One of the joys of summer is that we stay up a little later and stay out a little longer. In these times, we need food and drink to keep us going through the night. Luckily, Fort Worth and its surrounding areas have ample dining options that stay open late.
This month's Where to Eat is dedicated to the late-night diner. Here are the 10 best night-owl restaurants:
Alvarado's Mexican Food
One of Tarrant County's best-kept late-night dining secrets is this 24-hour Mexican-food spot in North Richland Hills. The restaurant recently moved from an old Taco Bell to a nearby strip mall, and it serves gringo-friendly Tex-Mex, from enchiladas to burritos, as well as more traditional Mexican fare, including menudo and street tacos with tripe and barbacoa. There's good horchata, too, and a salsa bar stocked with complimentary corn chips and house-made salsas.
The American Pub
One of the few restaurants on West 7th with super-late hours, this newish bar and restaurant serves pizza until 4 am Thursdays-Saturdays. Chef David Daniel, who's worked at Zoli's NY Pizza Tavern in Dallas and Zanata in Plano, tops his thick-crust pies with ingredients both traditional and not, from pepperoni to artichoke hearts. A cool little touch: a walk-up window where you can order individual slices, à la Austin's famed Home Slice Pizza.
Located next door to Magnolia Avenue's two other late-night spots (Bearded Lady and Benito's Authentic Mexican Food), Black Market is a unique restaurant-within-a-restaurant: After Italian spot Nonna Tata calls it a night, chef Evan Williams and baker Giovanna White take over, offering an entirely different menu to nighthawks and graveyard-shift employees of nearby hospitals. The menu changes daily but typically focuses on hand-helds: sandwiches, burgers, pastries, and breakfast tacos, all crafted with a certain degree of cheffy flair. Hours begin at midnight on Wednesdays-Saturdays and go till 8 am.
Before better bar food became a trend in Fort Worth, Buffalo Bros was there, serving above-average pizza and sandwiches to rowdy TCU students. There's a good reason the food's a cut above the rest: The restaurant was started in 2007 by chefs Jon Bonnell and Ed McOwen. A native of Buffalo, New York, McOwen contributed several hometown-inspired items to the menu, including wings and beef on weck, a roast beef sandwich slathered in house-made horseradish sauce that'll light your tongue afire, in a good way.
Open 24 hours Friday and Saturday, this Dallas chain's Fort Worth outpost, located near TCU, is an excellent alternative to the usual late-night fare. The expansive menu includes breakfast items such as pancakes and egg dishes, hearty burgers and chicken-fried steak, and sprouty salads. Bottomless cups of coffee, in various flavors, keep you adequately wired.
Crunch Donut Factory
Recalling a time when doughnut shops stayed up all night, this new spot in Arlington is open 24 hours. Owners Jim Huntley and Mike Weyneth serve house-made yeast and cake doughnuts, dressed with gourmet toppings and clever names, like Leonardo DeOreo and Katy Cherry. Crunch also offers a North Texas first: a build-your-own doughnut bar in which you can pile candy, icing, fruit, even soft-serve ice cream, onto your doughnut.
Ol' South Pancake House
Fort Worth's one and only nonchain 24-hour restaurant has been a magnet for all-nighters for more than 50 years. Many pile into the old-school booths for the German pancake — a plate-engulfing crepe doused with butter, lemon juice, and powdered sugar, then folded over like a burrito at your table by your server. Others just like to chat and keep an eye out for rock stars and celebrities, who come tumbling in at all hours.
Fort Worth boasts several late-night taquerias, but few can best the food at this Fort Worth mini-chain. The Museum District location, housed in a cool Streamline Moderne building that dates back to the 1940s, stays open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Tacos are a good size and come with a range of fillings from grilled steak, pork shoulder, garlic mashed potatoes, and, best of all, silky barbacoa. Another good option is a "molca bowl," a layered dip consisting of refried beans, Mexican rice, cabbage slaw, chips, and choice of meat. Eat on the patio for front-row seats to West 7th revelry.
The second Velvet Taco location in North Texas is nearly identical to the original in Dallas, with late hours, gringo-friendly tacos, good margaritas, and a friendly vibe. Corn tortillas are made in-house. Chicken tacos are stuffed with meat pulled straight off the rotisserie. Side dishes are good, too, like tater tots topped with goat cheese, bacon, and avocado crema; and "elote," Mexican-style corn doused in Valentina sauce and queso fresco. They're open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, 3 am Thursday, and 4 am Friday and Saturday.
Late-night barbecue cravings can be sated at Leroy Wilson's snug barbecue joint on Fort Worth's east side, since it stays open until midnight Thursday through Saturday. You might not find a better chopped brisket sandwich in the city, and pork ribs are meaty and tender. There's a tiny dining room with cheery employees and a single TV; otherwise, zoom through the drive-thru.
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