Hottest headlines of 2023
The 10 restaurant and bar stories that Fort Worth savored most in 2023
Editor's note: As we look back at the most-read dining stories of 2023, we see that Fort Worth was hungry for news of new restaurants serving all types of cuisine - dumplings, tacos, seafood, even cheesecake in jars. Ideas for patios and backyard hangs were popular. A new celeb chef in town got lots of attention, too. But in a year that saw an unprecedented number of high-profile restaurants open, the most-read story of all was about hidden-gem new finds that were flying under the radar. Here are the 10 hottest dining stories of the year.
1. Where to eat in Fort Worth right now: 6 hidden-find new restaurants. In mid-August, several high-profile restaurants had opened in Fort Worth, making them seemingly perfect candidates for that month's edition of Where to Eat spotlighting newcomers. But bigger does not always mean better, especially when we'd uncovered some lower-profile newcomers that definitely deserved attention, as well. We rounded up six small but mighty new restaurants.
2. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 best bar patios to hit in May. Patios were a hot topic in May, when the weather (mostly) cooperated to create a comfortable outdoor experience. But sometimes our patio desires don’t involve a desire to order a meal. A drink or two on a sunny day or breezy evening, perhaps with some live music and yard games nearby, is all that’s needed. We presented five of Fort Worth’s best bar patios (a mix of new entries and old favorites) to check out before the scorching summer arrived in June.
The Rusty Nickel IceHouse draws crowds in South Fort Worth. Rusty Nickel IceHouse/Facebook
3. Hugely popular Austin-style hangout Truck Yard is ready for Fort Worth debut. A hugely popular come-as-you-are backyard hangout was finally opening Fort Worth: Called Truck Yard, it debuted at the Alliance Town Center at 3101 Prairie Vista Dr., on January 16. The 7,500 square feet indoor-outdoor venue sits on two acres and includes a vintage Airstream mobile stage, murals, bars, food trucks, fire pits, a dog park, and an operational Ferris wheel.
4. Restaurant starring soup dumplings to open in Fort Worth's Near Southside. Fort Worth would be getting an exciting new dumpling spot from a team of high-profile collaborators, we reported in April. Called Teddy Wong's Dumplings & Wine, it would be a Chinese restaurant with a stellar selection of dumplings and Chinese classics, opening in the Near Southside, at 812 W. Rosedale St. The restaurant opened in October.
Colorful dumplings on the menu at Teddy Wong's. fortworth.culturemap.com
5. Famed Louisiana restaurant with spicy seafood makes TX debut in Arlington. A Louisiana-based concept known for spicy boiled crawfish and fresh seafood is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth in spring 2024: Called Big EZ Seafood and Oyster Bar, it's opening in Arlington, at Arbrook Oaks, a community retail center at South Cooper Street and Arbrook Boulevard, directly across from Parks at Arlington mall.
6. Doors are open at this sweet mom-and-pop cheesecake shop in Fort Worth. A Fort Worth cheesecake company made it official: Sweetie's Cheesecakes, a family-owned company that had been selling cheesecakes in jars at markets and pop-ups throughout North Texas, opened its own retail store in far north Fort Worth, at 13033 Harmon Rd. #203, on July 30.
Sweetie's Cheesecakes in jars. Courtesy photo
7. Longtime Fort Worth taqueria heads west in new hot chicken partnership. A longtime Fort Worth taqueria set up shop in February at a new location in an exciting new partnership that brings together tacos and chicken: Acapulco Taqueria, an authentic taqueria that had been open on North Main Street for more than 30 years, headed west to Willow Park, where it opened at 337 Shops Blvd. #103, inside the Shops at Willow Park.
Tacos with jalapenos from Acapulco Taqueria. Acapulco Taqueria
8. Fort Worth is getting a fancy new Kroger Marketplace store off Hwy 287. Fort Worth's getting a new Kroger: The Kroger Co. broke ground in early November on a new, state-of-the-art Kroger Marketplace format store at 113 E. Bonds Ranch Rd., along the northbound side of Highway 287.The store will span 123,000 square feet, built on nearly 17 acres, and is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2024.
9. Celeb chef Graham Elliot digs into barbecue in his new hometown Fort Worth. In November, it had been exactly one year since culinary TV celeb and two-time Michelin star recipient Graham Elliot made a permanent move to Fort Worth, and the self-proclaimed Navy brat (who’s traveled through all 50 states) had no plans to leave.
Chef Graham Elliot walks among us. Instagram
10. Fort Worth mom & daughter debut cafe with tacos and homemade tortillas. A new Fort Worth café is serving up breakfast tacos and burritos with homemade tortillas just like abuela used to make. Called Cafecito, it's a mother-daughter operation from Cinthya Duran, a South Fort Worth native, who's partnered with her mother, Yaneth Sanchez, on their first food and beverage endeavor.
Cafecito taco in one of its signature pink tortillas. cafecito