The experience

I was very excited to meeting some friends for dinner tonight out in Coppell.  We’ve been planning a get together for quite some time and finally got our schedules to mesh just right.  Our friends who live in Coppell suggested Hard 8 for it’s fun vibe and kid friendliness.  Of course, I didn’t realize it was in Coppell when I told Ogre where we were going, I told him it was in Irving.  Doh.  When we got in the car and I looked up the address, I told him about the change and he told me we should have left 15 minutes ago if we wanted to be there on time.  Doh.

We arrived a few minutes late and found our friends already in line.  Angela made the suggestion for her husband and I to find a table while they ordered the food.  I left Mina with Papa and took Benji with Michael and Karsten.  We found a nice big table and then took the boys in to see all the dead stuffed animals on the wall (Ogre calls them “trophies,” I call them dead stuffed animals).  Benji enjoyed pointing at them and growling at the big grizzly bear hanging off the banister.  Creepy, really. 

We headed back to our table and I pulled out some toys from Benji’s backpack.  Mina was kind enough to pack it with trains and cars, Benji’s current faves.  Looks like they were Karsten’s favorites, as well, as the two of them got right down to business playing so Michael could help Angela with their food.

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When Ang got back, she too, had a bag full of trucks and cars.  The kids would not be lacking in entertainment…or so we hoped!  They had nice big batch of fries and I gave Benji a couple to add to the cereal I gave him.  When I turned around to see if he was eating, I instead saw some subtle signs of OCD or just weirdness…

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Speaking of interesting behavior, Karsten was totally into these beans that they serve.  It’s baked beans with jalapenos.  Looks like we’ve got another chili head in the making!

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Everyone came trickling to the table with their respective trays in hand and Mina following her new best friend, “Blueberry Muffin.”  I’ll explain later.   Mina, of course, wanted to sit next to him. 

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Ogre asked Mina what she wanted and being her picky little self, she said she wanted TWO ribs (not three) and some bread to make a sandwich.  She told me she did not want corn when I asked her.  To avoid a fiasco, I decided not to push the vegetable issue.

I did check on her to make sure the sandwich making was up to par and it did pass muster.

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We all settled to eat and catch up.  It would have been nice if they’d pulled up those plastic things and let be more airy, but it was still nice on the porch.  Benji and Karsten played the best they could both being twoish and not really wanting to share (Karsten is an only child and Benji is the little brother who gets whatever he wants).  Overall though, I think there were so many cars and trucks that they couldn’t really complain!

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Karsten got up and started wandering, but he was easy to keep and eye on and was not a bother to anyone around us.  We kept Benji in his seat for most of dinner.  He was quite happy to sit there and make faces at “Blueberry Muffin.” 

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Oh, yeah.  “Blueberry Muffin.”  Mina and her new best friend went back and forth calling each other names for a good 15 minutes.  In a good way, though, I say that because Mina also called him “Chocolate” and when Casey asked if it was “milk” or “dark,” Mina replied, “milk.”  If she were trying to be mean, she would have said “dark” since she doesn’t like dark chocolate, she likes milk.  Yes, into the mind of a 5 year old!

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After Benji ate his banana pudding dessert, we let him down and at that point, one parent was up to monitor the kids’ erratic movements. 

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We tried in vain to capture all three hugging one another, but they were too fast.  Actually they all fell down. 

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Ogre and I desperately tried to eat the blackberry cobbler with ice cream.  Now, THAT was quite strange.  The ice cream came in a little bag and it was hard as a rock.  In fact, I gave up, telling Ogre that it wasn’t worth the trouble. 

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After a few more rounds of conversation, we rounded up the kids and headed our separate ways.

 

The food

Mesquite smoked BBQ: pork ribs, beef brisket, sausage (they were out of, but usually have chicken and turkey).

We ordered a smattering of the three available.  Here’s where the great debate starts since BBQ is always so personal!  Mina seemed to like the ribs.  Ogre cut it off the bones and she made a sandwich with it.  She liked the BBQ sauce.  So did I, it’s sweet and vinegary.  I like that combination.  I’m sure Ogre would have liked more spice involved.  I thought the ribs were on the dry side today and definitely did not fall off the bone.  Lucky for me, there was a better alternative.  The brisket.  Keep in mind, Ogre and I do not enjoy this new trend of serving lean brisket.  I like the fat to be rendered with the meat and chopped off during the carving process.  They serve fatty brisket here and I LIKE IT!  I think it’s the best brisket I’ve had since The Salt Lick in Austin.  Ogre agrees with me.  I liked the brisket so much I didn’t even try the sausage.  Ogre said it was a mild sausage (Benji ate this and liked it), but otherwise, pretty average. 

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For sides, we ordered corn, potato salad and cole slaw.  The corn was great, on the cob and super buttered.  The cole slaw was better than the potato salad and “good” per Ogre.  I didn’t try it.  The potato salad has a STRONG mustard flavor -a little overpowering.  I like mustard based salads, but I could not hang with this one!

The dessert was just strange.  We ordered a blackberry cobbler with ice cream and the ice cream came in these little blue bell bags, you put that in a Styrofoam container and you’re cobbler is in another container.  Ogre was not a big fan.  The better choice was probably the Banana Pudding.  Well, Benji seemed to enjoy it.  He ate over half of his little cup. 

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The service

It’s sort of like counter service.  Per Ogre, it’s like a buffet line and you tell the server what you want and then move on to pick up your sides and get your drinks.  It sounded like it was a lot to handle so it helps if you have someone to watch the kids if they’re little while the other grabs the food.

 

The kids

There are no kids menus or kids activities, but it’s still kid and family friendly.  They even call Sunday and Monday nights “Family Night!  20% off dinner!”  I think it’s a fun spot, with pretty good BBQ and that the kids will have a good time, too.  There were lots of kids up and playing (not just our crazy ones!) and no one seemed to mind at all.

I’d recommend you try to see if it fits your BBQ style.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, at the very least, it’s a laid back, fun atmosphere for family and friends. 

 

The total: 38 bucks

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