Eats Beat

He’s a winner on TV’s ‘Chopped’: Now it’s back to the biscuit oven and Ben’s Triple B

Chicken-fried steak on a biscuit with chili and queso at Ben’s Triple B.
Chicken-fried steak on a biscuit with chili and queso at Ben’s Triple B. bud@star-telegram.com

Chef Ben Merritt won “Chopped” and $10,000 on the Food Network, but he still had to bake biscuits.

Merritt, owner of Fixture Kitchen and Ben’s Triple B, had to keep the outcome secret more than a year since the contest was taped with Merritt and Fort Worth chef Kalen Jane Morgenstern.

This week, he is finally able to host a watch party at Fixture on Thursday for a show that put him on the national map the way his Triple B buttermilk biscuits put him on the local map.

“The show is real — when they say you’ve got 20 minutes, you’ve got 20 minutes,” he said: “We spent 15 hours recording a 1-hour show.”

He won the final episode with his graham-cracker silk ice cream sundae. That’s on the party menu Thursday at Fixture, 401 W. Magnolia Ave.

Chef Kalen Jane poses, as seen on Chopped.jpeg
Fort Worth chef Kalen Jane (Morganstern) on “Chopped.” Jason DeCrow The Food Network

Going only under the name “Kalen Jane,” the former “Hell’s Kitchen” contestant and chef at Fort Worth’s old Tillman’s was ousted in the semifinals of the July 4-themed contest, which required the chefs to cook with red, white and blue foods.

“Two chefs from the same city on the final show — that’s something you don’t ever see,” Merritt said.

“I’m ready to see what this does for Fort Worth and all the chefs here.”

For Merritt, it’s great publicity for Ben’s Triple B (“Biscuits, Burgers & Brews”), 3020 E. Rosedale St. at Wesleyan Street, and for Fixture, starting its fifth year at Magnolia Avenue and May Street.

Ben’s Triple B opened three months ago, long after the show was taped.

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A cherry-pie biscuit with vanilla ice cream at Ben’s Triple B. Bud Kennedy bud@star-telegram.com

But the biscuit sandwiches, biscuit “cherry pie” and burgers have become some of Merritt’s best-known dishes,

In particular, the “Dirty” biscuit with chicken-fried steak, chili and queso ($7.95) is a highlight along with a comparable burger.

But Merritt’s buttermilk biscuit is the better delivery method. It’s also used in the cherry “pie” with vanilla ice cream, or the strawberry shortcake with chocolate gravy.

There’s also a menu of salads. Sides include fries, tots, sweet-potato fries or the above-average hash browns, any of them loaded with chili and queso for an extra $5.

Ben’s Triple B opens at 10 a.m. daily for lunch and dinner; 682-385-9262, bens3b.com.

Dining best meal Fixture
Chicken and waffles with rosemary and chipotle maple syrup at Fixture Kitchen Paul Moseley DFW.com archives

Fixture, Merritt’s breakout restaurant after he left a job at Woodshed Smokehouse, is updating a fall menu and testing it weekends with a three-course chef’s menu, Merritt said.

Fixture became known quickly for chicken and waffles — two boneless thighs with a rosemary-scented waffle and chipotle maple syrup. That’s still the No. 1 order, he said.

Fixture is open for lunch and dinner weekdays and Saturdays and brunch Sundays; 817-708-2663, fixturefw.com.



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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.
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