A River Runs Through It

New Fort Worth restaurant sings a love song to the Trinity River

New Fort Worth restaurant sings a love song to the Trinity River

Fish on a plate with potatoes and slaw
Tributary Cafe will have a nautical theme and serve fresh fish, among other tasty dishes. iStock

A new cafe celebrating the Trinity River will open in a charming old house located in an up-and-coming neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown Fort Worth. Called the Tributary Cafe, it's going into the space at 2813 Race St., and comes from a couple, Cindy and Roney Wheeler, who live in the neighborhood.

Cindy is a Fort Worth native who's been in the restaurant business most of her life, working at places such as Neiman Marcus' Zodiac Room. She had her own restaurant in Waxahachie for several years before moving back to Fort Worth.

"I'd been wanting to do my own thing," she says. "I live in Oakhurst, close to Race Street, where they're doing improvements. I have a real interest in bettering the area, because it’s my neighborhood. That's when I started getting involved."

The little green building they're in serves as a counterpoint to the fancy new Race Street Lofts next door.

"It was once a home, a 1940s bungalow," she says. "The good thing is, there are high-end high-rise apartments and condos going up all around there. And they've already broken ground on more, going almost down to the river."

As for their menu, she says it's not just going to be bar food.

"We'll have a bar, but it's going to be mostly a restaurant, and I'll have some unique things coming to the table," she says. "We'll have fresh fish, never frozen, delivered three times a week."

The design will be a river theme.

"I'm hoping to have a big map of the Trinity on the wall, with a nautical décor," she says. "I don't have the menu to show yet, but to give you an idea, we'll incorporate river-related terms. 'The current' will be the daily special. 'What moves the water' will be what is available now. Desserts will be 'the mouth,' the end of the river."

The house also came with a fringe benefit that's become almost essential these days: a patio with outdoor seating.

Wheeler aspires to have the same kind of plucky spirit as other unique spots in Fort Worth that make the fabric of life more interesting.

"Part of the beauty of an area like Magnolia is that it still has some dive bars," she says. "I love Fred's Cafe in the middle of the West Seventh district. I hope we'll be like that."