Eats Beat

Turkey for 2,500? This Weatherford truck stop is always ready for a holiday

The Iron Skillet Restaurant at a Weatherford truck stop has an old-timey, long soup-and-salad bar.
The Iron Skillet Restaurant at a Weatherford truck stop has an old-timey, long soup-and-salad bar. Iron Skillet Restaurant

The line on Thanksgiving Day forms by 10 a.m.

It doesn’t thin out until dusk.

Welcome to families’ go-to choice for a turkey dinner buffet: the Iron Skillet Restaurant at the Weatherford location of Ohio-based TA and Petro truck stops.

Yes, it’s a truck stop.

But this Iron Skillet has been open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 40 years, including 40 Thanksgivings and Christmases serving kids who carry on the tradition as parents.

“The one thing that shocked me the most when I came here was the line out the door and around the building on Thanksgiving,” said manager James Downs, who came from a New York location.

“People are waiting, but everybody’s just so happy. There’s a great spirit. And everybody knows everybody. More than half the staff has been here 20 years.”

How much company are you expecting on Thanksgiving?

The Iron Skillet expects between 2,500 and 3,000 diners.

They’ll dine on a $15.99 turkey buffet, served from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Diners also will pick pre-ordered dinner packages to go.

The Iron Skillet will roast more than 100 turkeys.

“It’s insane,” Downs said.

“This is one of the two busiest restaurants in the company on Christmas and Thanksgiving. And it goes like clockwork, because this team has been here so many years.”

Kitchen manager Augustine Rosas is a 39-year employee, Downs said.

When the Iron Skillet opened, Weatherford was home to about 12,000 people. Now, it’s home to about 30,000.

The truckstop is one of few restaurants that haven’t changed, although Downs touted the new menu’s lower-fat bison burger and more extensive salad bar.

The TA and Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant is always open; 2001 Santa Fe Drive, Weatherford, 817-599-9411, facebook.com/IronSkilletWeatherford.

Turkey in Granbury, Arlington

A few restaurants that have gone unmentioned in recent Thanksgiving lists:

Humperdinks Restaurant is Arlington’s family holiday dinner house, along with the cafeterias.

Humperdinks serves turkey beginning at 10 a.m. for $21.99, or a brunch menu with breakfast dishes for $14.99; open for lunch, dinner and late-night dining until 11:30 p.m. weeknights, 1:30 a.m. weekends at 700 Six Flags Drive, 817-640-8553, humperdinks.com.

Two Granbury restaurants will be open Thanksgiving.

Paradise Bistro & Coffee Co. will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. serving traditional turkey dinner, dressing and pies; $18.99, 129 E. Pearl St., 817-573-3853, paradisebistro.com.

Highly recommended Ketzler’s Schnitzel Haus & Biergarten, based on restaurants in Munster, Germany, will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. serving traditional turkey, stuffing, a special mushroom gravy and apple strudel; 101 E. Pearl St., 682-936-2777, ketzlersschnitzelhaus.com.

Clay Pigeon adds to chef lineup

Clay Pigeon Food & Drink, which just unveiled a new menu, has a new chef overseeing it all.

Former Woodshed and Reata chef Andrew Dilda is now in the Clay Pigeon kitchen, running the show for executive chef Marcus Paslay.

Both have a history at Dallas’ highly regarded Neighborhood Services restaurants. Paslay oversees both Clay Pigeon and its Italian counterpart, Piattello.

Dilda is from Fort Worth, Paslay from Arlington.

“It’s great to be working with a chef-owner who is very food-centric and very driven to move Fort Worth’s food culture forward,” Dilda said.

Clay Pigeon has a new dinner menu with more steaks and a burger. It’s open for dinner weeknights and Saturdays at 2731 White Settlement Road, 817-882-8065, claypigeonfd.com.

Black Friday brunch at Little Red Wasp

If shopping gets the best of you, Little Red Wasp in downtown Fort Worth will serve its weekend brunch menu Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday this week.

That makes three chances to have the Wasp’s huge chicken cheddar biscuit, short rib eggs Benedict or chilaquiles with Mrs. Renfro’s salsa; 808 Main St., 817-877-3111, littleredwasp.com.

(Neighbors Capital Grille and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse also serve a daily lunch menu, but not brunch.)

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @EatsBeat.

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