Bria Downey is a superstar chef and a leading lesbian in the Fort Worth food scene. She’s been recognized for her excellence in the kitchen — including a James Beard Award semi-finalist nomination — and is the Culinary Director at Roy Pope Grocery, a Fort Worth institution with over 75 years of history. She’s lived in the city now for five years and continues to find new reasons to love Fort Worth.
We recently caught up with Bria to hear her about her city through her eyes. Here’s what she had to say about all the ways Fort Worth keeps her coming back for more.
Favorite queer space in the city?
"Oh... honestly, I would say this whole city is my queer space. I could go anywhere in Fort Worth and have a good time."
Favorite place for a date?
"Hands down, the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. They're so gorgeous. For me, it’s one of the best botanic gardens in the entire country."
Most underrated spot in the city?
"If anything, I think our [entire] city is highly underrated. We have amazing museums and the Fort Worth Zoo. We also have some great restaurants — our foodie scene is growing so quickly — and fantastic bars."
Favorite neighborhood and why?
"I would have to say Magnolia Avenue [in the Near Southside]! Some of my favorite spots in the whole city are located here. The Usual on Magnolia is one of the best bars in the city."
What's one thing you can't leave Fort Worth with trying?
"Oh, where do I begin? A French 75 at The Usual on Magnolia. You have to try the fried chicken at Drew’s Place. Go to Taco Heads and get Mama Castillo’s chicken tacos. Oh, and Wishbone & Flynt have incredible and innovative PB&J wings — just trust me. Any biscuit with green beans at Hot Box Biscuit Club."
"Some non-food related stuff: taking a walk on the Trinity Trails at sunset is a must-do. Visiting Sundance Square, especially when there’s an event going like the art festival or the tree lighting (or New Year’s Eve). These are two of my favorites times to be downtown."