Haltom Theatre on the rise
If January was any indication, the already busy Tarrant County restaurant scene is going to have a volatile 2019. Many openings (lots of tacos and sweets were involved, including vegan varieties of both), as well as some big closings, including a couple right out of the gate.
So let’s get to it. There are a couple of early-February openings in here as well.
Long dormant on East Belknap Street, the historic Haltom Theater has been brought back to life, primarily as a concert venue (its grand opening was on New Year’s Eve, with a show by popular local hard-rock band Metal Shop). But it is also a seven-day-a-week-bar, and it serves enchiladas from Enchiladas Ole on concert nights — and is in the process of getting the permits to have Enchiladas Ole dishes served for regular lunch and dinner. Upcoming shows include Joe Ely on Feb. 22, and Localpalooza, featuring more than a half-dozen local acts, on Feb. 23. For the full concert calendar, which includes shows by Micky & the Motorcars, Buddy Whittington and more, click here. 5611a US 377, Haltom City, 682-250-5678, http://www.haltomtheater.com
Rush Bowls, which originated in Boulder, Colorado, and uses adjectives like “nutritious” and terms like “natural ingredients” to describe its food, opened Jan. 4 in a new retail strip on Rufe Snow Drive in Keller, close to Keller Town Center and Keller Pointe. Even when you’ve got a bowl full of fruit like the “Power Bowl” (blueberry, raspberry, banana, oats, whey or soy protein, optional fat-free yogurt, vanilla soy or fat-free milk, topped with organic granola & honey), it’s pretty easy to forget that you’re supposed to be eating something nutritious. The Keller location is owned and operated by Michael and April Fuchs, Keller residents and former Texas A&M students who also operate a location in Flower Mound (there is also a location on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas). Rush Bowls was the first store to open in the strip; a Keller location of breakfast-lunch restaurant Sunny Street Cafe joined it exactly a month later, opening Feb. 4. The strip is at 242 Rufe Snow Drive, a little south of Keller Parkway. The food/drink places still to come there: Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip, Frios Gourment Pops and Chopsticks Viet Restaurant. Rush Bowls: 682-593-8163, https://rushbowls.com or @RushBowlsKeller on Facebook; Sunny Street Cafe: https://www.sunnystreetcafe.com or @sunnystreetcafekeller on Facebook
After a looong wait “Asian-Hispanic fusion” chain Zero Degrees finally opened its first Fort Worth location during the first week of January in the So7 complex near Trinity Park on West Seventh Street. The location, which originally had a target date of June 2018, opened after locations in north and south Arlington had beat it to the punch. According to Zero Degrees’ website, the company was founded in Orange County, California, by a trio of siblings who intended to open a dessert shop, but, seeking a way to set themselves in a crowded food scene, they began selling salty-sweet drinks including Chamango and Mangonada, and the munchiness just kept growing from there — menu items include Hot Cheetos elotes, ube milkshakes, horchata in a variety of flavors (including coffee, chocolate and strawberry) and more. 2401 W 7th St. No, 115, 817-420-6017, https://zerodegreescompany.com or @zerofortworth on Facebook.
Hurts Donut Co. of Missouri opened its first Fort Worth location Jan. 9, adding to a Fort Worth gourmet-doughnut scene that already features hometown joints Dough Boy Donuts, FunkyTown Donuts, Kneady Doughnuts and more. Hurts’ doughnuts are large, cakey, over-the-top creations that come in flavors such as Oreo cheesecake, Fruity Pebbles, Andes mint and more (the blueberry-streusel one may be the best blueberry doughnut we’ve ever had). The Facebook page for Hurts Donut Fort Worth now lists it as always open, so if you need an oversize, over-the-top doughnut at 3 a.m., here’s one place you can find it.. 901 Foch St., Fort Worth, https://www.wannahurts.com or Hurts Donut - Fort Worth Texas on Facebook.
A short walk away from Hurts Donut, Cinnaholic, a cinnamon-roll chain that originated in Berkeley, California, and was featured on the TV series “Shark Tank,” opened Jan. 11 in Crockett Row at West 7th. Cinnaholic’s menu looks more like a frozen-yogurt shop’s menu, with numerous toppings including chocolate-chip cookie bites, graham crackers, marshmallows, peanut-butter cups, pie crumble and even some flavors that sound marginally virtuous. Add to that frosting flavors including amaretto, chai, coffee, maple and more (frostings and toppings may vary based on season and location). Did we mention it’s all vegan? The Fort Worth location is owned by Shellana Morris with business partners Keenan Franklin and Melissa Jackson; a Southlake location opened in 2015. 817 Currie St., Fort Worth, 817-203-2421, https://www.cinnaholic.com or @Cinnaholic.Ft.Worth.CrockettRow on Facebook.
While the West 7th area got doughnuts, vegan cinnamon rolls and Hot Cheetos-topped elote, the TCU area got biscuits, as Burleson-based Dwell Coffee & Biscuits held its grand opening Jan. 12 for its first Fort Worth location, in the old Sovereign Bank space in the Woodcrest Capital Building, adjacent to the 7-Eleven at University Drive and West Berry Street. The biscuit menu will change seasonally; during a first-week visit, it included simple items such as biscuit and jam, and slightly more elaborate “biswiches,” such as a sausage biswich (sausage patty, cheddar cheese and bacon aioli between two buttermilk biscuit halves). There was also a selection of sweet and savory mini-biscuits, in flavors such as chocolate-chip cookie dough and honey-glazed ham. Coffee drinks range from the lattes and mochas you’d expect to concoctions such as as the Lil’ Sebastian (espresso, steamed milk, white chocolate, and house-made pecan & cinnamon syrup. Dwell was launched in 2014 by Burleson High School grads Jeff and Stephanie Brannon, who “wanted a cozy environment for a good cup of joe, where guests could feel relaxed and not rushed.” 3113 S. University Drive Suite 100, Fort Worth, 817- 720-6766, http://www.dwellcoffeeandbiscuits.com or @dwellcoffeeandbiscuitsfw on Facebook.
Less than three months after Dallas-based Liberty Burger closed four North Texas locations, including one in far north Fort Worth, the guys who ran the north Fort Worth one came back in mid-January with Tacos Chilangos in the same spot in the sprawling Presidio Junction shopping center. “Chilango” is slang from someone from Mexico City; many sources say the term is derogatory, but it’s used commonly in taco-joint names throughout the U.S. The Fort Worth Tacos Chilango isn’t related to any of them: It’s an independent shop with the build-your-own process: choose a meal, pick a protein (beef, pork, chicken or veggie), add toppings and sides. Meals (taco, burrito, bowl, quesadilla) are $8; there’s an upcharge from premium toppings such as queso fresco (add a buck) or guacamole (add two). Chips and salsa are $2; elote, $5; desserts (a choice of a churro or a sopapilla) are $3. 8917 North Freeway Service Road E., Fort Worth, 817-847-7771, @tacoschilangos on Facebook
Across I-35W from Presidio Junction and that former Liberty Burger is the Alliance Town Center area, where Grub Burger Bar officially opened Jan. 15, adding to an area already overflowing with restaurants (with more to come, including a Shell Shack expected to open in February next door to Grub). Founded in 2012 in Bryan-College Station, Grub is the Aggie-land answer to Austin’s Hopdoddy Burger Bar, and it’s similar but different. Grub’s burger menu features 10 beef burgers, from the relatively traditional “Front Porch” to the wacky “Texas Luau” (a burger topped with pulled pork, a grilled pineapple slice, grilled jalapeños, and teriyaki and BBQ sauce). There are three non-beef “burgers” (turkey, wild-caught salmon and the vegetarian “Hippie Chickpea”), as well as a Cuban sandwich, a southern-fried chicken club and more. There are also some crazy shakes, which you can get with alcohol if you want. Cool bar, and the Alliance location has a great patio overlooking Bluestem Park, a 14-acre prairie park with walking/hiking trails where you can walk off some of your Grub calories during daylight hours. 3101 Heritage Trace Parkway Suite 101, Fort Worth, 682-204-0111, www.grubburgerbar.com
By the Horns Brewing and Tacos & Avocados, both from Twisted Root/Dallas Truck Yard entrepreneur Jason Boso, opened Jan. 29 in Mansfield, not coincidentally in the same complex as the Mansfield Twisted Root Burger Co.. The brewery/taco restaurant is in a former gas station and auto-repair shop, with order-at-the-counter tacos and a brewery that pipes nine beers directly into bar taps, according to this story by Star-Telegram contributor Nicholas Sakelaris. The Tacos & Avocados menu features shrimp, ground beef, beer-braised brisket, pepper-crusted ribeye tacos and more, as well as some offbeat sides (try the Oaxacan grasshopper tostada, topped with traditional guac and dried grasshoppers — a traditional protein in Oaxaca — for $8). 109 S Main St. Suite 200, Mansfield, 682-341-0051, https://bythehornsbrewing.com.
Herencia, long in development in the Shops of Southlake (aka the Central Market Southlake shopping center), finally held its grand opening on Feb. 1. It’s a “Texican” restaurant that evolved from the more casual Mi Chula, which occupied the same spot, and it has bits of Uncle Julio’s and Pappasito’s in its DNA. But its large menu includes mesquite-grilled ribeye and sirloin steaks, grilled quail, pork ribs, and grilled meatloaf with a tamal, as well as some items with a New Mexican spin (red-chile stacked chicken enchiladas), and more. Not to vegetarians: The main menu might not look very veggie-friendly, but there’s a separate vegetarian menu available on request. 1431 E Southlake Blvd No. 551, Southlake, (817) 873-8800, @HerenciaRestaurantTexas on Facebook.
Also .... Down to Earth Vegan Kitchen, which originated as a food truck, has added a brick-and-mortar in the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park District, according to the UT-Arlington Shorthorn. Down to Earth, which specializes in vegan tacos and other Mexican fare, shares space with Bombay Chopstix and also shares a cashier, but each has its own kitchen and kitchen staff, according to the Shorthorn. 441 Spaniolo Drive, Arlington, 682-583-4641, https://www.downtoearthdfw.com or @downtoearthdfw on Facebook. ... King’s Kitchen, primarily an Indian restaurant, opened recently inside You Save Food, a grocery and spice market on Trail Lake Drive in southwest Fort Worth. Primarily Indian, but there’s also a section of the menu devoted to Bosnian-Serbian dishes such as cevapi (kebabs), goulash and zeljanica (spinach pie). Lunch and dinner; 5054 Trail Lake Drive, 682-597-0424, https://kingskitchenrestaurant.weebly.com ... Our Brunch Spot, as the same indicates a breakfast-lunch restaurant, added to an already busy Keller/far north Fort Worth breakfast scene when it opened Jan. 29 in a former coffee-bar/restaurant space in on Timberland Boulevard. The large menu includes chicken-fried steak and chicken, skillets, waffles (including chicken and waffles), omelets, benedicts, crepes, french toast, pancakes (traditional as well as such flavors as Oreo and s’mores), and, on the lunch side, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and salads. Open 7 a.m-2:30 p.m. daily. 12412 Timberland Blvd. Suite 400, Keller, 817-562-2414, @ourbrunchspot on Facebook. ... Taco Chon, a real-deal taco grill that offers a wide range of proteins from chicken and chorizo to tripa and chicharron, had its grand opening Feb. 1 inside a new convenience store/gas station in Haltom City. The menu also includes burritos, tostadas, sopes, elotes, tortas, menudo (Saturday and Sunday) and more. 4900 Western Center Blvd. (corner of Western Center and Haltom Road), 817-213-7455, @tacochonhaltom on Facebook
Popular British-themed restaurant/pub The Londoner, which closed its Colleyville Boulevard location in September, saying that more than a year and a half of construction on the boulevard (aka Highway 26) had affected its business, always said it would be back in a new location in Colleyville on Highway 121. It just took longer than expected, as things so often do in the restaurant biz: Management had hoped for a late-September opening at in the former Dallas Craft Co. location on 121, and eventually made it back with a soft opening on Jan. 30. Full hours were expected the first week in February, according to the Londoner’s social media. The Londoner has British-inspired dishes, but it’s about more than that: Here’s a place where you can get “bubble & squeak,” chips and salsa, burgers and more. 5120 State Highway 121, Colleyville, 817-684-8810, http://www.thelondonerpub.com or @TheLondonerColleyville on Facebook.
Argyle’s 407 BBQ, which closed its trailer on the west side of I-35W in late December to prepare for a move to a brick-and-mortar location on the east side of I-35W, opened the new location on Feb. 1 — and by Feb. 2, it was posting Facebook photos of fans lining up for ‘cue. On Twitter, 407 says that it has added fried okra and sweet potato chips to the menu, with more changes coming “once we unpack and settle in” to the larger space and bigger kitchen. 831 FM 407 W, Argyle; 682-224-9225, @407BBQ on Facebook.
The year did not start off well for restaurants with “Daddy” in the name. Fat Daddy’s kicked off the new year by closing its north Fort Worth location after about a year in business. The Fossil Creek location had much competition from longer-established nearby locations of Twin Peaks, BoomerJack’s Grill & Bar, Flip’s Patio Grill and more. Fat Daddy’s is owned by Mansfield-based AngMar Companies, which abruptly closed Southern Oaks Golf Course in Burleson in November. The Mansfield location of Fat Daddy’s remains open at 781 W. Debbie Lane; 817-453-0188, https://fatdaddyslive.com. ... About a week later, Daddy Jack’s Lobster & Chowder House announced via Facebook that it would close its downtown Fort Worth location Jan. 13 after 19 years in Sundance Square. “The restaurant has struggled since work began to replace the bricks in Sundance West apartment tower,” our Bud Kennedy wrote in his post about the closing. “Recently, the entire exterior has been covered with scaffolding.” It seems like longer than recently; the scaffolding is still there at 353 Throckmorton St., but the only Daddy Jack’s that remains is in New London, Conn.
Americado, the West Berry Street complex that started as a Mexico City-inspired dining hall divided into multiple stations (and you couldn’t, say, order fish tacos from the chicken station, even though it was all the same restaurant); then went to a system where you could place your whole order at one station; then went to table service; then went do an eclectic-style dining hall with stations for ramen and barbecue and more, and kept the table service .... finally called it quits in mid-January. The restaurant had closed once before, in 2017, but quickly reopened; this time it’s for good, though, attributed to “a number of factors.” Americado’s sister restaurant, La Zona on Magnolia, is taking up some of the slack: La Zona is divided into a bar/pizza/tapas restaurant called Hotel Madrid, and a coffee-and-churros bar called St. Sofia, which has added a late-night taco service featuring street-style tacos from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Americado was at 2000 W. Berry St. in Fort Worth; La Zona is at 1264 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-489-5055, https://www.lazonafw.com
J.R.’s Steakhouse, one of the first prime steakhouses in Northeast Tarrant County, closed Jan. 31 after 15 years in Collyeville. Chef Todd Phillips, a Reata alumnus, told the Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy that J.R.’s owner Jonny Ragland wants to retire (Phillips also said he is looking for another job). Ragland had owned Gator’s Bayou in Euless before adding the steakhouse, which was at 5400 Texas 121 in Euless.
Also: Black Rooster Cafe closed its downtown location around Dec. 31, much to the chagrin of many Star-Telegram staffers who only had to walk about a block to it for baked goods and sandwiches. The 910 Houston St. space had formerly housed La Perla (nee La Perla Negra) and, before that, Zambrano Wine Cellar. Black Rooster’s other locations, at 2430 Forest Park Blvd. and 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd., remain open; owner Immy Khan told the Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy that there are tentative plans to reopen the downtown space as a lunch cafe, under a different name and new management. ... Ranch Hand Steakhouse, which Bud Kennedy wrote was “trying to be an upscale steak restaurant in a downscale suburban neighborhood” shortly after it opened in late summer 2018, closed in January, according to Yelp. Ranch Hand was at 6204 S. Cooper St. in south Arlington .... The Grapevine location of Baker’s Ribs was destroyed by a fire early Jan. 28. Joe Duncan, owner of the Dallas-based barbecue restaurant, told the Star-Telegram that the location had 15 employees (nobody was injured in the fire) and that he plans to rebuild. Baker’s has locations at 1921 S. Main St. in Weatherford and 6516 E. Northwest Highway in Dallas, as well as locations in Canton, Garland, Greenville and Mesquite; https://bakersribs.com
Star-Telegram staff writer Bud Kennedy, and contributors Celestina Blok and Nicholas Sakelaris, contributed to this report.