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Eats Beat: Old-school soft-serve draws crowds to a new-generation Dairy Queen

Posted 10:54am on Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014

When it’s 100 degrees outside, sometimes frozen yogurt just won’t do.

Fort Worth has Curly’s Frozen Custard. Arlington has the new custard flavors at Super Chix.

But Grand Prairie has something nobody else has: the newest flagship Dairy Queen.

In its 75th year, Texas’ iconic small-town drive-in chain is back, promoting itself as “better than you remember.”

When the 21st-century DQ opened on Interstate 20 in the Shoppes at Grand Prairie, the lines and traffic jams were just as long as for any In-N-Out Burger.

Three months later, crowds have subsided enough to get inside the new 100-seat restaurant featuring Orange Julius drinks and a selection of frozen DQ cakes, Blizzard cakes and cupcakes.

If you’ve only tried one of the older, rural locations and don’t understand the fuss, I’ll try to put it this way:

In Texas, Dairy Queen was Whataburger before Whataburger.

Towns lived and died around Hungr-Buster burgers, steak or chicken finger baskets, soft-serve cones and Dilly Bars. And that was before the Blizzard, which is in its 30th year.

Sunday, with the temperature outside at 102 degrees, the Grand Prairie dining room was full with a line eight-deep. The drive-through line wrapped around the restaurant.

Almost every table was filled with folks sharing soft-serve cones, cups or blizzards, or celebrating over a frozen cake.

Service has struggled to keep up with the crowds at times, but generally, the new location is settling into routine.

It opens daily at 10 a.m. and stays open until 11 weeknights, midnight Fridays and Saturdays; 2640 W. Interstate 20 at Great Southwest Parkway, 469-275-9662, dfwdq.com.

Other new locations are at 8620 N. Beach St., Fort Worth, and 700 N. Industrial Blvd., Euless, with another set to open Aug, 25 in Roanoke at 1500 U.S. 377 North. There also are 10 older locations nearby.

Bowlers out, offices in

Lucky Strike Lanes has closed after losing its lease in the West 7th shops.

The California-based bowling alley chain offered better food than Splitsville, the Florida-based bowling chain that closed in Arlington.

But Lucky Strike wasn’t a good fit in the showcase patio space upstairs on Seventh Street. The landlord will lease that as office space.

Gauchos sighting

A showy new churrascaria has opened in south Arlington.

Chamas do Brazil (“Flames of Brazil”) is currently the city’s second Brazilian-style steakhouse, following nearby Villa’s Open Fire Grill.

Co-owner Paulo Generoso grew up in southern Brazil and hopes to launch a chain. The all-inclusive dinner with 15 meats is $41.99, or $24.99 for the salad bar only.

It’s open nightly and Sunday afternoons in a former buffet restaurant at 4606 S. Cooper St., 817-375-0250, chamasdobrazil.com.

Grand Prairie Greek

Also new in Grand Prairie near the Arlington city limit: Olive Branch Express, a Louisiana-based fast-casual Mediterranean cafe with Greek and Lebanese dishes served cafeteria-style plus vegan dishes, smoothies and specialty coffees.

It’s open for lunch and dinner daily at 5224 S. Texas 360, in the Lake Prairie Towne Crossing center at Texas 360 and Sublett/West Camp Wisdom roads; 972-829-8623, facebook.com/olivebranchexpress, website coming soon at TheOliveBranchExpress.com.

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

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