Fort Worth is facing a breakfast crisis, but it's only short-term: Paris Coffee Shop, one of the city's oldest restaurants, closes for renovation at the end of lunch service today.
According to a release, the breakfast-lunch icon at 704 W. Magnolia Ave. in the Near Southside will reopen at the same location in early 2022 but with a fresh face.
Chef-restaurateur Lou Lambert teamed up with Fort Worth developer Mark Harris and longtime colleague Chris Reale to purchase the coffee shop from owner Mike Smith in spring 2020. Smith's father bought the restaurant from founder Vic Paris in 1929; Mike assumed operations in 1965.
Renovation begins about October 1, and the new owners, who also own Roy Pope Grocery on the city’s west side, are making sure to retain Paris' charm.
"We've been studying early photographs and plans in order to reproduce the original look and feel of the place," Lambert says in a statement. "It will be the same Paris everyone loves, just spruced up."
Counter service, found along the east interior wall of the large space, will remain, as will the pie cases along that wall, and the popular booth seating, found along the front windows, west wall, and along a shoulder-high partition separating the counter area from the expansive space with tables.
Improvements center on rehabbing the kitchen and updating the dining room, restrooms, and storage areas. They'll also use space in the rear of the building to create a private dining room and meeting room.
Design Build Adventure, the firm owned by Fort Worth native Jack Sanders, will oversee the renovation; he was also the architectural designer responsible for refashioning Roy Pope Grocery.
Look for new wood detail on the Paris Coffee Shop exterior, as per original photos of the café, as part of the facelift. Signage and logo design by Fort Worth artist Sarah Ayala will evoke a 1930s-era style used in Paris' early years.
During renovation, the cafe's historic photographs will be cataloged and preserved. Selected images of the vintage café and surrounding neighborhood will be enlarged as part of the improved décor. Also returning: The staff — including servers who have become family to their customers.
Paris' bacon-and-egg plates, waffles, biscuits & gravy, plate lunches, and famous homemade pies, will return, along with expanded morning offerings such as eggs Benedict (a Mexican version is rumored), brisket hash, and breakfast sandwiches.
“We’re keeping the favorites while also making the menu relevant to the way people eat today,” says owner-operator Reale. “Our background in food means we’re putting more of a culinary eye on some classic dishes.”
Lunch and dinner favorites like chicken-fried steak, chicken & dumplings, turkey & dressing, and burgers will be joined by more salad options, vegetarian entrees, grilled fish, and steak frites.
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.