John Tesar, the two-time “Top Chef” contestant that D Magazine once referred to in a cover story as “The Most Hated Chef in Dallas,” is coming to Fort Worth.
Tesar’s Knife Burger will be part of Crockett Street Food Hall, which is scheduled to open in 2018 at the northwest corner of Crockett Street and Norwood Street in Crockett Row at West 7th.
A release describes the food hall as “a collection of 14 local eateries [that] will include everything from barbecue, burgers, Mexican, sandwiches, coffee, pastries, doughnuts and more.” Other tenants have yet to be announced.
Don’t worry about the “hated” part when it comes to Tesar. That story was six years ago, and Tesar participated in this year’s Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival’s “Main Event,” where his roasted whole hog carnitas was a big hit. And he’s done food events at Fort Worth’s Central Market.
OK, so there was that time he went off on then-Dallas Morning News food critic Leslie Brenner in a Twitter tirade (warning, strong language in link).
On the most recent season of “Top Chef,” Tesar made it to the finale (but did not win) during a season where he did his best — mostly successfully — to tone down the bad-boy image (he only really lost his temper once and he even choked up when he made the final four).
Tesar is also known for Knife, his “modern steakhouse” at the Highland Dallas hotel. Knife may be an upscale steakhouse, but among the things it’s best-known for are its burgers, especially its Ozerksy burger, which former Star-Telegram writer Preston Jones called one of the best burgers he’s ever eaten, and that wasn’t even the most extreme reaction to it (warning: strong language in link — wait, did we say that already?). It’s an unpretentious-looking burger, but as Jones said, “judging this burger by its looks [does] it a massive disservice.”
Tesar’s burgerography also includes the now-closed Commissary in Dallas, which, the release says, is also an influence on Knife Burger, which will have a focused menu of four to five burgers daily and a full bar.
So, let’s see — Knife Burger will be a patty’s throw away from Fred’s Texas Cafe, Rodeo Goat and Magnolia Motor Lounge, all known for burgers, and a short drive away from M&O Station Grill and the new Fort Worth location of Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Not to mention fast-food biggies In-N-Out and Wendy’s, the latter of which has withstood much change surrounding its West Seventh location.
The release describes the food hall as “open and airy with a modern, industrial feel” that will also have a full bar and seating for 115 in a centrally located area, as well as 70 seats in outdoor areas. The hall will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have live music in the evenings.