Restaurants

It’s the end of the trail for another restaurant in a troubled southwest Fort Worth spot

R.J. Gator’s Fort Worth in a December 2013 photo. The restaurant lasted nearly five years in a Trail Lake Drive location where two restaurants had failed previously.
R.J. Gator’s Fort Worth in a December 2013 photo. The restaurant lasted nearly five years in a Trail Lake Drive location where two restaurants had failed previously. Star-Telegram archives

Considering its location, R.J. Gator’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar gave it a good run.

The southwest Fort Worth restaurant, described as a “Flori-Mex-ibbean” spot when it opened at 4413 Trail Lake Drive in 2013, announced on Facebook this weekend that it had closed permanently, after nearly five years at that location.

The location was previously home to Hot Tub’s Back Porch Grotto and then to Pop’s Burgers, which closed quickly. The Trail Lake Pop’s was an expanded version of Pop’s Burgers on the west side, which won the 2011 DFW.com Battle of the Burgers. (Continually fierce contender Charley’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers is still open just a little to the west on Granbury Road.)

Star-Telegram Eats Beat columnist Bud Kennedy wrote about R.J. Gator’s when it opened the Trail Lake location in 2013, pointing out that it was the first new location in more than a decade. It started as a chain in Florida but, Kennedy wrote, “survived only under Texas ownership.” R.J. Gator’s once also had a Hurst location, but it has long since closed.


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The Trail Lake location survived an incident in 2014 when a woman lost control of her car and drove into the restaurant. According to a Star-Telegram story at the time, a customer got a “pretty good bump on his head” but didn’t go to a hospital, and a waitress was knocked against a wall and treated and released from a hospital. The restaurant was briefly closed but the Brookses made good on their promise to reopen quickly.

But this weekend was the end of the line.

“Though we will miss our family and friends, our decision to close was painstakingly based on what was best for us, as the landlords desire to sell the property was beyond our control,” says the Facebook post by owners Blake and Diane Brooks. “We have strived for years to provide an atmosphere and dining experience that welcomed all and made you feel like part of our family.” Read the whole post below.

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