It's that special time of the year: holidays, celebrations, and house guests from out of town. It won't be long before you're searching for places to visit to get you out of the house. You need to form a plan now.
The ideal place will satisfy a variety of tastes and have the capacity to handle a group. Even better if the place also, in one way or another, says "Fort Worth."
Here's our list of suggestions for where to take your holiday company in 2018:
Babe's Chicken Dinner House
Homey chain specializing in fried chicken is the perfect place to take the family. After all, they serve their sides family-style, just like home. There's fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, fried catfish, hickory-smoked ribs, chicken tenders, smoked chicken, fried catfish, and fluffy biscuits, at affordable prices. The location to visit is the massive new one that just opened in North Richland Hills, right off the freeway, where it occupies a 73,100-square-foot building that was once NRH's library, municipal court, and rec center.
Blue Mesa Grill
Local chain specializing in Southwestern food is now down to three locations and one of them is in Fort Worth. They were doing sweet potato chips way before those became a thing, and they have margaritas served in a shaker you can pour yourself. Their food remains consistent and good, the prices are reasonable, and there's a reason their weekend brunch has won many awards: It's a table of bounty with representative dishes from just about every food group and a real show-stopper.
Buffet at the Kimbell
With company in town, you'll want to show off Fort Worth's world-class museums including the Kimbell Art Museum, whose two current exhibits are dedicated to Spanish artist Goya and revered fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. This calls for a stop at the Buffet Restaurant, open for lunch Tuesdays-Sundays, and dinner on Friday nights. Dig into soups such as Southwestern vegetable and creamy chicken and barley, plus salads such as smoked turkey and rice salad, or greens with blue cheese dressing. There's usually a quiche, a sandwich, and a casserole of the day. All for $12 and with a gorgeous view of the museum courtyard.
Cannon Chinese Kitchen
Some people crave Chinese during the holidays, and you'll wow them with a visit to this perfect mom-and-pop. Cannon places a major emphasis on freshness and quality, with many dishes and sauces prepared from scratch, making it stand out from your typical Chinese restaurant. The setting — a restored 1930s home, with plush furniture and eye-catching wallpaper — is also a charmer and one-of-a-kind.
Food Hall at Crockett Row
The foodie phenomenon known as the food hall continues to spring up in cities across the country, and now Fort Worth has its version, as well. Located at Crockett Row in the West 7th district, the 16,000-square-foot hall features a wide array of top-notch vendors, such as chef John Tesar, serving barbecue, burgers, Mexican, sandwiches, coffee, pastries, doughnuts, and more. With that much variety, everyone can find something they like.
Fort Worth has a bounty of barbecue, making the cuisine a must-get for any out-of-towner, and Heim has risen to the top of the heap. Texas Monthly's Daniel Vaughn proclaimed it "the current gold standard of Fort Worth barbecue," a sterling endorsement. They're known for their brisket and burnt ends; their vegetable sides, not so much. But they have expanded their menu with a new feature: burgers made from 44 Farms ground beef mixed with their chopped brisket, topped with bacon burnt end jam.
Joe T. Garcia's
This venerable Mexican restaurant has been a Fort Worth institution since 1935 and remains family-owned to this day. Be sure to warn your guests that the menu is ridiculously limited in scope — fajitas, enchiladas, a few appetizers. Be sure to mention to whomever's footing the bill that they don't accept credit cards. Somehow, this does not hinder their allure amongst the locals. Nope, people still line up for an hour to get in. The margaritas are potent, the courtyard setting idyllic, and that's all it takes.
Burgers are one of Fort Worth's major food groups — you could spend a month dragging your guests to burger joints and not hit them all. You don't need your company in town that long. Stockyards spot from chef Tim Love was an early "better burger" player, putting fried eggs on their burgers before the idea became widespread. They've expanded the menu, adding chicken sandwiches and nachos to their lineup of burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, and dynamite milkshakes. And you can walk off your burger wandering the Stockyards.
You could visit Spiral Diner because it's a vegan restaurant in "Cowtown" — tongue cluck, such a curiosity. You could visit it to see the original location that started a wildly successful mini-chain with locations in Dallas and Denton. You could visit it to show that you're up on the latest foodie trends, vegan being the top trend of 2018. Or you could visit just to grab some great diner food that happens to be vegan, and some of the best cakes, pies, and baked goods around.
When cabin fever strikes, you and your clan will be more than ready to spend entire days at the Shops at Clearfork, Fort Worth's shiniest new shopping adventure. Dining options are plentiful; you kind of can't go wrong. For a fancy-but-casual meal, Twigs fills the bill with sandwiches, pizza, pasta, seafood, steak, and a novel crab mac and cheese. This Washington State concept may not be home grown, but this one's the first in Texas, and the seasonal spiced pear martini with Tito’s vodka and pear puree is persuasive.