Fort Worth was recently crowned the 13th largest city in the United States — that's a lot of mouths to feed. Knowing we're in the middle of a growth spurt, corporate concepts have been landing in Fort Worth, with fast-casual service, open kitchens, and bottomless mimosas.
Enough about them. The heartbeat of our dining scene is the mom-and-pop restaurant, typically run by those who know, live in, and love our city.
For the November edition of Where to Eat, we bring news of five new family-run spots.
Groovy café and coffeehouse in the South Main area comes from Carrie Collins, who moved her coffee biz from Weatherford, to an Airstream on the south side of Fort Worth, to her new brick-and-mortar digs at 326 Bryan Ave. Housed in a refurbed warehouse in the Main + Broad development, Arcadia offers a wide range of hot and cold coffee drinks, including the signature Cosmic Latte, made with espresso, oat milk, cinnamon, and vanilla syrup. The menu of light bites is all-vegan and includes waffles, sandwiches, and salads like the tomato and avocado with honey mustard. Love the funky, antique-y décor, and the no-straws policy rules.
Ayasofia Turkish Cuisine
Family-run spot opened recently in a strip mall in far north Fort Worth, at 2730 Western Center Blvd. Don't let the bare-bones digs fool you. The food is both good and affordable. The menu includes familiar items such as kebabs, hummus, and baklava — but also less common dishes. Bamya is baby okra baked with tomatoes, carrots, and peppers. Mukver are pancake-like fritters made with zucchini, egg, and onions. Adana yogurtlu is a traditional Turkish dish featuring layers of pita bread topped with yogurt, tomato sauce, and choice of meat. Beverages include black cherry juice, Turkish tea, and Turkish coffee.
BBQ on the Brazos
After moving out of their original gas station home in Cresson, then working out of a nearby trailer, John Sanford and Kathryn Warren bring their beloved 'cue to Fort Worth, where Sanford long ago began his restaurant career. Their new space takes over the Royal Falcon, at 3803 Southwest Blvd., and since opening late last month, it’s been jammed with big crowds. No surprise: Sanford and his son/fellow pitmaster John Jr. offer some of the best brisket in town, along with fantastic ribs, a dynamite turkey sandwich, and excellent sides, such as spicy cole slaw. Currently, the restaurant is open only for lunch. Next year, they'll open for dinner and serve non-BBQ options such as steak.
Belzoni's Catfish Café
Tiny new restaurant on the far west side of Fort Worth, at 110 N. Jim Wright Fwy., comes from Dwight Cooley, a native of Belzoni, Mississippi, the town unofficially known as the farm-raised catfish capital of the world. Catfish is, of course, the primary focus here, and Cooley does it two ways: in the usual planks, or in the more unusual form of what he calls "catfish balls" — bite-sized circles of catfish stuffed with jalapeños and onions and served with spicy tartar sauce. Sides include turnip greens, hushpuppies, mac and cheese, and green beans.
Breakfast and lunch eatery in far north Fort Worth, at 8640 North Beach St., isn't affiliated with the national chain of the same name. Rather, it was opened by two Fort Worth police officers, E.K. Halim and Jimmy Pollozani, the latter of whom comes a family of restaurateurs. Breakfast dishes are numerous, including omelets, benedicts, Belgian waffles, pancakes, and crepes. For lunch, there are salads, paninis, black Angus beef burgers, and comfort food staples such as chicken and waffles.