They say the west begins in Fort Worth, and I say the pioneering never ends. And everyone knows the Editor of Fort Worth Key is the authority on such things. More important than my unsolicited philosophizing is Hotel Drover’s resident eatery 97 West Kitchen & Bar. Experience adventurous dining with offerings described as “contemporary Texas fare, elevated ranch classics, and reimagined Southern comfort foods” (e.g., sweet tea marinated fried green tomatoes). 97 West Kitchen & Bar also offers an adult beverage curation composed of local spirits and an ever-changing menu of seasonal drinks. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-10 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-10 p.m. 200 Mule Alley Dr. 682-255-6497, www.hoteldrover.com/dining/97-west-kitchen-and-bar.
On the 6th floor of the SpringHill Suites in Fort Worth’s Historic Stockyards sits Ático, Brought to Fort Worth by Chef Tim Love, it's an inviting rooftop eatery and bar with a luxurious feel. The panoramic views of the Stockyards and glimmering lights of downtown are more than enough to keep you coming back trip after trip, but the carefully curated food and drink menu are what sets Ático apart from all the dining options available in the Stockyards. A wide array of Spanish-inspired drink and food options are available to those looking to expand their horizons and take a quick trip to Barcelona. ¡Vamos! Mon.-Fri. 4:30 p.m.-close. Sat.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-close. 2315 N. Main St. 682-255-5112, www.aticoftworth.com.
Behind tall glass walls in the Shops at Clearfork sits special occasion-worthy B&B Butchers, the refined meat eater’s delight. Next to the colossal cuts on display you’ll find a robust wine selection, admirable in their chilled cellar in the middle of the restaurant. While all of the steak house standbys are on the menu, and delivered exceptionally, you can also get full caviar service or try something more adventurous, like brisket ravioli. No time to sit and eat? No problem. Fresh cuts of meat are available next door at The Butcher Shop for those who’d rather cook at home. Steakhouse: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. The Butcher Shop: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. 5212 Marathon Ave. 817-737-5212, www.bbbutchers.com.
Located in the Stockyards’ hip Mule Alley, Biscuit Bar is the brainchild of Jake and Janie Burkett. After undergoing a personal family tragedy, in classic southern style they were showered with a bounty of literal comfort food. One item kept standing out and repeating itself, though: biscuits. So, the couple played with the idea of creating a build-your-own-biscuit bar at home, featuring biscuits made from scratch and lush toppings such as fried chicken, maple syrup, scrambled eggs, gravy, crispy bacon, and, of course, butter. Every menu item was created in the Burkett home kitchen, and the growing family decided to give the gift of comfort food right back to DFW. Come for the biscuits, stay for cocktails called “cereal sips” like their Cinnamon Toast Punch. Oh, and pro tip? Don’t sleep on the salads. Sun.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. & Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. 128 E. Exchange Ave. #640, 817-912-5922, www.thebiscuit.bar.
Composed of Texas ingredients, Café Modern’s menu blends seasonal foods from local artisans and diverse culinary traditions from around the globe. From sticky ribs to a cucumber and sundried tomato melt, this cloth-napkin restaurant has something for all tastes. You also get to enjoy the indoor and patio seating against the backdrop of Tadao Ando’s iconic architecture in the thriving Fort Worth Cultural District. It's the type of place you can take your chic grandmother in her Neiman Marcus slacks and your vegetarian friend in town from Bushwick wearing Off-White. The common denominator: chic. Dining is an art form, and Jett Mora is Chief Culinary Curator. Lunch Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Brunch Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Coffee/cocktails Tues.-Thurs. & Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dinner Fri. 5-8 p.m. 3200 Darnell St. 817-840-2186, www.themodern.org/café.
Steak isn’t only for dinner- try the daily lunch menu! You can get a luncheon steak that includes a baked potato, salad, and their famous homemade rolls. Start your meal off with a savory appetizer: “Shoot ’em Up Shrimp,” crab cakes, calf or lamb fries, onion rings, and the list goes on. Cattlemen’s offers BBQ ribs, lobster, chicken, pasta, pork chops, and “The Old Texas Standby” chicken fried steak. Prime rib is served on Friday and Saturday nights. Cattlemen’s extensive charcoal-broiled steak selection has been called “the ultimate in a fine steak.” Steaks can be ordered with a variety of enticing sauces like teriyaki, cognac pepper corn, béarnaise, or gorgonzola. Seafood selections include lobster, jumbo shrimp, crab cakes, halibut, salmon, tilapia, and catfish. Top off your dinner with a homemade dessert: apple or pecan pie, cobbler, banana pudding, chocolate cake, or New York-style cheesecake. Private banquet rooms offer seating for 10-120 guests. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. noon-9 p.m. 2458 N. Main St. 817-624-3945, www.cattlemenssteakhouse.com.
Best described as consistent, elegant American dining. Del Frisco’s is the place to go for an absolutely inspiring seafood tower or cut of meat with a thoughtful wine pairing. They have over 1400 wines, which means their sommelier has a fun job, but more importantly it means that your wine pairing will always be *chef kiss.* The restaurant’s interior is handsome and varied, including a dine-in wine cellar. Del Frisco’s also functions as a de facto butcher shop: on offer for diners to DIY at home are fresh seafood and raw meat, either à la carte or in a curated grill pack in the summer. When you’re looking for something familiar, Del Frisco’s always delivers. Sun.-Thurs. 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Bar opens at 4 p.m. daily. 812 Main St. 817-877-3999, www.delfriscos.com/steakhouse/fort-worth.
Upscale Mexican dining at its finest. Don Artemio takes heritage recipes from northestern Mexico and makes them with local Fort Worth ingredients and mouth-watering, modern panache. This is the kind of joint you go for a special occasion, and it’s worth every dime. From their nopalitos fritos (tenderfried cactus) to their El Famoso “Chile Hojaldrado” (cream cheese and pecan-stuffed poblano chile wrapped in puff pastry) to their in-house dry-aged beef, you simply can’t go wrong. From the clay bricks in the wall to the wood tables at which you sit, everything you see in the restaurant is imported from Saltillo, Mexico, too. It’s a love letter to Mexican heritage cuisine and a truly holistic experience... one that shouldn’t be missed. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5-10 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5-9 p.m. 3268 West 7th St. 817-470-1439, www.donartemio.us.
If you land at the DFW International Airport hard up for Tex-Mex, first of all, I understand you. Second of all, you’re in luck. Touted as “independently owned, internationally known,” Esparza’s is perched in the same town as the airport: Grapevine. Since 1985, the Restaurante Mexicano has served up delicious fare that includes Tex-Mex classics like enchiladas and tacos, but also innovations like fried avocado stuffed with brisket and an assortment of quesadillas, nachos, fajitas, salads, and desserts. They have a patio strung with lights and call themselves “the margarita capital of Texas.” Enough said. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. 124 E. Worth St. Grapevine, 76051, 817-481-4668, www.esparzastexas.com.
A dining experience like no other in Fort Worth. Owner Adam Jones, known as the city’s host for the unparalleled level of hospitality and service in his restaurants, invites you to enjoy “Modern American Classic” fare created by award winning Chef Blaine Staniford. In a comfortable modern setting that embodies the city’s energy, guests can enjoy the outdoor terrace on Main Street and a spectacular bar featuring unique seasonal cocktails and a separate menu for bar snacks. Glass-enclosed temperature-controlled wine cellars house a selection of Old and New World wines. For private events, four private dining rooms with multimedia capabilities seat 12-60 guests. Appetizers include lamb belly dumplings, oysters, kona kompachi, and beef tenderloin tartare. From the dinner menu, choices include bacon wrapped stuffed filet, Maine lobster, Duroc pork shank, and various chicken, fish, pasta, soup, and salad dishes. Mon.-Sat. 4 p.m.-9 p.m., closed Sun. 777 Main St., 817-877-3388, www.gracefortworth.com.
Honky Tonk Kitchen - Executive Chef Alex Walters brings a passion for authentic Texas cuisine and hospitality to Billy Bob’s. After attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Chef Alex spent a decade leading culinary efforts across DFW before joining the team at Billy Bob’s Texas. Serving as the banquet chef and sous chef prior to being offered the Executive Chef position, Alex poured his heart into bringing great food to patrons from all over the world. The food selections at Billy Bob’s are far greater than the restaurant’s name “Honky Tonk Kitchen” may imply. In addition to the Honky Tonk Kitchen, Chef Alex oversees all culinary related business including the banquet operations where Billy Bob’s may host 500-5000 guests in private events each week. Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. & 6 p.m.-close. Sun. noon-close. 2520 Rodeo Pl. 817-624-7117, www.billybobstexas.com/about/honky-tonk-kitchen.
A Fort Worth institution. When Mr. and Mrs. Joe T. Garcia first opened in their home to diners in 1935 there were 16 seats. Eventually, the famed Tex-Mex outpost has poured out onto their famous, twinkle-lit patio and now seats up to 1000 diners. It continues to be family-run to this day, and the original recipes are still in use. Joe believed the best advertising to be word of mouth, and he was right. Eighty-seven years later, the fare and ambiance keeps people coming back in droves. While the lunch menu features things like chimichangas, tamales, soups, and salads, the dinner menu is succinct: sizzling fajitas or enchiladas. The portions are generous which is good, because the tequila to margarita ratio is, too. The family actually filled in their backyard pool years ago to curb instances of enthusiastic swimmers… Great for casual nights and special occasions alike. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 2201 N. Commerce St. 817-626-4356, www.joetgarcias.com.
Located in the Kahn Building, The Kimbell Café offers in-house dining and to-go lunch options. Prepared by Chef Peter Kreidler, the Café menu offers visitors a weekly rotating selection of soups, sandwiches, and quiche. Afternoon tea for two is also available. Choose from a selection of fragrant loose-leaf teas and enjoy an array of sweet and savory items, including scones, finger sandwiches, cookies, and muffins, all served with house-made jams and salted butter. Lunch Tues.-Thurs. & Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Fri. & Sun. noon-2 p.m. Happy hour Fri. 5-7 p.m. Boxed lunches, beverages, desserts, and afternoon tea Tues.-Sun. 2-4 p.m. Closed Mon. 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. 817-332-8451, ext. 721, www.kimbellart.org/visit/dine.
Winner of Iron Chef and native Texan, Tim Love restaurants are always a safe bet. While he changes the Lonesome Dove menu daily, patrons can count on an inventive, delectable blend of western culture and modern sophistication. Think exploration of the Chisolm Trail while wearing alligator boots… and maybe a monocle. There’s been rabbit rattlesnake sausage, Wagyu Tomahawk, and kangaroo carpaccio. Yes, you read that right. For those who prefer to err on the side of conventional, there's been sliders, chile relleno, and incredible wedge salads. True to form there’s a new dessert each day, too, including things like deconstructed lemon meringue pie and Tuaca milkshakes. If it’s libations you seek, Lonesome Dove’s wine cellar is well stocked, whites and reds are available by the glass, and artisanal cocktails are aplenty. Dinner Mon.-Sat. 5 p.m.-close. Lunch Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Closed Sun. 2406 N. Main St., 817-740-8810, www.lonesomedovefortworth.com.
The incredible Cisnero Tex-Mex family recipes of Los Vaqueros have fed this guerita since I was knee high to a grasshopper, long before I was old enough to have one of their incredible margaritas. Whenever I think about Los Vaqueros I smell the sizzling fajitas sailing past, see the never-too-busy-for-you staff smiling in greeting, and taste the perfect queso/chip ratio. Located in an old Stockyards warehouse, the restaurant manages to be both cozy and cavernous, and is 100% authentically western. Los Vaqueros accommodates events (like my dad’s 50th birthday party!) as easily as they do a nice lunch for two. Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Mon. 2629 N. Main St. 817-624-1511, www.losvaqueros.com.
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and their famous martinis, Lucile’s is like a comforting blanket. A green and white checkered tablecloth blanket. Inside feels like an English pub crossed with a country café, and the menu is just as multi-faceted with things like a daily fresh fish, homemade desserts like peach cobbler, and four different types of eggs Benedict. The building the restaurant occupies has a rich restaurant history dating back to 1927. That’s nearly 100 years of feeding Fort Worth. No wonder Lucile’s commemorates the past with historical photos hung in the lobby. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 4700 Camp Bowie Blvd. 817-738-4761, www.lucilesstatesidebistro.com.
Famous for their signature German pancake, a crepe style cake filled with fresh-squeezed lemons, whipped butter, and powdered sugar, Ol' South also offers the “Dutch Baby,” a smaller version of the same. The restaurant has many savory breakfast options, such as The Skillet, a fluffy homemade biscuit smothered in home-style gravy with eggs, hash browns, cheddar cheese, your choice of meat, and an array of toppings. On offer for those looking for healthy options are grilled Cajun salmon, a turkey avocado wrap, grilled chicken spinach salad, and more. From an egg white Greek omelet to sinfully good southern chicken and waffles, from a juicy T-Rex Burger to sizzling breakfast tacos, Ol’ South Pancake House has it all. Open 24/7. 1509 S. University Dr. 817-336-0309, www.olsouthpancakehouse.com.
Casual breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour, curbside cocktails/family dinner packs, and weekend brunch? Count me in. For all of it. Press Cafe’s extensive menu includes notables like crab mac n’ cheese, banana walnut waffles, ahi heirloom salad, and short ribs. All of their burgers are made/ground in-house (including the veggie patties), and are just $10 during happy hour (Mon.-Thurs. 3 p.m.-6 p.m). Press is right on the Trinity, so when your day calls for some good, old fashioned contemplation and clearfork martinis while staring at a body of water, this is your place. Sun.-Tues. 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. 4801 Edwards Ranch Rd. #105, 817-570-6002, www.presscafeftworth.com.
prov·en·der | \ ˈprä-vən-dər \ Definition of provender; 1: dry food for domestic animals : FEED; 2: FOOD, VICTUALS. Ugh, don’t you love it when a bunch of hot millennial chefs open and operate an atmospheric, American West restaurant and feed you Skillet Cornbread with Whipped Honey Butter and Slow Smoked Beef Rib for Two, that you secretly try to eat for one? With the help of Chef Scott Lewis and Kellen Hamrah, Chef Marcus Paslay of Clay Pigeon and Piatello Italian Kitchen fame is at it again, this time in the Stockyards’ Mule Alley. The large outpost’s open kitchen specializes in meats either smoked or cooked over their wood-burning grill, all accompanied by an array of southern classics like their Pimento Cheese, Hoppin’ John, and Cheddar Cheese Grits. They have a robust liquor list and, given their location, of course they have a quality Moscow Mule on hand. But they’ve also got a little ditty called Golden Cheeked Warbler I have my eye on…Tues. 5-9 p.m. Wed.-Thurs. & Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Mon. 122 E. Exchange Ave. Suite 110, 817-782-9170, www.provenderhall.com.
Choosing from the best that southwestern food has to offer, Reata (Spanish for rope) offers a menu that ranges from steaks to Creole dishes to southern standbys like their West Texas Pecan Pie. An example for the first course is Reata signature jalepeño and cilantro soup. The main course could be pan-seared pepper crusted tenderloin with port wine sauce with sides like bourbon creamed corn and bacon wrapped asparagus. Finish your meal with a dessert classic or something new, like dessert tacos with caramelized bananas and chocolate gravy. Reata has a carefully selected wine list that complements its Texas cuisine and delicious cocktails like their Clear Fork Cherry Vodka Limeade. Reata is the name of the ranch in the movie Giant made in 1956, based on the novel by Edna Ferber. Lunch every day 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner Sun.-Thurs. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 310 Houston St. 817-336-1009, www.reata.net.
In a stiff competition between Rodeo Goat and some other really good burger places, Rodeo Goat was recently named the “Best Burger in DFW.” The Goat really is the G.O.A.T.! Some of their choices include Bad Hombre with maple bacon, gouda, swiss, Rahr & Sons (local brewery) Ugly Pug onions, mango pico, cream cheese spread, and Rahr & Sons Buffalo Butt Burn Hot Sauce, and the Oh Whitney, featuring garlic-roasted cremini mushrooms, pickled onions, gruyere, and soy caramel glaze. Rodeo Goat also has homemade vegan patties and Impossible burgers! Must-have sides are hand punched fries, Texas caviar, and cheese fries surprise. Wash it all down with a wide range of beers and finish with dessert: a milkshake or goat balls. What’re goat balls? You’ll have to go to find out. Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 2836 Bledsoe St. 817-877-4628, www.RodeoGoat.com.
The Fort Worth location is located inside The Mercantile and Arlington’s inside Gracie Lane, two curated marketplaces of 200+ dealer booths with impressive collections of gifts, home décor, antiques, fashion, furniture, and more. The Rose Garden is a delicate blend of English tradition and old southern charm with an assortment of soups, salads, fruit, and sandwiches. Their entrées are the very popular Rose Garden Variety which is a sampler plate of chicken salad, fresh fruit, quiche, soup, and a pumpkin bread sandwich, and all dishes include their famed “toasties” for the table. There are several delectable desserts and specialty coffees and teas, too, including a three-course high tea. Arlington location: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sun. 4720 S. Cooper St. 817-795-3093. Fort Worth location: Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. noon-3 p.m. Closed Mon. 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd. 817-731-7673, www.therosegardentearoom.com.
Alright, alright, alright (McConaughey voice), Second Rodeo Brewing’s authentic and unapologetic Texan style has descended upon the Fort Worth Stockyards. Inspired by Waylon, Willie, and the boys, there are three free live music sets every single day in this laid back restaurant and outdoor bar garden. Enjoy dishes like maple bacon glazed wings with waffle crumble and cheesesteak while you grab a pint and sit in a converted truck bed. Second Rodeo’s crown jewel is their on-site brewery led by Dennis Wehrmann, a fifth generation brewer. They’ve also got a cocktail called Atomic Cool-Aid which, for me, inspires intrigue... Come as you are to Second Rodeo Brewing for a true blue Texan experience and zero pretension. BYO dog! Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-midnight. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 122 E. Exchange Ave. #340, 817-240-4959, www.secondrodeobrewing.com.
Le restaurant Français de Fort Worth. Since 1985, Saint-Emilion has been serving French country cuisine such as foie gras au torchon with fig compote and savory soupes du jour as a precursor to a main course like boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, and Poulet basquaise. Desserts include crêpes au Grand Marnier, gâteau au chocolat, and brandy ice. A full wine list is available as well as red or white by the glass. Nightly blackboard specials list additional appetizers and main courses. Saint-Emilion will also customize a vegetarian plate. Zagat refers to Saint-Emilion as “a trip to France without leaving Fort Worth.” Call for hours. 3617 W. 7th St. 817-737-2781, www.saint-emilionrestaurant.com.
Hear ye, hear ye! Fort Worth finally got its very own Shake Shack. Longtime lovers of the Shack will be thrilled, and people who’ve yet to go to one will be receiving a personal wellness check from me. It’s simple, really: burgers, hot dogs, fries, and shakes... and one fabulous muenster and cheddar cheese-stuffed portobello burger for vegetarian friends. Let’s just say this- people love Shake Shack so much they get tattoos of the logo and cater their weddings with it. As if serving their Texas special Cold Shot Concrete made of vanilla custard, chocolate custard, malt, salted caramel, dark brown sugar, and chocolate toffee isn’t enough, Fort Worth’s Shack is also partnered with Alliance for Children, a nonprofit that protects Tarrant County children from child abuse. Sugar coma and philanthropy? Ideal. Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 122 E. Exchange Ave. #160, 817-885-5420, www.shakeshack.com/location/stockyards-tx.
Way before Waka Flocka Flame declared his veganism to the world, a day I know you all have marked in your calendars for posterity, Spiral Diner has been here, 100% vegan, patiently waiting for us. Listen, I’m a Texan so it’s my birthright to know my way around a barbecue pit, but I’ve also been vegetarian for 13 years now. I’ve done the legwork, and I’m here to tell you: animal-free eating does not have to be a bummer. They’ve got nachos. They’ve got six different burgers on deck. They’ve got a chocolate chip cookie sundae. They’ve got all-day breakfast. They’ve a full blown bakery with made-to-order cakes. They’ve got my money. Daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 1314 W. Magnolia Ave. 817-332-8834, www.spiraldiner.com/fort-worth.