Eats Beat

Hot chicken, brisket, brews and a great patio: And yes, it’s all in Grand Prairie

Seven words never before published here:

Grand Prairie is a lot of fun.

Besides a much-heralded new barbecue stand, downtown Grand Prairie finally has that long-promised restaurantin the 70-year-old former city fire station.

It’s open. And it’s better than anyone expected.

Frankly, FireHouse Gastro Park beats anything neighbor Arlington has going.

The former firehouse bays are an airy dining area at FireHouse Gastro Park in Grand Prairie Bud Kennedy

Under one roof at 321 W. Main St., it combines:

A sunny dining room in the old firetruck bays, serving a contemporary menu of hot chicken, smoked brisket and more.

A cozy morning coffee bar

A nighttime bar called “Mama’s Medicine” with cocktails, patterned after a Los Angeles counterpart also owned in part by Jason Alan Smith.

And a large play yard for kids.

FireHouse is only in its first weeks, so the menu and restaurant are still in the development stage.

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“Dirtybird” fries are covered with hot chicken strips, special sauce, Cajun and garlic seasonings at FireHouse Gastro Park in Grand Prairie. Bud Kennedy

But a visit last weekend produced a near-perfect hot chicken sandwich and a platter of “Dirtybird” fries, covered in hot chicken and Cajun spice.

The menu is short. Grilled or fried chicken sandwiches ($10) come California-style, Nashville- or Buffalo-. A sample of the smoked brisket off the “Spartacus” food truck ($10) proved Texas-worthy, and there’s also a pulled pork sandwich or an order of loaded brisket nachos ($8) wuth pico de gallo and queso fresco.

Beer is $5, wine $6, cocktails $9 — simple. Or there’s all-natural sodas and juices.

Smith and Carlee Ewers combined their Texas knowledge with California decor to design a firehouse dining room and play yard with plenty of sunlight, comfortable spaces, a patio atmosphere and family excitement.

The FireHouse is open daily except Monday for morning coffee through dinner. It’s on West Main Street (Texas 180), a mile east of the Bush Turnpike; 469-909-4111,

(The barbecue restaurant getting statewide attention is Zavala’s, open Saturday lunch only at 421 W, Main St.; )


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.