Fort Worth chef Lanny Lancarte II may be closing his Alta Cocina Mexicana on June 28, but he isn’t going anywhere. He hopes to open a new concept — Righteous Foods — in its stead later this summer.
The new restaurant will be for the health-conscious, Lancarte says, “but it won’t be in your face with all the healthy buzzwords. It’ll be really good food with all the same chefs; I’ll still be the chef here, as well as all my cooks.
“The focus will be more on whole, natural foods that have healing qualities. My menus in the past few years have seen lots more whole grains and healthy preparations.
“I’ve also wanted to open a place that serves breakfast, and this will offer breakfast, lunch and early dinner.”
Lancarte, the great-grandson of Joe T. Garcia, formerly ran Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana out of a dining room at Joe T’s, by reservation only. In 2005, he opened Lanny’s in a cozy space on West Seventh Street, and it quickly became a destination restaurant for foodies.
His decision to shutter Lanny’s, disclosed last week, was tough. Lancarte said it was precipitated by two things: real estate and lifestyle.
Lancarte says he’s been working to get the healthy concept going for the past few years; ideally, it would’ve been at a second restaurant — in addition to Lanny’s Alta Cocina.
But he said he had a “rough run of luck” with some locations he was trying to secure, and nothing panned out.
Meanwhile, he was trying to purchase the building that now houses Lanny’s, and when that didn’t work out, he was offered another lease.
“I needed to change some things anyhow, because of the age of the building,” he said.
“My heart’s been pulling me in a different direction for a couple of years now, and I’ve wanted to do this other concept I’ve been working on, called Righteous Foods,” he said. “And I just decided this was the time.”
As for closing Lanny’s, he says, “I’ve been struggling with it for a while. But ultimately I’ve moved from struggle to a bit of excitement. Change is good. I’ve changed, and so has the dining scene in Fort Worth.”
He wouldn’t reveal many details about potential dishes on the new menu, but Lancarte did allow that breakfast (his favorite meal of the day) will be a big part of the new spot.
“It will still be chef-driven,” he says. “Most importantly, the food’s gotta be delicious. People could view it as just another good place to eat, it just happens to be good for you.”