In spite of a high-profile masthead (namely, Chris Cusack and Joey Treadway of Down House fame) and a long history on the eastern edge of the Heights, D&T Drive Inn has kicked off its first few weeks of revamped service in a decidedly low-key way — and that seems to be exactly the point.
I went to meet a few friends on a recent Thursday and completely passed up the tiny enclave of Enid Street. Once I made a U-turn, though, I knew I was in the right place: A faded sign and a half-dozen motorcycles parked out front, a warm and inviting interior, a well-stocked jukebox playing subdued, nostalgic tunes.
A recent overhaul of D&T, a neighborhood fixture since at least 1965, was enough to add appeal for hip young Houstonians but not too much to scare away its former clientele — a crucial balance for any ice house worthy of the distinction.
Aluminum light fixtures, painted by Houston artist Bill Davenport to resemble the labels of Texas beer cans, hang above the bar, which is made from the wood of an old tree that had compromised the building's foundation. A handful of picnic tables line the backyard. A couple of TVs play sports games on a nook inside.
The kitchen currently serves fried chicken on Sundays and hosts steak nights on Tuesdays, with plans to add to the menu in the coming weeks. Until then, food trucks like Taco Nuts and H-town strEATs will be parked outside on the weekends.
In addition to ice house mainstays like Pearl and Lone Star, draft offerings on the 50 (mostly craft) taps range from Bud Light ($3 for a pint) to McChouffe ($8 for a tulip glass). Growler fills, limited wine options and drink set-ups are also available, but I must recommend the shandy, made with frozen lemonade and Pabst Blue Ribbon — it's perfect on a hot summer afternoon.