More restaurants for Christmas! Fort Worth food hall sets a December opening date

An artist’s rendering of Foodhall at Crockett Row. The dining hall, first announced in fall 2017, will have its grand opening Dec. 7-8 in Fort Worth
An artist’s rendering of Foodhall at Crockett Row. The dining hall, first announced in fall 2017, will have its grand opening Dec. 7-8 in Fort Worth Courtesy of Foodhall at Crockett Row

Christmas is coming early to Crockett Row in Fort Worth’s West 7th area. The long-awaited, 16,000-square-foot Foodhall at Crockett Row, managed by Hospitality Alliance, reportedly will be ready to welcome holiday crowds.

The grand opening is planned for Dec. 7 and 8.

Food-hall concepts have been popping up around the country. Plano welcomed Legacy Food Hall nearly a year ago, and another food hall is planned for what is being called The District in Plano’s Legacy Central development, which is under construction.

Not to be confused with old-school food courts, which are heavy on fast-food chains and plastic cafeteria trays, modern food halls keep the focus on local chefs and concepts, while upping the ante on interior design and amenities — you know, “the cool factor.”

Kevin Lillis, CEO of Hospitality Alliance, told me, in a previous interview, that as much thought goes into the state-of-the-art sound systems and Instagram-worthy backdrops as it does into the actual layout. The Foodhall at Crockett Row will be no different.

The developers have collected local purveyors that, they believe, will be of interest to a Fort Worth audience. Previous announcements have included: Dallas celebrity chef John Tesar, who will bring his Knife Burger, which will be his first restaurant in Fort Worth; barbecue joint Not Just Q; Rollin’ n Bowlin’; Press Waffle Co.; EB2; The Dock; Shawarma Bar; Aina Poke Co.; and Gigi’s Cupcakes. More on those below.

Recently added to the Foodhall’s lineup are Butler’s Cabinet from chef Joshua Harmon and a new concept by Fort Worth chef Victor Villarreal called Abe Froman’s of Fort Worth.

Harmon’s background includes Junction Craft Kitchen, an acclaimed but short-lived Deep Ellum restaurant; Grace in downtown Fort Worth; and the long-gone Milk & Honey Co. in Keller. He also created the seasonal French menu at Main Street Bistro & Bakery in Grapevine.

Harmon’s Butler’s Cabinet will be a deli and marketplace. The concept is “inspired by a love of discovering treats in his mother’s pantry as a child,” the release says. “The menu will include sandwiches such as the Deviled Belly Melt with housemade American cheese and maple-miso smoked onions, as well as the Country Ham with sour cherry, fresh cheese, housemade koji butter and greens.

Harmon will source produce locally and make many ingredients in house, including smoked and cured meats, cheeses and pickles.” Beverages will include The Fig Lebowski — a cold brew with fig-espresso syrup — and the Black Fog London, made with Earl Grey tea, vanilla syrup and charcoal milk.

Chef Victor Villarreal, with credits that include stints at local restaurants Clay Pigeon Food and Drink, Grace and Magnolia Cheese Co., will debut Abe Froman’s of Fort Worth. The stall’s name is a nod to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”: In one scene, Ferris and his friends get past a snooty maître d’ at a fancy restaurant when Ferris pretends to be Abe Froman, “The Sausage King of Chicago.”

The menu will feature house-made pizza and, yes, sausage.

A press release says, “The namesake signature pizza will feature a sausage meatball-stuffed crust with ricotta and pear relish topped with more sausage. Other menu items include a variety of calzones and the Woodstock pizza with ricotta, goat cheese, honey, caramelized onion and blueberries.” Yes, blueberries.

Other stops will include Rollin’ n Bowlin’, featuring açaí bowls. Owners Sophia Karbowski and Austin Patry, who started the food truck when they were still entrepreneurial students at TCU, are transitioning from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar spot.

Not Just Q, from former TCU football player David Hawthorne, is known for its pepper-crusted brisket and fall-apart pulled pork. The Foodhall location will be the first brick-and-mortar version of his popular barbecue truck.

EB2 is a Mexican-street food concept from Dallas chef Justin Box. There will be a fun elotes bar with choice of toppings as well as a rotating menu of fruite con chile. Box will make fresh tajin (that spicy and tangy season-all) and other chili-powder blends in-house and will source ingredients from Mexico and from local farms.

Press Waffle Co. will serve Belgian-style waffles. Sweet varieties like the Elvis (topped with peanut butter, bananas, honey and bacon crumbles — share the stage with savories like the Monte Cristo (Black Forest ham, smoked turkey, white American cheese and blackberry jam).

Brett Curtis will cover coastal seafood fare at The Dock. Expect items such as Terrapin crab cake sliders served with pesto and smoked bacon, New England-style lobster rolls, and dynamite shrimp (a sweet-and-spicy dish served with an Asian slaw).

Another bar-style concept is Shawarma Bar, from owner Yasar Khalaf. Shawarma stalls are everywhere in the Middle East, but still a rarity in North Texas. Various customizable shawarma bowls include roasted meats (lamb, chicken and lamb gyro) or falafel with fresh toppings, vegetables, sauces and dips.

Aina Poke Co. will serve traditional Hawaiian poke.

“Owner Kevin Nguyen Ho will source high quality, sushi-grade fish and fresh vegetables to create poke bowls with vibrant toppings such as pickled cucumber made in-house,” the release says.

Cupcakes, cakes, cookies and more can be found at Gigi’s Cupcakes. Their freshly baked cupcakes come in gourmet flavors like: holiday mocha machiatto and lemon icebox studded with lemon shortbread crumbles. Gluten-free cupcakes are also available.

Along with his Knife Burger, John Tesar will bring a full-service Knife Bar to the foodhall.

The centrally located bar will offer “craft cocktails, select cocktails on tap, wines by the bottle and on tap, as well as a rotating selection of frozen cocktails, such as a French 75 or Moscow mule. Beers will be available on draft and in cans or bottles with a emphasis on local and regional offerings,” according to the release.

Foodhall at Crockett Row will be at the northwest corner of Crockett Street and Norwood Street in Crockett Row at West 7th. Parking will be available in Crockett Row garages (free with validation from Crockett Row merchants). Be aware that many streets in the West 7th area (including Crockett and Norwood) are now one-way streets.

For more information, visit crockettrow.com and follow Crockett Row at West 7th on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@CrockettRowW7th).

Branch & Bird, on the 12th floor of Frost Tower Fort Worth, offers a cool al fresco dining experience.