Thanks to the pandemic, Where to Eat took a coronavirus timeout. But new restaurants have continued to open in Fort Worth, and so we return to our routine of marking those openings with our monthly column.
Perhaps with mask on and keeping a distance of six feet from your fellow diners, you're ready to try these spots.
If you're not, you can always do takeout, which all seven of these new restaurants offer.
Here's our comeback edition of Where to Eat in Fort Worth right now:
360 Smoke Shack
New sandwich shop in the West 7th area comes from caterer Cody Hickman, who took over the pint-size spot at 2708 West Seventh St., last occupied by Opa Mediterranean Café. Hickman’s specialty is classic sandwiches done with cheffy twists. His take on a Sloppy Joe comes with ground meat, bacon, housemade pickles, and apple bourbon barbecue sauce. A pulled pork sandwich is crowned with jalapeño cilantro coleslaw. His portobello comes with a smear of chipotle aioli. There are also several salads, smoked wings, and rotating desserts, including a whoopie pie of the month.
Berry Street Ice House
Berry Street Ice House takes over the spacious south side building at 2000 West Berry St., originally opened by Americado, then briefly occupied by The Moon. Local chef Stefon Rishel and his Trident Restaurant Group, which earlier this year also opened Wishbone & Flynt, have turned the space into a fun, family-friendly affair, offering bar food with whimsical twists, like a smoked and fried bologna sandwich, topped with housemade cheese whiz, and nachos made with Doritos and house-pickled jalapeños. The restaurant’s mammoth outdoor area is outfitted with games, an area for live entertainment, and a vintage Airstream, where kids and adults can load up on sweet treats like sno-cones and milkshakes, of both the boozy and kid-friendly variety.
Del Campo Empanadas
This family-run spot in far north Fort Worth, at 10724 N. Beach St., specializes in its namesake item: Argentina-style pastries filled with sweet and savory ingredients. Options include beef, chicken, ham and cheese, shrimp, spinach, and banana and Nutella. One of the more interesting empanadas is the caprese, filled with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. There are daily specials, too, including a pizza empanada filled with pepperoni, mozzarella, and oregano. Located in a strip mall, the small, charming cafe comes from Andrea Cacho and Leo Gigante, who hail from Buenos Aires.
The west side gets a new breakfast and lunch spot, courtesy of this mom-and-pop newcomer, recently opened in the old Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen space, at 5724 Locke Ave. The restaurant is named after a family member who loved to cook, says co-owner Brad Fields, and is meant to pay homage to old school, home-cooked meals. Lunch entrees include burgers, chicken-fried steak, a BLT topped with a fried egg, a grilled cheese sandwich made with onions and bacon, and soups and salads. For breakfast, there are egg dishes aplenty, including omelettes, migas, and build-your-own scrambles; pancakes smeared with peanut butter and jelly; and French toast topped with bits of funnel cake.
Restaurant number three from local chef and restaurateur Marcus Paslay pays tribute to Southern cooking, making it the perfect entry into the Fort Worth Stockyards’ new Mule Alley development. It’s a two-story beauty, with cozy nooks and crannies for quiet socializing (from a distance, of course) and front and center tables for picture-perfect views of the open kitchen. Must-get dishes include grilled trout on a bed of “Hoppin’ John,” a stew of black-eyed peas, jalapeños and tomatoes, and housemade pork rinds served with a side of white barbecue sauce. Other dishes include classic chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and peppered cream gravy, shrimp and grits, and sausage and chicken gumbo. As is the case at Paslay’s other two restaurants, Piattello Italian Kitchen and Clay Pigeon, there’s an impressive wine list, craft cocktails, and a good selection of beers.
Taqueria El Arquito
Fort Worthians with a thing for gas station tacos will find a lot to like here, at this new spot inside a Valero gas station in far south Fort Worth, at 3621 Sycamore School Rd. There’s tacos al pastor, for starters, whose marinated, bright red pork is cut straight from a trompo. Other taco fillings include beef and chicken fajita, ground beef, tripe, barbacoa, and lengua; all tacos come with cilantro, onions, and grilled jalapeños. There are also generously sized tortas, menudo, and rotating agua frescas. Love the round-the-clock hours, too — they open early at 5 am for breakfast tacos and stay open nightly until midnight. El Arquito is part of a North Texas family-run chain. There are also locations in west Dallas and Haltom City, with more to come.
Trinity College Irish Pub & Beer Garden
Fort Worth’s need for a good Irish restaurant has been nicely filled by this recent addition to the West 7th area, opened at 910 Currie St., the former home to Tortaco. Handsomely redesigned with soft lighting and dark woods, the restaurant and pub comes from good genes: Alan Kearney, a native of Dublin, Ireland who has opened similar concepts in Dublin and Dallas. The menu is made up of what Kearney calls classic Irish cuisine: Scotch eggs, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, and either a beef-and-lamb or plant-based version of shepherd’s pie. There are bar-food faves as well, including seven burgers; bone-in or boneless wings; and a half-dozen sandwiches. Weekend brunch includes the big-enough-for-two Irish breakfast, made up of two eggs, bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, hash, and brown bread. For drinks, there’s beer, of course, lots of it, including blended beer drinks. There’s also wine and specialty cocktails.