UPDATE 5-20-2022: Paris Coffee Shop is now open daily for breakfast and lunch, with Saturday-Sunday brunch and daily dinner to come, they say.
The iconic restaurant, which opened in 1916 on Magnolia Avenue, has been in the midst of a renovation since the fall. Maybe you've given up hope that it will ever return, but a release reassures that the reopening is still happening. Hang on another 30 days.
Local restaurateur and chef Lou Lambert, who grew up going to Paris Coffee Shop, partnered with Fort Worth developer Mark Harris and longtime colleague Chris Reale to purchase the cafe from owner Mike Smith, who retired after 56 years. His father bought the restaurant from founder Vic Paris in 1926, and Mike assumed operations in 1965.
The renovation includes:
- wood detail on the exterior inspired by original photos of the café
- interior wood paneling, also informed by early photography
- pendant lighting over booths, sconces beside booths
- 1930s-'40s-style tile detail along the long counter base
- a neon sign that features 1940s-style lettering and lighting
The east exterior wall now feature a period-correct letter font for PARIS COFFEE SHOP, designed by local artist Sarah Ayala.
A 2004 mural by the late local artist Bo Powell was sacrificed in order to accommodate electrical and plumbing replacement. But the owners are taking a number of steps to compensate up for this mural tragedy, including a possible mural to be painted on the building's north wall, plus local art on the café’s interior west wall, where a large section in the main dining room will feature work each season by a different local artist.
A hallway will sport enlargements of black-and-white photos for which Paris Coffee Shop was famous, divided into historical sections pertaining to Fort Worth, TCU, and Paris Coffee Shop in the Mike Smith era.
Lambert says they're expanding the menu with offerings they hope will attract new clientele. Vegan, yes? New offerings include blue-plate specials, chicken-fried steak, chicken & dumplings, fried chicken, steak, fish, and Dutch babies for breakfast. Huh. No vegan chicken tenders. Seems like a missed opportunity.
They'll also add booze including mimosas, French 75, and bloody Marys with breakfast and brunch; and beer, wine, and cocktails during lunch and dinner.
"We embrace the coffee shop culture, and we’re committed to preserving the heritage of Paris Coffee Shop and everything that has made it a Fort Worth legend," Lambert says.