By: Amber Bell
When Bentley’s first opened its doors next to Ellerbe almost a year ago, the original concept was to create a Coney Island-inspired hot dog joint. However, co-owner Cody Crawford explains that prior to opening the family restaurant, his sister suggested expanding the menu to include crêpes, and an unlikely but delightful combination was born.
Bentley’s serves an inventive selection of breakfast and lunch items, including craft hot dogs, specialty crêpes and coffees. The space is small. There is limited seating inside at two long wooden counters, but outside, there is also a larger (uncovered) patio with some additional seating to handle lunchtime crowds. The design is sleek and functional, with wood and stainless steel accents, polished concrete floors and modern pendant lighting.
But what makes the experience great is the small but friendly staff. It truly is a labor of love for co-owner Crawford and Colton Dempsey, who manages and works the grill, and they are happy to answer questions and go the extra mile for their customers. Come in on almost any day, and you are likely to see one or both of their smiling faces behind the counter.
Ultimately, however, it all comes down to the food, which doesn’t disappoint. I suggest sharing some Bent Fries ($4-5). The truffle-infused seasoning on the regular fries is delicious, or you can upgrade your fries by making them Buffalo style or have them tossed with a garlic-Parmesan coating. We loved the fries tossed in savory garlic Parm sauce and sprinkled with additional cheese. The hand-cut fries magically soak in the flavor of the sauce without getting soggy.
The breakfast crepes looked delicious, but we decided to hit Bentley’s up in the evening to try the craft hot dogs. Its signature dog, The Bentley ($7), is a spicy delight. The all-beef dog is served on a pretzel bun and topped with a mix of grilled onions and jalapeños, as well as a jalapeño cream cheese sauce. But for a real treat, try the Bent Mi dog ($8). This take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich is piled high with Asian-style pulled pork, house-pickled slaw and a spicy combo of Sriracha cheese and Sriracha mayo. The dog is messy enough to require a fork and knife, but well worth the effort. You can also add a side of fries and a drink to any dog for $4.
To finish the meal, we decided to try the Sweet Tooth crêpe ($7). The crêpe is filled with pastry cream, then flash fried, and topped with cinnamon sugar, a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce and scoop of whipped cream. You can also add fruit for an extra $1 if you are so inclined, but we enjoyed it without. Or forego dessert entirely, and grab a cup of 12-hour cold brew Vayder coffee ($4.50). The sweet iced coffee is infused with caramel and dark chocolate.
Overall, Bentley’s eclectic concept fits in well with the vibe of its Magnolia location, making it a great addition to the already solid Southside food scene. Its passion for food is apparent, and we can’t wait to go back for a leisurely coffee and crêpe breakfast.
Location: 1515 West Magnolia Ave.
For Info: 682.715.4530
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Closed Sunday
What We Liked: The menu offers a lot of opportunities for customization to “make your own” dog or crêpe, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
What We Didn’t: Be sure not to show up between 4 and 5 p.m. on nights the shop is open until 8 p.m., since they close for an hour to restock between lunch and dinner.
Our Recommendations: The pretzel bun is worth the 50 cents upgrade charge, so definitely give it a try on whichever dog you order.
By: Amber Bell