Although it was another healthy year for restaurant openings, 2016 also leveled a wrecking bar at several others in the Fort Worth area. Farewell to thee:
Bronson Rock Burgers and Beer: Keller got a little less cooler when this downtown burger spot closed in October. The restaurant hosted live bands on a nice patio, and the burgers were good, too — good enough to land the place a slot in the 2015 DFW.com Battle of the Burgers.
Cacharel Restaurant: Sometimes we see the closures coming, sometimes not. The recent demise of this 30-year-old institution in Arlington is of the latter camp. After serving as one of the few fine-dining spots between Dallas and Fort Worth, the French restaurant abruptly closed in early December, days before its lease was set to expire.
Dagwoods Fire Tap Grill: Talk about ambition: Dagwood’s Fire Tap Grill was one of three restaurants opened by chef David Hollister and biz partner Chris Hutchinson, each with its own niche. This West Seventh-area spot specialized in Texana fare, like a fantastic chicken-fried steak with bacon gravy, a great burger and impressive barbecue.
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The restaurant lost a key investor, and high competition and low visibility no doubt contributed to its April closing. Of Hollister and Hutchinson’s other restaurants, Common Ground Grill & Tap is still open near TCU and Dagwoods Grinders & Growlers, a craft beer/sandwich shop, remains a hit near Ridgmar Mall. (Hollister is no longer involved with Common Ground.)
DeVivo Bros. Latin Fusion: Good for John and Ralph DeVivo for trying to resurrect a troubled spot in Southlake with their unique takes on Latin-inspired food. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick and the restaurant closed less than six months after it opened. Their other restaurant, Devivo Bros. Eatery, remains open in a Keller strip centner.
Feedstore BBQ: Old Town Keller got hit with back-to-back closings this year. In addition to Bronson Rock taking a tumble, nearby Feedstore BBQ closed in February.
This family-friendly barbecue joint was oblivious to a lot of ’cue trends: no burnt ends, or fatty brisket, or even booze. Theirs was an old-school approach, and while we admired that defiance, it may have done them in.
Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill: What was weird about the closure of this downtown restaurant and bar wasn’t the closure itself as much as the reason the restaurant gave for it: Obamacare. We just figured no one liked the place.
FW Market + Table: It makes sense, at least in theory, to have a breakfast/lunch/dinner spot in the thick of resident-heavy West Seventh. But this ambitious concept in the former Tillman’s Roadhouse never found an audience, even though minor TV celeb Kalen Morgenstern, a former Hell’s Kitchen contestant, was exec chef. Which means there’s still not a good breakfast spot in the West Seventh area.
Kin Kin Urban Thai: With the closing of this upscale Thai restaurant in West Seventh, Fort Worth has seen the last of Dallas-based chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin (at least for now), who also opened and closed Bite City Grill in nearby Montgomery Plaza. Kin Kin was quickly repurposed into ramen hot spot Oni Ramen.
Luscher’s Red Hots: Loved by many local chefs and self-proclaimed foodies, this Deep Ellum hot dog and burger joint closed last month. You can still get Brian Luscher’s super popular burger at his other spot, The Grape.
Remedy: Comfort food was given a cheffy makeover at this Lower Greenville spot, but now the restaurant itself will go through a makeover. Out will be Remedy executive chef — and momentary Top Chef contestant —Danyele McPherson, moving on up to culinary director with the 80/20 Hospitality organization; in will be an American-Chinese menu overseen by former Victor Tango’s executive chef Kirstyn Brewer. The restaurant’s name has not been revealed.
Thurber Mingus: This one took us a little off-guard. Owner/chef Coby Baumann’s ode to burgers and Mexican food was consistently good. Just a few months after the place opened, Thurber Mingus advanced to the Final Four Round of DFW.com’s 2015 Burger Battle.
But Baumann may have been too far ahead of the curve: The stretch of White Settlement Road where TM was located saw very little traffic. That’ll no doubt change in the coming months, when a second location of Heim BBQ takes over the spot; Salsa Limon is also in the process of moving to the area.
Trinity River Tap House: We liked it better when it was called the Pour House and located downtown, but we’re still a little misty-eyed about the February departure of this bar-food/craft-beer spot, which moved to the West Seventh area, only to be buried by fierce competition.
Vivo 53: The curse of the Tower continued with the closing of this excellent Italian restaurant, which offered reasonably priced —and thoroughly enjoyable — pizza and pasta. Of all the places to close this year, this one was a real loss; the food and service were consistently good. The space has already been occupied by Mercury Chop House, which moved from its Sundance Square location to make way for a relocated Waters.
Wild Mushroom Steakhouse & Lounge: Jerret Joslin’s fine-dining restaurant, which began in Weatherford in 2009 and moved to west Fort Worth’s Winthrop Avenue in 2014, closed in February 2016.
Joslin told Star-Telegram “Eats Beat” columnist Bud Kennedy that he thought the Fort Worth spot (which had seen other restaurants come and go) was more suited to casual dining — and as if to fulfill that prophecy, a location of R. Taco is to open there in 2017.