In the culinary world, the term “fusion” comes up often – it refers to restaurants that combine two seemingly different ethnic traditions to create a singular style. Here in Fort Worth, we have a number of excellent examples of fusion cuisine: Mijo’s Fusion, on Magnolia Avenue, combines Latin American and Asian food (the chili poblano braised tofu, with edamame, bok choy and garbanzo beans, is one of the most creative vegetarian dishes around) and Paco and John’s Mexican Diner mixes up dishes with both Mexican and French influences.
Now the recently opened Kent & Co. Wines, also on Magnolia Avenue in the ever-bustling Near Southside district, takes fusion to a whole new level: It combines a wine bar and, um, an automative repair shop.
Yes, you read that right.
It’s one of those only-in-Cowtown kind places that make living here so much fun – and that make so many others eager to visit Fort Worth. Owned by brother and sister Will Churchill and Corrie Watson, whose family owns Frank Kent Motor Co., Kent & Co. serves up an ambitiously curated list of 250-plus wines, by the glass and by the bottle, along with a selection of small appetizer plates. So far, pretty normal.
But if your car’s alternator switch just so happens to be giving you trouble, or maybe you just need an oil change, you can also bring it here. The staff will shuttle it to one of the nearby Frank Kent service departments, and you can order or glass of wine while you wait. (Or – if you’re boring – they will drive you to work and then pick you up when your car is ready.)
We were skeptics at first, but during a recent visit we were instant converts. The gorgeous, glass-filled space features two cars in the display window – these show cars will be a rotating combination of new and classic vehicles. Inside, you’ll find a dozen or so tables in a light-filled, airy main room, surrounded by countless bottles of wine behind glass cases. There is also a posh-looking outdoor patio, complete with overhead fans and comfy couches, that was crowded with happy hour revelers when we visited.
Since we were in the mood for a more summery wine, we split a bottle of the 2010 Ramey Chardonnay, a terrific choice with a fruity bouquet and a slightly mineral finish. And while the current wine list isn’t available online, you can rest assured you won’t be at a loss for options – Kent & Co. has bottles and glasses available at just about every price point. (Beer-lovers are welcome here, too: There are eight Texas brews available on tap, including Rahr & Sons, Revolver and Leprechaun Cider.)
Food-wise, the options are modest, but uniformly delicious, including a chacuteire plate featuring Usigner meats, and a cheese plate featuring seasonally-changing cheeses. (Both come with bread from Black Rooster Bakery.) And while we didn’t try one of the desserts made by Stir Crazy Bakery, we will be back soon enough – and we already have our eyes on the chocolate quinoa cake.
All told, it's a true triumph of fusion thinking. Indeed, Kent & Co. in so inviting that it almost makes you wish your car would break down just so you have an extra excuse to visit.