Matt Tobin loves to talk about the restaurant industry, and for good reason – he and Goodfriend co-owner Josh Yingling are right in the thick of it. Relaxed and conversational over a cup of Cultivar Coffee on a sunny but not-too-warm-because-autumn Dallas midday, the two were happy to share the latest details about the menu updates at what might perhaps be dubbed Lakewood’s coziest neighborhood beer garden.
“We have a lot of regulars,” says Tobin, “Like, real regular regulars. We’re seeing some of these guys four nights a week. We were making some custom burgers for some of the regulars (because when somebody’s eating in your restaurant and they wan’t something extra on their burger you don’t say “no”), and after three years with the same menu we decided it was time for a change. Diners will see some new burgers on the menu, in addition to some new shared plates. “We never had a cheeseboard before, and it seemed like a natural way to go because cheese boards have been popular. We found and sanded down – actually I should say Josh sanded them down some old soda boxes and we repurposed them into our cheese boards.” The cheese on the board comes from Scardello and changes weekly based on what’s available.
To redo the location’s popular menu, Tobin and Yingling grabbed 18 friends each day and did tastings. “One thing everybody loved was the JCBC, which is a chicken ball with cheddar cheese and jalapeno wrapped in bacon and deep fried – kind of like a high end jalapeno popper.” says Tobin. He also has an interesting story to share about The Annihilator, which is a burger that comes with a sauce made from habanero chile, ghost chile, and scorpion chile. “We had a chile burger on the menu, but when you’re using fresh chiles they can range from mild to hot. We decided to make a sauce out of dried chiles so we could get that consistently hot burger – and for this burger you have to sign a waiver. It’s so hot that Eric wears a respirator when he makes the sauce. We had this guy come in who was from Central Mexico, his whole life he’d eaten chiles, hot, mild, right off the vine. He said it was the hottest thing he’d ever eaten. That’s exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want to serve a chile burger that someone could walk away from saying ‘it wasn’t that hot’. We haven’t had anybody say that yet.”
Other new items include the Arnold & Elsie, with Crispin Cider-braised pork belly (Tobin: “Why use bacon when you can use pork belly?”) and Texas Chili (no beans). There’s the Foka, named after a Greek bartender, with lamb, a tzatziki with lots of fresh mint, grilled onions and peppers, and the Hot Brown, which is made with ground turkey, cotija gravy, shredded cheese, tomatoes, peppers, and bacon. The Chinstrap is another popular favorite. As though the 25% fat beef burger patty weren’t decadent enough, it’s topped with a bleu cheese and bacon mousse made with heavy cream, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, and (because why not?) more bacon.
The new menu has been out since October 13. Goodfriend is open 7 days a week. The food menu is available for lunch from 11 AM Friday through Monday and from 4PM Tuesday through Thursday.