Eats Beat: Known for barbecue, Bartley’s now a bargain

Posted 9:08am on Friday, May. 16, 2014

Not many restaurants remain from Grapevine’s first Main Street Days 30 years ago.

But one was already old, even then: Bartley’s BBQ.

Since 1968, Bartley’s has sparked arguments among customers and critics about whether it serves some of the best barbecue in this part of Texas.

One day this week, Bartley’s was just as crowded as newer neighbors Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell or Feedstore BBQ in Southlake.

Pork ribs remain the menu standout. But not many restaurants offer a choice of 10 meats, including smoked bologna, whole or boneless smoked chicken, and Cajun turkey.

Bartley’s also shines for real vegetables: turnip greens, carrots and green beans, not just pintos and potatoes.

The timeworn strip-shopping-center cafeteria space on East Northwest Highway, home for Bartley’s since the 1980s, has been decked out with wood paneling, steer horns and horseshoes.

The result is a suburban restaurant that feels like founder Marvin Bartley’s original small-town barbecue cafe, down to the scoop-your-own helpings of peach or pecan cobbler.

Bartley’s serves weekday specials for about $7-$10. Regular dinner plates cost less than $10, a bargain these days.

Also worth noting: Lunch starts at 10:30 a.m., a good time to beat the midday rush or come by after a DFW Airport morning flight.

Bartley’s is open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays; 413 E. Northwest Highway, 817-481-3212,

Beefed up

Weatherford finally joined the bigger-burger crowd.

Big John’s Burgers & Beer, new on the downtown square, serves huge, fresh-packed burgers on thick sweet-sourdough buns.

Owner John David Shepherd, a former Wild Mushroom partner, remembers 1980s Fort Worth burger favorites B.J. Keefer’s and Billy Miner’s. His burgers are similar, but on sweet buns like those used at Dutch’s and other Fort Worth grills.

“I just thought Weatherford needed a great burger place with a full bar,” he said.

It’s working. Big John’s is open for lunch and dinner daily; 105 College Ave., 817-341-6717,

Ropin’ some brunch

Reata Restaurant has premiered a new weekend brunch menu with dishes such as smoked salmon eggs Benedict, quail-and-waffles or biscuits with gravy and diced elk sausage.

Reata is open daily for lunch and dinner, closing between 2:30 and 5 p.m.; 817-336-1009,

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in 817-390-7538 Twitter: @EatsBeat Facebook: Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat Get alerts at

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