Restaurants

As a Fort Worth soul-food fave nears its 10th birthday, it’s changing its groove a bit

Keith Hicks of Buttons Restaurant, shown in a 2013 file photo, is adding a new partner as Buttons nears its 10th anniversary. There will also be some menu tweaks, but the chicken and waffles are safe.
Keith Hicks of Buttons Restaurant, shown in a 2013 file photo, is adding a new partner as Buttons nears its 10th anniversary. There will also be some menu tweaks, but the chicken and waffles are safe. Star-Telegram archives

Chef Keith Hicks plans to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his Buttons Restaurant, his soul-food spot in the Chapel Hill shopping center, with a little reset.

Over the years, Buttons has won a loyal following along with awards for its ambience, live jazz club and soulful, Southern style cuisine. But Hicks is not about to rest on his laurels.

After a decade, his partnerships had run their course. One of his partners had passed and the other was simply ready to move on, so it felt like the right time to bring on a new partner with new energy.

Hicks announced that new partner today. Curtis Luper is the running-back coach at TCU and was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2017. Luper has been a regular customer of Buttons for years and will now go from fan to partner.

“We are immensely excited to continue our vision of changing the world — one waffle at a time,” Hicks says. But, to kick off the new venture, the partners will first be updating the interior and rebooting the menu. “We’re going to turn it up a little bit,” he says.

Don’t worry — favorites like chicken and waffles aren’t going anywhere. “We are going to bring back some old favorites like our meatloaf and the Buttonsaurus — our slow braised, Fred Flintstone-sized beef rib,” Hicks says.

Creole dishes like gumbo and etouffee “will go to the bottom of the menu as well.” Translation: they will now be offered all day long, at lunch and dinner service. Some new dishes will be added like “a classic spin on spaghetti, and one we call Lean on Me — a lighter option with grilled chicken and grilled ratatouille vegetables,” he says.

The revamp will be completed in time for Buttons official 10-year anniversary on Dec. 22. The restaurant will close down for a few days in early November to, as Hicks puts it, “put a little lipstick on it.” Plans are to do some light redesign and freshen things up with a coat of paint.

Live jazz will continue Wednesday through Sunday evenings, as will Buttons’ popular all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet and Thursday ladies night.

Hicks says he wants to spread the love around and provide people with a relaxed place they can break bread together. Part of Buttons’ mission is bringing people together, and the natural diversity and welcoming vibe that follow Hicks around wherever he goes are contagious — and they think marketable.

The new ownership of Buttons has big plans for duplicating its successful formula in coming years. “The whole goal of our reboot and new ownership is with a view to expansion,” he says.

Buttons Restaurant

4701 West Freeway, 817.735.4900, www.buttonsrestaurants.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 12 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday.

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