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Looking for a restaurant dinner for $15-$20 per person? It’s in the Fort Worth suburbs

They call them “Grandma restaurants.”

They’re the kind of restaurants where you take Grandma. Or where Grandma takes you.

They serve plenty of chicken-fried steak or chicken, plate lunches, rolls with honey and pie or cake.

And right now, they’re a bargain. We need restaurants where we can eat lunch or dinner for $15-$20, and learn from Grandma.

The newest breakfast-lunch-and-dinner cafe is Blue Mound Cafe’s third location, at 6455 Hilltop Drive along Rufe Snow Drive in Tarrant County’s cream-gravy capital, North Richland Hills.

From the decorated “I Love Lucy” nostalgia room at Bluebonnet Cafe in Haltom City north to first-rate Boulevard Cafe, then on to nationally known Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, Blue Mound Cafe and social media favorite Campfire Grill, Haltom City and North Richland Hills are known for home cooking.

A chicken-fried chicken platter with green beans, fries, salad and rolls at Blue Mound Cafe in North Richland Hills.
A chicken-fried chicken platter with green beans, fries, salad and rolls at Blue Mound Cafe in North Richland Hills.

You’ve heard of cities promoting healthy “Blue Zone” restaurants?

North Richland Hills is the Gravy Zone.

Blue Mound Cafe jumps into the frying pan, opening a large restaurant in a shopping center a quarter-mile north of Loop 820. It’s the first original Blue Mound location, following subtle takeovers of Dixie House restaurants in Fort Worth and Saginaw.

It just opened this week. Please don’t crowd in for a few days. Even then, be patient.

But with $12.99 dinner specials and a choice of a dozen cakes and pies, restaurants like Blue Mound Cafe are the answer to budget worries in a month when we need to save for shopping.

The daily specials board at Blue Mound Cae in North Richland Hills.
The daily specials board at Blue Mound Cae in North Richland Hills.

The specials one recent night were typical: chicken-fried steak or chicken, meatloaf, liver-and-onions and fried chicken livers. (The last two change depending on the day.)

This location just opened, but the chicken-fried chicken seemed up to the expected level. It’s more batter than chicken, but the combination of seasoning and pepper and gravy is perfectly balanced.

Green beans are seasoned and flavored with bacon. The rolls were the usual soft, pillowy discs.

Christmas decorations atop the full pie case at Blue Mound Cafe in North Richland Hills.
Christmas decorations atop the full pie case at Blue Mound Cafe in North Richland Hills.

There’s a full menu of platters, burgers and familiar specials such as chopped steak, a rib-eye (for less than $20) and a quarter-pound chili cheese dog. There’s also greener items such as a strawberry-walnut grilled chicken salad or a “Pittsburgh salad” with steak and fries.

From the dessert counter, the chocolate sheath cake was a half-notch below Dixie House’s but close. A pie case was loaded with chocolate and coconut pies, cobblers, banana pudding and sugar-free chocolate mousse pie.

The cakes line both sides of the checkout counter, tempting diners one more time on the way out.

Pies, cobblers and banana pudding in the dessert case at Blue Mound Cafe in North Richland Hills.
Pies, cobblers and banana pudding in the dessert case at Blue Mound Cafe in North Richland Hills.

Blue Mound Cafe is open for breakfast through dinner weekdays and for breakfast through lunch Saturdays and Sundays; 817-393-3368, facebook.com/bluemoundcaferufesnow.

Other Blue Mound Cafe locations are at 3701 E. Belknap St., Fort Worth, and 5401 Blue Mound Road, Saginaw.

The similar Dixie House Cafe now has two locations: 5401 S. Hulen St. and 6200 E. Lancater Ave., Fort Worth.