If I learned anything at a talk in Arlington this week, I learned that Arlington is hungry for some new, contemporary restaurants.
The city is nationally known for international restaurants, serving everything from dim sum or chicken tikka masala to Jamaican and African cuisine.
But the Arlington area does not have a chef-driven bar-and-grill with inventive cocktails, unless you count R Bar & Grill (see below) or the hit-and-miss Stadium Club at AT&T Stadium.
FnG Eats will help alleviate that shortage when it opens this year in the old Grand Prairie fire station.
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Chef Bob Stephenson used to be with Cool River. His Keller restaurant and bar has been a consistent success in a town center where others struggled.
The new location was expected by midyear, but as usual, it’s been slower going. Watch for an update on opening at 321 W. Main St., and visit FnG Eats at 201 Town Center Lane, Keller; 817-741-5200, fngeats.com.
Return of Potager
Potager, the farm-fresh healthy cafe that lost its downtown Arlington location, is back — sort of.
Owner Cynthia Chippindale is occasionally serving soup or quiche at her Potager’s Other Stuff natural foods shop, across the street from the old Potager at 208 S. Mesquite St.
It’s open for lunch and afternoon shopping Tuesdays through Sundays; 682-553-5811.
Plenty to try
By the way, it’s always surprising how many people haven’t tried Arlington’s small, chef-owned restaurants.
▪ Damian’s Cajun Soul Cafe, chef Damian Placide’s DFW version of his mother’s famous New Iberia, La., restaurant, has a rotating lunch menu of fried chicken, fried pork chops, étouffée or gumbo straight from the bayou; 185 S. Watson Road, 817-649-7770, damians.letseat.at
▪ Fork in the Road, the city’s “hidden restaurant,” won a recent citywide burger challenge over five other good burger grills. Josh and Sonya Hopkins come up with all kinds of ideas; 1821 S. Fielder Road, 817-459-3675; facebook.com/ForkInTheRoadArlington
▪ Havana Bar & Grill, a new Cuban restaurant in south Arlington, is off to a fast start for its paella, ropa vieja, yuca fries and fried plantains. It’s now serving liquor; 3701 S. Cooper St., 682-323-5697.
▪ Istanbul Grill, the Sensel family’s excellent Mediterranean restaurant in south Arlington, consistently draws high ratings on social media and soon will open a second location in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square. Try the original at 6204 S. Cooper St., 817-557-3377, istanbulgrilltx.com.
▪ Prince Lebanese Grill is one of three Arlington restaurants featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives (along with Jamaica Gates and Taste of Europe, plus Pantego’s Chop House Burgers). Prince is the Kobty family’s success story, known for spicy shawarma, Israeli-style falafel and thyme pie; 502 W. Randol Mill Road, 817-469-1811, princelebanesegrill.com.
New chef at R Bar
R Bar & Grill, a rare Arlington contemporary chef-driven restaurant, has landed itinerant chef Isaac Walker for the restaurant in the Hilton Arlington.
Walker may be best known as a former chef at the Driskill in Austin, but he’s done stints at Westin and Doubletree hotels in the Dallas area. He also originated the distinctive pickles at Pickles BBQ in Watauga.
R Bar & Grill continues to serve a Texas-tinged menu of steaks, seafood, burgers, tacos and wood-fired pizzas.
It’s open for lunch and dinner daily, serving until 11 p.m. weeknights and midnight weekends; 2401 E. Lamar Blvd., rbarandgrilltx.com.