One of Denton’s  consistently reliable barbecue restaurants is The Smokehouse (1123 Fort Worth Dr., 940/566-3073, open daily, $8–17). The brisket plate is one of the most popular items, and it’s particularly tasty as a sandwich with onions and pickles. Since the Smokehouse isn't exclusively barbeque, feel free to consider the hearty chicken fried steak. As for sides, opt for mashed potatoes over potato salad, and try to save room for pie or cobbler.
If you have a hankerin’ for a meat sandwich, head directly to Rooster's Roadhouse (113 Industrial St., 940/382-4227, www.roosters-roadhouse.com , open daily, $8–18). The burgers and sliced beef brisket sandwich are extremely satisfying, and the heaping helpings of side items (beans, coleslaw, potato salad) will have you gladly loosening your belt a notch afterward. Don't forget to order a fried pickle.
Just southeast of downtown is the festive and fantastic Fuzzy’s Taco Shop (115 Industrial St., 940/380-8226, www.fuzzystacoshop.com ., open daily, $5–13). Be sure to order one of Fuzzy’s baja tacos—the tempura fish and shrimp are especially tasty—with feta and garlic sauce. The queso here is legendary, and the corn tortillas are muy bien.
Located south of the courthouse square, El Guapos (419 S. Elm St., 940/566-5575, www.elguapos.com/ , open daily, $5–15) is a Tex-Mex joint with some gringo fare to boot (chicken fried steak, ribs). Fajitas are the main draw, but you can’t go wrong with most of the Tex-Mex items, including chicken enchiladas and beef burritos.
Another downtown favorite is Mi Casita (110 N. Carroll Blvd., 940/891-1900, www.micasitafood.com , open daily, $5–12). College students line up for the bargain lunch specials, featuring tacos, nachos, and burritos for a measly $4. The hearty breakfast tacos are also worth sampling, and there’s no need to worry about long lines of students in the morning.