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6 Favorite Restaurants in Tyler, TX

Local favorites, ethnic specialties give Tyler dining diversity

By Phil Newman on May 8, 2015

5 Best Restaurants in Tyler Texas
Tyler / Courtesy of Cork Food & Drink

Tyler’s dining landscape is dotted with a diverse mix of culinary options, from plains-inspired Texas favorites to ethnically influenced dishes crafted from centuries-old family recipes. Among the many hot spots, here are six eclectic eateries that regulars and visitors alike find especially savory.

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Portofino’s Italian Restaurant

Priding itself on freshness, local ingredients and stellar service, Portofino’s Italian Restaurant welcomes lunch and dinner guests with a lineup long on Italian specialties. Hand-spun pasta and hand-tossed pizzas headline a menu that ranges from salads and seafood — Porto’s Salmon Bella Donna rocks a tangy Parmesan vodka sauce — to chicken and veal. For toppers, a dish of Crème Brulee? Si, bello.

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q

Of course, it wouldn’t be Texas without a good local barbecue joint, and Tyler’s is Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-QTexas Monthly magazine has proclaimed Stanley’s to be one of the 50 best barbecue restaurants in the state.

Stanley’s has been family owned and operated since the 1950s. In addition to the standard pulled pork sandwich, the restaurant offers some interesting combinations such as the Brother-In-Law (grilled hot link, chopped beef and cheese) and the Big Swimmer (tilapia on a jalapeño-cheese sourdough bun, topped with guacamole).

Roast Social Kitchen

Speaking of Stanley’s, in early 2016 owners Nick and Jen Pencis opened their latest culinary enterprise – Roast Social Kitchen – a fresh farm-to-table eatery of nourishing food that the couple says is both for the body and soul. The menu is designed to feature seasonal variety, and Roast Social Kitchen has quickly become known for its selections of 12-inch pizzas with names like Breakfast for Dinner, Big Bad Wolf and Steak Your Rump-Ah. All of the restaurant’s pizzas are available on gluten-free crust.

Besides pizza and a selection of other entrees, soups, salads and appetizers, customers can also enjoy unique cocktails and local beer, as well as local brews from Porch Culture Coffee Roasters. Save room for one of a handful of inventive desserts, such as lavender cheesecake and carrot cake whoopie pies.

The Potpourri House

Part boutique, part gift emporium, part eatery, The Potpourri House is all business when it comes to culinary flair. Menu favorites include the famous pimento cheese and chips, 28-foot-long potato and soup bar, Nantucket Chicken Salad, Black Angus Burger, and Tilapia Pontchartrain stuffed with crab and shrimp. Eight dessert options (Tip: consider Chef Randy’s Homemade Buttermilk Pie) make for a sweet finishing touch.

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Cork Food & Drink

Serving up modern Euro-Asian fare, Cork Food & Drink is known for its savory Shrimp Mezcal and grilled lamb T-bones, but regulars also nosh on dishes that span surf (salmon and sushi) to turf (strip and ribeye). As its name suggests, Cork draws raves for its expansive wine list and crafted cocktails, featuring unique and fresh ingredients, along with live music and dancing into the wee hours.

Athena Greek Restaurant

A menu of traditional Greek specialties done just right makes Athena Greek Restaurant a favorite stop. Highlights include Grecian pitas stuffed with souvlaki pork, lamb, chicken or veggies; lamp shish kabob; and grilled beef and chicken topped with grilled onions. To please a varied palate, consider the trio of pastitso, mousaka and spanakopita. Athena also serves savory Americana fare like fresh burgers and fried okra, but really, ya gotta go Greek here.

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