Sunday, October 28, 2007

Building an Empire from Scratch

Tonight's dinnertime brought me to the newest offering in Firewheel Market: Cooppie's. Billing itself as "American scratch cooking," it should make a serious dent in the "food like Mom used to make" market with its offerings, including fried chicken (and its cousins, chicken-fried steak and chicken-fried chicken), meat loaf, homemade cakes and pies, and so on.

Cooppie's is not your typical restaurant. Not only are all the sides served family-style at the table, but they rotate in threes from day to day, and the ones that are available have giant red checkmarks by their names on the giant menu on the wall (regular-sized menus are brought to each customer as well). Today's offerings of green beans, mashed potatoes, and seven-cheese macaroni and cheese were all quite good. If you run out, don't worry--they bring more. (With a table of two, this wasn't an issue.)

But even before the sides arrive, the meal starts out with a generous helping of green salad and a homemade three-cheese sheet bread; both were delicious, and refills on them were unlimited as well. (My friend who was with me tonight likened the constant arrival of food to "a buffet where you don't even have to get up." And while we both noted that perhaps a walk would do a body good after all that food, the restaurant is adjacent to the eminently walkable Firewheel Town Center, just in case that need should arise.)

The entrees were tasty and plentiful; I had the hickory baked chicken, which included a leg, wing, thigh and breast, while my friend had a huge piece of chicken-fried chicken. Service was friendly and fast, and, as I said, the table was never empty of food. We were too full to try the cake or pie, but that will happen on a future trip. The weekend breakfast also looks very good from the menu. Prices are reasonable--our entrees were $9.99 apiece--especially when the sheer amount of food is taken into consideration.

From first impressions, the new little restaurant with the funny name should do really well, as it presents diners with a choice not otherwise found in the Firewheel area. I was surprised to see that this is the first offering under its name; here's hoping that this concept will spread around the Metroplex.

An unusual sense of direction: I was amused by the directions on the map. They're different depending on what point on the (pie-shaped, in their case) compass one is coming from, and, while most of them are pretty accurate, the directions from the north are hilarious: Go 75 south to 635 east (nope, too far south--take the George Bush instead) and "exit Pigbelly Rd. and turn right." As you can imagine, there's no street by that name, and if there were, it would put you in Northeast Dallas, not Firewheel. My guess is either that they used this as a placeholder while they were developing the site and forgot to change it, or it's a little joke--nobody from due north would like Southern cooking anyway. (Also, the directions from the "northwest"--listed as Plano, Allen, and Frisco--are totally correct.)

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