Photo courtesy of Carter Creek Winery Resort

When he’s a beer-loving outdoor enthusiast and she’s a wine-loving spa junkie, agreeing on plans for a quick Hill Country getaway can be tricky. My husband likes to spend the day climbing hills in state parks; I’d rather climb on and off a wine tour bus. He hunts down hoppy craft beer in town; I search for lavender bath products.

So a new(ish) Hill Country resort with our vacation trifecta - winery, brewery, and spa - beckoned to us for a weekend away. Carter Creek Winery, Resort & Spa stands high on a hill overlooking U.S. Hwy. 290, just off a swerve-fast-or-you’ll-miss-it exit outside Johnson City.

Thirty miles east of Fredericksburg, it’s along a stretch of the famous “Texas wine road” between Johnson City and Stonewall that’s become an attractive destination for a slightly more laid-back oenophile experience. (Locals are quick to make Napa-Sonoma comparisons.)

Carter Creek Family Winery has been bottling wines in the area since 2016, and they come with fine Texas pedigree: Head winemaker is Jon McPherson, son of Texas wine industry pioneer "Doc" McPherson and brother of renowned winemaker Kim McPherson. Jon McPherson has teamed up with winemaker Javier Flores to turn out award-winning Carter Creek wines for several years.

In December 2019, owners Jim and Dawn Carter opened Carter Creek Winery Resort in Johnson City as a sister property to their South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula, California. Knowing how much Texans like their beer, they say, they threw in a microbrewery, too. The Hill Country resort debuted with a winery and two tasting rooms, onsite brewery, restaurant, seasonal smokehouse, outdoor events center, and 78 luxe private villas.

Then COVID-19 hit weeks later and shut it all down.

As restrictions loosened and tourists came back to the area, the owners continued with their plans, finally adding a long-anticipated spa in summer 2022.

Carter Creek now has the only spa in the eastern section of the Hill Country. It’s also the only winery resort with a brewery in the area.

Rooms and brews
After a longer-than-usual drive from Fort Worth to Johnson City (who knew Marble Falls and Burnet had rush-hour traffic?), we checked into villa #2704, our own private palace: separate living room and bedroom, two 55-inch flat screen TVs and an electric fireplace, bathroom with double vanity, and porch with seating area.

We couldn’t help but compare this $209-per-night Hill Country castle to more high-profile Texas hotel-resorts - with tiny rooms - that cost double or triple as much. We were also thankful our quiet villa was one of the farthest back from the highway.

A (recommended) dinner reservation at the resort's Old 290 Brewery Restaurant awaited, just a short walk down a well-lit path across the property. “Old 290” refers to the road that runs along the resort - the actual old 290 road to Fredericksburg from Johnson City.

Here, head brewmeister Justin Zimmerman crafts award-winning small-batch light ales, medium-bodied pale ales, and stouts. Folks were buzzing about his Hell Raiser Bourbon Brown, aged for two months in nearby Garrison Brothers Bourbon Barrels, which won a coveted gold medal in the Fredericksburg Craft Beer Festival last summer. His El Bigote Mexican Lager took home a bronze.

The brewery’s adjacent Hill Country-fine dining restaurant serves the steaks, burgers, and CFS Texas diners demand, with some cheffy twists. The Old 290 Bison Burger, for instance, is topped with brie cheese, tomato bacon jam, horseradish pickles, and crispy onions on a pretzel bun. At a breakfast buffet, “Chef Trey” cooked eggs to order for every guest.

Over housemade garlic knots with tomato garlic compound butter, my husband sampled a flight of Old 290 beers - the IPA earned a rave from the self-proclaimed "hophead" - and I tried Carter Creek wine for the first time. (Tip: Take advantage of the free samples offered before committing to a glass.)

Without evening plans, we’d considered driving 30 miles to legendary Luckenbach to enjoy some live music. No need. A local musician entertained on the restaurant’s stage for hours. Outside, guests gathered around fire pits on the patio and played cornhole on the lush lawn that doubles as a wedding venue with beautiful vistas.

Spa with panache
The next morning, I arrived far too early for my facial and had the intimate spa all to myself. The 1,500-square-foot Carter Creek Spa might be small, but it’s got a mighty name behind it. Spa director Gülçin Johnson is a well-respected aesthetician with an eponymous skincare line called Gülçin Johnson Botanicals carried at top spas across the country.

Carter Creek Spa offers a variety of massages, body treatments, facials, and foot reflexology treatments for individuals or couples. A dry sauna, outdoor pool, and hot tub are just steps away. While priority is given to resort patrons, the spa welcomes day guests for appointments, too.

My refreshing, 50-minute Carter Creek Classic Facial - featuring some Eminence Organic products I've long loved - ended with a glass of crisp Muscat Canelli wine in the relaxation area. (So what if it was not quite 11 am?)

Wine time
An afternoon wine tasting revealed that, unlike other Hill Country wineries with lists as long as a Cheesecake Factory menu, Carter Creek zeroes in on a handful and does them well - currently, four whites, four reds, a rose, a sparkling, and two dessert wines.

The winemakers lean into European varietals, producing crisp whites such the popular Gloriosa ($24), a not-too-sweet blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Muscat Canelli; and complex reds, such as the top-selling Maverick ($39), a Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Viognier.

Carter Creek also makes a Sparkling Peach ($35) that’s such a sensation, they have trouble keeping it in stock. It also has a fun backstory: When the Carters asked Jon McPherson - a master winemaker with special expertise in sparkling wines - to create a peach sparkler as a nod to the Hill Country, it took some arm-twisting. He wasn’t going to make some cloying hot-tub sipper, he told them; he would make it his way, as a “serious” wine.

A blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, and Pinot Noir results in a lightly sweet, refreshingly crisp and only slightly “peachy” bubbly. It won Double Gold at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, in fact.

We couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle, along with three other favorites. (Looking back, we should have joined the wine club on the spot and saved 25 percent; there was no pressure to do so.)

Outdoors and out-of-this-world
After spa-ing and sipping, it was time for an outdoor adventure together. Pedernales Falls State Park was just a picturesque, 30-minute drive away. We laced up our hiking boots and drove down hilly backroads to the park, where my husband’s handy Texas State Parks Pass got us in free.

On this sunny afternoon, a lot of other people had the same idea. We hiked out to the famous river rocks - mostly dry after a season with little rain. To break from the crowds, we sat for a spell in the bird blind and viewed bright red cardinals a chirpy finches darting around the trees.

At dusk, we drove up to the park’s star theater for a stargazing session led by a state park ranger. While we bundled up in a blanket and gazed up at the stars, “Ranger Steve” laser-pointed to constellations and recounted their humorous and harrowing origin stories.

Then, he paused and told us to look up at a blinking light streaking overhead. We waved hello to the International Space Station as it cruised by for four minutes, then disappeared among the million stars in the night sky.

We left the Hill Country, this time, having sampled a bit of everything we were craving - wine, beer, pampering, and nature.

Everything, that is, except bluebonnets. Now, to plan that spring wildflower excursion.


Carter Creek Winery, Resort & Spa, 4064 W. U.S. Highway 290, Johnson City. Rates start at $209, plus $19 per-night resort fees. Discounts available for AAA, AARP, and more. Family-friendly and pet-friendly. Check website for days and hours at tasting room, restaurant, and spa.

Carter Creek Winery, Resort & Spa

Photo courtesy of Carter Creek Winery Resort

Carter Creek Winery Resort opened in the just-before-covid month of December 2019.

Photo courtesy of B&B Butchers

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

While Valentine’s Day finally arrives on Tuesday (see that dining list here), Mardi Gras-themed events definitely dominate this week’s list. Fat Tuesday is officially February 21, and Cowtown seems ready to celebrate with tasty festivities leading up to the big day. Save room for gumbo, crawfish, hurricanes, and plenty of king cake.

Wednesday, February 15

Girl Scout Cookies and Wine at Two Brothers Winery
The annual cooking pairing tradition is back at this Keller winery. Learn what varietals go best with Girl Scout Cookies during this tasting, which will include five cookies and five wines. Tickets are $30, plus tax and gratuity, and the tasting will start at 6 pm.

Thursday, February 16

Martis Gras – Fat Thursday at Martin House Brewery
The Riverside brewery is officially designating the Thursday before Mardi Gras as Fat Thursday, or “Martis Gras.” Visit from 4-8 pm for the launch of two new Mardi Gras-inspired beers: King of King’s Cake beer and Frozen Hurricane, a hurricane-flavored sour. Both will be available on draft and in cans to-go. The Dusty Biscuit will also be on-site frying up fresh beignets and serving jambalaya and gumbo. There’ll be music and hurricane glassware, too. Wristbands will be $15 good for four beers and a souvenir glass.

Crazy for Crepes and Wine at Landon Winery Grapevine
Both sweet and savory crepes will be paired with Texas wines during this sweet tasting in Grapevine. Crepes will be prepared hot to order by Crepes on the Go out of McKinney. Limited tickets are available for $45, and the pairing will run from 6:30-8 pm.

Friday, February 17

Love is in the Air Wine Tasting at Wine Thief
The intimate wine bar inside the Omni Fort Worth Hotel downtown invites patrons to keep the Valentine’s vibes going with this love-themed wine tasting. A guest speaker will guide participants through several varietals paired with small bites. The tasting is $45, plus tax and gratuity, and visitors can drop in anytime between 5 -7 pm.

Saturday, February 18

Mardi Gras Brunch at B&B Butchers & Restaurant
The Shops at Clearfork steakhouse will showcase its Mardi Gras spirit during this festive themed brunch. There’ll be face painting, specialty cocktails by Barcardi brands, free swag, DJ music, and brunch specials. Reservations are encouraged and the brunch will run from 11 am-3 pm.

Mardi Gras Brunch at The Bearded Lady
The South Main Street gastropub will go over the top with Mardi Gras-themed brunch specials – get your stretchy pants ready. First, The Dusty Biscuit will provide king cake doughnuts to be used for bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches. Also save room for shrimp po’ boys, a Cajun beer cheese dip, Cajun eggs Benedict with hash fritters in lieu of English muffins, and a muffuletta grilled cheese sandwich. Wash it all down with Cajun bloody Marys with fried shrimp and fried Best Maid pickles, and king cake shots. Brunch will be served from 11 am-3 pm and arriving early is recommended.TX Whiskey Sippin’ Saturday: A Taste of Louisiana

Whiskey Ranch goes Cajun during this Saturday afternoon party that will feature Louisiana cuisine and Mardi Gras cocktails. Two food trucks with major Crescent City-inspired cred – A Taste of Louisiana and The Dusty Biscuit – will be on-site to feed guests. There’ll also be live jazz music to add to the fun. Tickets are $10 and include your first cocktail. The event will run from 12-5 pm.

Beads, Beers & Bugs at Birdie’s Social Club
Gather your “krewe” and channel Louisiana vibes during this Mardi Gras party at Birdie’s. The Wild Cajun will bring a true taste of the Bayou with crawfish plates available for preorder or at the bar while supplies last. The $20 plate includes two pounds of crawfish with traditional fixings. There’ll be live music, drink specials, and even dogs and kiddos are welcome. An RSVP is encouraged for free entry, and gates open at 2 pm.

4th Annual Gumbo Cook-off at Twilite Lounge
Twenty contestants will share their best gumbo recipes during this cook-off to win $500 cash. The public can taste the entries starting at 6 pm but arriving earlier starting at 5 pm is encouraged. While you wait to sample, sip the New Orleans-inspired craft cocktails Twilite Lounge is known for, like the classic Pimm’s Cup and Sazerac. The Beignet Bus will be on-site from 7-9 pm, and there’ll be live music and shopping from Morgan Mercantile. The event is free to enter and proceeds will benefit Hope Center 4 Autism. Minors are welcome until 9 pm.

These are the 6 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo’s All-Western Parade happens this Saturday morning, and events this week seem to follow suit with very Texas-themed vibes. There’s a barbecue class, a Texas whiskey cocktail class, and even a chuckwagon cookout in the middle of downtown. Also don’t miss a taste of a former fan-favorite local beer from a now-closed brewery that’s making a return at a South Fort Worth bar.

Monday, January 9

TCU National Championship watch parties
Even if you're not in L.A. to celebrate and cheer on the TCU Horned Frogs in person, plenty of restaurants and bars around town are hosting watch parties, with specials on purple 'ritas, tailgate-themed beers, and more. Here's a list of 12 of the best. Go Frogs!

Thursday, January 12

Collective Brewing Returns to the Southside
The Collective Brewing Project used to occupy Tulips music hall and bar's current space. Now beer and wine shop Southside Cellar will bring back a taste of the former neighborhood gem with the return of Collective’s Apricot brew by way of Bedford-based Turning Point Beer, which now owns the rights to that beer. Visit Thursday for a taste of the fan-favorite beer starting at 5 pm.

TX Whiskey Cocktail Class at Whiskey Ranch
TX Whiskey’s master mixologist will demonstrate how to make three handcrafted cocktails during this interactive class. Guests also get a 15 percent discount on bar and drinkware in the TX Ranch Store. Tickets are $49 and the event will run from 6:30-9 pm.

Saturday, January 14

Brisket U at Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Everyday meat lovers can learn how to work a pit like the pros during this three-hour barbecue class. Choosing the right cuts, trimming techniques, wood selection, timing, slicing, and more will be covered. Tickets are $119 and class will run from 10 am-1 pm.

Chuckwagon Cookout in Sundance Square
Visit Sundance Square Plaza for a taste of the Old West during this authentic chuckwagon cookout featuring the real-deal chuckwagon chefs. “Outlaw Chef” Terry Chandler – also part owner of Fred’s Texas Café – and chuckwagon chef Buck Reams will showcase their ranch-style cooking techniques at their very own chuckwagons. Menu highlights include beef tenderloin, Mexican shrimp cocktail, green chili cream corn, pan del campo, and bread pudding with whiskey sauce. The $150 ticket includes a glass of wine or beer, but there’ll also be a cash bar. The event will run from 3-6 pm.

Raclette & Swiss Wine Dinner at WineHaus
A Swiss dish of cheese that’s melted and skillfully scraped to achieve gooey goodness, raclette is typically served with potatoes and interestingly, pickles. Try the unique dish at WineHaus – it'll come with baby corn, shallots, apples, and a glass of well-paired Swiss wine. The $45 reservation includes tax and gratuity, and the event will run from 5-7 pm.

12 best Fort Worth bars to watch TCU Football in the National Championship

Frog Fever

The biggest football game in Horned Frog history is happening Monday, January 9 as TCU takes on No. 1 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship (6:30 pm local time). But if you’re not heading west to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the “Natty,” not to worry. There’ll be watch parties all over town as Fort Worth unites to cheer on the home team. Here are 12 of the best bars to do so. Wear your purple, and all glory to the Hypnotoad. (If you know, you know.)

Fort Brewery
The brewery and pizza joint is all in on the Hypnotoad hype – so much that it brews a beer named after the mesmerizing meme mascot of TCU that’s been credited for “hypnotizing” opponents all season. Hypnotoad Haze will be $4 a pint during the game, which will be broadcast on Fort Brewery’s 12-foot big screen. There’ll even be a free pizza buffet. The party starts at 4:30 pm.

Panther Island Brewing
Wear purple and get your first Tailgater blonde ale for free during “Purple Out” watch party at Panther Island Brewing. The North Fort Worth brewery will also draw raffle tickets for prizes after every quarter. Smokin’ Cactus food truck will be on-site serving tacos, nachos, bowls, and desserts. Doors open at 5 pm.

Panther Island Brewing Tailgater BlondePerfect beer for the game.Courtesy photo

Jon’s Grille
Longtime Horned Frogs know that the latest restaurant concept from chef Jon Bonnell isn’t the first “Jon’s Grille” to exist near the TCU campus. Jon Meyerson first opened his namesake burger joint in 1989 (in the current space of Dutch’s Hamburgers), where he fed students and fans for years before taking his life in 2001. Bonnell’s version – a tribute to Meyerson – sits on W. Berry St. and serves burgers along with barbecue, tacos, baked potatoes, and the Big Frog Dog. Visit during the National Championship for purple beers, purple shakes, and Hypnotoad Margaritas.

Buffalo Bros.
There are two locations of this popular spot for wings, pizza, and games – one right on the TCU campus and a newer, flashier outlet downtown in Sundance Square. The original on S. University Drive has long drawn Horned Frog fans for game-day gatherings. The Sundance Square location boasts a 360-degree bar with TVs inside and outside the perimeter. Speaking of TVs, there are more than 90 here, along with a private room with five screens and stadium seating. Snag a seat early as both venues will be packed.

Maple Branch Craft Brewery
The Foundry District brewery is normally closed on Mondays but will open for the National Championship game. Go for wood-fired pizzas and giant Bavarian pretzels and wash it all down with the brewery’s own Hypnotoad American lager. Doors open at 4 pm and the kitchen will be open until 10 pm.

Lot 12
Located on the rooftop of the Hyatt Place TCU, this open-air hotel sports bar is home to TCU’s “most elevated” tailgate scene. There’ll be a tailgate taco bar with $3 tacos, select $3 beers, and $4 Epic Western seltzers. There’s also an entire cocktail menu dedicated to TCU-themed drinks, including the purple-hued Frog 75 made with gin and sparkling wine, and the sangria-inspired Frog Fountain. Lot 12 will open at 4 pm.

Fred’s Texas Café
The game audio will be on loud at both locations of Fred’s Texas Café, where Fredburgers can be paired with Purple ‘Ritas during the game. While the spacious new Camp Bowie West location draws crowds for its bar and enclosed patio scene, don’t sleep on Fred’s Texas Western Center. Word is Frog fans came out in full force for the Fiesta Bowl at this popular North Fort Worth neighborhood hangout.

purple margaritasLove those Purple 'Ritas.Courtesy photo

The Rabbit Hole Pub
The popular college bar on White Settlement Road will run lots of watch party specials, including $2 domestic beers, $2.50 well drinks, and $5 Purple Toad shots just for fun. Also don’t miss Rahr & Sons berry flavored seltzer called Frog Water. There’ll also be a taco truck on site.

The Pub
Open since 1981, The Pub is perhaps the longest-running campus-adjacent watering hole. It’s where most Horned Frogs wind up at least a time or two, especially on game days. The Pub has created a custom National Championship pint glass and look for other “Natty” swag including stickers and shirts leading up to the watch party there on Monday. You can also find Fort Brewery’s Hypnotoad Haze on tap, along with lots of TVs and feisty Frog fans.

Neutral Ground Brewing Co.
The Race Street brewery and tap room will open up on Monday night for a watch party. Visit for $5 full pours on all brews, including Neutral Ground’s surprisingly refreshing King Cake beer, a favorite during Mardi Gras season.

Downtown Cowtown at the Isis
The historic movie theater in the Fort Worth Stockyards will broadcast the game on the big screen with free admission. A little history: Opened in 1914, the Isis Theater was destroyed by a fire in 1935, rebuilt, then damaged again by a flood in 1942. It sat dormant, shuttered, and dilapidated for decades until it was finally purchased and restored to its original glory and reopened in 2021. With seats for 500, there’s room for lots of Horned Frog fans. The full bar will be open to serve cocktails and beer on tap.

Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena
While not exactly a bar, TCU will open its state-of-the-art basketball arena to the public for a free watch party. All concessions will be open (including beer sales) and there’ll be free rally towels. Note that only clear bags will be allowed into the arena, which has seating capacity for nearly 7,000. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

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14 cool celebrations to bring in the New Year around Dallas-Fort Worth

Cheers to 2023!

Everyone likes to celebrate the New Year in one way or another, and Dallas-Fort Worth offers plenty of options for doing so. The following list is by no means comprehensive, but it gives a glimpse at the variety of different events taking place on New Year's Eve. Whether you prefer low-key or all-out, you can welcome 2023 in style. (Looking for best New Year's Eve dining options? Find that list here. New Year's Day brunches are here.)

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents New Year’s Eve: ABBA The Concert
ABBA The Concert is considered to be one of the best ABBA tribute bands around, and they'll join the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at this special New Year's Eve concert at Bass Performance Hall. Featuring hit songs like "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," "Money, Money, Money," and more, the concert will be among the more fun ways to spend the last day of 2022.

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History presents Noon Year's Eve
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is hosting a New Year celebration fit for the whole family. New Year-themed activities will include making confetti poppers and noise makers; decorating party wear with a Noon Year's Eve hat; writing New Year’s resolutions on ribbon and adding it to the confetti pile; exploring New Year’s Eve-inspired items and animals from the History and Science Collections; and more. After the countdown to noon, guests can stay to explore the museum.

Four Day Weekend present New Year's Eve Celebration
With outposts in both Dallas and Fort Worth, Four Day Weekend is an established local comedy force. They'll celebrate New Year's Eve the only way they know how, with a special show created from audience suggestions and participation. Their annual New Year's Eve celebrations, taking place in both Dallas and Fort Worth, features their signature comedy show, catering from Reata, and a champagne toast at midnight.

Fort Brewery & Pizza presents New Year's Eve Celebration
Fort Brewery & Pizza in Fort Worth will present a New Year's Eve Celebration featuring an expansive dinner buffet, a complimentary Luc Belaire Champagne toast with party favors at midnight, and dancing to '90s hip-hop hits from DJ Con the Baptist.

Fort Worth Neon New Year's Bash
The Fort Worth Neon New Year's Bash, at the only covered and heated rooftop in Fort Worth at Texas Republic, will feature an open bar, live DJs playing hip hop, electro, top 40, and old school music, super confetti cannons, a Champagne toast, festive party favors, and late night tacos.

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark presents Epic Family New Year
It may cold outside, but you can still swim to your heart's content at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark in Grand Prairie. Their New Year’s Eve celebration will feature circus and aerial performances, hula dancing, interactive games, and more. The event will also include a special Hawaiian-themed dinner including a pig on a spit, pulled pork sliders, baby back ribs, coconut shrimp, and mini pineapple upside-down cupcakes.

Reunion Tower presents New Year's Eve Fireworks
As has become tradition, Reunion Tower will usher in the new year by presenting the seventh annual Texas-sized Reunion Tower “Over The Top NYE 2023” fireworks show. Although there is no viewing allowed near the tower, you can take in the show at nearby parties (including several of the above) or surrounding city streets. If you'd rather stay home, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXAS will broadcast the event from 11:30 pm-12:30 am, and KLUV (98.7 FM) will simulcast the celebration.

ArtPark presents New Year's Party
ArtPark, located in West Dallas just on the other side of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, will have 14 private bubble tents, two fire pits, and two VIP areas for rental that include champagne, a $50 gift card from Trinity Grove's newest concept Nitro Burger, and party favors. There will be a live DJ for dancing and celebrating, and an ideal view of the Reunion Tower fireworks at midnight.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents New Year's Eve
The annual New Year's Eve celebration by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is a tribute to the Viennese tradition as they toast the New Year with lively waltzes from the Strauss dynasty, honoring the most prestigious of New Year’s musical traditions. The concert, conducted by Gemma New, will be at Meyerson Symphony Center.

Pegasus City Brewery presents NYE 2023
Pegasus City Brewery will ring in the New Year and celebrate the roaring ‘23s with a night of 1920s fun and flair. There will be live music from the New Orleans-style David Washburn Jazz Band, heavy hors d'oeuvres from Southern Gentleman's Table catering, beer, wine, & cider, exclusive beer cocktails and samplings, an NYE photo booth, champagne toast at midnight, and a commemorative NYE 2023 glass.

The Statler presents New Year’s Eve: The Royal Masquerade Ball
The Statler in downtown Dallas will celebrate New Year’s Eve with an extravagant Masquerade Ball. The evening will feature an open bar, hors d'oeuvres, casino chips, an optional three-course dinner, dancing to favorite Top 40 Hip Hop mashups, and more.

Virgin Hotels Dallas presents Glitz & Glam NYE Party
Virgin Hotels Dallas' Glitz & Glam soiree will be dripping in disco balls, spanning the entire 4th floor with two parties and two DJs. Guests can reserve a table with bottle packages and reserved seating or purchase a ticket for open bar. There will be an open bar from 8:30 pm-12:30 am with premium spirits and champagne, plus complimentary bites from 8-11 pm. The party will allow guests great views of the city skyline & fireworks from the 4th floor.

Legacy Hall presents New Year’s Eve Disco Party
Legacy Hall in Plano will present New Year’s Eve Disco Party, featuring three floors of live music, five craft bars, a huge midnight celebration, and more. The event will feature a performance by The Rich Girls, who will play the music of Hall & Oates, Prince, '80s classics, and more. Select eateries will be open throughout the venue for delicious late-night bites.

SĒR Steak + Spirits presents New Year's Eve Celebration
SĒR Steak + Spirits on the 27th floor of Hilton Anatole will ring in 2023 with some of the best views of the Downtown Dallas New Year's Eve fireworks show. The event will include a DJ and dance floor, a midnight toast, and gourmet food & drinks from chef-featured live-action gourmet food stations and premium bar. Guests are encouraged to dress in upscale and formal fashion.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Best restaurants for lunch top this week's 5 hottest Fort Worth headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Where to eat in Fort Worth right now: 6 best restaurants to grab lunch. The March edition of Where to Eat, our monthly feature recommending best Fort Worth restaurants to try, centers on a meal that needs some attention: lunch. Here are six Fort Worth restaurants where you can grab a bite for lunch.

2. The top 10 neighborhood restaurants in Fort Worth offer a feeling of home. Up first in our special editorial series leading up the Tastemaker Awards, the category of Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year. These places are close and convenient to established residential neighborhoods and offer a feeling of home that keeps regulars coming back over and over again. Here are the 10 nominees for Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year.

3. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 7 best new bars for March. A fresh batch of new bars has popped up in recent weeks, and this round is prime for spring sipping. All offer either expansive patios or picturesque interiors, and there’s plenty of space at each to spread out; so going with a group is welcomed. Live music is also a common theme with this collection of new spots.

4. 10 new ideas for a FOMO-free spring break staycation in Dallas-Fort Worth. It’s spring break time across North Texas. For families who did NOT jet off to ski the slopes or head to the beach, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in Dallas-Fort Worth. We once called this "staying home." Now it's a "staycation!" Here are 10 new ideas for fun things to do, even into the weekend.

5. 5 Texas cities make a splash as best places for family-friendly vacations. Fort Worth families looking to create lasting memories - or just really need a last-minute getaway for spring break - don’t need to look outside their state. In a new report from lawn care company Lawn Love, five Texas cities ranked high as Best Cities for Kid-Friendly Vacations.

Fort Worth's buzzy new Koe Wetzel's Riot Room pops open beer-can chicken

Koe has arrived: Koe Wetzel's Riot Room, a new Fort Worth bar and restaurant in which famed country singer-songwriter Koe Wetzel is partnered, has softly opened in the 7th Street district at 1100 Foch St., with live music and a food menu of Southern and Texas classics.

Wetzel is the Texas-born "outlaw" singer-songwriter who's been blazing a trail with albums such as his most recent release, Hell Paso, which debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

The new venue is an exciting collaboration put together by hospitality veteran Emil Bragdon, whose Funky Lime Hospitality Concepts portfolio includes Reservoir, The Whiskey Garden, Junk Punch, and Your Mom's House.

Their vision for the Riot Room was a venue steeped in country music culture, a high-energy country bar and restaurant with drinks and live music — and the reason we are here today, a menu of comfort food executed by chef Chad Burnett, and with creative input from Wetzel.

Burnett is a partner and VP of Culinary for Funky Lime Hospitality Concepts who oversees menu development and kitchen design. He worked with Wetzel to give the menu a country focus.

"The food is country-style cooking with a Southern backbone and Texas flair," Burnett says. "So we have cornbread, chicken-fried steak, and brisket that we smoke overnight."

Their signature dish: beer can chicken. Burnett says they put "a lot of love into it."

"We brine it overnight, then smoke them for six hours every day before service," he says. "Our smoker’s only so big, and it's first-come first-serve. You can’t call ahead and reserve."

The cornbread is a "sticky jalapeno & cheddar cornbread" and is one a handful of appetizers along with fried pickles and cheddar-stuffed jalapenos with house-made garlic ranch. Blackened chicken quesadilla and fried catfish fingers with chunky Cajun remoulade can be shared as appetizers or serve as an entree.

For their chicken-fried steak, they get the steak from 44 Farms and offer a Nashville-hot-chicken style of preparation, where it gets dipped in jalapeño oil, then doused with dried jalapeno seasoning.

Their other signature is the Trailer Park Sandwich, featuring two breakfast sausage patties smothered in cheddar cheese and served on a soft, buttery biscuit with strawberry jam.

Last but not least, the burgers.

"Our burgers are some of the best you'll find," Burnett says. "We use a smaller quarter-pound patty, so you can order it with one or two. It's on a brioche bun, nicely toasted, with garlic butter, and the burgers are cooked on a flat top, with raw onion."

Prices are low with the most expensive item topping out at $14.95 for the CFS. "We like to have scratch food prepared with a chef's touch, but offer it at a value," he says.

Wetzel also helped craft the name, which is how they arrived at "riot room."

"The definition a riot in this context is someone who's fun to be around — not with people rioting," says Emil Bragdon. "It's a place you have fun. Inside the venue, we'll have that definition of 'riot': a bunch of people who want to have a good time."