It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to open an eatery or a cocktail establishment during a pandemic. But these seven restaurants and bars are banking that 2021 will be their year.
It’s difficult for a restaurant to be all things to all people, but Ascension succeeds in fitting that bill. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, brunch, small-batch roasted coffee or a glass of wine, the restaurant overlooking the Trinity River really does have something for everyone. The patio is dog-friendly, and a leisurely cup of something while sitting by the Trinity River is a nice way to unwind.
Magnolia Wine Bar
The seamless transition of ownership of the Magnolia Avenue gem from Will Churchill and Corrie Watson to Marilyn and Marty Englander in 2019 may have gone unnoticed by many. But now, the Englander's are rebranding beginning with a name change from Kent & Co. Wines to Magnolia Wine Bar. What stays the same: the beautiful patio and excellent wine selection. New features include more food menu items and a collaboration with Travis and Katrina Carpenter of Carpenter’s Café. And, maybe you’ll get a visit with Breese, the official Wine Dog of Magnolia Wine Bar.
The Maestro at Maestro Tacos is a former butcher who was craving the tastes of his hometown. Birria tacos, gorditos and a plethora of breakfast tacos share menu space with menudo and pozole on the weekends. During happy hour, your tacos are $2 each, and a pitcher of ‘ritas is $25. That’s plenty to share on the open-air patio.
Oak Acres BBQ & Bistro
Is it a breakfast joint, a barbecue place or a little of both? Biscuits, burritos and waffles share space on the menu with panini, burgers and, of course, chicken fried-steak with gravy. Barbecue options include brisket, chicken and turkey, sausage and ribs. Head over early because Oak Acres closes up mid-afternoon.
If you’re looking for an almost perfect indoor-outdoor (heavy on the outdoor) space, the new cocktail lounge/craft beer garden is a sure bet. Located in a former icehouse where Berry Street meets 8th Avenue just blocks from TCU, the creative cocktail makers get high marks for their senses of humor. After a Naked & Famous (mezcal, yellow chartreuse and Aperol) or a Toucan Play This Game (rum, pineapple and Campari) you'll be in the mood for a sandwich or a brisket pizza.
No doubt Tulips is a bar with a creative cocktail menu, but it’s also a mini-deli. The Reuben sandwiches are just as good as anything you’d find back east. Hot dogs, a house-made pimento cheese and a luscious smoked chicken salad round out the menu.
A mixture of comfortingly familiar Thai and interesting Laotian street food abound at the newest restaurant to open in Fort Worth. You’re likely familiar with the creamy, lemongrass-infused Tom Yum soup, but the Khao Piak Sen (the Lao version of chicken noodle soup) is worth a try. Other Laotian favorites include sausage and juicy pork shoulder bites, along with fried rice and Jeow Bong, the spicy smoked chili dipping sauce.
And coming soon:
Paris Coffee Shop
When I was new to the area, an acquaintance brought me to Paris Coffee Shop. I was more than a little surprised –– right up until we had the lemon meringue pie. The Near Southside staple has survived five decades of changing tastes (closer to 90 years if you count its beginnings on Hemphill Street) and Fort Worth restaurateur Lou Lambert, along with partners Roger Chieffalo, Mark Harris and Chris Reale, are planning to extend its life by tinkering with the menu and adding a bar and dinner service.
Roy Pope Grocery
Odds are if you’re a second- or third-generation Fort Worth native, someone in your family has a story about the historic little grocery store tucked in a neighborhood in Arlington Heights. The store weathered seven decades, and when the Larance family was ready to retire, Fort Worth restaurateur Lou Lambert, along with the same team that’s freshening up Paris Coffee Shop, partnered up to revitalize the landmark. It’s not open yet, but we’re anticipating a combo of fresh food prepared to order (thanks in part to Chef Bria Downey), a deli, a coffee bar and a nice wine list.
Revolver Taco Lounge
The family-owned taco joint opened on West 7th street with a splash in 2011, and then moved to Dallas in 2017. Chef and Owner Regino Rojas plans a spectacular homecoming into the Sundance Square space that formerly housed Taco Diner. Rojas still has his Revolver Dallas location, and if you’ve missed those pulpo tacos, you can get them in town soon in 2021.
Taco Heads Stockyards
Following the success of her Montgomery Street location, Chef and Entrepreneur Sarah Castillo will soon oversee the second Fort Worth location of Taco Heads in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The restaurant promises to serve up the same delectable food, craft cocktails and margs that have made the original location a staple among taco enthusiasts.
Popular Dallas-based Emporium Pies is headed west, landing in the burgeoning South Main Street urban village. Until the brick-and-mortar store is ready to go, keep an eye out on Emporium's social media pages for pop-up food truck events. Be prepared to get there early, demand is high and lines will form.