Manny G’s just opened in mid-September and is already a welcome addition to fast-growing Keller, which has too many chain restaurants and not enough regular joints, places where the owners actually take pride in what they serve.
With Manny G’s, “home-style” comes to mind, mainly because the eatery is located in a renovated house. But rather than the drab image often suggested by the word, “home-style” in this case, means “clean and stylish” — and decidedly “not fancy.” The waiters don’t announce they’ll be your server this afternoon, and the owners, Manny Gurule (a retired Delta Airlines pilot) and wife Pam, make time to talk to their customers, even though the husband-wife team helps out in the kitchen behind the bar. The Gurules’ approach comes naturally. “We’re people-people,” Manny said. “We like to know who’s coming in and why and what they like and don’t like.” The Gurules can talk, and, along with son and head chef Sheyne, they can also deliver.
When the Gurules bought the house last year, they were thinking of opening just a hot-dog stand. But the plan soon expanded into a real, although small, restaurant, mainly to take advantage of Pam’s and Sheyne’s culinary skills. Though the menu isn’t large — they’ve got breakfast and lunch down but haven’t gotten around to dinner yet — the food that some guests and I ordered on a recent Sunday afternoon visit was all good. At the top of the list was the armadillo-egg appetizer: an ovular ball of sausage mixed with chopped jalepeños and cheddar cheese and then wrapped in a homemade biscuit and baked. If Manny G’s were open past 10 p.m., this delight would be the kind of after-hours, belly-filling, taste-tingling snack you’d drive out of your way for. There’s no egg in the armadillo egg as of yet, but Manny says he’s thinking of mixing one in there — somehow.
Just as tasty and as filling was the roast-beef sandwich, with havarti cheese and Cajun mayo on grilled marble rye brushed with olive oil. The price — $8.50 — seemed kind of steep, but the portion of Boar’s Head meat was large enough to justify the price. The sammy came with homemade fries — they were a little thicker than at most places, well seasoned, and crisp without being burned. Two other standouts were the Ultimate Panini — a delish, salty concoction of prosciutto, salami, ham, turkey, pepperoni, red onion, tomato, and havarti and cheddar cheeses, also on grilled marble rye — and a really good country-fried steak. With tender beef and a crispy, flavorful breading and cream gravy, Manny G’s country-FS is probably one of the better ones you’ll find around here. A minor quibble: The cream gravy was good, but why no peppery sausage gravy? We’re in Texas, aren’t we? The dish came with buttery mashed potatoes and collard greens that had just the right vinegary bite. For dessert, there was a cobbler soaked in peach liqueur, easily rich enough to qualify as sinful.
Manny G’s has a tiny front room that accommodates two ample and comfortable banquettes, a side room that seats about 20 max, and a full bar with four four-tops and nine barstools. The wine selection is discriminating. Nearly all of the labels are from Napa Valley, and most of them are reasonably priced, though the Gurules do carry an Atlas Peak cabernet sauvignon that will run you about $100. There’s also a large outdoor patio where you can smoke to your, um, heart’s content, another plus.
444 Keller Pkwy, Keller. 817-431-9393.
6:30am-10pm Tue-Fri, 8am-10pm Sat-Sun.
All major credit cards accepted.
Armadillo eggs $1.50
w/havarti cheese $8.50
Country-fried steak $10.95
Ultimate Panini $10.50