Some call them "pop-up restaurants"; others prefer the more refined term "supper clubs" -- whatever name you give them, though, they are definitely here to stay. For chefs with serious ambition, if not necessarily the perfect permanent location, these makeshift, temporary restaurants -- which have been known to "pop up" in abandoned warehouses, department stores and even the London Eye -- are the perfect opportunity to try out adventurous recipes and build a name for themselves. These days, pop-ups are so popular that no less a luminary than Gwyneth Paltrow is getting into the act.
And now comes Fort Worth's contribution to pop-up mania, though this time it's with a twist: Twenty at the Tower is a pop-up that will operate in The Tower in downtown Fort Worth, for just twenty evenings in June and July -- but instead of just one chef, twenty different North Texas chefs will each take the reins for a night. And instead of knowing which chef will be cooking on which night, the organizers are keeping the schedule a secret.
"That is the exciting part," explains Russell Kirkpatrick, one of the event organizers. "You show up for the dinner that you have purchased tickets for and find out who the chef is when you arrive."
That means you might find yourself enjoying a dinner conjured up by Fort Worth culinary titans like Blaine Staniford of Grace, or Tim Love of Lonesome Dove and Love Shack, or you might end up getting to experience the flavors of a highly-lauded Dallas chef, like Spoon's John Tesar (who competed on the last season of Top Chef) or FT33's Matt McCallister. Seems like a win-win no matter what night you go.
Here's how it will work: Twenty at the Tower will be held on Sunday, Monday and occasional Tuesday nights, from June 3 to July 29, with tickets costing $75 per person. (You can make a reservation for Twenty at the Tower here.) Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the multi-course dinner to commence promptly at 7 p.m. Seating is family-style, and alcohol is BYOB. The event is organized by and benefiting the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, a recently announced venture which is set to have its debut four-day festival next March -- so you'll be eating for a good cultural cause.
The only question that remains: Now that pop-up restaurants have arrived in Fort Worth, can a pop-up gingerbread house be far behind?
Photo: Fort Worth Chef Tim Love