Hickory & Fry is one of Denton’s newest concept bars, located at 1206 W. Hickory. This craft cocktail parlor and Gastropub is the brain child of Jack and Amy MacDonald (Jack Mac’s Swill and Grill). H&F’s concept provides a geographically novel intertwining of cocktails, infusions and tapas-style plates. The divergence in the menu is poised to break the mold of the traditional Fry street bar. Not only have they added some exotic food options to their menu, but they have also punched up the area’s cocktail and beer selections. Normally when you hear the words craft and exotic, you expect to pay a premium. This is not the case at H&F. You can grab a quality cocktail and some Kangaroo nachos for about ten bucks. If you are not an adventurous eater or liquor drinker, you have the option of grabbing a quality $4 beer and some chili cheese fries. The food options topped out at $9 and the upper limit on the cocktails was $6.5. The price points suggest that the owners have done their research, and they recognize the importance of making their product palatable to budget minded patrons seeking something new and different.
As I entered the bar, I was quickly greeted by my server Brad. Polite and knowledgeable, he provided me with information on the house specialties and suggestions for my first beverage. After answering a few questions regarding my preference of spirt and general cocktail likes and dislikes, I was presented with their riff on a Boulevardier, called the Darnel. This amazingly tasty cocktail was comprised of Campari, whiskey and a ginger infused mixer. Even though it trended toward the bitter side, it had a nice counterbalance of sweet rich flavors. Garnished with an orange twist, this beverage was not only delicious, but wonderfully aromatic.
After a few pulls off my new favorite cocktail, I decided on a couple of food options. Based on a recommendation, I decided on the Babaganoush(Roasted eggplant, garlic tahini $6). This dish was Roux spicy for sure, but it was packed with amazing flavor and tons of garlic. Your pro tip of the week would definitely involve skipping this dish if you are on a date. That garlic was POWERFUL. Being that I was not on a hot date, I enjoyed every bite of it.
Next up was the Kangaroo nachos. This dish is comprised of thinly sliced Kangaroo meat seared rare and served atop a crispy wonton. It is complimented with a habanero jam, pomegranate oil and topped with a jalapeño. I completely expected this to be way too spicy for me, but surprisingly it was not. I did remove the fresh jalapeño from the top, which may have saved me. It was a powerful combination of sweet and spicy, with a touch of gaminess from the Kangaroo meat. The jam and pomegranate leaned toward the cloyingly sweet side, but provided a good foil to the wild flavor of the Roo. At $9, this dish may be a bit high for what you get. However, I would not let the price discourage you from trying it.
Hickory and Fry is truly a conceptual departure from the other venues in the area. It’s exciting to see a bar breaking ranks and plowing some new culinary and cocktail grounds. Their focus on new and divergent food and beverages options is certainly exciting to me. However, time will tell if the Fry street patrons are willing to embrace change.