Eats Beat

New owner, same flavor at the Malt Shop

The Malt Shop on Fort Worth Highway in Weatherford will turn 60 next year.
The Malt Shop on Fort Worth Highway in Weatherford will turn 60 next year. rmallison@star-telegram.com

The Malt Shop is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by some TV food show.

Few genuine 1950s drive-ins remain in America, and I can’t think of another with homemade ice cream or butterscotch malts.

The Malt Shop is a precious keepsake of genuine Americana, and now a new owner promises to maintain it with loving care.

“I always told everybody if I ever won the lottery, I’d buy the Malt Shop,” said Janie Williams, a second-generation employee and now the owner of the drive-in on Fort Worth Highway near Hudson Oaks.

“To me, it’s a little small-town place for a good old-fashioned hamburger and great customer service. It’s the smile you get when you order, and the service you get.”

In the 30 years she’s worked at the Malt Shop, little has changed.

The cash register doesn’t have a pull handle anymore, and workers don’t have to use a chart to figure sales tax. And there’s a loudspeaker: “We used to wave at you when your order was ready.”

The Malt Shop still grills old-school burgers like when it opened in 1958. The night to go is Monday, when burgers are half-price after 5 p.m. ($2.15 for a hamburger, $2.50 for a cheeseburger).

The ice cream is homemade, in nine flavors. Sure, there’s fancier custard or gelato these days, but this tastes like Grandma’s ice cream in flavors such as peach, banana nut or chocolate chip.

The Malt Shop opens weekdays and Saturdays at 9:45 a.m. for travelers and early diners, Sundays at noon; 2038 Fort Worth Highway (U.S. 180), 817-594-2524, maltshopweatherford.com.

America’s patio

If you like the patio at the Social House location in Fort Worth, you’ll like the even bigger patio at new spinoff America Gardens.

One block south of Social House, America Gardens is a giant, fun patio and playground. The menu isn’t big, but there’s something for everybody.

Entrees ($15-$17) include Nashville hot chicken, smoked chicken, fried catfish with shrimp étouffée, short-rib pot roast or pork ribs. The menu also includes regular burgers and chicken sandwiches and salads with roasted-shallot vinaigrette.

As you might expect, there’s bar food such as candied bacon or goat-cheese-stuffed jalapeños.

America Gardens is open daily for lunch and dinner; 2833 Morton St., 972-802-2242, americagardensusa.com.

Sundance Mediterranean

Now that Istanbul Grill is open in Sundance Square, Fort Worth diners can see what Arlington’s been talking about.

The Sensel family’s Mediterranean restaurant has been a south Arlington favorite since it opened in 2009, known for friendly atmosphere and generous helpings of lentil soup, kebabs, baba ghanoush, hummus and more specific Turkish dishes.

“Sam” Sensel from Mersin, Turkey, is also a partner in Dallas’ popular Pera Turkish Kitchen. He describes Istanbul Grill as like other Mediterranean restaurants but with different marinades and more choices.

Istanbul’s weekday lunch menu offers a choice of 17 entrees and 10 salads or appetizers for $12.95. The dinner menu includes kebabs, lamb chops and seafood dishes such as chargrilled salmon or pan-seared branzino.

Istanbul Grill is open for lunch and dinner daily at 401 Throckmorton St., on the corner facing Daddy Jack’s; 817-885-7326, istanbulgrilltx.com.

On the way

Work continues on the new Bread Winners Cafe & Bakery location in Fort Worth, expected to open in early May, before the Colonial golf tournament brings crowds.

Look for it in University Park Village, where Blue Mesa was before it moved. (The new EatZi’s food market is also under construction in the same center.)

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @EatsBeat. His column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.

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