UPDATE 5-10-2021: The store will open on Tuesday, May 11 at 7 am, per a Facebook post.
Independent grocer Roy Pope Grocery, a West Fort Worth institution for 77 years, is poised for a rebound with new owners, a new look, and a new foodie-esque slate of goods and services including coffee bar, wine bar, and fancy patio.
The landmark neighborhood grocery store will reopen in a renovated landmark at 2300 Merrick St., just a few steps off Camp Bowie's historic red bricks. According to a release, the reopening will happen in May.
Roy Pope sadly closed in April 2020, after being in business since 1943. But former owners Bob and Renee Larance subsequently found a new group to take over the store, its name, and its recipes. The new team includes restaurateur Lou Lambert (Dutch's Hamburgers, as well as several restaurants in Austin and San Antonio) and owner-operator Chris Reale, a veteran of Grace, Del Frisco's, and Lambert's, among other Fort Worth icons.
They've partnered with real estate broker Rodger Chieffalo and developer Mark Harris; the quartet also recently acquired Paris Coffee Shop, in Fort Worth's Near Southside.
Culinary director at Roy Pope is Bria Downey, award-winning chef who was a 2020 semi-finalist in the James Beard Awards and was also at the helm at Clay Pigeon Food & Drinks when it won CultureMap's Tastemaker Award for Best Restaurant in 2019. She also worked at Piattello Italian Kitchen, Winslow's Wine Bar, and Bird Cafe.
In addition to reviving classic Roy Pope dishes such as King Ranch chicken, mac & cheese, and beef stroganoff, she's creating a new menu of ready-made meals, ready-to-cook meals, and a selection of signature soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Special features will include steak night and barbecue feasts, via a custom-made smoker/grill rig from Mill Scale in Lockhart, Texas. Downey will also participate in demonstration videos sharing recipes and tips for at-home cooks to use Roy Pope products.
The store will emphasize Texas-made goods with locally made breads, pastries, and artisan cheeses. They'll also expand the wine and beer department, under the guidance of certified sommelier Mikey Riojas, who will also partner with the culinary department to devising food-and-beverage pairings and create a schedule of wine events and concierge services.
Other amenities include:
- coffee bar
- wine bar
- frozen custard stand with toppings
- floral department
- a catering operation
A dog-friendly outdoor patio created by architectural designer and Fort Worth native Jack Sanders includes an enlarged, covered entrance on the Merrick Street side of the building, as well as an improved, covered entrance on the west side of the building, adjacent to the parking lot.