Menu offerings channel owners' heritage
Upon first glance, Brix Bar & Grill in downtown Plano looks like an upscale family-friendly sports bar. When patrons open a menu, however, they discover the distinctive twist its owners have given the restaurant.
Sam Haj took over Brix Bar & Grill with his father, Ahmad Haj, in May, from owners who had operated it for the past two years.
"We changed the menu up a little bit, did some minor changes, but mostly tried to keep the same concept of a sports bar—kind of a gastropub—but with food that's not really all normal sports bar food," Sam said.
While Brix offers traditional bar food for those with a taste for wings and burgers, many of the more diverse food options are influenced by the Israeli heritage of its new owners, such as hummus, falafel and green chili chicken lasagna.
When Sam was growing up, his father operated a restaurant in Israel. After pursuing a college degree in the finance field and exploring other endeavors, Sam said he eventually came back to his roots—the restaurant business.
While he and his father have operated other bars and fast-food operations, Sam said Brix is their first foray into a full-service restaurant.
"[Ahmad] has been in the restaurant business since I was a kid," Sam said. "He has other restaurants and that is his passion and my passion as well. We always wanted to enjoy serving our food and watch people's faces when they eat something different, something new."
With its tall booths and tables, a wraparound bar, a number of TVs showing local sports and an emphasis on friendly service, Sam said the restaurant draws its share of regular dinner customers, but also has a growing lunch and catering business.
"I like the feel—it's comfortable," he said. "People come, they know each other. Even the other downtown businesses are friendly, we get along. It feels like a small-town family, everybody knows each other. It's nice."
The hummus and tabouli platter appetizer ($7) is one of the first clues Brix has a diverse menu.
"[Hummus] is something close to us—it is pretty standard in any meal where we grew up in Israel," Sam said.
A variety of tacos and sliders are on the menu, along with lobster and crawfish bisque ($6, cup; $8.50, bowl), another food option not usually found in a bar and grille. Among the sandwich choices are the traditional club sandwich, a steak sandwich, Portobello and cheese sandwich and a garlic chorizo meatloaf sandwich.
Burgers—all 10 ounces of them—are served with potato fries. In addition to the staple cheeseburger, Brix also offers a bleu cheese bacon burger, a guacamole burger and the White Trash Cheeseburger, which is tossed in spicy buffalo wing sauce, with bacon, fried egg and jalapenos and served with a free Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ($14).
Sam recommends the two versions of lasagna on the menu: his signature green chili lasagna and traditional handmade lasagna. Both are made with spices and seasonings he brings back from Israel.
"We try to keep everybody happy, try to keep it diverse, yet at the same time not too big where the food will confuse people when they try to order," Sam said.
Brix offers a variety of beers on tap and bottled, an extensive wine list and $8 cocktails ranging from a Moscow mule (Texas vodka, fresh lime juice and ginger beer, garnished with a lime wedge) to Chambery lemonade (raspberry vodka, black raspberry liqueur, lemon juice and fresh raspberries).
1410 K Ave., Ste. 1109A, 972-509-2749, www.brixbarandgrill.com, Hours: Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–midnight, Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 a.m.