Almost without trying, the Fort Worth Stockyards has become a lunch and dining destination.
Most of the Stockyards’ steak or burger restaurants are rated 4-star or better on social media sites.
One consistent comment: “Better food than I would expect in a tourist trap.”
On Exchange Avenue, Hunter Brothers H3 Ranch, Cattlemen’s Steak House, Horseshoe Hill Cafe and the Star Cafe all maintain a busy lunch and dinner trade, regardless which music act is in town.
H3 is the Stockyards Hotel restaurant, known mainly for saddle-up barstools in Booger Red’s Saloon but also for midprice steaks grilled over hickory, homemade sauces and for the weekend breakfasts of sirloin-and-eggs, enchiladas and eggs or huevos rancheros.
H3 also serves a distinctive, thin-sliced fried catfish and side dishes such as sauteed spinach with blue cheese.
Cattlemen’s is a more expensive steakhouse at night, but the lunch menu is a downright bargain: steaks starting at about $15, grilled or blackened chicken for $10.50 and plenty of the local-favorite house salad and dinner rolls.
Lonesome Dove Western Bistro is a more contemporary restaurant with an upscale dinner menu. But go for the lunch specials, including a $10 daily special, a $13 bison burger and a $25 lunch portion of chef Tim Love’s memorable garlic-stuffed tenderloin.
West Exchange Avenue is the cream-gravy end of the street, where Horseshoe Hill and Star Cafe serve two of the very best chicken-fried steaks in Fort Worth.
Also nearby: the Love Shack, chef Tim Love’s walk-up burger stand.
The Love Shack soon will launch a chili parlor menu inside the adjacent White Elephant Saloon.
All of the above restaurants are within about two blocks around Exchange Avenue and North Main Street. More restaurants are nearby to the east and in Stockyards Station, including the movie-set Riscky’s Steakhouse.
Friday, Santa arrives by stagecoach along with the Fort Worth Herd cattle drive at 11:30 a.m.
The annual Christmas in the Stockyards parade is Dec. 3.
The salad side of Zeke’s
Zeke’s Fish & Chips was here before all the new seafood restaurants and oyster bars.
It marks 45 years Saturday, and did you know Zeke’s also has homemade chicken salad or shrimp gumbo?
In all my stops for a combo basket of classic baked or fried cod with first-rate, hand-battered fried eggplant or okra, I never noticed chicken salad on the menu.
It’s a nutty version, served on a green salad with avocado ($9.99) or as a sandwich ($8.25). The thick gumbo is $5.25 for a bowl.
For the 45th anniversary Saturday, Zeke’s will offer 45 percent off cod and catfish specials (about $6.50).
Saturday at Michaels
Another old favorite, Michaels Cuisine, is now open for brunch Saturdays.
Michaels’ Saturday morning menu includes lemon-ricotta pancakes, ancho-chile tacos with poblano-goat cheese grits, or a beef “gringo menudo.”
Chop House return
Mercury Chop House, reopening on Taylor Street downtown, plans to return about mid-December.
The prime steakhouse was planning to open Thanksgiving and serve a special turkey dinner to first responders, but now it will take a few more days to remodel and open in the former Vivo 53.