After a relatively slow start, October had a crazy amount of restaurant openings — and a pretty crazy amount of closings, including a couple of places that had long histories behind them. There’s a lot to talk about here, so let’s get to it.
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BurgerFi opened its second Tarrant County location, and its first in Fort Worth, on Oct. 1 in a former taco shop on North Beach Street in far north Fort Worth. The Florida-based chain, which opened an Arlington location in 2017, was inspired by New York’s popular Shake Shack. The menu consists of a half-dozen specialty burgers (including the eccentric “Conflicted Burger,” a double-patty burger with one Angus beef patty and one veggie patty); a quinoa-based veggie burger and a “Beyond Burger” that tastes like meat but is plant-based and veggie-friendly; a chicken sandwich; fries, onion rings and both at once (the “Cry & Fry”); and a selection of shakes and custards. 6650 N. Beach St. No. 108, Fort Worth, https://burgerfi.com
Mutts Canine Cantina, which originated in Dallas, opened its first Fort Worth location on Oct. 4 in Clearfork. It’s a dog-friendly restaurant/bar/dog park with walk-up windows: On one side, you can order food (for humans or canines) and sit on the patio with leashed dogs; on the dog park side, you can come up and order drinks. The dog-park side (with a large-dog area and a small-dog area) has more seating than most dog parks, lots of water dishes and, perhaps most important, ‘Bark Rangers” will pick up after your dog. And through Nov. 12, you can apply to be a “Puptern” at the park and get paid $100 an hour to play with dogs (of course, it’s a little more complicated than that — for one thing, they’re only hiring one Puptern). There is a membership fee for the dog park, with daily, monthly and yearly memberships. 5317 Clearfork Main St.., https://muttscantina.com/fort-worth
More dog news: California-based Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar opened an Arlington location, its second in Tarrant, on Oct. 10. Lazy Dog has a dog-friendly patio and, although dogs aren’t allowed inside, it does have a dog theme to its interior as well as the rustic-lodge look common to the chain. Also common to the chain is the large and eclectic menu of starters, small plates, salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, bowls, meat/chicken/fish dishes and desserts, along with seasonal items such as a PB&J burger, roasted winter vegetables, butternut squash soup, and spaghetti squash & “beetballs.” At opening, the patio faced I-20, making for a bit of a noisy experience, but the restaurant plans to add more landscaping to provide a buffer, as well as umbrellas that will provide more reliable relief from the sun (although for much of October, we needed more relief from the rain). 241 E. Interstate 20 Highway, Arlington, 682-276-7300, https://www.lazydogrestaurants.com; a Euless location opened in early 2017 at 2521 State Highway 121, Euless
On Oct. 11, Salsa Limon co-owner Ramiro “Milo” Ramirez popped up on Facebook with the announcement that the Mexico City-style taco chain’s newest location, Salsa Limon “Maggie,” was doing a soft opening on West Magnolia Avenue on the Near Southside. On Nov. 8, he’ll throw a grand-opening party. The newest location has a spacious, well-decorated dining room that has a lot of natural light in the daytime; Ramirez says he’s going more for a lounge feel there at night. And there’s a bar, where he’s going for, well, a bar feel. And, of course, tacos, including relatively adventurous options such as lengua and tripa. 1465 W. Magnolia Ave., http://www.salsalimon.com
Cowtown Brewing Co. opened Oct. 12 on West Belknap Street, on the northeast edge of downtown Fort Worth. It currently offers a half-dozen beers in its taproom, but head brewer Shawn Kidwell plans to add more. The brewery has since started serving babrecue, smoked on-site. There are plans to expand parking as well. 1301 E. Belknap St. at the intersection with Hampton Street; https://www.cowtownbrewco.com or follow @cowtownbrewco on Facebook or @cowtownbrewco on Twitter.
After a long wait — its original target opening was fall 2017 — Station Patio Icehouse officially opened Oct. 15 in Keller’s Old Town. The restaurant has a train theme, right down to the water tower on the patio, inspired by Keller’s restaurant past (and present; trains roll on nearby tracks multiple times daily). And a sports-bar feel, with about 20 TVs, all tuned to sports channels on our soft-opening visit. And a large patio, with live music (Fort Worth’s Michael Lee, a contestant on this season of “The Voice,” was one of the acts scheduled to play there). Even the food has a train theme: sandwiches have names like “The Pullman Pretzel Melt” and “The Rail Car Reuben.” 111 W. Vine St, Keller,. 817-657-4399, http://stationicehouse.com.
Bourbon Street Oyster Bar officially opened Oct. 18 in Montgomery Plaza, in a space that’s seen eight restaurants come and go. This time, two restaurants from the same owners are in the space: In September, Barrel & Bones Craft Bar & Smokehouse opened next door (as in you can walk through a door directly into it — which you’ll have to if you want to use the restrooms, which are on the Barrel & Bones side). Bourbon Street is the Cajun/New Orleans-style restaurant you think it is, with its prize dish being chargrilled oysters. A lot of other Big Easy favorites are available, as is a drink called the Purple Decatur — its color a tribute to both TCU and Louisiana State. 2600 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth https://www.facebook.com/BOURBONSTREETOYSTER
More seafood: Shep’s Off the Hook Seafood opened Oct. 18 near TCU, in a space formerly occupied by Salsa Limon “Universidad.” “Shep” is John David Shepherd, the 7-foot-tall owner of Shep’s Place and Saltwater in Weatherford. From Bud Kennedy’s “Eats Beat”: “[Shep’s] has ceviche, poke and ahi tuna, but avoids farmed fish such as catfish or tilapia. That might make it tougher to attract the older neighborhood crowd, but Shep’s is set to serve oysters, crab cakes, lobster rolls and more.” It also has a brunch menu that features crab cake eggs Benedict, crab-shrimp or steak omelets, breakfast tacos or lobster bisque. 3005 S. University Drive; 817-653-5752, facebook.com/shepsoffthehook
Spice 8 Indian Fusion Grill, a fast-casual, “Chipotle-style” Indian restaurant, opened Oct. 19 — and temporarily closed a few hours later because of a technical problem with its fire suppressiion system. The problem was fixed, and the restaurant opened for good on Oct. 24. It’s on North Tarrant Parkway in far north Fort Worth, near where Fort Worth, Keller and Watauga meet. The menu includes bowls, wraps, “better than pizza” (made with a naan crust), momo (Himalayan dumplings), biryani, kebabs, curries and more. The name comes from the eight spices that the restaurant uses in its food. 5633 North Tarrant Parkway, Fort Worth, 817-849-9004.
Locust Cider officially opened Oct. 26 in Fort Worth’s South Main Village, where there has been a lot of activity lately. Fort Worth’s first cidery comes from brother Jason and Patrick Spears, who founded Locust Cider in Washington state — but grew up in Fort Worth and wanted to bring it back home. Hard ciders include New England Amber, which has a 7.1 percent AVB and which Star-Telegram contributor Courtney Dabney described as having “all the notes you would expect from a New England style lager beer. It’s sweetened with brown sugar and dates, but it’s not too sweet and with no fruit-forward flavors at all..” The cidery will have 10 rotating tapes, with five core ciders (original dry, dark cherry, honey pear, sweet aged apple and vanilla bean) and five seasonals. 710 South Main St., Fort Worth, 817-344-7035, www.locustcider.com
Snooze: an AM Eatery officially opened Oct. 24 in the LeftBank shopping center (the one with the Hopdoddy and the Tom Thumb) off of West Seventh Street. The Colorado-based chain, whose first Fort Worth location appears to be at least a social-media hit, is a “brunch” restaurant with a few offbeat breakfast touches (a half-dozen Benedicts, including a chlie verde benny with pulled pork; a pancake flight that allows you to choose three flavors of pancakes) and sandwiches for the lunch side (including a Cuban called “Havana Daydreaming” — nice little Jimmy Buffet reference there — and a “Peter Paul Rubens,” a Reuben named after the artist). It’s not only an AM Eatery, but you won’t find it open at night: Hours are 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily. 2150 W 7th St. No. 108, Fort Worth, https://snoozeeatery.com
One long-awaited restaurant and one much-anticipated grab-and-go/retail shop were in soft-opening mode at the end of October and are expected to have their official openings in early-to-mid November. Four Sisters — A Taste of Vietnam, from former Shinjuku Station and Tokyo Cafe chef Tuan Pham, was doing limited hours and a limited menu at 1001 S. Main St. Suite 151, yet another new spot in South Main Village. And Meyer & Sage, from longtime Fort Worth chef/caterer Callie Salls, soft-opened in late October at 2621 Whitmore St. in the growing Foundry District and is expected to have a Nov. 1 grand opening. Although there is a small seating area, Meyer & Sage is more of a boutique retail space, with some prepared foods offered as grab-and-go and some as “oven ready” (with heating instructions on the packages). Also: chicken-finger chain Raising Cane’s opened its first Benbrook location Oct. 30 at 8506 Benbrook Blvd.; and Fort Worth-based Chuy’s Mexican Restaurants — not to be confused with Austin-based Chuy’s Tex-Mex — opened a new location, at 2400 Vaughn Blvd., near Texas Wesleyan University.
Two places with long histories, one in Fort Worth and one in Keller, closed the weekend of Oct. 20-21. Ginger Man, which had been at 3716 Camp Bowie Blvd. since 2006, closed Oct. 21, but this closing goes deeper than that: The nearly 75-year-old building, which had formerly housed such west Fort Worth favorites as Rick’s on the Bricks and Bessie’s on the Boulevard and more, will be demolished as part of plans to redevelop the property (a Southlake Ginger Man remains open at 1512 E. Southlake Blvd.). And Judge Beans Restaurant & Cantina, possibly the oldest restaurant in Keller (it had been there since 1992), shut down after service Oct. 21. In response to a query sent via Facebook Messenger, the Star-Telegram was told that the restaurant was sold this month and that the new owner is Carlos Benitez, who owns Tio Carlos Mexican-Latin Grill, which has locations in Colleyville and Irving. But it’s still unclear what plans are for the space at 314 N. Main St. in Keller.
This one could also go under “What’s open”: Midici Neapolitan Pizza, which never quite caught a groove in Fort Worth’s LeftBank Center, closed in early October in that location. Franchisee Michael Crain had tried a lot of things to make the place work, including switching from a confusing order-at-the-counter system to table service, but had trouble hanging on to servers (and had a series of problems with managers), but ultimately said he had to close because that location could generate the sales necessary to maintain the business. A week or so later, a location of Midici opened in Euless’ Glade Parks, using the fast-casual system; it also has a dog-friendly patio and a nearby play area for children. That one’s at 1310 Chisholm Trail Suite 800, @MidiciEuless on Facebook.
Four Star Cafe, which had been at 815 Houston St. in downtown Fort Worth since 2006, closed down in early October, with good reason: The building it’s in is being torn down. Plus the lease was up at year-end, and November-December are typically bad months. Four Star had a breakfast and lunch menu as well as being a coffee bar, but the fonder memories are for a more purely coffee-bar location on West Seventh Street (west of University Drive, before West 7th was a thing) that closed in 2008 and felt like a more comfortable hangout.
San Daniele, a Grapevine Italian restaurant known for its “Modern Italian Fare” and its rooftop patio, announced on Oct. 16 that it had closed, according to Community Impact Newspaper. In his April 2018 review of the restaurant, Star-Telegram contributor Andrew Marton said that it was opened in late 2017 by Ritz Carlton and Hyatt hotel management veteran Kristopher Colig and his wife, Kelly; the Community Impact post said that the owners are setting their sights on new goals. The restaurant’s website and Facebook page have been taken down. San Daniele was at 129 S. Main St., Suite 130 in Grapevine.
Its Benbrook location is still open, but Fuego Burger has closed its Rendon shop, which had a grungy charm: It was attached to a convenience store, which is where you had to buy your drinks. But it had gotten a little too grungy: According to owners Carlos and Christie Rodriguez, they’d had a roof-leak problem since early September, and the landlord refused to fix it. Fuego Burger and its predecessor, Salsa Fuego, were runners-up in the Star-Telegram’s 2015 and 2017 Battle of the Burgers; shortly after Salsa Fuego closed in west Fort Worth later in 2015, the Rodriguezes quietly reopened the more basic Rendon joint, first as 5ive Spice Kitchen and then changing the name to Fuego Burger. Again, Benbrook remains open: 4400 Benbrook Highway, https://www.facebook.com/FuegoBurgerBenbrook
Liberty Burger, a small Dallas-based chain, got smaller in October when it severed an agreement with a franchisee and closed four locations, including one in Fort Worth, which was its only one in Tarrant County. The Fort Worth location, which opened in late 2016, was in the huge Presidio Junction shopping center in far north Fort Worth. Three other locations in Las Colinas, Frisco and Carrollton/West Plano — also closed. Liberty Burger still has locations in Richardson, Dallas, Addison, Allen and in Jackson, Wyoming. In the release it says that it is negotiations for additional sites throughout North Texas, so it’s possible that it’s not done with Tarrant yet. The Fort Worth location was at 8917 N Freeway Service Road East Suite 119; Presidio Junction still has multiple burger options, from fast-food spots to a location of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews.
More burger closure: Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, a Hawaiian-based fast-casual chain, shut down Oct. 25, according to Community Impact Newspaper. The owner told Community Impact that construction on Colleyville Boulevard (aka Texas 26) hurt sales. Teddy’s had an impressive lineup of specialty burgers, including a few reflecting the Hawiian influence (such as, well, the Hawiian, a Teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple) as well as more straightforward ones such as the bacon-cheddar-avocado “Bacado.” But we might miss the “umami-style” fires (french fries in garlic butter, a sriracha aioli and furikake, a Japanese seasoning). According to the website, this was the only location in Texas, although another location is listed as “coming soon” — somewhere in Texas. Doesn’t say where. The Colleyville location was at 4712 Collyeville Blvd. Suite 100.