We're in the middle of a heat wave and that's the inspiration for this edition of Where to Eat in Fort Worth right now, our monthly roundup of places to try. This list comprises five sizzling hot new restaurants — hot because they're new, and also hot because at least one is just plain hot, like burn-your-mouth hot.
The quintet covers a variety of cuisines including Mexican, Indian, BBQ, and fried chicken, which is well on its way to becoming an actual cuisine, what with the deluge of fried chicken restaurants. When will we tire of the fried chicken thing? Not today, apparently.
Here's our list of Where to eat in July:
Fried chicken quick-service concept has more than 1,000 locations around the country, tucked inside supermarkets, truck stops, fuel stations, and convenience stores such as Fuel City, where a Chester's just opened at the Haltom City Fuel City at 1715 Haltom Rd. Their fried chicken is marinated and double-breaded, so that it's both juicy and crunchy, earning them a following among truckers and travelers. They do fried chicken and tenders, but also livers and gizzards, not something you see at most squeaky-clean fried chicken joints. They also do biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, sides such as potato wedges, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, fried corn, and green beans with bacon, and desserts such as strawberry & cream cheese fried pie. Plus limited-time offerings such as their new Honey Stung Chicken Sandwich and Honey Stung Chicken Bites featuring fried chicken tossed in a spicy honey garlic sauce.
Herbs Indian Cuisine
New restaurant from chef Indra Paudel (Fishtail Nepalese and Indian) opened in June in Hurst at 660 Grapevine Pkwy. in the same shopping center as a Tom Thumb and Planet Fitness, in the former Salvadoreño Latín Cuisine, where he's serving a menu featuring Indian restaurant staples like samosas and chicken tikka masala but also spicy fish tikka, cooked in a clay pot, and fancier fusion entrees such as lamb kebabs and garlic and rosemary marinated scallops with coconut sauce. Speaking of fusion, they do a "Naanizza" — pizza on a naan flatbread topped with pesto, mozzarella, artichoke, tomato, and bell pepper. They also make the prized chicken momo, AKA Nepali-style steamed dumplings with chicken and mixed vegetables. To lure in newcomers, they serve a lunch buffet a generous seven days a week (some Indian restaurants only do it weekdays). They're getting raves for their authentic food and attentive service, too.
Husband-and-wife JR and Vanessa Herrera opened this storefront in Keller Town Center, at 121 Rufe Snow Dr. #127, in March, after earning a following via a food truck they founded in 2017, from which they served breakfast tacos and barbecue at the Keller Farmers Market and other pop-up events. The couple both have hospitality experience, having grown up around family-owned restaurants. At JR's, they're known for their award-winning brisket and pulled pork, plus fun specials they rotate in such as turkey legs and carne guisada tacos. Sides are house-made and include mac & cheese, potato salad (with mustard), and a cool smoked veggies side with zucchini, squash, tomato, and onion. They still serve breakfast tacos from 9-11 am at the restaurant as well as the food truck, which they've continued to set up at the farmers market every Saturday morning. Note: They'll be on vacation from July 17-25.
Paco's Mexican Cuisine
Popular Mexican eatery opened a second location on July 8 in Sundance Square, taking over the fabled former Taco Diner location. Being part of the downtown revival represents an exciting step for this family-owned restaurant which started out as the proverbial hole in the wall in Near Southside six years ago with only six employees and 12 tables. Their menu, comprising breakfast as well as lunch and dinner options, is extensive and appealing, including ceviche, fajitas, tacos and tortas, chile relleno, flautas with mole, and birria de res, but also fun surprises like calamari, Caesar salad, fideo soup, and avocado toast. Weekends, they do specials like paella for the family, and there's a keen selection of desserts that include rice pudding and churros with hot chocolate.
Ricky's Hot Chicken
Nashville-style chicken spot recently opened in Arlington at 3810 S Cooper St. #138, where they're serving what some aficionados feel is the best Nashville-style chicken around. This is a place where even the daring tread lightly when it comes to spice levels. As one foodie quipped, "Anyone who gets anything above hot at Ricky's is into S&M." Their menu includes chicken combos, tenders, wings, nuggets, sandwiches, golden crinkle-cut fries, and a delicacy called "fireballs," consisting of fried cheese curds in the same spicy Nashville-style breading. And here's a cool thing: They do a Chicken Nugget Flight, with a skewer of nuggets, one in every heat level ranging from Mild to A-Bomb, so you can try one of each. This is only the second location; founder and chef Ricky Tran opened the first in Richardson in 2020. Note: They're closed on Tuesdays-Wednesdays.