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Cult-Favorite College Station Fried Chicken Chain Layne’s Plots a Major DFW Expansion

Plus, popular cocktail bar Hide departs Deep Ellum and more DFW dining intel

a person dipping a chicken finger into a cup of sauce
Layne’s Chicken Fingers is opening this weekend in the Fort Worth area
Layne’ Chicken Fingers/Facebook

Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.

Cult fave chicken finger restaurant Layne’s opens this week near Fort Worth

Layne’s, a College Station chicken strip restaurant that’s developed a cult-following among Texas A&M University graduates, is opening the first of several new North Texas locations this weekend in Roanoke. The restaurant, known for crispy fried chicken fingers, Texas toast sandwiches, and a sought-after special sauce, will open on April 23 at 1500 North Highway 377. It’ll be the seventh location total and the fourth in the DFW area.

The opening is part of a major expansion for the chain, which was first founded in College Station in 1994. The “soon to be famous” restaurant has up to 30 locations planned for North Texas in the next four years, and 100 new locations overall.

Trendy Chicago Italian restaurant still on track for Grapevine opening

Quartino Ristorante, a Chicago stalwart and one of the top-grossing independent restaurants in the country, is still on track for an entrance to North Texas, albeit a little later than originally planned. Parent company Gibson Restaurant Group’s expansion was first announced in 2018, with the goal of opening a branch of the Italian restaurant in Grapevine in 2020. That location is still on track, and now expected to open sometime next year, according to Eater Chicago. A rep for Gibson confirmed that the group, which also owns steakhouse Gibsons and Hugo’s Frog Bar, is scouting locations in other states as well.

When it does arrive, Quartino will serve dishes like Neapolitan pizza, handmade pastas and risottos, artisanal salumi and house-made cheeses, alongside an extensive wine list and Italian cocktails.

Deep Ellum cocktail bar Hide moves to larger location in Lowest Greenville

Hide, the Deep Ellum cocktail bar that’s been closed since the second statewide coronavirus shutdown in June 2020, is finally reopening, but in a brand new location. The bar is vacating its Deep Ellum digs for a larger space — and a rooftop patio — at 1928 Greenville Avenue, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Owner Nick Backlund tells the DMN that the new space will offer twice the room, and a more laid-back, loungey vibe than the previous location in party-heavy Deep Ellum. Hide 2.0, as it’s been coined, is expected to open in July.

Hospitality industry veteran will bring hand-pulled noodles, Chinese cuisine to The Hill

A new restaurant called Wok Star, serving hand-pulled noodles and other Chinese dishes, opens this week at 8041 Walnut Hill Lane in The Hill. The restaurant is the work of hospitality veteran David Romano, nephew of Phil Romano of Fuddruckers and Macaroni Grill fame. Wok Star will serve dishes like xio long bao, scallion pancakes, and cold dan dan la mian noodles made with cucumber, carrot, and Taiwanese cabbage. David Romano tells CultureMap he hired a group of Chinese chefs to bring their expertise to the kitchen, and that the restaurant will be opening in phases, starting with takeout and delivery on April 24.