UPDATE 4-4-2022: The Beast and Company opened April 1. The menu includes deviled eggs, charcuterie, Thai lobster bisque, orecchiette with boar and white Bolognese, lamb, pork collar, and saddle of rabbit with Benton's country ham. Desserts include cake & ice cream, and milk & cookies.
A new restaurant with a worldly flair is coming to Fort Worth's Magnolia Avenue: Called The Beast and Company, it'll open at 1010 W. Magnolia Ave., IE the former Mamma Mia space, serving an intriguing mix of Southern and global cuisine.
The Beast is a collaboration between founder Dustin Lee, a former marketing exec who moved to Fort Worth from Houston to launch The Beast; and chef Michael Arlt, a Johnson & Wales grad who has cooked in restaurants in Florida, Chicago, and Maine, including a stint at Emeril Lagasse restaurant E2 Emeril's Eatery.
Both are well-traveled and conversant in multiple cuisines, and wanted to bring some of that accumulated insight to Fort Worth. They're in the final stages of construction and hope to be open by the end of February.
The Beast will be a globally-inspired Southern restaurant, says Lee.
"It's rooted in Southern traditions, but we like to trace the flavors back to their point of origin," he says. "Flavors in the South incorporate a variety of elements including Western African, Northern African, a little Vietnamese, French, and Spanish."
The menu will be seasonal but with a few key signatures that serve as emblems of what The Beast is about. One is Mezze Maniche, a pasta dish with small tubes tossed in a Bolognese sauce that's "white" and features goat.
"It's a type of Italian pasta we'll serve with a goat Bolognese, it's a white bolognese, meaning no tomatoes," he says. "It has a salty Parmesan quality that really connects with the goat. Most often in a Bolognese, you have meat or lamb but you rarely see goat. Trust me, you want a gaminess in your Bolognese."
There's also Thai lobster bisque with a Thai lobster dumpling, and a spicy version of bouillabaisse made with skate wing.
The restaurant will have a full bar, with cocktails that reflect their global focus such as a saffron-tinted Bees Knees.
Prior to its tenure as Mamma Mia's, the location was home to Jerry Van Dyke's Soda Shoppe, owned by actor-comedian Jerry Van Dyke, which opened in the space in 1998.
"Unfortunately, during its Mamma Mia's days, it had fallen into disrepair," Lee says. "The walls were bleeding grease, we had to replace much of the drywall, and the ceiling was caving in in the kitchen. We did a lot of work to the floor to restore it."
"This was built in 1941 — from what I understand, it was military warehouse," he says.
"I love a place that has some history," he says. "Fort Worth is a huge market, and we're hoping to bring a new destination restaurant to town."