t already grab up reservations, the basketball crowd will.

“My phone’s been ringing off the wall from Connecticut,” said Brian Olenjack at Olenjack’s Grille, the showcase restaurant in Lincoln Square near AT&T Stadium.

“I planned some specials” — a rib-eye with Gorgonzola blue cheese relish, and a burger with bacon jam — “but I hadn’t announced them yet. The crowds already found us.”

Olenjack’s is the best-known restaurant near the football or baseball stadiums, and offers free valet parking with shuttle rides to customers spending more than $40.

“It’s grown bigger than we ever imagined,” said Olenjack, a former Reata and Chisholm Club chef celebrating his seventh year in Arlington.

“We work hard to bring in local people, and then these stadium events are like the cherry on top. This turns April from a good month into a great month.”

After the traditionally busy Easter and Mother’s Day brunches, Olenjack has big plans to revamp the restaurant.

“We’ve been doing the same thing for seven years, and it’s time to update and have some fun,” he said.

He’s working on a new menu including coffee-braised antelope ribs and more game and bison dishes.

Since Arlington doesn’t have a major prime steakhouse, Olenjack’s plays the role of both a Southwestern restaurant and white-tablecloth steak grill.

More details soon. Olenjack’s is open for lunch and dinner daily; 770 E. Road to Six Flags, 817-226-2600, olenjacksgrille.com.

• Other Arlington news and notes for this weekend:

If inspections go well, the historic Candlelite Inn will reopen for limited hours with a short menu this weekend, then serve its full menu beginning next weekend.

Arlington philanthropist Alan Petsche bought the Candlelite and restored it to its 1957 original setup, close to the way it looked when it opened as Arlington’s first pizza restaurant (but also known for steaks and Mexican food).

The Candlelite Inn is at 1202 E. Division St.; facebook.com/candleliteinnarlington.

Also new: R Bar & Grill at the Hilton Arlington, with a former Gaylord Texan Old Hickory Steakhouse chef and advice from award-winning Houston executive Lonnie Schiller.

R Bar & Grill is open for lunch and dinner daily at the hotel, 2401 E. Lamar Blvd., 817-640-3322, facebook.com/HiltonArlington.

And don’t miss two traditions near the stadium: breakfast, lunch or dinner at Marquez Bakery & Torilla Factory, a short walk away at 1730 E. Division St. ( marquezbakery.com), or barbecue at either Bodacious Bar-B-Q, 1206 E. Division St. ( realtexasbarbeque.com), or Eddie Deen’s Crossroads, 1004 N. Collins St. ( eddiedeencrossroads.com).

Crossroads expects Kentucky fans and as always, will open daily “until sold out.”

• Arlington’s tourist office offers a coupon page including deals for free guacamole at Blue Mesa Grill in Lincoln Square, 20 percent off Mellow Mushroom in downtown Arlington or 10 percent off at fine-dining Cacharel or Piccolo Mondo.

For coupons, see experiencearlington.org/coupons-specials.

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

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