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The Stand: Serving Up America’s Favorite With All The Fixings

the standWritten and Photographed By Barbara King

It might be the runner up for the most iconic American food favorite, running a close second behind Mom’s apple pie. The hot dog, frank, or red hot actually made its transatlantic journey from origins in Frankfurt, Germany in 1871, originally served as a delicacy on the eve of imperial coronations.

Fast forward to a friendly, local Gresham establishment appropriately monikered, The Stand, serving up America’s favorite with all the fixings.

the stand3Stephan du Toit, 29, owner and grill master, is an impassioned small business owner and entrepreneur with ingrained values and a strong work ethic that is evident when you walk in the door. Originally from South Africa, du Toit arrived in the States in 1995, speaking no English, but with the knowledge that he loved business and the notion of working for himself. Transforming one of the oldest buildings in Gresham into hotdog heaven was a major renovation feat in itself, and du Toit put his money, skills and labor into the restaurant, which opened its doors in July 2012.

the stand9“We work to keep it simple,” explains du Toit. “You aren’t going to pay for a fancy décor or a complicated menu. We serve quality all beef dogs and sausages, and have up to 70 different ways to dress them up.” Du Toit built the colorful benches for customer seating, bought second hand equipment and grills in the hope that the idea would take off. “People ask us why we don’t do fries, and we say ‘we do one thing and we do it right’.” Du Toit is the epitome of a hands-on owner, alternately greeting guests, firing up the grill, sweeping floors, and handing out orders through the busy drive through window.

The atmosphere inside is homey and welcoming, and The Stand will let you help decorate, encouraging guests to bring in their favorite team flags and banners. With cooler weather to enjoy, there’s a great outside patio with room for about 15 diners.

Fans of The Stand rave about the choices, and most of the clientele are repeat customers, with the popularity increasing by word of mouth recommendations. Patrons love the taste of the top grade bratwurst, polish sausages, hot links, jalapeño and cheese, andouille, spicy boudin, smoked black pepper, or for the traditionalist, the classic beef dog.

the stand1It’s what you can build with your sausage or dog that makes it a sensational taste experience. You can load it up with Frito pie, top it with good old mac and cheese, sauerkraut, chili, and of course, grilled onions. The Stand makes its own homemade BBQ sauce and you can pretend you’re at the fair and order a sausage on a stick or cheeseburger link, billed as the best burger in town.

To round out your meal, add a side of slaw or potato salad, a bag of chips, and a fountain or old style glass bottle beverage and juice boxes for the kids.

Boots and Rachel Gill are loyal customers who discovered the Stand driving by on the way to the golf course. “The service is great and prices are too,” said Mrs. Gill, “and my favorite is the mac and cheese dog.” Mr. Gill added that he “appreciates that everyone is courteous and it’s a real family environment.”

To add a bit of both fun and healthy competition, The Stand introduced The Big Dog Challenge or Colossal eating contest. Think you can handle a 28” hot dog served on an entire loaf of French baguette bread, smothered in cheese, chili, Fritos, kraut, relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, mustard and ketchup? Add a bag of Doritos and that’s a 5.5 pound diner’s delight. If you don’t beat the record, but can inhale it in under 25 minutes, it’s free (otherwise it’s $20). Just call The Stand and they will make the contest happen.

the stand4Bring your best girl or guy to The Stand for a Saturday date night, take a selfie, post it to Facebook, and get 15% off your meal. Du Toit says the spot is popular for father/daughter dates, and regular visitors include a group that flies model airplanes every Saturday that swing by for lunch.

The Stand caters too, and du Toit will bring the big grill and all the fixings right to you. “We just catered an event at a school, and did the whole works for 1400 dogs,” du Toit said.

If time is an issue, take advantage of the drive through window, call ahead to place your order and it will be ready when you are.

Ruby Grizzard and her friend Jane Williams dropped by for
lunch and both chose bratwurst smothered in warm sauerkraut.
“It’s not like those places where your food sits under a warmer,” they explained. “Everything is fresh and tastes so wonderful. The restaurant is very clean and the staff is so welcoming and friendly, not like a fast food chain.”

the stand7Du Toit hopes to eventually branch out, with an additional restaurant, or maybe even a traveling Stand food truck. “We will always want a first-class quality product, with service and family first…that will never change,” he said.

You can find a great frankfurter at The Stand, 16700 Old Jacksonville, near the Gresham four corners.

Fall hours are Monday – Thursday 10:30am-3pm, Friday and Saturday 10:30am-8pm.

To place a to-go order call (903)504-3292. Email to eat@thestandhotdogs.com, sign up for the Big Dog Challenge, receive special notifications and see the scrumptious menu at thestandhotdogs.com or on Facebook at FansofTheStand.

Around East Texas

Festival of Fruit: 34th Annual Tomato Fest Saturday, June 9th

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34th Annual Tomato Fest Saturday, June 9th

Welcome to Jacksonville – home of the best tasting fruit – tomatoes!

Local farmers are busy getting ready for the upcoming 34th Annual Tomato Fest in Jacksonville, Texas by planting acres of the best tastin’ tomatoes. Join the celebration Saturday, June 9th in downtown Jacksonville for a BIG day of activities that will be happening all day long. Over 200+ vendors and all kinds of festival food, including the famous fried green tomatoes, Farmers Market, $500 Got Talent Contest, Car Show, Motorcycle Show, Tennis Tournament, Soccer Tournament, Softball Tournament, Entertainment, Kidz Zone, and so much more will cover 5 blocks downtown. Tomato events include Salsa Contest, Tomato Eating and Peeling Contest, Tomato Archery, Tomato Shoot, Best Home Grown Tomato Contest, Tomato Packing Contest and tour the Tomato Shed. Saturday evening, Chili’s Street Dance will take place featuring Brian Chance Band and Lady Chazz and the Tramps. 

Activities kick off on Saturday, June 2nd with a 5k run sponsored by All Smiles. Monday, June 4th and Tuesday, June 5th is Family First Clinic’s corporate challenge Dodgeball Tournament. On Wednesday, June 6th, a Gospel Concert sponsored by Whataburger featuring, The Group, will perform at Central Baptist Church. New this year on Thursday, June 8th  is the Farm to Table dinner event that will take place at Castle on the Lake on beautiful Lake Jacksonville and will be catered by Rob Gowin, Sadler’s Kitchen & Catering. A 4 Man Scramble takes place at the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club on Friday, June 8th. The final Tomato Fest week celebration ends at Lake Jacksonville with a Ski Show on Sunday, June 10th.

Taste for yourself the best tomatoes and fun festival packed with lots to do for everyone.  For additional information, contact Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at (903)586-2217, or go to  JacksonvilleTexas.com/Tomato-Fest or Facebook.com/JacksonvilleChamber.

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Fitness

East Texans Learn to “Live Healthy”

This Month at Integrative Health Matters:

Integrative Health Matters offers a healthy alternative to losing weight.

“Food is the real medicine. Through our innovative, hands-on programs, we aim to inspire healthy change through education. Diseases, chronic conditions, inflammation, and immune system disorders are often attributed to diet. Food is the medicine that can fix the problem. Integrative Health Matters is lifestyle medicine. It’s not about drugs and doctor’s appointments. It’s about how to eat right, how to think right, and to understand all the things we have to do to stay healthy,” said neurosurgeon Guy Danielson, medical director and founder of Integrative Health Matters. “This is root cause (medicine), not covering up symptoms with something from the pharmacy. The pharmacy is out in the garden.”

The public has opportunities to visit Integrative Health Matters at any of these classes:

  • Every Wednesday (12:15-1:15pm) – Mindful Movements ; (5:15-6:15pm) – “Just Breathe” Meditation
  • May 4th (10-11am) – Functional Food Friday: Detoxing
  • May 8th (6-7:30pm) – Kitchen Talk: Tabbouleh with Karol
  • May 11th (10-11am) – Functional Food Friday: Eating Seasonally
  • May 21st (6-7:30pm) – The Good News About Type 2 Diabetes
  • May 22nd (6-7:30pm) – Kitchen Talk: Raising Healthy Eaters
  • May 25th (10-11am) – Functional Food Friday: Eating Healthy on a Budget

Cooking classes offered twice monthly are in-depth health and cooking presentations. These “Kitchen Talks” invite the public into the IHM instructional kitchen to learn to cook tasty and nutritious meals and create a healthy home environment.

Integrative Health Matters is located at 419 WSW Loop 323 #400 in Tyler, next to La Madeleine. For information about Integrative Health Matters, contact (903)595-8077 or visit ihm.life.

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Around East Texas

Pure Bliss at M6 Winery

M6 Winery:

Celebrating Life & Good Things

Written and Photographed by Barbara Greenbauer

Take some time to wind down, breathe, and enjoy a superb glass of wine at M6 Winery & Tasting Room and Gift Shop in downtown Bullard. Owners Joe and Anne Moody set the pace as the charming and affable owners who greet you at the door and welcome you inside.

The atmosphere is palatable the minute you arrive, inside the front door is a Texas trove of hand-made one of a kind wood pieces that can either house your own wine collection or accent it. Move along into the inner room and you will feel right at home as you order wine, food, and listen to live music.

Joe Moody is in his element and passionate about his foray into the wine business. Relying on his business background and his interest in the wine-making industry, he has developed an inventory of his own, a grand selection of whites and reds that will be taste bud treats to either the wine connoisseur or novice.

“Wine is about celebrating life and the good things,” explains Moody. “Anne and I have traveled from California to Italy and experienced multitudes of vineyards and tasting rooms.  We were ready to bring all of our experiences to East Texas.” M6 derives its name from the Moody’s family of six, including the four grown children who were a piece of the business from its infancy. M6 Winery & Tasting Room is nestled on a corner of downtown Bullard, a piece of property Joe Moody has owned for over 20 years that has served as his office for both an oil/gas and real estate business over the years.

“Creating a good wine is an act of love and patience,” explains Moody. “Grapes cannot be rushed and in the process, you have to be aware of what you are looking for in a flavor profile. It takes a lot of planning and preparation; blending is like art with different aromas, colors, and flavors.”

The tasting room is an experience in itself, from the beautiful front and center bar fashioned from the ribs of wine barrels to the tin roof and rough cedar ceiling accents. Choose your wine and sit back while local musicians entertain.

There’s another great space outside that the Moody’s affectionately call The Vinery, a vine-covered patio with plenty of room and great furniture to sit on while you  enjoy the Texas weather.

Your palette will applaud you when you sample an M6 original wine. White wines include the Blue Norther, an aromatic semi-sweet Riesling with hints of apples and stone fruit. The Bluebonnet is an off-dry white blend, perfect for poultry, fish, and pasta dishes. Or try the Sweet TexAnne, named for Mrs. Moody, with sweet honeysuckle and strawberry overtones. This wine is perfect for summer salads and cheeses and is sweet enough to serve as a light dessert wine.

The Texas Viognier is an unoaked, medium to full-bodied dry wine, with notes of pears, honeysuckle, and tangerine. It pairs well with roasted poultry, orange chicken, seafood, apricots, fennel, capers, or pumpkin.

M6’s Rosé wines include the Blushing Texan, a semi-sweet Rosé wine blend with a light pink color. The appropriately monikered Tyler Rosé is a dry blend with a touch of High Plains Zinfandel. This blend was created especially for our local Tyler market and its famous association with roses.

If red is more your thing, there are lots to choose from. Friendship Red is made with the hearty Ruby Cabernet grape. It is a great compliment to all things pasta, as it goes great with all sauces, from marinara to Alfredo.

The Moodys very first Signature Blend is Vintner’s Touch, a bold red blend that pairs well with roasted meats. This blend is made from grapes grown both in Texas and California.

Red Texana is great with Texas BBQ or Tex-Mex dishes. It is full-bodied and made from the Ruby Cabernet grape. It has a spicy finish.

Feel free to pair your wine with meat, cheese, or combo plates, olive oil with bread and spices, or a slider plate. Paired flights include a chocolate or cheese, and of course, you can do a Tasting Flight of five different wines and keep the signature M6 tasting glass. M6 wines range from an affordable $18 to $28 a bottle.

Be part of the family and join the M6 Wine Club to experience the best of their offerings with five special wine shipments annually. When it’s time to get your selections, M6 offers a complimentary glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres to members at pickup parties.

M6 can host your private party and create personalized wine labels to commemorate any event from birthdays to anniversaries.

Joe has nothing but compliments for the wine-growing community in East Texas, saying “We are all very supportive of each other and share resources and information.”

Mark your calendars for the Piney Woods Wine Festival, running May 11th-12th and join M6 and the other 18 wineries on the trail for a spectacular weekend of music, art, and of course, lots of wine to taste.

Lauren and Bobby Grounds from Tyler wanted a new destination and searched the internet for wine and live music and found M6. “We love this venue,” said Lauren. “It’s very different and fun, and the wine is fantastic.” They were trying the Blue Norther and the Blushing Texan with a cheese plate and Billy said “We will definitely be back. We like the atmosphere here.  It’s very welcoming.”

Joe is thrilled that M6 wines are featured at favorite Tyler restaurants, including Rotolo’s, Dakotas, and the Grove. “Mention that you would like to try an M6 wine and you won’t be disappointed,” he said.

The Moodys welcome you to experience M6 Winery & Tasting Room. “We want everyone who visits us to feel like they are our honored guest,” said Joe Moody.

M6 is open Saturdays from 1-6:30pm and is located at 201 W. Main St., Bullard. They can be reached at (903)360-0369, by email at info@m6winery.com, or on Facebook at M6Winery.

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