Is there any place in Fort Worth that’s more fun, funky, and pet- and pedestrian-friendly than Magnolia Avenue? The neighborhood on Fort Worth’s Near South Side is home to a series of excellent community events, like Friday on the Green and ArtsGoggle. Additionally, there are enough dining and drinking opportunities here to keep someone occupied for at least a week! Because the area is so vast, we’re focusing on places to eat for this post.
Stir Crazy Baked Goods (serving both sweet and savory items) opened their second storefront, and Melt Ice Creams recently moved onto Magnolia. Both stores use other local products (like beer from Rahr and Sons Brewing Company and coffee from nearby Avoca Coffee Roasters) in their goodies. 44BOOTLEGGER, which used to be a retail shop named for owner Tommy Brown’s bootlegger grandma, morphed into a beautiful bar in June. Bentley’s Dogs also arrived in June, and the name is a little misleading – in addition to the hot dogs, Bentley’s also offers assorted breakfast items. Brewed is a hybrid coffeehouse/gastropub/beer garden. The Bearded Lady is a pub with excellent food. Chimera Brewing Company offers a dozen or so house-made brews along with a pizza-heavy menu concepted by the Italian co-owner. Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge is a bright spot to get brunch, or have a beverage on the pleasantly shaded, pocket-sized patio.
Salute to the Old Guard
Paris Coffee Shop, Benito’s Mexican Cuisine, and King Tut Restaurant have fed folks in the neighborhood for decades. Paris gets the win for longest tenure –– the Smith family has run the restaurant on Magnolia and Hemphill since the early 70s. Spiral Diner, Fort Worth’s first (and only) solely vegan restaurant arrived on Magnolia in the early 2000s, and provides a soy- and gluten-free menu for diners with allergies. Spiral even offers a vegan beer and wine menu. The Zagat-rated Lilli’s Bistro started serving their upscale comfort food (including the nearly legendary gorgonzola waffle fries) in 2007. And the quirky Paul’s Donuts, Subs and Gyros has provided both breakfast and lunch food (including grilled cheese, burgers, and a gyro sandwich that’s out of this world) since 2009.
Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill opened in 2011 as a one-room restaurant, replacing Scampi’s Mediterranean Café, which was formerly owned by current co-owner Ann Shaw’s father Theo Diakas. Cat City Grill has one of the best plates of chicken-fried steak in this, or any, neighborhood –– and a Chateaubriand for two on weeknights if you’re more in the mood for something fancy. The menu at Yucatan Taco Stand shares DNA with both Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and the long-departed Pedro’s Trailer Park, and the list of over six dozen kinds of tequila is sure to please any agave aficionado.
Shinjuku Station serves tapas-style (or more properly, izakaya-style) small plates of some of the most beautiful, tasty Japanese food you’ve ever seen. The Flying Carpet Turkish Café provides authentic Turkish cuisine, stronger-than-death Turkish coffee, and they’ll sell you a real Turkish carpet if you like. Tina’s Cocina co-owner Juan Solis uses the recipes from mama Faustina’s taco stand in San Felipe, Mexico –– when it gets a little cooler, the green chicken pozole or roasted poblano pepper and cream soups will call to you. Nonna Tata serves an ever-changing array of Milanese/Northern Italian cuisine (but Nonna only takes cash or check).
Rachael Ray Knows Us!
In 2011, when Super Bowl XLV came to Arlington, the national magazines were filled with “Where to go and eat in Fort Worth/Dallas” articles. Former Food Network chef and uber-perky entrepreneur Rachael Ray named Ellerbe Fine Foods as a place to get some of the best farm-to-table eats. Rachael discovered what the rest of us have known since 2009. American Way magazine, Bon Appétit, Texas Monthly, and scores of other publications have also chimed in on Chef Molly McCook’s greatness.
The area around Magnolia Avenue is also full of interesting things to see and do, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. For the last word in all things Near Southside, check out Fort Worth South, Inc.’s website for their Browse the Near Southside guide.