Before I tell you how hard I’ve fallen in love with Goodfriend, the East Dallas pub that opened Monday, I must tell you that I am not to be trusted. I live within walking distance of Matt Tobin’s new place (he of Vickery Park fame). They sell beer. I can walk there. Or I can drive there and then walk home. I am therefore totally biased.
Last night I had time for exactly one beer on the way home (promise). I popped in around 6. The undersized parking lot (all the better to promote walking and biking) was already full. A couple of kids in private-school uniforms gamboled about on the spacious wood patio in front. I saw a dog. Inside, the 20 or so seats around the horseshoe-shaped bar were nearly all occupied. Music so cool that only Zac could ID the artist played at a level that did not discourage conversation. I grabbed a barstool and leaned into the well-built handrail. (All bar handrails should be convex. Why this is not a federal mandate, I don’t know.)
Goodfriend offers 10 regular draft beers (Avery Jones Pilsner, Stone Self Righteous, Boulevard Tank 7) and six rotators. I ordered a Lagunitas IPA ($5). Before I could take my first sip, the thirtysomething couple next to me introduced themselves. They grew up in Dallas, met in Austin during grad school, and now live a block from Goodfriend.
“We’ve been waiting for this place to open for a year,” the woman said, “ever since we moved in down the street.”
“I’ve been waiting for this place to open for a decade,” I told her, “ever since I moved to the neighborhood.”
Friendly banter! With my neighbors! In a bar! And I can walk home! (Believe me when I tell you that the exclamation points are not ironic.)
Without being asked, the woman suggested I get a hamburger. Hers, she said, was delicious. Goodfriend grills 10 varieties, each made with a “proprietary blend of all-natural, grass-fed beef.” Examples: Loretta (with onion-bacon jam and Shaft blue cheese, $10), Redneck (with crispy Rudolph’s bologna, Redneck cheddar, red onion, lettuce, and Miracle Whip, $10.50), Latin Lover (chorizo burger with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and manchego, $10), and Jumping Bean (black bean burger with an avocado tostada, $9). You can also get a turkey burger for $8 or a Rudolph’s all-beef hotdog for $4.50. The fellow sitting to my port side — again, without being asked — said I shouldn’t overlook The Wing Man (a pound of hot or mild wings served with fixins, $7). Alas, as I told the friendly bartender when he asked if I was hungry, if I’d arrived home with a full stomach, the missus would not have been pleased. I forwent the comestibles.
I left wanting to return as soon as possible and to stay much longer. Thankfully, I won’t have to wait long. Only this morning I got an email from someone who lives just a few doors down from me. She is organizing a going-away party for another neighbor. We will gather at Goodfriend. And me, I will walk.
Goodfriend is open seven days a week, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The kitchen closes at 11 p.m. I’m sure brother Bill Holston will be along in a bit to include in the comments what I herein overlooked.