Food & Drink

New spring menu blossoms at the Gardens Restaurant

Bread pudding and apricot chicken salad are two dishes that won’t change on the Gardens Restaurant’s new menu.
Bread pudding and apricot chicken salad are two dishes that won’t change on the Gardens Restaurant’s new menu.

Until this spring, the Gardens Restaurant lunch room hadn’t changed its menu much since — well, last century.

But the handsome restaurant hidden inside the Fort Worth Botanic Garden will premiere a new weekday menu next week, going with its expanded Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet.

Barely a mile from the Cultural District museums and trendy West 7th restaurants, the Gardens long has been families’ springtime favorite for the flower gardens and the $17.99 Sunday buffet.

Parents choose from entrees such as salmon or rosemary chicken, pastas and salads, and kids get to try two or three desserts such as lemon cheesecake or strawberry cake.

The new weekday menu will start in March, adding vegetarian and gluten-free choices. The Gardens also will add more lunch choices for what has become almost a secret hideaway lunch cafe on Rock Springs Road.

The new menu offers entrees such as a penne pasta with shrimp or chicken and vegetables, pecan-crusted chicken, tortilla-crusted tilapia, a hummus-artichoke flatbread and specialty burgers with pepper jack cheese and a fried egg.

The Gardens’ signature apricot chicken salad will come on a new ciabatta sandwich, and there’s also a chicken kebab Greek salad with yogurt sauce.

The weekday menu also will offer sliders, wraps and a homemade falafel burger with hummus/tzatziki sauce.

Don’t get scared off by price: The new lunch menu tops out at $13.50, making it an attractive alternative to West 7th or South University Drive restaurants.

The Gardens is open at 11 a.m. daily except Mondays. It serves lunch or brunch only, closing at 3 p.m.; 3220 Rock Springs Road at Old Garden Road, 817-731-2547,

Burgers return

Tommy’s Hamburgers is making a return to Ridgmar.

A Tommy’s Burgers & Brews will open in the former Dagwoods space on Mall Circle near Woody Creek Bar-B-Q, restoring the tradition of a long-popular former Tommy’s location on Green Oaks Road.

The Smith family originally opened a burger grill in 1983 in a gas station-convenience store on Loop 820 near Lake Worth. The closest Tommy’s now is “under the water tower” at 5228 Camp Bowie Blvd.

Tommy’s is open for lunch and dinner daily there or at 2455 Forest Park Blvd.;

Sushi and tacos

Little Lilly Sushi is about to reopen, and neighbor R Taco is not far behind.

Owner and chef Danny Liu had to clean Little Lilly up after a kitchen fire, and that gave him time to work on a new menu.

Little Lilly will always feature sushi but will add some fusion dishes like tuna tacos, he said this week.

“We’ll stick to Japanese cuisine but bring in some Western style,” he said, “or even some Tex-Mex style. We’re bringing in more spices to play with some different flavors.”

The restaurant is expected to reopen by March 1, maybe sooner; 6100 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-989-8886,

An R Taco (formerly Rusty Taco) will open next door, probably in April;

Mercado Texas-style

Americado is nearly open, and expect to be surprised.

The new food hall on West Berry Street captures some of the ambiance of a mercado in Mexico, with several stands under one roof.

Different food stations will sell street tacos, shrimp and seafood, rotisserie chicken, juices, coffees and cocktails.

The dining area seats 90, with room for 40 more on an outdoor patio. Americado eventually promises late-night dining with music.

Americado should be opening within days at 2000 W. Berry St.; 817-759-9107,

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538,, @EatsBeat. His column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in