Now that we’ve had our fill of holiday feasts, it’s time to look toward the future. Here’s our look ahead to the biggest trends in the dining scene for 2018.
Biscuits are on the rise
The comfort food/diner staple (check out Bud Kennedy’s rave about the biscuits at the recently opened River Bend Cafe) will get a boost from the Fort Worth opening of Austin-based Fixe, which specializes in an upscale version of Southern food (how upscale? The fried chicken is $21 at “Sunday supper”), but also from the planned openings of Stacks Biscuit House in Roanoke (featuring a variety of biscuit sandwiches, among other offerings); Fixture chef Ben Merritt’s Ben’s Triple B: Biscuits, Burgers and Brews across from Texas Wesleyan University; and Grady Spears’ planned chicken-and-biscuits stall Graze in the upcoming Crockett Street Food Hall. And speaking of food halls ...
It’s plain that Main is a place to be again
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South Main Village, which encompasses an area roughly bordered by Vickery Boulevard, Rosedale Street, I-35W and Hemphill Street, already had a lot going on: Stage West, Cannon Chinese Kitchen, Shipping & Receiving Bar, HopFusion Ale Works, Pouring Glory Craft & Growler and longtime hole-in-the-wall Jesus BBQ Family Restaurant are all part of the area. But get ready for more, especially on South Main Street itself (where construction is finally, blissfully done). In 2017, pay-what-you-can restaurant Taste Project and music venue Main at South Side opened on Main.
Due in 2018: Signage is already up for frozen-pop shop Alchemy Pops; Four Sisters — Taste of Vietnam and Taco Heads spinoff Tinie’s Mexican Rotisserie also are coming, and Fort Worth’s first cidery, Locust Cidery (based in Washington State but founded by Fort Worth natives), is expected to open before year’s end.
If you’ve been to the recently opened Legacy Hall in Plano, especially on a Saturday afternoon, you know that this dining-hall thing is a hit. The three-story hall (in a development already stuffed with restaurants) has more than 30 food stalls and bars, is home to Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. and, frankly, is a little overwhelming.
Do you get something from the crepe stand or something from the waffle place? Do you choose “Top Chef” alum John Tesar’s Knife Burger or “Top Chef” alum Tiffany Derry’s Roots Chicken Shak (we chose the latter and were very pleased with the Spicy Bird sandwich)? Do you do the yakitori place or the shawarma spot?
Fort Worth’s Americado tried something similar, on a smaller scale, in 2017, but perhaps because it was sticking to Mexican-influenced cuisine, some people found the idea of having to order tacos from one station and chicken dishes from another station to be a little confusing, and Americado now serves more like a traditional restaurant.
But Fort Worth is due to get Crockett Street Food Hall in 2018, and expect something similar to Legacy Hall, but smaller, with 12 stalls that will “include everything from barbecue, burgers, Mexican, sandwiches, coffee, pastries, doughnuts and more.” Tesar has announced plans for a Knife Burger there, but the hall is drawing Fort Worth chefs, too, including the aforementioned Spears and Tokyo Cafe’s Kevin Martinez, and hall owner Hospitality Allinace is trying to bring in still more. The hall is under construction at Crockett Street and Norwood Street, and has a May target date.
Maybe it should be ‘The Shops at Fork and Knives’
Dining is already big at the Shops at Clearfork, with the recent openings of Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar, City Works Eatery and Pour House, and Cru Food & Wine Bar, as well as the earlier openings of Malai Kitchen, Clean Juice, Joy Macarons, NM Cafe, rise n°3, and, yes, Starbucks. In coming weeks, expect B&B Butchers & Steakhouse (which has dealt with multiple delays, but better to get it right than open too early), Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen,Fixe, Amorino Gelato al Naturale and bowling alley/restaurant/events center Pinstripes are scheduled to open, with a location of Dallas-based Mesero expected in 2018.
There are actual shops at the Shops at Clearfork as well; leave it to these restaurants (and an upcoming movie theater) to lure customers to the somewhat awkwardly located luxury shopping center off the Chisholm Trail Parkway.
More fast-casual pizza will slice up the market
Fort Worth already has homegrown Pizza Snob, as well as locations of the Pie Five and Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza chains, both of which have other Tarrant outposts. The new year will bring a location of MidiCi Pizza, a Neapolitan-style “fast bake” pizza joint expected to open in January in the Left Bank shopping center off of West Seventh Street in Fort Worth (Euless and Dallas locations also are coming soon), as well as long-in-the-works locations of Flippin’ Pizza in the Chapel Hill center in west Fort Worth, and Urban Bricks Pizza in Arlington’s Champions Park.
Arlington comes a-Live!
Ground has already been broken on Texas Live!, a $250 million entertainment and hotel complex across from Globe Life Park in Arlington. A late summer or early fall opening is expected, with restaurant tenants including Lockhart Smokehouse and Rangers Republic, a two-level, 30,000-square-foot family dining and entertainment venue, as well as a brewery from Granbury-based Revolver Brewing and a restaurant by celebrity chef Guy Fieri.
Pho and wide (and sushi and ramen and more Asian)
Pho was already pretty well-represented in Tarrant County, but the Vietnamese soup keeps popping up in more places: a recently opened House of Pho on South Hulen Street in Fort Worth; farther north on Hulen, Momma Pham’s Noodles and More (which, in a twist, also has pizza on the menu — it is in a former pizza restaurant, after all); a recently opened Pho in the Box in Keller; The Pho House, also recently opened, not far from Keller on North Tarrant Parkway in Fort Worth.
Also new, but not pho-centric: Saikou Sushi & Ramen (a spinoff of the popular north Fort Worth spot Noodles@BTH), recently opened in Presidio Towne Crossing in far north Fort Worth; and The Ginger Root Asian Kitchen & Bar, due soon in the former Lee’s Grilled Cheese spot on North Tarrant Parkway. Coming soon to the West 7th area: Papkao Thai, in Crockett Row at West 7th; and not far away on Bledsoe Street, a location of Plano-based Zenna Thai and Japanese restaurant.
Also due in 2018
203 Cafe, a fast-casual breakfast-lunch spot from the Reata folks, is scheduled to open early in the year on the second floor of the Fire Station No. 1 building at 203 Commerce St. (hence the name) in Sundance Square; 3rd Street Bar & Grill, featuring former M Bistro chef Steve Mitchell and targeting a Jan. 15 opening on the far western side of Sundance Square (it’s bigger than just the Plaza)
Aside from the aforementioned MidiCi Pizza, an 85ºC Bakery Cafe (nicknamed “The Starbucks of Taiwan,” but with much better baked goods) and a location of Colorado-based “all-day brunch” restaurant Snooze, the A.M. Eatery are coming to Fort Worth’s Left Bank center (that’s the one off of West Seventh with the Hopdoddy and the Tom Thumb). Meanwhile, a location of Bartaco is coming to WestBend (that’s the one off of University with HG Sply Co. and the Tom Tuumb that closed).
Look for additional locations of Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ (any day now, 7709 Camp Bowie West, Fort Worth); Heim Barbecue (coming to the River District development on White Settlement Road in west Fort Worth, already home to a Salsa Limon); and Fuego Burger (which recently added a second location in west Fort Worth and has its eyes on a South Hulen Street spot near a close-to-opening Torchy’s Tacos).
Also on the way, Tarrant County’s second Hopdoddy Burger Bar, slated for the summer in Glade Parks Town Center in Euless; a Keller location of L.A. Burger, a Korean-style burger place along the lines of K-Pop Burger and Hollywood Burger, which aren’t too far away in far north Fort Worth; Grub Burger Bar, coming (along with a location of Shell Shack) to the already-under-construction Parkside at Alliance Town Center, adding even more restaurants to an already restaurant-crammed area.
Speaking of Keller, expect a location of Austin-based Summer Moon Coffee (taking a former Starbucks spot in Keller Town Center); Thai-style rolled ice cream shop Sno DASH, due in a few weeks on U.S. 377; and the long-awaited Station Patio Icehouse in Old Town Keller (originally scheduled for September 2017).
Farther north, little Roanoke continues to pile up the restaurants, with the Wharf Steak and Seafood (from Erin Miller, former exec chef of Texas Bleu in Keller) due to open in early 2018, as well as the aforementioned Stacks Biscuit House; Chop Shop Live, a concept from country singer Randy Rogers; a new location of breakfast spot Sunny Street Cafe; and a location of The Brass Tap, which already has a spot with its sprawling beer list in downtown Fort Worth.
This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.