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A vegan restaurant grows in Cowtown -- and beyond (update)

The original Spiral Burger is still one of the popular menu items.
The original Spiral Burger is still one of the popular menu items. Star-Telegram

(UPDATED below with additional info from Spiral Diner’s Amy McNutt)

Spiral Diner, Fort Worth’s first and most successful vegan restaurant, announced plans Monday to open its third location in Denton.

Opening some time in early 2017, it will be located at “The Railyard,” a renovated historic building in downtown Denton, the restaurant revealed on its Facebook page.

Spiral, as it is affectionately known, first opened at the Fort Worth Rail Market in 2002, before moving to Magnolia Avenue in 2004, where it was one of the first of a wave of unique and homegrown restaurants that have helped make the street one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes in the city.

A second Spiral Diner opened in 2008 in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, and now the Denton location is slated to open in early 2017.

The new Spiral Diner, located near the courthouse square, will have something the others don’t: a big patio, according to CultureMap Dallas.

“Denton is ideal because it’s far enough away from both locations that we feel like we’ll serve a need,” Spiral Diner founder Amy McNutt told Teresa Gubbins. “We're also just excited about what’s happening up there. Every single thing on the square is so cool, and Denton seems to have a strong vision of what they want their city to be — a livable, walkable, bikeable city.”

Update: McNutt later told DFW.com via email that Spiral began planning the Denton location early this year and that “full-speed” work on it began in May.

“It’s a lot of work but when you are working with the your best buds it’s a pleasure,” McNutt said in the email. “Hardly feels like work.”

The Denton location will have the same menu — including beer and wine — as the other locations. “The decor will be the same comfy diner style that people associate with Spiral,” McNutt said. “We are working with interior designer, Kara Ketih, for all our interiors and she’s created a super cozy and unique space that we hope will still feel like home to our Dallas and Fort Worth regulars.”

Spiral Diner is one of Fort Worth’s best and unlikeliest success stories -- a vegan restaurant surviving and thriving in Cowtown.

It’s a regular on many “best” lists of DFW dining: best brunches, best vegetarian restaurants, even best place to get a vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Spiral’s funky retro atmosphere and menu filled with vegan versions of popular dishes like nachos, chili and burgers -- not to mention breakfast favorites like pancakes and desserts -- have kept customers coming back for more than a decade at the original location.

“I was really young and stupid when I did it,” McNutt told DFW.com’s Lonesome Vegetarian columnist Marilyn Bailey, recalling those first few weeks at the open air Rail Market. But then “everybody came out of the woodwork.”

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