In the up-and-down world of Tarrant County restaurants, August had many more ups than downs. But there were some trade-offs: A big development with more than a half-dozen restaurants opened; a food-truck park that often hosted more than a half-dozen trucks closed down.
Here’s a rundown of what you — and sometimes we — may have missed.
The big opening — big enough that the grand opening lasted a whole weekend — was Texas Live! in Arlington, the entertainment/dining/hotel complex near Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium. The hotel is still to come, but the restaurants opened Aug. 9: Troy’s, Troy Aikman’s full-service gourmet burger-centric pub with beer and live music; Pudge’s Pizza, a fast-casual spot from former Texas Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez; Guy Fieri’s Taco Joint, another fast-casual place, from the spiky-haired “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” personality; a location of popular BBQ joint Lockhart Smokehouse; Miller Beer Tavern & Beer Garden, from guess which beer; PBR Texas, where the PBR stands for “Professional Bull Riders” (and there are two mechanical bulls for amateurs) but where you can probably also order a Pabst Blue Ribbon; the eclectic Live! Arena, which is dominated by a 90-foot HDTV screen; and Sports & Social, which has a huge game room. 1650 E. Randol Mill Road, Arlington, https://texas-live.com
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A few days later, over in southwest Fort Worth, a location of Tricky Fish opened Aug. 13 in the Waterside development (that’s the one with the Whole Foods Market). It’s a “coastal & Cajun” restaurant that’s owned by Addison-based Razzoo’s, which opened the first Tricky Fish in Richardson in November. Bud Kennedy visited it for an “Eats Beat” column and wrote, “The signature ‘tricky’ dish has blackened tilapia, salmon or redfish ($14.50-$19) topped with crawfish etouffee and served with dirty rice and okra sides. It’s enough to share.” 5917 Convair Drive (next door to Zoe’s Kitchen), 817-731-5882, tricky-fish.com
Florida-based Jon Smith Subs, the home of the “Steak Bomb” and other sandwiches with and without “Bomb” in their names, launched its first DFW location with a grand-opening blowout on Aug. 3 in a former 7-Eleven at 2812 Horne St. Suite 100. The sandwich menu includes nine steak subs, including the “Steak Bomb,” but there’s also a “grilled specialties” section that includes something called “The Gator — Eat it Before it Eats You” (t has sirloin, chicken and kielbasa, but no gator).. If you need to detox after one of those subs, walk over to Boulevard of Greens, a juice bar that opened a couple of weeks later at 2700 Horne St. No. 110. Smoothies, bowls, shots (including turmeric, ginger and more elaborate concoctions), oatmeal and avocado or almond-butter toast are also available.
Yet another brick-and-mortar that evolved from a food truck, Dough Boy Donuts opened its long-awaited west Fort Worth shop in mid-August in the former Leah’s Sweet Treats space on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Dough Boy can get fancy with its handmade creations, which include a s’mores doughnut where you can watch a crew member roast a marshmallow with a brulee torch, or the Sriracha maple bacon doughnut (flavors subject to availability). You can get less fancy with a pistachio lime or a butter pecan doughnut. But almost everything is made with Instagram potential in mind. 4910 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, 682-841-7797, http://doughboydonutsdfw.com or @DoughBoyDonutsDFW on Facebook
We don’t often report on openings of chain-restaurant locations when the chain has already established a foothold in Tarrant County — but the new location of BoomerJack’s Bar & Grill in Grapevine, which opened mid-August and had its grand opening Aug. 29, merited attention because the sports-bar chain is in aggressive expansion mode, adding more and bigger locations (and its founder lives in Keller). The Grapevine location, the 13th in North Texas and the seventh in Tarrant, is 12,200 square feet with a 3,700-square-foot patio; a Lewisville location is coming next year. 201 W. State Highway 114, 817-527-6984, http://boomerjacks.com or @BoomerJacksGrapevine on Facebook
Also in Grapevine, and opened around the same time: Corky’s Gaming Bistro, which announced its opening in an Aug. 17 press release. The food menu is big on burgers, tacos and pizza, with such items as a “Babe the Ox Burger” (a beef patty topped with spicy pulled pork and cheddar); and “Paul Bunyan Fries” (a pound of fries with melted shredded cheese, bacon pieces, and chives served with “lumberjack dressing”). But the draw is the games: 78 classic arcade games, a dozen pinball machines, four escape rooms and 10 ax-throwing lanes. 3520 Grapevine Mills Blvd. N., 817-532-5095, open 11 a..m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Sunday. Info: https://corkysgamingbistro.com or @corkysgamingbistro on Facebook.
After a nearly two-year wait, Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen, which was the first restaurant announced for the Shops at Clearfork, finally announced an Aug. 20 opening date — and then surprised us by opening on Aug. 15. Chicago-based Doc B’s, which also has a Dallas location, boasts of a “cool, no-fuss dining experience” and a “no veto-vote menu,” which, founder Craig Bernstein said in a release, means that there’s something for everyone, no matter how big the dining party is (the restaurant is named for Bernstein’s father, the late OB-GYN Dr. Robert “Doc B” Bernstein). Check out what Star-Telegram “Eats Beat” columnist Bud Kennedy has to say about it here. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily (watch for brunch soon) at 5253 Marathon Ave., 682-231-8820, docbsfreshkitchen.com
The still-developing Foundry District had another piece fall into place with the Aug. 20 opening of the third location of Fort Worth’s Craftwork Coffee Bar — and this one will have coffee cocktails. The coffeeshop/”co-working” space also has retail suites available for rent at the new location. Two have already been leased, by local-biz-supporting website Fort Worth Locals and private, by-appointment shopping studio Fetching Fort Worth. 212 Carroll St., Fort Worth http://www.craftworkcoffeeco.com/
The big August closure wasn’t technically a restaurant, but it hosted a lot of rolling restaurants: Clearfork Food Park, a food-truck park just off the Trinity Trails east of University Drive, ceased operations after service on Sunday, Aug. 19. There were a couple of Facebook posts telling followers to come by for the last time on Sunday, and after Sunday service, the Facebook cover photo turned to a photo of the vacant park with “PERMANENTLY CLOSED” across it. The reason was familiar: non-renewal of lease. “That’s extremely valuable property and we were fortunate to be able to lease it for the time we did,” a representative of the park told us in response to a Facebook Messenger query. The food trucks that did business at the park are still rolling, though. The Fort Worth Foodies Facebook group recently launched a by-invitation Food Truckers of Dallas Fort Worth group for food trucks to share their information, and the main group often cross-references that information.
After nearly 15 years, Cafe Express closed its Southlake Town Square location, its last remaining one in Tarrant County (a Fort Worth location on University Drive closed in 2007). We sent an email query to Cafe Express HQ to try to get a reason, but we’ve yet to hear back. All we know is that the most recent post on the Cafe Express Southlake Facebook page is from Aug. 27 and the page now says “permanently closed.” The Southlake location has also been removed from the Cafe Express website. According to the Community Impact Newspaper for Plano, Cafe Express closed a Plano location in March. All three remaining DFW locations are in Dallas.
It actually closed in July, but it wasn’t until early August that we learned about the closing of Pickles BBQ & Icehouse in Watauga, via Texas Blaze News, which posted about the closure on Facebook. The barbecue restaurant, which had a Watauga address at 8247 Rufe Snow Drive but was close to Keller, North Richland Hills and parts of far north Fort Worth, was a gathering place known for its live music and dog-friendly patio.
The local Salsa Limon chain is still alive with locations in Fort Worth and Dallas, but it lost a good one with the Aug. 12 closure of its “Universidad” location across from TCU on University Drive just north of West Berry Street. “Unfortunately, the franchise at that location elected not to renew the franchise agreement so our last day will be Aug. 12th,” said a Facebook post announcing the closure. Work proceeds on a location on Magnolia Avenue that’s expected to open soon.
It hasn’t closed yet, but west Fort Worth hidden gem Lightcatcher Winery announced in August that it will close in September as its owners retire. The winery, in a part of Fort Worth that felt more like Hill Country, will be open through Sept. 16. Lightcatcher, which also serves food, has one of the best patios in Tarrant County and is only open Friday-Sunday. If you haven’t been there, you only have a few more chances to check it out. 6925 Confederate Park Road, Fort Worth, @LightCatcherWine on Facebook