Barley & Board (Natalie Filter Applied):
-Trendy, “upper scale” dining in Denton, TX
-Wide selection of craft beers feat. on site brewing
-Cheese boards and gastropub fare
-Great place to start your evening’s festivities
-Comfortable solo seating at the bar
-Happy hour specials and live music
Wow! Those are a lot of highlights.
Photo by Erin Summerlin
Barley & Board
100 W Oak St. Denton, TX
Barley & Board in Denton Square is a breath of fresh air. (Really.) Look at all these open windows! The natural lighting here is beautiful. (Every Instagram blogger’s dream.)
This is not just a place I recommend to local Dentonites. (Although, for locals, being able to reference that the same people behind LSA Burger and Paschall’s are responsible for Barley & Board serves as reputable reference points.)
But yes, Barley & Board (co-owned by actor, Jason Lee) is one of my favorite “foodie-talk,” ice breakers for anyone in the Metroplex.
Attention All Aesthetic Lovers
On my first visit to Barley & Board, I actually didn’t eat! I was there for a photo shoot.
I had a refreshing Moscow Mule and was otherwise there just to have pictures taken. Photographer, Erin Summerlin, had invited me there because that is just how aesthetically pleasing this place is.
My first meal at Barley & Board came on a warm September day in 2015. I was grabbing a quick lunch, which consisted of a local amber ale to start, a stuffed sweet potato, and to seal the deal, fresh French Press (also local).
It was amazing! As someone who lived in Denton for a while (I was a student at the University of North Texas) I was excited for the new addition to our town! The vibes are fresh and the atmosphere is trendy in a way that promotes an appreciation for food and drink. I came back the very next day for a couple crafts and chose to munch on their Sweet Potato Hummus (served with warm pita bread and crackers).
Sweet Potato Hummus, Small Plates ($10)
Okay, so Barley & Board oozes cool. But, one of the cool(est) things about this establishment is that it features its own in-house brewery system. Experiencing a short pause in production due to fancy paperwork in Austin–this aspect of the restaurant will resume again shortly.
**And just in case that’s not cool and local enough–Barley & Board also wants to feature crafts made in the homes of local residents (Denton has a major craft culture) and make them available to the public.
Alright, now that we are well acquainted, let’s get to it.
Full Course Experience
Barley & Board is a great place to start an evening in Denton. You’ll want to experience the entire menu–but, what I’m saying is, this is also a hot spot for pre-game drinks and munchies.
Go in with friends and family, choose from their wide selection of crafts, get a bottle of wine, and order a board! All of this while enjoying the fresh air and open views of Denton Square.
During my last experience, I was taking my Dad out for a night on the town.
We were going full monty and knew we would be there for a while. So, we opted first for the Mother Board, which contains a selection of the staff’s favorite meats, cheeses, and fruit.
I especially enjoyed a creamy cheese sourced from Umbria—and let me tell you, I wouldn’t know squat about what I was eating if it weren’t for our well informed waiter. The staff here is excellent! Every time I go in, I feel like I’m being welcomed into a home.
The staff seems like family. They’re hospitable and they know the menu as if they’ve grown up with it. Our waiter was able to tell us where each cheese was from and what to expect from its flavor profile. As someone who is far from educated in this area, it was a really fun information and made me appreciate what I was eating all the more.
Mother Board, Boards ($28)
I highly suggest the sweet potato hummus I mentioned earlier, but because I had already had that, I wanted to try something new this go around. We ordered the al Pastor, based off server recommendation, and wow. This is a plate I could see myself coming back for during lunch to have as just my meal. The pork was tantalizingly seasoned (my mouth is watering just typing about it, ha!) and paired fantastically in combination with the flatbread // jalapeño salsa it was served with. The biggest compliment I want to give Barley & Board is that their plates are curated to perfection. They have such a great understanding of what flavors will compliment the other in order to create a plate that is unlike what you will find somewhere else.
Al Pastor, Small Plates ($10)
Attention to detail seems to be a key ingredient in the culture at Barley. To tease your foodie fancy, I’ll list a few more of their small plate options: Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates ($14), Wicked Gulf Oysters ($12), Roasted Bone Marrow ($12), Truffled Portobello Fries ($10). The next time I go in, I want to get the Brezel & Bier Flight, which is a flight of german rye pretzel, beers, and sauces for $8.
Tread with caution, narrowing down of entree order may cause anxiety.
This is not to say there are too many options–it’s just that they all sound so good! The main conflict is deciding whether or not you want to try one of their creative, one of a kind meals… or get a burger.
Yeah, their burgers are killer. So much so that D Magazine gave Barley their Best Burger Award in 2016. That’s a great honor for a place that had only been on its feet for a year! I didn’t get a burger on this night–but I brought one home for a very thankful teenage brother 🙂
Instead, I decided to be bougie and go with the salmon.(Another mouth-watering memory.) The fish was cooked to perfection. What could be described as a medium rare, it was not overdone. It was juicy and tender and complimented by a light, fresh sauce, and sautéed spinach.
Note* The current menu features the salmon in a different style: Scottish Salmon ($22)
What you see in the top right of the picture above, is my Dad’s BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($29). If you like coleslaw, you will love theirs! We were both raving about how tasty and unique it was. To our surprise, the ribs weren’t as juicy or fall-off-the-bone as we would have liked. However, with the unbeatable quality of every other menu item I/we have come in contact with–we were both willing to bet they deserved a second shot down the road.
The fries served at Barley are thin cut. I’m usually into thick cut fries but I could bag these up and snack on them throughout the day if I could. Top. Notch. Seasoning.
You might be wondering how we made it here. Like I said, we knew we’d be there for a while! We were taking our time and enjoying a slow paced exploration of each course. The dessert menu at Barley changes to fit the atmosphere–if you go when the strawberries and shortbread dish is still available… get it.
My Dad and I were both blown away. I usually get desserts that contain chocolate… this is better. I promise.
With the sun starting to set and a rich round of French Press, our meal was coming to an end.
We ended up sticking around for a while and letting our food settle while getting lost in conversation with some of the other guests. (We just so happened to be sitting next to a large party of extremely friendly people.) We walked upstairs to check out an area of the restaurant that can be reserved for events or utilized when the downstairs is a little too popping.
Hey, did I mention they have brunch? 😉
A special thanks to Narciso Tovar + staff for the hospitality