We never used to get excited about West Texas restaurants moving to town.
That all changed when Felipe Armenta brought his San Angelo-meets-California cooking to town. He opens his fourth restaurant next week: Cork & Pig Tavern.
Dallas gets big-name restaurants from New York. Ours comes from Odessa.
The Cork & Pig there made OpenTable’s list of the nation’s “100 Hottest” restaurants, mainly for the packed parking lot and crowds coming for the cocktails, wood-fired grill dinners and pizzas.
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In Fort Worth, Cork & Pig will open on Crockett Street in the pizza-heavy West 7th shops. But its medium-crust pizzas with a durum wheat-semolina crust are different.
The rest of the menu will include platters but also a wide selection of sandwiches and salads, Armenta said. His company’s other restaurants, The Tavern, Pacific Table and Press Cafe, are known for affordable menus and salads.
“I’m really proud of all the salads — I think each salad is different,” Armenta said.
Cork & Pig’s inexpensive lunch menu is meant to draw more midday business, he said. The restaurant replaces AF+B, which had great talent and food but lacked lunch or brunch appeal.
“Our brunch will have some items nobody else on West Seventh is doing right now,” he said without spilling details.
Cork & Pig is brighter than AF+B and will have more booths, he said.
“Fort Worth people love booths, so we tried to put in as many as we could,” he said.
Chef Virginia Dalbeck customized Cork & Pig’s craft cocktail menus from the Odessa and San Angelo locations.
New Glen Rose ’cue
After a three-year absence, the Hammond family is cooking again in Glen Rose, this time at the Roadrunner Smokehouse.
The family founded and sold Hammond’s and Loco Coyote. The new restaurant recaptures their family’s familiar barbecue, steak and catfish dinners and restores some old favorites such as peanut-butter pie.
Important warning: Online commenters say service so far can be slow, so be patient or give them more time.
More cheese, please
Grain & Dairy, a new artisan grilled-cheese sandwich shop, will open next week at 1222 W. Hurst Blvd.
The owner, Josh Rogers, is a former Texas de Brazil manager starting his first venture after 11 years in restaurants serving, cooking and managing. Grain & Dairy will be open for lunch and dinner daily; 817-616-3062, grainanddairy.com.
Spicing up the ’Hood
The Old Neighborhood Grill’s menu is anything but old.
The counter-service grill in Park Place Village has joined the spicy-chicken lineup with “Low Country” cayenne-pepper chicken strips or cayenne chicken-fried chicken.
It’s not as peppery as Gus’s Fried Chicken, coming later this year to West Magnolia Avenue, but try adding Cholula hot sauce or sriracha. And Old Neighborhood Grill has a much wider selection of vegetables and salads.
It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily except Sunday; 1633 Park Place Ave., 817-923-2282.