Long-lost north Fort Worth restaurant gets new shot as craft coffee house
UPDATE 11-23-2021: Casa Azul Coffee is now open.
Fort Worth’s North Side will finally get caffeinated later this year when a craft coffee house takes over a space once occupied by a beloved restaurant. Casa Azul Coffeeis set to open by early fall in the former Sammy’s restaurant at 300 W. Central Ave.
Owner and coffee lover Joseph Landeros purchased the small frame house from the Castillo family — whose grandfather Sammy Pantoja wined and dined loyal customers at his namesake restaurant throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Landeros and his wife, Anette, left their careers to pull the trigger on their dream project there as they noticed coffee options in the area — between downtown and the Stockyards — are notably absent.
“The community is really lacking coffee options, aside from the QT gas station on Northside Drive and North Main,” says Landeros. “You have to drive to West Seventh or downtown to get to a coffee shop.”
Patrons can expect quality coffee with Latin flair, he says. Beverages will include Mexican mocha made with Oaxacan chocolate, lattes infused with flavors like tres leches cake, and café de olla — traditionally prepared in a clay pot with spices like cinnamon and clove.
Coffee was not always Landeros’ passion, but he learned to appreciate the beverage at an early age after watching his father enjoy it so much.
“I remember going with him to work during the summers when I was younger and seeing him and all the other men drinking their coffee before leaving the breakroom to begin their workdays” he says. “When I got a job as the shop-hand where my dad worked, I remember grabbing a cup of black coffee — because that’s how everyone in the oil field drank their coffee — and just holding it with them while inserting myself into their morning chit-chat routine, trying to be like one of the guys.
"What’s funny is that I also remember running to the breakroom once everyone left to the field to dump cream and sugar in the cup, because I couldn’t handle the bitter taste.”
Landeros’ palate has matured since then, he says, but still doesn’t mind a little cream and sugar.
The name Casa Azul is inspired by the couple’s visit to artist Frida Kahlo’s famous blue home of the same name in Mexico City.
“We hope to channel the same love of culture and creativity into our own Casa Azul,” Landeros says.
While there’ll be fresh coat of paint or two, much of the property’s character will remain unchanged. The original wood floors will stay, along with the Virgen de Guadalupe tiled artwork that was originally installed by the Pantoja family. Landeros says the image of the Virgin Mary is very special to Latino families and is often displayed in their homes.
Landeros also plans to eventually utilize the existing full kitchen to create an expansive menu of food items, but will offer pan dulce, pastries, and breakfast tacos to start. Additions to the building will include a spacious outdoor patio and a convenient drive-through.
“This will hopefully help us increase our reach and meet everyone’s needs in the community,” Landeros says. “As my wife says, drive-thrus are suddenly a saving grace when you have to get a toddler in and out of the car seat. We want to serve as many people as we can.
"Whether you’re a person who has time to read a newspaper, or if you really just want a good cup of coffee to start your busy day right, we want to be there for you.”