Tillman’s Transformed

By now you’ve probably heard that old Oak Cliff standby Tillman’s Corner has undergone a Cinderella-like transformation to become one of the city’s hippest new eateries: Tillman’s Roadhouse.

With media mentions spanning newspapers, web and TV, Sara Tillman’s new concept delivers. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s time.

Your first tip that things have changed at the nearly 15 year-old Oak Cliff favorite Tillman’s hits you as soon as you arrive. In the process of remodeling, they literally ripped off the front of the building and built a blended indoor/outdoor area connected to the sidewalk. But the physical changes get even more drastic once you step inside the front door.

Intricate chandeliers, carved wooden deer heads and a soaring log cabin-esque wall are all part of the décor that has completely transformed the Tillman’s environment. What was once a somewhat cold and cavernous space is now warm and inviting.

The food is the next drastic change. Owner Sara Tillman calls it “modern Texan,” and the experience includes a venison Frito pie as well as a branded beef tenderloin served with smoked bacon creamed spinach. The kitchen has truly been transformed by Dan Landsberg, former executive chef from Stephen Pyles. Landsberg’s attention to detail includes the addition of ground pork and fois gras to the Tillman’s burger as well as a tasty homemade ketchup.

Be sure to skip lunch before heading to the Roadhouse for dinner, because you’ll want to save room for dessert.

“Grandma’s 13” is a bakers dozen of homemade cookies in a variety of flavors served with a shot of vanilla ice milk. And the throw-back dessert of the year has to be the “S’Mores Table Side” including homemade orange, maple and coffee-flavored marshmallows, cinnamon graham crackers and piece of dark chocolate to finish it off. Believe us, this is no kid’s stuff.

Tillman’s Roadhouse is now a partnership between the matriarch and “roadhouse mama” Sara Tillman, party planner Todd Fiscus, and Chef Landsberg. The trio has not only changed one restaurant, but also gone a long way to altering the perception of Oak Cliff dining for the rest of the city of Dallas.

Now that Sara Tillman has owned and operated a restaurant in Oak Cliff since founding it with her late husband, Ricky, she’s become one of the familiar faces in the Bishop Arts District. “I was born at Methodist and have lived here my entire life,” Sara says, “I love the people of Oak Cliff. It’s where I’m supposed to be.”

But prepare yourself, your first trip back to Tillman’s to experience the Roadhouse will be anything but familiar. Like us, though, we’re sure you will also feel right at home.


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