Restaurants

Seafood chain that closed both its Fort Worth locations has plans to return to Fort Worth

mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Last week, we reported about The Catch, an East Texas-based seafood chain, closing its far north Fort Worth location, only four months after it closed its only other Fort Worth location, on Camp Bowie Boulevard.

As we pointed out in last week’s report, Arlington and Burleson locations remain open, and a new one just launched in Mansfield. And Scott Nordon, one of the founders of The Catch, says that the chain is not done with Fort Worth yet.

“We started out about three years ago, and we’ve had some great success,” Nordon says. “Currently, we’ve got 18 locations open. But we’ve shut down some locations. Part of the magic about The Catch is we’re able to go into second-generation spaces, as well as first-generation spaces, and there’s upsides and downsides to both of them.”

The north Fort Worth location, at 5636 North Tarrant Parkway, was actually a third-generation space: It was first home to a Freebirds World Burrito and then to the short-lived Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina. Freebirds maintains a location not too far away in Alliance Town Center; in a sign of how competitive the area can be, two nearby places mentioned in the second paragraph of our 2016 review of Salsarita’s have also closed.

“Second-generation spaces, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t,” Nordon says. “Which was happened at Camp Bowie, and subsequently what happened in North Tarrant.”

Nordon says, however, that the chain is doing well and growing. Along with the Mansfield location, The Catch is getting ready to open locations in Irving, Houston and Oklahoma City.

“Like any emerging brand, from time to time, you’re going to have a misstep or a failed location.” Nordon says. “We’re committed to Tarrant County and Fort Worth, and we think we have the right franchisee now who’s going to expand our footprint in that market.”

Nordon says that the chain doesn’t have concrete locations for Fort Worth yet, but he adds that when a space becomes available, a franchisee can move into it pretty quickly. The company still has its eyes on west Fort Worth and north Tarrant County — and beyond in North Texas.

“Dallas-Fort Worth, we’re trying to penetrate particular areas, and then build units in a concentric circle,” Nordon says. “We think that [greater Dallas-Fort Worth] is a 20-store market, if you go all the way from Mesquite to Weatherford, up to Denton and down to Mansfield.” Nordon adds that the Mansfield location, at 1971 N. Highway 287 Suite 121, broke first-week sales records for the chain.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I own and operate five Catches,” Nordon says. “Every year, you learn something new. It’s funny, because now we’re in our third year and [people say], ‘You guys are closing stores!’ Yeah, we are. We shut down a lot of locations. But we have five that are slated to open in the next four or five months. We want our franchisees to be as successful as possible.”

For more information on The Catch, visit http://www.thecatchusa.com.

Robert Philpot has been a features reporter for the Star-Telegram since October 1992, and currently covers the Tarrant County (and sometimes more) restaurant scene. He also writes general-entertainment stories and features about DFW TV and radio personalities.

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