Last Call: Wednesday, September 8, 2004
The Chrome Grill
2408 E Belknap, FW

111 E 3rd St, FW
Get Yer Motor Runnin’

Bikers around here have been getting no respect. We’ve smelled the burning rubber trailing from a few places, including Railhead Smokehouse Barbecue, 8.0, J&J Blues Bar, and Fred’s Café.

But two months back, The Chrome Grill (2408 E Belknap) started its campaign to reclaim the pride of the Cowtown biker. “We’re a true biker place,” said Chrome’s marketing hat, Jan Dunlap. “[The owners] were so tired of going places and being run off because they were bikers. They were treated like, well, you know. So they built a place themselves where they’d be 100 percent accepted.”

Things seem to be going pretty well. “We get everybody, as far as bikers go,” she said. “Of course it’s better to have a Harley [Davidson] or an Iron Horse, but if you’ve got a Honda, you’re fine.”

Chrome held its grand opening last weekend, with roughly a few hundred bikes stabled out front. The joint’s decked out like the backdrop of a Mötley Crüe video, but instead of Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx tearing it up, you got a cover band working on some classic Seger. Snnnffff! You can just smell the grease and leather.

The quintet of owners is made up of rather strait-laced cats (a CPA, some small-business owners, and an aerospace engineer). Which is to be expected, considering that the days of bikers as outlaws are as long-gone as Easy Rider.

“We’ve got one guy who comes in here who owns his own construction company,” said Dunlap. “He’s got a nice two or three bikes and dresses totally normal. You would never know that he’s been a hardcore rider for over 30 years.” ...

OK, so Last Call wasn’t exactly invited to the VIP party at The Reata Rooftop (310 Houston St) two Mondays ago, for some Disney movie that got its local premiere at Bass Performance Hall, but your columnist managed to make it in, all right — and with entourage in tow. This had all the makings of a clusterfuck: local news crew cameras, wannabe socialites, and irritable children. But the service never missed a beat and in 95-degree shade, that was quite an accomplishment. Waitstaffers served up deliciously chilled Patron Silvers, one after another, with grace and friendly smiles. Cheers, mates. ... Great as The Reata was, it was no comparison to a real VIP event that happened a few days later, just two blocks away. That’s where amateur helicopter pilot and mega-Hollywood star Harrison Ford (Han Solo, for you kids) threw down at 8.0 (111 3rd St) after a hard day of chopper practice at Bell Helicopter. The Bogart of our time was even given his own room in the back to protect him from annoying autograph seekers and the rest of us plebians — except for Tall Blonde, who had been escorted to his presence. A piece of the conversation that stuck with our source occurred when she and the Ford crew began talking about fame and its ramifications, and Tall Blonde, while taking in the 8.0 patio crowd from afar, said, “Wow, it’s like we’re on the outside of a fish bowl looking in.” To which Ford replied: “No. We’re in the fish bowl.” Last Call isn’t certain, but Ford may have said that while eyeballing yours truly, notebook in hand. Gulp!

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