The Stix Icehouse in McKinney is a giant playground, bar and restaurant

If you’re looking for a no-frills spot where your kids can roam freely while enjoying a cold beer and chatting with friends, then The Stix Icehouse in McKinney is worth the trip up north.

Stix has been open for about nine months on 14 sprawling acres. While the owners took inspiration from places like the Katy Trail Icehouse and Waterloo in Austin, this space reminds us more of the Truck Yard in Dallas or The Colony, with mismatched chairs, dollar bills hanging from the ceiling, decorative eight-track cassettes and tables made of barrels. They also have a big concrete donkey named Lucky out front and the staff wear T-shirts with things like “I’m the low places friend” on the front.

Click to enlarge

Just look for Lucky, the giant ass in front.

Angie Quebedeaux

The main bar and restaurant are over 5,000 square feet and there is another 3,000 square foot patio space with picnic tables and an outdoor stage for live music, which they have Thursday through sunday. When the weather is nice, the garage doors open to connect the interior and the patio. The Wilson Creek hiking and biking trail is on their front porch so people can bike, run, or walk directly to The Stix Icehouse from the trail.

Furry friends are always welcome here, and to keep kids and adults entertained there are plenty of activities available like cornhole, whiffle ball, swings, a nine-hole disc golf course, volleyball court- ball on sand, football, ping-pong and a treehouse. They even host an occasional goat yoga session.

Click to enlarge The queso has candied jalapeños, like little hidden gems.  -ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX

The queso has candied jalapeños, like little hidden gems.

Angie Quebedeaux

The menu is unabashedly indulgent, Frito pies with fried catfish or a Low Country seafood boil. We started with the fries and queso ($6.99) speckled with candied serrano peppers. The nachos ($10.99) seemed to be a popular appetizer among other customers. The plate has about a dozen nachos per order topped with refried beans, cheddar cheese, Oaxaca cheese, and green onions with chicken, steak, or shrimp for a few dollars more.

For our main course, we tried George’s Bologna Sammich, a chicken fried bologna sandwich ($13.99). Along with the thick slice of breaded and fried bologna, it is served with two thick slices of peppery bacon and jalapeño pepper cheese. We added a side of these candied serrano chiles because of the mild heat they had. Bless all.

Click to enlarge Served on toast it was a nostalgic sandwich, only next time would we order it toasted.  -ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX

Served on toast it was a nostalgic sandwich, only next time would we order it toasted.

Angie Quebedeaux

If you don’t want the fried gluttonous version of this sandwich, you can also order the grilled bologna, like mom made. The sandwich was certainly indulgent and has all the right flavors, but the dough fell apart on the first bites, so we’d probably go the grilled route next time.

All sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs are served with crinkle fries which rank among the best around. Somehow they managed to cook them until golden brown and salted them perfectly with a great crunch factor and a soft bite inside.

Other notable menu items include Chicken Fried Steak ($15.99), Dirty Dawg ($12.50) and Fondue Patty ($14.99). For something a little healthier, they offer grilled bourbon salmon, vegetable tacos, and a variety of soups and salads.

Stix Icehouse serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with options like the Dixie Chick (fried chicken on a biscuit topped with gravy and topped with scrambled eggs and cheese, served with potatoes breakfast) ($11.50), Mornin’ Tacos ($10.50) and the Wake-up Burger ($15.50). They also offer $7 brunch cocktails like Bloody Marys, salty dog, and mimosas.

There are 28 draft beers and a few signature cocktails and mules, like the Swizzle Stix ($10) or the Border Mule ($10). Be sure to save room for dessert and treat yourself to either their Krispy Dream, which is a warm glazed donut stuffed with homemade vanilla ice cream, or their Cookie Monster, which is two warm chocolate chip cookies topped like a sundae. ($6.99).

The Stix Icehouse, 301 W. Eldorado Parkway (McKinney) 3-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11am – 10pm; Closed on Mondays

About James Almanza

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