The popular eatery the Wild Mushroom may have moved to Fort Worth but Chef Jerrett Joslin hasn’t forgotten his foodie fan base.
The 44-year-old culinary wizard will be at it again beginning next week when he and partner Tom Moncrief open Vintage Grille, located near downtown, just across from the Weatherford Farmer’s Market.
“The original idea came from Tom,” Joslin said. “He and his wife were on their honeymoon in Sydney, Australia, back in 1988. He saw the idea of a combination museum/restaurant.”
Joslin laughed, thinking he was graduating from high school during the time, but admired that Moncrief held on to the idea until the time was right.
“So [Tom] had the idea, and a place picked out in Fort Worth, but one thing lead to another and it never happened,” Joslin said. “Then he found [this] property available and he purchased it and sat on it.”
Joslin said for more than 13 years, Moncrief had been a customer of his, from the time he owned and operated Randall’s Gourmet Cheesecake in Fort Worth in the early 2000s, until the Wild Mushroom.
“I told [Tom] I was looking for a catering kitchen; we’ve gotten big enough that I needed some catering space,” Joslin said. “He showed me several locations but none fit quite right until he showed me this place.”
Joslin said the plans had already been drawn up, but needed “tweaking” for what he had in mind.
“After we re-worked the plans, we structured a deal and Tom brought me on board,” Joslin added.
Work began in the middle of August 2014 and the restaurant is scheduled to open on Monday.
Joslin said there were some “challenges.” To meet the American Disabilities Act requirements said they had to raise the floor 24 inches in the dining room and 36 inches in the bar. If that wasn’t enough, they had to raise a sagging ceiling by more than 10 inches as well.
Despite those factors, Joslin was able to fulfill the vision that both he and Moncrief had originally.
“I’ve always wanted to have a ‘farm to table’ southern cuisine restaurant,” Joslin said. “This venture gave me the ability to do both - fulfill Tom’s idea of have a classic car museum, and a first rate grill.”
He said that the Weatherford Farmer’s Market, just across the street, would enable him to have access to the freshest ingredients.
“I want to keep some of Texas cuisine with it being Texas sourced, but at the same time having that ‘southern comfort’ feel to it,” he said. “We’ll have chicken and waffles, chicken fried steak and a few menu items playing off the car museum.”
He said they will also be serving the burgers people have grown to know and love while dining at the Wild Mushroom.
“I also wanted to offer other menu items that our fans really enjoyed, like our choice filets, the sea bass, salmon and oysters on the half shell,” Joslin said. “The biggest thing that separates us from everyone else is that we’re going to be a destination for folks around the state, but also for locals to come hang out.”
Restaurant goers will be able to do just that in the main dining room or bar, which seats more than 60 people. Or patrons can dine alfresco on the 1,700 square foot patio that will hold an additional 60-100 people and is also pet friendly.
Joslin said they will also plan to have live music from time-to-time. Even the soda machine is impressive serving 150 different flavors. It’s outer case is designed by Ferrari and its inner workings by Porsche, the only one of its kind in Parker County, Joslin said.
As for the museum, the curator will be Terrance Mann, who is the president of the Cowtown Cruisers for a Cure.
“He has a group of people that want to rotate their cars through regularly,” Joslin added. “A lot of the proceeds will be donated to charities.”
The goal will be to have the museum open the hours that the restaurant is.
“I love it here,” Joslin said. “We believe in supporting our friends and family.”
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102
Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch (Counter service)
Dinner menu begins at 5 p.m. (Seated service)
Sat. and Sun. brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.