New barbecue for south Arlington, burgers for Mansfield

In a barbecue business that is increasingly elite and trendy, Smoke‘N Ash BBQ is anything but.

A young daughter took orders for pitmaster Patrick Hicks as a another young girl doodled at a dining table in the south Arlington restaurant.

The sparsely decorated strip shopping-center space included a life-size Dak Prescott cardboard cut-out and an unexplained basketball left on the floor.

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The hallway at Smoke‘N Ash BBQ included a Dak Prescott cut-out and a basketball. Bud Kennedy bud-telegram

In other words, Smoke‘N Ash had great hole-in-the-wall potential, and lived up to every bit.

In its fourth month, Hicks‘ small restaurant on Matlock Road has won gushing reviews on social media for his hickory-smoked brisket and ribs, formerly served from a food-truck parked nearby.

This is the ‘tweener part of Arlington. It‘s a couple of miles from Mansfield, but a couple of miles from south Arlington restaurants.

The nearest popular restaurant is the new second location of on Matlock. (More on burgers in another column.)

So Smoke‘N Ash BBQ has a good market, and serves it well with huge barbecue platters piled high.

A combination platter featured above-average brisket with a good bark, soft enough to make a great sandwich.

Ribs were thick but not as tender as the brisket. The hot-link sausage was a standout, also probably good as a sandwich.

The green beans came with ham and jalapenos on top, adding to the flavor. The okra was not strikingly good but seemed handmade.

Other side dishes include the typical beans, potato salad and slaw. (The macaroni-and-cheese was sold out, so it must be good.)

Pineapple (right-side-up) cake at Smoke‘N Ash BBQ in Arlington. Bud Kennedy bud-telegram

One of Smoke‘N Ash‘s big sellers is a stuffed baked potato. Desserts included a homemade chocolate cake or pineapple cake topped with pineapple, sort of a right-side-up cake.

Smoke‘N Ash BBQ is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, for lunch Sunday at (at Harris Road); or , .

New Mansfield burgers, and a Sunday breakfast

Mansfield‘s burger battle has cranked up a notch:

▪ A new has opened downtown, joining a market that already includes a new Jakes Burgers, plus Fuego Burger and old hometown favorites at Joe‘s Coffee Shop and Our Place.

The newest Twisted Root continues chef Jason Boso‘s tradition of gourmet burgers ($7-$12), including a daily game burger (it was wild boar one day this week), salads and frozen-custard shakes ($5).

The bar and counter at Twisted Root Burger Co. in downtown Mansfield. Bud Kennedy bud-telegram

There‘s the fabled Twisted Root serve -yourself pickle bar, always an attraction, plus fried pickles.

The bar serves liquored-up shakes ($8) with banana and Bailey‘s, Oreo and amaretto or chocolate chips and creme de menthe.

The new Root, the 19th, is open daily for lunch and dinner at , in downtown Mansfield next to Boso‘s forthcoming Tacos & Avocados and neighbor Mellow Mushroom; , .

▪ On a hilltop along the new Texas 360 tollway, Jakes Burgers is doing a busy crowd for both daily burgers and Sunday brunch.

Like the Fort Worth and Grapevine locations, the Mansfield Jakes serves an excellent breakfast. But so far Mansfield only serves it on Sundays.

The new Jakes Burgers in Mansfield drew big crowds for its opening. Bud Kennedy bud-telegram

This Jakes also now serves chicken-fried chicken or steak. It‘s open daily for lunch and dinner, Sunday for breakfast through dinner at .; , .

After the burgers, it‘s ice cream time

Not new, but worth a stop in Mansfield: Helado‘s Handcrafted Ice Cream and Pops.

It‘s an ice cream shop and ice-cream pops stand in one, with about eight flavors of premium ice cream (including “Cookie Monster”) plus about 15 flavors of froze ice pops or ice-cream pops.

Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream has both homemade ice cream and ice or cream pops. Bud Kennedy bud-telegram

This is a full-service ice cream stand. They can serve you chile pops or cream pops, ice-cream sandwiches, snow cones (in flavors such as “Strawberry Dreams” or “Tamarindo Loco”) and cookies or churros.

Helado‘s is open from 11 a.m. to mid-evening daily. It‘s in a former Sonic at , .

Bud Kennedy,;