Whether we're in pandemic recovery mode or pre-holiday mode, we are seeing an exciting influx of restaurants opening around Fort Worth right now. Restaurants that have been in the works are finally making their debut, and for us, it means there's lots of new places to try, in a wide variety of cuisines, from tacos to pizza to Southern comfort to Asian.
Most of these places have opened only within the last two weeks.
For November, here's Where to Eat in Fort Worth right now:
Dusty Biscuit Beignets
Creative beignet concept is a foodie success story, starting out in 2019 as a pop-up, graduating to a trailer, and now, as of mid-November, a brick and mortar location at 411 S Main St. Owner Trey Smith does NOLA classics beignets and cafe au lait, while also rotating in wildly creative items. Core menu items include the Bourbon Street with bourbon-maple glaze, candied bacon, and pecans; King Cake beignets, which have a Mardi Gras theme; and Dusty Cristo sliders, his beignet version of a Monte Cristo sandwich. This week, he's doing Turkey Cranberry Beignet Sliders with turkey, gravy, and cranberry-orange compote on a beignet slider bun. He has a dry sense of humor. About his chocolate-filled beignets, he says "milk chocolate buttercream IN a beignet — shouldn't be legal." The shop is open Tuesdays-Sundays, and he'll keep his stand at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium, serving beignets during football games.
Chinese boba drink chain with bubble tea and waffles just opened in the food court of Northeast Mall at 1101 Melbourne Rd. in Hurst. The chain was founded in 2006, then came to the U.S. in 2014. By 2020, they had more than 1000 stores around the world. They opened their first DFW shop in Richardson in September, and plan a location for Fort Worth at 1019 Foch St. in 2022. In addition to bubble tea drinks, they're known for their unusual "Rock Salt Cheese Tea," a tea with a "cheese topping made from cream cheese, whipped cream, milk and salt — like an extra thick foam with a cheesecake flavor. You're supposed to sip it from an open cup, so that each sip gets some tea and some of the topping. No straws, which is an eco-friendly thing. They're still in soft opening mode; for now it's cash only and drinks only, no waffles.
New restaurant in North Richland Hills in the former Evergreen Chinese buffet restaurant (and also, briefly, a Japanese steakhouse Takara) at 7536 Blvd. 26 is drawing them in, thanks to two crowd-pleasers. First, it's all-you-can-eat: For $20 at lunch and $30 at dinner, it's AYCE sashimi, sushi, appetizers, nigiri, rolls, and hibachi such as the Ahi Tower with spicy tuna, crabmeat, rice, avocado, and seaweed flakes. Some items such as Japanese short ribs are available at dinner only, but they're still putting out a great array at lunch. The other surefire crowd-pleaser is that they have robots that deliver your food, a trendy novelty right now.
New restaurant at the Westin Southlake Hotel from chef Jenna Kinard serves Southern with a modern flair. Dishes include butternut squash ravioli, shrimp & grits, a fried chicken sandwich, and a veggie burger made with an intriguing mix of farro, dates, and sweet potato. It's open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch which has its own menu with blueberry cobbler pancakes and "chicken & doughnuts" with fried chicken and a glazed cake donut. Adjoining Jellico's is a lounge-style bar called The Curve, with cocktails such as the Billionaire Sour and a Prickly Pear Rita; and wine by the glass and bottle.
Cult-favorite taco chain from California known for its unique crispy tacos dusted with Parmesan cheese opened its Fort Worth location at 9316 Clifford St., in September. Their signature item is the Original Ground Beef Taco, made with seasoned ground beef, American cheese, and lettuce, encased in a crispy, grilled stone-ground corn shell, and dusted with parmesan cheese. They roll their own taquitos, which you can order solo or in a kooky item called the taquito burrito, where the taquitos are placed inside a burrito with rice, beans, and choice of protein.
JJ's Taco Shop
Family-owned taqueria newly opened in North Fort Worth at 5040 N. Tarrant Pkwy. #136, is a spinoff of a kiosk that Ivan "JJ" Vazquez and his family first opened inside the Northeast Mall in Hurst in 2017. The menu includes tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tortas, gorditas they make themselves, empanadas, nachos, loaded fries, and chicken wings. Their tacos come in interesting options like rotisserie chicken, red chile pork, and even veggie options like fried avocado tacos. A full bar has well-made margaritas, and TVs if you want to catch some sports on the weekends.
Fast-casual chain from San Antonio opens its first DFW location in Keller, where it's wowing the locals with tacos, enchiladas, flautas, fajitas, burritos, and sopes. Their signature dish is their "Macho Burrito," a hefty specimen stuffed with rice, beans, and choice of meat, covered with a savory sauce and melted cheese. They also do the distinctive crisp "puffy" taco, and they have a strong breakfast game with breakfast tacos such as bean & cheese or chorizo & potato, priced from $1.29 to $2.39, plus menudo on the weekends, which you can order in regular or "jumbo" size.
New pickup- and delivery-only concept from chef Lanny Lancarte does robust pizza and Italian food including pastas and salads, but with a clever Mexican touch. The menu includes pizzas such as the Esquites con Flor de Calabaza, a white pizza with corn, poblano, garlic sauce, and Parmigiano cheese. Pastas include rigatoni Bolognese with Wagyu beef, and fettucini with creamy esquites corn sauce. Four amazing-looking salads include one with arugula, goat cheese, dried cherries, and spiced pepitas. Located at 1300 Gould Ave., Pizza Zapasta is part of Lancarte's Fantasma Kitchens operation, along with Eat Fajitas, which opened in 2020, and a third focused on chicken, still to come.
Fast-casual restaurant at 3141 E. Broad St. in Mansfield serves Lao and Thai street food (which they kindly explain on their website), and is designed to hit you on all fronts: sweet, savory, crunchy, and healthy. There is spicy sausage with sticky rice; lettuce wraps with Thai chicken, tofu, or pork; and fried meatball skewers with sweet & sour sauce. They have pho, chicken noodle soup, fried rice, noodle dishes such as pad Thai, and entrees including Thai spicy basil chicken and pepper steak. The concept is actually a chain, though on a small scale, with family franchisees. There are three other locations in North Texas, in Allen, Carrollton, and Frisco, plus two in Washington state.
New Indian restaurant at 5054 Trail Lake Dr. in far southwest Fort Worth calls itself "the first fast-food Indian restaurant in the U.S." Their menu is small, featuring Indian staples such as chicken tikka masala and veggie samosas as well as a clever "Chicken Tikka Sandwich," their Indian-spiced spin on a fried chicken sandwich. There are also waffle fries topped with their special Tikka Tikka Sauce. Everything's at a fast-food price: Chicken tikka masala with rice is $4.99; get it with biryani rice for $5.99, or with naan for $6.49.
Ambitious venture in North Richland Hills is from Pho V Noodle House & Sushi owner Rex Vu, with a menu combining pho, egg rolls, and dumplings with innovative dishes such as toasted crab bread, featuring bite-sized French bread bites topped with crab and cheese. Entrees include pho, shaken beef, fried rice, and ban xeo — sizzling Vietnamese crispy crepes filled with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and vegetables. Prices are moderate, with entrees from $9 to $15. A full bar offers creative craft cocktails such as a Lemongrass Mojito or a Saigon Sidecar with cognac and passion fruit liqueur. They'll hold their official grand opening on November 23 from 10:30 am-9 pm, with a free appetizer for tables of two or more.