For those who thrive on the thrills of trying new restaurants, these are good times. Gone are the days of having to wait for months on end for new spots to open. Give Fort Worth a week or two, and something new will come along.
For this month's Where to Eat, we toast the top 10 new arrivals.
East Hampton Sandwich Co.
After opening in Fort Worth two years ago, this East coast-inspired gourmet sandwich and salad shop is expanding to Southlake. A Dallas-based mini chain, East Hampton is best known for its $18 lobster roll. But better deals are to be had, like the fried chicken and pepper jack cheese sandwich or a goat cheese and mashed avocado salad, both under $10.
Charming new self-proclaimed "meatery" in Grapevine is headed up by former Abacus manager and wine guru Matthew Scott and features a pair of chefs: Norman Grimm, who's worked in kitchens from the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco to Souk, Baboush, and Kitchen LTO in Dallas; and sous chef Tom Yuengling, who worked under Michelin-star chef Markus Gass in Switzerland and, closer to North Texas, with John Tesar at Spoon and Jon Stevens at Stock & Barrel.
Boasting a Prohibition Era theme, Great Scott serves pasture-raised, Heritage-breed meat with charcuterie boards in sizes big and small. You can pick four to 18 items, including rabbit, duck pâte, and soppressata. Entrées include lobster strudel, confit chicken thigh, and brick-oven pizzas.
Heim Barbecue & Catering
Few restaurants have been greeted with as much enthusiasm as Travis and Emma Heim's first full-on restaurant, the first of many, if all goes according to plan. Contrary to what you may have heard about long waits, it's completely possible to eat Heim's brisket, ribs, and fantastic bacon burnt ends during your lunch hour. The line moves fairly quickly, and when it gets extra-crazy, bartenders offer seats at the bar, where it's full service. In the next few weeks, the Heims will unveil an evening bar menu, which will include bacon burnt ends and burgers.
HG Sply Co.
Another Dallas import, HG Sply is a Paleo-inspired restaurant and bar with a chef-designed menu from Danyele McPherson, of brief Top Chef fame. The namesake dish is bowls, comprised of "hunted" protein (Kobe beef, Scottish salmon) and "gathered" ingredients, such as honey-garlic Brussels sprouts and zucchini pasta. There are also burgers, tacos, salads, and cute desserts. Tucked into a nook in the WestBend development, the restaurant offers Instagram-worthy views of the Trinity River. A nearly 8,000-square foot patio is coming soon.
A good find for offbeat burger lovers is this new burger joint in Keller, which does Rodeo Goat-style gourmet burgers in a simple, homey atmosphere. They're so ridiculously huge, some of the burgers, such as the towering, three-patty Big Bang, are meant to be shared. Among the more imaginative burgers is a breakfast burger topped with bacon, fried eggs, and hash browns.
The long-vacant Love Shack space in So7 finally has an occupant, a Fort Worth spin-off of Dallas coffee shop Mudsmith. Like the Greenville Avenue original, this location — which is right around the corner from owner Brooke Humphries' other So7 hang-out, Barcadia — serves coffee, craft beer on tap, juices, and light food, such as a bacon and cheddar grilled cheese. Cool extras you don't normally see at a coffeehouse include New Orleans-style shaved ice and kombucha on draft.
Former Little Lilly Sushi exec chef Jesus Garcia opened this stylish ramen shop in the West Seventh spot most recently occupied by Kin Kin Urban Thai. The more than half-dozen variations of ramen come in broths both light and heavy, with ingredients such as pork belly, fishcake, and chicken thigh. Garcia's also serving the now-trending poke bowls. During lunch, it's counter service; at night, table service. On Friday and Saturday, the restaurant's open until 4 am.
Taste N See Chicken & Waffles
Newly opened family-run spot in south Fort Worth offers soul food staples such as shrimp and grits and chicken fried chicken, but focuses primarily on its namesake dish — puffy Belgian waffles topped with three chicken wings and your choice of toppings, from gravy to chocolate chips to good ol' fashioned butter and syrup.
Four years after taking over the long-running roadside breakfast and lunch joint Vickery Cafe, chef/owner Curtis James opens a new home-cooking spot in Haslet, with a bonus course. In addition to breakfast and lunch, Texan Diner offers dinner, too, with entrées such as bacon-wrapped meat loaf and chicken-fried sirloin steak.
Following Taco Diner and Blaze Pizza, Tokyo Joe's is the latest restaurant to open in the Waterside shopping district, where Whole Foods will soon rise. A fast-casual chain out of Colorado, TJ's specializes in made-to-order Asian fare, such as sushi, salads, and rice or noodle bowls. A handful of menu items are unique to Texas, among them a sushi roll with grilled steak, avocado, and shrimp; and the Surf & Turf, a bowl of steak, shrimp, snap peas, sautéed red peppers, and mushrooms, over white or brown rice. There's also an iced tea bar with five different flavors of iced tea.