Messina Hof Takes Root in Grapevine
The most decorated winery in Texas has opened an elegant satellite location in downtown Grapevine. Messina Hof Grapevine Winery, offering 30 wines by the bottle and nine wines on tap, is located in the historic Wallis Hotel, a two-story structure formerly home to the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau. Now the building features a second floor dedicated to private event space, while downstairs boasts a wine bar, lounge area, gift shop with gourmet foods, plus a 2,000-gallon production area. “My parents had a relationship with the city of Grapevine since the beginning of GrapeFest,” says Paul Bonarrigo, CEO of Bryan-based Messina Hof Winery and son of founders Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo. “They’ve been looking to move here for a long time.” Bonarrigo says Messina offers a wine for every palate, but “if you like port, ours is unique in that it’s naturally fermented.” Also try Messina’s Paulo line of bold reds. “They are the premium wines,” he says, “and my dad and I select the grapes.” 201 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817-442-8463, www.messinahof.com.
Let’s Eat Thai
The West 7th development will add Thai to its repertoire of dining options when Kin Kin Urban Thai opens this month. The concept is the passion project of Eddy Thretipthuangsin, the James Beard-recognized chef behind nearby Montgomery Plaza’s Bite City Grill, who will cook with his mother, Pat, to share a modern take on the fare of his homeland. (The mother-son duo once cooked for the Thai royal family.) Meaning “let’s eat” in Thai, Kin Kin will feature a more contemporary side of Thai cuisine with dishes like Thai Scotch eggs, filet mignon shish-kebabs with rice and green curry, and a Thai spin on the classic mule cocktail. “Bangkok is one of the most vibrant culinary cities,” says Thretipthuangsin. “I want to bring the food, and even the pop culture influences, back to Fort Worth diners.” 2801 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3888, www.kinkinurbanthai.com.
Korean Cuisine in Sundance
After months of construction in a former Quizno’s space, HoYa Korean Kitchen is anticipated to open in Sundance Square this month, bringing fast-casual Korean cuisine to downtown Fort Worth. The restaurant comes from the owners of Highland Park’s upscale sushi and sashimi bar Little Katana. (The restaurant group recently hired former Austin Uchi chef Jeramie Robison as the company executive chef.) Patrons will be able to build their own wraps, bowls and lunch boxes with choice of rice, proteins, vegetable and garnishes. One of HoYa’s most interesting menu items is the traditional bibimbap, a signature Korean dish with white rice, sauteed vegetables, chile pepper paste, soy sauce and a raw egg. Hot proteins for the dish include teriyaki and spicy chicken, beef bulgogi, spicy pork, crispy shrimp and crisp tofu, and ingredients are stirred together just before eating. HoYa will also offer sides of edamame, veggie tempura, gyoza, egg rolls, soups and popcorn shrimp as well as wine, sake and beer. Expect a large patio with a retractable roof to be erected by spring. 355 W. Third St., Fort Worth, 817-334-7999, www.hoyakoreankitchen.com.
Mod with Love
New vegan and raw sweets purveyor Mod Bakehouse is proving desserts can be healthful. Owned by former Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant Lina Biancamano — a former Fort Worth Club executive pastry chef who has tenure at Stephan Pyles Restaurant and Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck — and Carla Thurston, managing partner and Culinary School of Fort Worth graduate, the concept originated with Biancamano’s own dietary preferences. “I’m a huge fan of the raw food movement,” she says. “You can make a lot of delicious desserts that are very healthy and plant-based.” Mod not only stands for “modern,” but “to modify,” she says, and “bakehouse” stems from her Italian heritage. “I am very much about family and inviting people into my house and saying, ‘Let me bake for you.’” Gluten-free items include blueberry pie sweetened with maple syrup and topped with oat streusel. There are vegan cakes, cookies and candies, and raw food treats include strawberry coconut cream pie and chess pie made with an almond and date crust. Orders may be placed by phone, and delivery is available. 817-734-8579, www.modbakehouse.com.
Culinary School Redux
Culinary School of Fort Worth founder Judie Byrd has passed the baton of ownership to Wes Benefield, a Nashville native and Byrd family friend who grew up working in the food and beverage industry with his father before leaving to play baseball at Baylor University. “There was always this natural draw to come back to the culinary industry,” says Benefield, who’s working with chef faculty members to make the application process more rigorous for the recently accredited school. Curriculum is also being revamped to be on par with prestigious schools like the Culinary Institute of America, Benefield says. “There’s also a new focus on front-of-the-house service,” he says. “They can all plate amazing dishes in the back of the house.” The school has moved its monthly Sunday brunch to every third Saturday. Open to the public and BYOB, the brunch offers diners a choice of entree and stations for prepped-to-order salads, pastas, soups, omelets and desserts. January features will include truffled pork rib-eye with caramelized pear and lardon risotto, and lacquered ham and manchego croquettes with spiced carrot fennel puree. $24.95 per person. 6100 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-737-8427, www.csftw.edu.
Pearl Snap’s on a Roll
After sharing kitchen space with The Lunch Box for more than a year, Pearl Snap Kolaches will soon have its own storefront. Set to open this month in the former Tres Joses Tex-Mex restaurant space, Fort Worth’s newest kolache shop comes from buddies Greg Saltsman and Wade Chappell, who traveled Texas to taste the best kolaches in the state before developing their own recipes. Offerings include cream cheese, fruit-filled and a savory version using locally-sourced, casingless sausage. New items will include cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and, later this year, breakfast tacos. There’ll also be a coffee bar, couches and plenty of table seating. Hours will be 6-11 a.m., but expect later service when live music is added on weekends down the road. 4006 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, 817-233-8899, www.pskolaches.com.
Big Cheese in Sera’s Kitchen
When Magnolia Cheese Company announced it would close its doors to become a market, fans of chef Jen Williams wondered where they would be able to find her delicious dishes (especially the goat cheese cheesecake). The answer is Sera Dining & Wine, where Williams filled an executive chef vacancy after Brandon Hudson departed upon the birth of his son. “I wanted to broaden the appeal of the menu and hire a chef that had their own point of view and style,” says owner John Marsh. “It’s like we’re a new restaurant all over again.” Influences from Magnolia Cheese Company are apparent in the form of the cheese and charcuterie platters, small plates of house chevre with seasonal pesto, and the Caesar salad with white anchovies. Popular items include an Akaushi tri-tip roast, house-cured duck prosciutto, charred maitake mushrooms with figs, arugula and Parmesan, and chicken with almond and chevre couscous. “I’ve been very impressed with the way she took a look at what we already had and started recreating her own dishes,” says Marsh. He also is expanding Sera’s wine list beyond Spain and France to incorporate New World options to match Williams’ new American cuisine. 2418 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-927-7372, www.seradiningandwine.com.
The Cheesecake Factory opened its first Fort Worth location last month in Sundance Square across from Bass Hall, utilizing space left by Ferré and Barnes & Noble. The restaurant’s 8,700-square-foot dining room can seat up to 230 guests, and there are more than 200 menu items, as well as 30-plus gourmet cheesecakes, to choose from. On Fridays and Saturdays, late-night dining hours run until 12:30 a.m., making the venue a suitable stop for dessert and coffee (there’s a lengthy menu of hot drinks and espressos) after a performance. 455 Commerce St., Fort Worth, 817-348-0810, www.thecheesecakefactory.com.
The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based specialty grocer, will open a location in Southlake’s new Park Village development Jan. 14. The 25,000-square-foot store will house a bakery that will produce 30 fresh-baked breads and 14 different kinds of pie daily, a full-service meat counter, ready-to-eat entrees, fresh seafood and more than 200 imported and domestic cheeses. The produce department will feature a large organic selection. Grand-opening festivities will begin at 8 a.m. and will include chef demos, food sampling and giveaways. 1001 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-251-2104, www.thefreshmarket.com.
Bolo Italian Grill, a new fast-casual concept for handheld Italian pasta wraps, will open this month in Southlake. Bolo is short for Bologna, the Italian town that inspired the concept, says owner Judson Phillips. Bolo will offer flatbread wraps layered with angel hair or gluten-free penne pasta and topped with choice of proteins, veggies and greens, cheeses, herbs and house-made sauces. Guests can also opt for pasta bowls or salads, and every menu item can come “bambino-sized” into a kid-friendly portion. The eatery will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. 260 N. Kimball Ave., Southlake, 817-488-8829, www.boloitaliangrill.com.
Good Karma Kitchen, Fort Worth’s first vegetarian food truck, which developed a large following at local food parks, has shuttered its service window to become a full-time catering company. Owners Megan Topham and Christina MacMicken are also offering personal chef services, nutrition classes and private cooking classes. Some of the truck’s most popular items available through the catering menu include organic black bean chili with cheddar croutons, “Karma” asada tacos with grilled veggies and chipotle cream, spicy Asian flatbread pizza and lemon bars. www.thegoodkarmakitchen.com.
The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo runs Jan. 16 through Feb. 7, and this year, Nolan Ryan Beef is the official beef sponsor. The baseball legend’s brand-name beef products will be used at all Coburn’s barbecue stands, Reata at the Rodeo and Reata at the Backstage Club. Other notable food outlets include La Espuela Mexican Cantina and, new this year, Bayou Kitchen, a Cajun-inspired eatery located in the Stock Show cattle barns. www.fwssr.com.
Samson’s Market, new on Camp Bowie Boulevard, fills the plate for Fort Worth diners looking for authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Owned by Samson Yosef, an immigrant from Ethiopia, the tiny restaurant serves specialties such as samosas, flaky pastries with savory fillings, and platters of colorful small dishes like collard greens, lentils and chickpeas served atop spongy, sourdough flatbread called injera. Samson’s Market has limited seating and is open for lunch and dinner. 4307 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth.