Eats Beat

Here’s where to find Gus’s Chicken and local restaurants at the arts festival. (And Gus’s is coming soon to Dallas.)

A quick look at the Main Street Arts Festival

Main Street Arts Festival is back in downtown Fort Worth and here are the usual sights.
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Main Street Arts Festival is back in downtown Fort Worth and here are the usual sights.

Tennessee-based Gus’s Fried Chicken will sell a ton of chicken in downtown Fort Worth this weekend.

And many tons more when a new Dallas location opens next year.

Gus’s, the legendary Memphis fried chicken restaurant, is one of four restaurants and 24 food vendors overall setting up shop in downtown Fort Worth for the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival.

Gus’s expects to sell 2,000 pounds of fried chicken — 1 ton — at $15 a basket for white meat, $13 for dark. Look for it in the south food court.

The first Gus’s in Dallas-Fort Worth opened two years ago at 1067 W. Magnolia Ave., spreading crisp, hot chicken and baking Southern-style pecan, chess, chocolate and coconut pies.

it’s open for lunch and dinner daily; 817-927-4693,

The next Gus’s will open in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood at 2901 Commerce St. A mural on the site will be preserved, part-owner Chris Petrushka said.

Mercury Chop House owner Zack Moutaouakil. Bud Kennedy

The long-standing Mercury Chop House downtown, always a popular stop during the arts festival, will add a food-court location serving a tenderloin steak sandwich ($8), a braised chicken sandwich ($8), blue cheese-bacon chips and an assortment of cheesecakes.

“So many people come to us during the festival and say ‘We didn’t know you were here,’ “ owner Zack Moutaouakil said. “So we figured, let’s come out. … We want people to support the locally owned restaurants.”

Mercury Chop House will be in the Fifth Street food court.

It’s sort of a return to Main Street. Mercury opened in 2000 on Main Street and moved in 2017 to 525 Taylor St., in the Tower.

Mercury is a traditional prime steakhouse serving lunch weekdays and dinner nightly; 817-336-4129,

(Mercury will be open all day Easter and Mother’s Day serving its regular menu, Moutaouakil said.)

Up-and-coming Joe Riscky’s Barbeque, now open three days a week at 1734 E. El Paso St., brings big-name craft barbecue to the festival.

Setting up in the Fifth Street food court, Joe Riscky’s will serve smoked pork tenderloin sliders ($12), a bacon-brisket mac-and-cheese ($8) and a gastric grenade called his “sausage bomb”: a cheddar-jalapeno stuffed sausage wrapped in bacon $10).

Riscky, a maverick pitmaster breaking away from his family’s mass-produced barbecue, now serves lunch Thursday through Sunday at his restaurant next to Wild Acre Brewing.

The East El Paso Street location will also be open this weekend during the festival; 817-773-5557,

Grilled Thai beef salad at Thai Tina’s downtown. Ralph Lauer Star-Telegram archives

The fourth local restaurant also serving on Main Street is Thai Tina’s, a hidden gem inside a hotel at 600 Commerce St. near Bass Hall.

Thai Tina’s has been an unexpected hit at its Main Street booth at Sixth Street, serving red curry chicken ($10), chicken or beef skewers ($8), a $12 combo plate and Thai-style iced tea or coffee ($5).

Thai Tina’s is open for lunch and dinner daily; 817-332-0088,

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 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.