Owners Diane & Justin Fourton address the crowd at Pecan Lodge's preview party. (Photo by Jim Rossman)

All right. The new Pecan Lodge will open Friday, May 23, ending nearly a couple weeks of Dallas barbecue drought since the original joint last served at the Farmers Market on May 11.

That's the grand opening target for the new place on Main Street in Deep Ellum, according to owner/pitmaster Justin Fourton, who with his wife, Diane, hosted a preview party Thursday attended by about 200 guests.

The new space is wonderful. And the food won't miss a beat, according to many who attended.

"I love it," said Cathy Barber, food editor of The Dallas Morning News, as she sampled brisket, sausage and a bit of beef rib.

"We gotta come out here and drink on Friday nights," said Texas BBQ Posse veteran Jim Rossman, referring to the nice patio area outside the main dining area and bar.

Brian Luscher, owner of The Grape restaurant, and Jay Jerrier, owner of Cane Rosso, agreed that the patio was stellar. Every new restaurant has its own personality, they said. And, the new Pecan Lodge will probably change over time, but they liked their initial introduction.

Robert Wilonsky, The News' super blogger, loved the Lodge's fried chicken, which he had never eaten before, and predicted that the joint would be standing room only when it officially opened.

Justin Fourton gave the Posse a short tour of the place before the crush of guests arrived Thursday. At the Farmers Market, all the meat was cut out of view of customers. In the new place, some of the meat will be cut in plain view of everyone.

"It won't be like Franklin," Fourton said of the legendary Austin joint, Franklin Barbecue. But customers will get to see at least some of the cutting.

One pit was working Thursday. Fourton eventually hopes to have three in operation.

At the Farmers Market, he said, his capacity was about 40 briskets a day. When the new place opens, he said, he will be able to do 90 a day and that could increase eventually to about 130 a day.

In remarks to the crowd, he recalled the early days of Pecan Lodge when the place sold half of a brisket on Fridays and two briskets on Saturdays.

"This is the tip of iceberg of the revitalization of Deep Ellum," Fourton said.

The preview party also included the debut of a brand new beer, Boss Lady Rustic Red, named for Diane Fourton.

It was good.

"It's super exciting because, you know, we have beer and wine now," the boss lady told those attending.

The Posse couldn't agree more.

Pecan Lodge, 2702 Main St. Dallas, 214-748-8900. Open: Tues-Thur 11am-3pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-3pm. Website: www.pecanlodge.com









All photos by Jim Rossman

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