Food & Drink

Why’d that Fort Worth restaurant close? Sometimes it’s simple

A kale salad and a “So7” margarita at Cork & Pig.
A kale salad and a “So7” margarita at Cork & Pig. Star-Telegram

Two local restaurants closed this week, and neither seemed like a good idea.

For all the commentary about slow foot traffic or unappreciative diners, FW Market + Table and Vivo 53 closed for one primary reason: They weren’t very good ideas to begin with.

Both suffered from vague names and a lack of identity from the start.

Vivo 53 began as Vivo 53 Pizza, then changed to Vivo 53 Italian, promising “artisanal pizzas” in such combinations as kale-red chile, which is not a combination anybody has ever requested that I’ve heard.

It didn’t help when the first menu was a hard-to-read list of mostly Italian foodie lingo. If you want to sell “dolce crema bruciata,” call it crème brûlée.

Toward the end, Vivo promoted giant novelty ice cream sundaes, a long leap from the California founders’ original concept.

FW Market + Table had a more Siri-friendly name — that’s important these days — but tried to sell both coffee in the morning and fine dining at night.

Originally, it seemed like a healthy take-out cafe like nearby Righteous Foods. But Press Cafe came along with a similar idea and better execution.

Owner Todd Fiscus kicked dirt on West Seventh Street as he left, issuing a statement that “light foot traffic makes a restaurant concept in this area unsustainable,” although “I love Fort Worth.”

Baloney. Fred’s Texas Cafe around the corner has been in business there almost four decades.

The new Cork & Pig Tavern — replacing another ill-conceived restaurant, AF+B — shows every sign it’ll match Pacific Table’s and Press Cafe’s success. Terra Mediterranean’s weekday lunch buffet is a hit. Thirteen Pies endured an ownership and name change.

(FW Market + Table chef Kalen Jane Morgenstern had a good run when it was Tillman’s and cooked so much great stuff, she’ll be back soon.)

We hash out all this and more in the Eats Beat podcast at dfw.com/static/podcasts/eats-beat-podcast.

First snort

Cork & Pig opened as expected this week on Crockett Street.

A few quick impressions: It’s very much a cousin to Pacific Table and The Tavern, with a bright, airy decor like Pacific Table but The Tavern’s touch with grill dishes such as pork ribs ($18) or a double-cut pork chop ($24).

Brunch starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, featuring blackberry-walnut French toast with cinnamon ice cream, oatmeal-pecan pancakes, chicken-and-waffles and huevos rancheros.

It’s open for lunch and dinner daily, brunch and dinner weekends at 2869 Crockett St.; 817-759-9280, corkandpig.com.

Still burning

Meanwhile, congratulations to Fire Oak Grill in Weatherford, which will take a well-deserved vacation next week to help celebrate its ninth year.

Chef Eric Hunter’s “premium Texas cuisine” restaurant has outcooked some competitors and outlasted others. Watch Facebook this week or after July 5 for daily lunch specials; 114 Austin Ave., 817-598-0400, fireoakgrill.com.

Firecrackers & ’cue

Heim Barbecue, getting closer every day to its West Magnolia Avenue opening, will serve July 4 at the Panther Island Brewing BBQ and Brew Bash.

It’s a $100 VIP ticket (children $30), but at least you won’t have to stand in line for Heim; 501 N. Main St., 817-882-8121, panther-island-brewing.ticketleap.com.

Ring around DFW

The Missouri-based Hurts Donut Co., known for 24-hour build-it-yourself “extreme doughnuts,” will add five Dallas-Fort Worth locations.

(I guess it’s too much to ask for Hurts Donut in Hurst.)

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @EatsBeat. His column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.

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