Eats Beat

She ‘cooked and baked all night.’ It still wasn’t enough. But her apology has won her new friends

Sunne Hill of Tastebuds was swamped with Thanksgiving orders.
Sunne Hill of Tastebuds was swamped with Thanksgiving orders.

Almost everybody in south Fort Worth loves Tastebuds Eatery, but success comes with a price.

Two days before her 28th Thanksgiving on McCart Avenue near Sycamore School Road, Tastebuds owner Sunne Hill realized she had almost 300 orders for side orders, cakes and pies but only stove and oven space and time for about 220.

“I didn’t go home — I cooked and baked all night,” she said this week.

“But I just couldn’t get it all done. This one customer made a scene.”

She poured her heart into a Facebook post: “As I sit here with tears in my eyes … I sincerely apologize! I was completely overwhelmed … I wish I could do it all, but I simply can’t.”

New customers saw the heartfelt Facebook post, and have come to see this unique little restaurant with entrees, 23 vegetables or salads, zero fried food and plenty of love.

Sunne Hill of Tastebuds was swamped with Thanksgiving orders. Bud Kennedy

A sign at the door warns that “Grandma — possibly Grandpa — is in the kitchen! If you’re in a hurry come back next week!”

When I ordered, the cashier asked plainly: “Now, this might take up to 20 minutes, Is that all right?”

Hill and her husband, Byron, are determined to serve slow food in fast-food-plagued suburbia.

When Tastebuds moved to McCart from its original South Riverside Drive location, “everything out here was fried or smothered or barbecued,” Sunne Hill said.

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“I don’t ever eat fried food.”

Her vegetables range from asparagus and broccoli-rice casserole to spicy collards and turnip greens with turkey, sausage and jalapeno.

The most popular entree is the meatloaf ($11.99), but the menu also includes baked or grilled chicken and fish. The most expensive dinner is less than $14.

When diners ask if they can call the newspaper and recommend Tastebuds, Hill tells them, “No, please don’t.”

She is one of a growing number of restaurateurs who treasure repeat customers and local friends over one-time diners.

Tastebuds is open for lunch and dinner weekdays and Saturdays, lunch Sundays at 7674 McCart Ave.; 817-361-5500,

Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 16 Texas Legislature sessions. First on the scene of a 1988 DFW Airport crash, he interviewed passengers running from the burning plane. He made his first appearance in the paper before he was born: He was sold for $600 in the adoption classifieds.