Eats Beat

Mercury Chop House to replace Cacharel restaurant in Arlington

Mercury Chop House owner Zack Moutaouakil, fresh off renovating a space in The Tower, will open a second location in the former Cacharel.
Mercury Chop House owner Zack Moutaouakil, fresh off renovating a space in The Tower, will open a second location in the former Cacharel. bud@star-telegram.com

A Mercury Chop House will take over the skyline-view restaurant space atop a north Arlington office tower, giving the city its first prime steakhouse and filling the vacancy left when Cacharel closed after 30 years.

The location will open by August as the second for Mercury Chop House, a downtown Fort Worth steakhouse that opened in 2000. Longtime manager Zack Moutaouakil has owned it since 2008 and moved it recently from Sundance Square to The Tower.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams helped recruit Moutaouakil to bring a prime steakhouse to Arlington, he said, and attorney Jim Ross led him to the ninth-floor space in the Brookhollow Two office tower on East Lamar Boulevard.

The landmark overlooks the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and offers a 180-degree panaromic view of Arlington and the Dallas and Fort Worth skylines.

“When I saw the view, I knew I wanted a Mercury here,” Moutaouakil said.

“You can’t find anywhere else to do a restaurant on a top floor anymore. There are not many chances for something like this.”

The 4,600-square-foot restaurant space will be completely remodeled, he said, to add a piano bar and lounge at the entrance and a private dining room. The dated peach-and-pink decor will give way to darker woods and more of a steakhouse decor, Moutaouakil said.

Cacharel, a French restaurant, had been open since 1987 until it closed on Dec. 18. Co-owner Hans Bergmann said it was “just time.”

Moutaouakil praised Arlington’s development and traffic plans for the area, including the groundbreaking this week for the Texas Live! bar and restaurant complex near Globe Life Park.

“I’m very happy to see how the city and chamber [of commerce] have given the city such a sense of excitement,” he said.

Construction of a new Texas 360-Interstate 30 interchange continues until 2020, but access to Lamar Boulevard has already improved, he said.

Mercury Chop House in Fort Worth was originally part of the Dallas-based Mi Cocina parent company and affiliated with The Mercury in Dallas. Mercury chef Chris Ward designed the original menu, and when it opened in 2000, it was one of only two prime steakhouses downtown and a favorite of author Larry McMurtry.

Under Moutaouakil, the restaurant built a reputation for reliable steaks; a white-tablecloth lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch buffet; a piano bar, and community fundraisers, opening holidays to serve police and firefighters.

The Tower location, 525 Taylor St., opened last winter after the Mercury lost its original Sundance Square space to a yet-to-open Waters Seafood Restaurant.

A nephew, Rabii (“Robby”) Moutaouakil, owns New American Bistro in west Arlington, which opened briefly under the Mercury name.

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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