This roundup of restaurant news in Fort Worth has a little of everything: news about barbecue, frozen desserts, apple pie, and apple pie beignets. There are new burgers to try and numerous refreshing new cocktails to sip.

Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news:

M&O Station Grill in the Foundry District has opened a new cocktail lounge which opens at 3 pm, when the restaurant transitions from restaurant into lounge. They're serving happy hour specials as well as food including burgers, appetizers, and items such as Chicken Salad with apple and mayo on mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and cucumber; Bacon, Avocado, and Swiss sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo. M&O has been family owned and operated since 2000.

Dayne's Craft Barbecue is opening its first brick-and-mortar location in Aledo, at 100 N. Front St. A post from co-owners Dayne and Ashley Weaver explains why: "Now I know what you are thinking: 'I thought you were opening in Westland?' As much as we wanted this opportunity in West Fort Worth to come to fruition, there were far too many financial hurdles to overcome. We needed a situation that better served our business, our customers, and our staff." The new location is a 2,700-square-foot stand-alone building, to which they'll add a pitroom and a 1,000-square-foot covered patio. "We now will have the appropriate kitchen space and setup to help us expand our menu offerings and serve more people. You can expect to see more hours/days, breakfast, limited evening service, faster service, catering, chilled grab & go items, and so much more." In the interim, they'll continue operating their food trailer at 9812 Camp Bowie West.

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Keller at 2122 Rufe Snow Dr. #102. The Florida-based chain specializing in Italian ice actually opened in May, but these grand openings take some time to plan, people. Besides, it's hot out right now; prime time for Italian ice. Jeremiah's is known for its Italian ice, available in more than 40 flavors; and its creamy soft-serve. Owner Steven Dubberly has another location in the works in Saginaw.

Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop at 6120 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth changed ownership: The location is now owned by Mike and Jessica Barakat, who also own the sibling shop in Mansfield.

Dusty Biscuits Beignets has specials for the month of July: Apple Pie beignet, featuring spiced apple glaze with pie filling compote and dusted with pie crust; Key Lime Cheesecake featuring Key lime glaze, cheesecake drizzle, and graham cracker dusting; German Chocolate featuring a duo of chocolate and caramel drizzle, topped with toasted coconut and candied pecans; and best for last, the possibly brilliant Dusty Dogs, featuring beef hot dogs on beignet buns with Creole mustard and ketchup.

The Bearded Lady has a burger of the month for July: The "O Canada!" featuring a half-pound Nolan Ryan beef patty, with seasoned fries, mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, fried cheese curds, and Canadian gravy from a recipe they say is three generations old. "This one is something we have been wanting to do for a long time, and we finally did!" they say.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub has launched its summer menu featuring: grilled artichoke, spicy shrimp ceviche with habanero peppers, Wagyu beef burger with bacon jam and Muenster cheese, seafood paella (with prawns, salmon, mussels, linguiça sausage, chicken, & saffron rice); Southern Peach Crumble; and a Raspberry Mint Mule-jito. They also have a new Wine Wednesdays with half-price bottles, through August 30. Served at four DFW locations in Grandscape, Preston Hollow, Irving, and Euless.

Original ChopShop, which has bowls, salads, and sandwiches, has added Citrus Thai Chop salad to its permanent menu. Previously a limited-run salad, it has greens, orange segments, roasted red pepper, pickled carrot, jicama, cucumber, green onion, peanut, cilantro, sesame seed, and Thai peanut dressing. They're also extending the Hot Honey Chicken + Hummus Protein Bowl, a limited-edition item, through the end of the summer. It has brown rice, spring mix, cucumber, tomato, banana pepper, red pepper hummus, chicken, hot honey, and Greek yogurt.

SusieCakes is making Barbie-themed cakes with Barbie dolls and choice of cake flavor from vanilla, vanilla confetti, chocolate, or red velvet; and choice of icing from SusiePink, SusieBlue, white vanilla, or chocolate buttercream. They're in Fort Worth at 1621 River Run.

Church’s Texas Chicken has two limited-edition summer items through August 24: Mini Churros covered in cinnamon & sugar with chocolate dipping sauce; and Bourbon Black Pepper Smokehouse half chicken coated in bourbon black pepper sauce, available on its own or in a meal with mashed potatoes and a biscuit. Drinks include Strawberry Blast Sprite, tea, or lemonade.

Wetzel's Pretzels has a new Guava Mangonada drink: a mango and guava slushie mixed with Taijn Fruity Chamoy Hot Sauce made with natural chilies, lime juice, sea salt, and apricot, topped with mango puree and dashes of Tajin Clasico Seasoning. Available through October 22.

DQ has a featured Blizzard of the month for July: Cake Batter Cookie Dough Blizzard consisting of soft serve with cake batter flavor, confetti cookie dough pieces, and sprinkles. This summer, participating DQ restaurants in Texas also will feature five more new blizzard flavors: Peanut Butter Puppy Chow, Oreo Brookie, Cotton Candy; S’mores, and Choco-Dipped Strawberry.

Yogurtland has a new Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet, made with watermelon and lemon, which is both vegan and non-fat.

McDonald's has released a new Cheesy Jalapeño Bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese, otherwise known as the QPC. Make a note of it. The new Cheesy Jalapeño Bacon QPC features American cheese, bacon, and pickled jalapeño slices. You can get it in a double-patty version. And in an off-menu venture, some locations are adding Cheesy Jalapeño to the Sausage McMuffin with Egg. It's a limited-time item, available through mid-August.

El Chico has a new Tropical Parrot-dise cocktail made with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Coco Reàl Cream of Coconut, pineapple juice, and Myers’s Original Dark Rum. Tropical Parrot-dise will be available for $7 through October 2 at El Chico locations in North Richland Hills and Granbury.

Restaurant Week is returning for its 27th year this August, benefiting the North Texas Food Bank and Lena Pope.The list of more than 100 participating restaurants is now live at DFWRestaurantWeek.com.

Photo by Ashley Gongora

These are the 8 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

Crawfish, coffee, and Cowtown burgers are on the menu this week, which features many unique events and one of the biggest foodie celebrations of the year. A respected “roast master” from a New Orleans-based coffee chain will visit the area for an educational class. A local distillery will release a new rye whiskey after four years of aging. A Grapevine hotel will challenge two sommeliers to pair wine with dinner, and diners get to judge who’s best. Finally, the CultureMap Fort Worth Tastemaker Awards arrive on Thursday, when winners in multiple categories highlighting the best of Fort Worth food and beverage will be announced with a grand party.

Wednesday, April 26

Egelhoff Wine Dinner at Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine
Partake in Texas cuisine paired with California wines during this five-course dinner by chef Jon Bonnell and his team. Menu highlights include blackened scallops, cocoa and coffee smoked pork roulade, and duck breast with stuffed crepes. Cab lovers will be happy to know there’ll be three served along with brut reserve, pinot noir, and tawny port. The dinner is $190, plus tax and gratuity. Note that there is no official “start time” for the dinner. Diners are welcome to make reservations for the evening and will be visited by Bonnell and winemaker Bob Egelhoff at their table throughout the evening.

Thursday, April 27

Coffee Cupping at PJ’s Coffee
The North Richland Hills outlet of the respected New Orleans-based coffee chain will host Felton Jones, PJ’s official roast-master for more than 20 years. Jones will educate participants on the nuances of cupping (or tasting) coffee properly and understanding the roasting process. The cost is $30 and guests will receive a PJ’s t-shirt, coffee mug, fresh green coffee samples, and light pastry bites to cleanse the palate. The event will run from 4-6 pm.

CultureMap Fort Worth Tastemaker Awards
Our big annual celebration of Fort Worth’s top restaurant and bar talent arrives this week, at the 4 Eleven venue on South Main Street. Hosted by chef Jon Bonnell, the evening will feature sample bites and specialty sips from many nominated restaurants, including Guapo Taco, JD’s Hamburgers, Tannahill’s Tavern, Tributary Café, Pizza Verde, and more. Awards for Bar of the Year, Chef of the Year, the reader-voted Best New Restaurant, and more will be handed out. Tickets are $75 for entry at 7 pm, or $125 for VIP early entry at 6 pm, valet parking, and a dedicated bar. Proceeds from the event will benefit Cuisine for Healing. Read more about the nominees here.

Meet the Maker at Toro Toro
It’s the last Thursday of the month, which means it’s time for Meet the Maker at Toro Toro. Visit the Latin steakhouse inside the Worthington Renaissance hotel for complimentary samples from Del Maguey Mezcal from 5-7 pm. Also enjoy craft cocktails and happy hour pricing featuring the spirit inside the Toro Toro bar. Bonus that valet is always complimentary.

Friday, April 28

Somm Smackdown at Hotel Vin
Let’s get ready to rumble. The Grapevine hotel will host a tongue-in-cheek “smackdown” event pitting two expert sommeliers against each other to see who can best pair wine with dinner. Five courses will feature beef croquettes, Hamachi, and Iberian Secret – a succulent piece of pork shoulder. Tickets are $125, plus tax and a service fee, and the face-off begins at 7 pm.

Saturday, April 29

TX Whiskey Straight Rye Whiskey Release
Be one of the first to purchase TX Whiskey’s new Straight Rye Whiskey Bottled in Bond, exclusive to the Whiskey Ranch distillery. (To be “bottled in bond” requires certain criteria, including maturing for a minimum of four years.) Master mixologist Jason Shelly will be on-site to serve specialty cocktails using the spirit. There’ll be live music, food trucks, and complimentary bottle engraving with purchase. The $10 ticket includes your first cocktail, and the event will run from 12-5 pm.

Sunday, April 30

Crawfish Boil & Brew at Hop & Sting Brewing Co.
The Grapevine brewery will host its fifth annual crawfish boil, pairing cold craft brew with mudbugs and live music. Couillon’s Cajun catering will provide the crawfish and fixings, including sausage, corn, and potatoes. Purchase a ticket in advance (by April 29) to guarantee a plate, which will run $23.95 (plus tax and a small fee) for two pounds. The event will run from 12-4 pm.

Cowtown Burger Showdown
The second annual burger competition will take place at River Ranch Stockyards, where local burger pros will share their best burgers to be judged for cash prizes. Tickets start at $29 for general admission, which includes three tasting tickets, endless fries, and a beer and whiskey tasting. Or pay $69 for VIP seating, hosted bar, four tasting tickets, and apps. (Kids ages 6-13 can get $15 entry that comes with two tasting tickets and endless fries.) The showdown, which also includes live music and vendors, will run from 1-5 pm.


Fort Worth restaurant news comes with cookie nachos and clown burgers

Burger News

This edition of Fort Worth restaurant news includes some fun openings, a resuscitation, and lots of new menus for spring.

Here's the latest restaurant news in Fort Worth:

Boba Chicken is a new spot in Southlake specializing in two major food groups: Korean-style BBQ chicken wings and boba tea drinks. The menu includes wings with a variety of sauces, and teas, including classic milk teas and fruity slushies, either of which can be spruced up with boba or jellies. The menu also features popcorn chicken, French fries, sweet potato fries, cheese nuggets, onion rings, fried mushrooms, and pickled radish. Located at 2801 E. Southlake Blvd. #100, Boba chicken is from Chuck Lo, who also owns Pokeworks, next door. It's in the former Beanvoy Coffee Lounge, which closed in 2022 after two years.

Clown Hamburgers, a longtime burger staple in Haltom City at 5020 Stanley-Keller Rd., has been taken over by a new team: Cody Medford, who grew up in the restaurant business, and whose mother Renee Medford and grandparents own Dixie House. Clown originally opened in 1959 and was beloved by locals during the '60s and '70s for its burgers. They're doing Angus burgers and fries, but take cash only (they have an ATM machine on-site).

Chip'd, a food truck that specializes in "hot cookie nachos," has expanded into a storefront at 2430 Forest Park Blvd., in the former Black Rooster Bakery space near TCU. Cookie nachos consist of warm cookies adorned with various toppings such as chopped PB cups, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts, and chopped Heath Bars in creations such as the Loaded Pretzel Chip'd Nacho featuring cookies topped with salted caramel and crushed pretzels. They'll continue to operate the truck in neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and private events.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub has a new spring menu available through June 18 which includes Spicy Moroccan Meatballs, blackened salmon Caesar salad, Wagyu burger with prosciutto, caramelized onions, white cheddar, & arugula, lemon pepper shrimp with cilantro jasmine rice and asparagus, smoked chicken enchilada stack, and chocolate three-layer cake.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery has launched a new spring menu featuring innovative breakfast riffs such as Love You E’Lote Breakfast Pasta (with bell pepper, asparagus, corn, egg, cheese), Habanero Pork Belly Breakfast Fried Rice, Veggie Breakfast Tacos (with scrambled eggs, portobello mushroom, red bell pepper, and cauliflower), Double Bacon Sandwich (with bacon and pork belly, egg, and arugula), and a Kale & Avocado Quinoa Bowl. New beverages include Spicy Kimchi Bloody, Chamomile Bourbon Palmer, Summer Sangarita, blackberry mint limeade, and strawberry lavender lemonade.

Newk's Eatery has new dishes for spring: cranberry & almond chicken salads sandwich on Parisian bread, pesto pasta chicken Caesar salad, lobster bisque, and coconut nut cake. They'll be available through June 21.

El Pollo Loco is bringing back shredded beef birria for a second year, beginning April 20 in three entrée choices: Birria Crunchy Taco, Birria Grilled Burrito, and Birria Overstuffed Quesadilla, paired with a consommé dipping sauce and tortilla chips.

Golden Chick is bringing back the Big & Wicked Chicken Sandwich, an extension of its Wicked chicken creations, which have evolved from regional products to limited-time offerings. It's available through June 18.

Freebirds World Burrito has brought back smoked brisket, available in any entrée, burrito, bowl, salad and more at all 63 locations across Texas while supplies lasts. The brisket is smoked for 16 hours.

Taco Cabana has brought back Carne Asada, available in a three-pack of street tacos plate for $8.49 or a combo featuring chips & queso and drink; or in a Carne Asada Cabana Bowl with rice, refried beans, lettuce, monterey jack & cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream. It's available through mid-June.

Bonchon, the Korean fried chicken chain, has two new comfort food items: Loaded Bulgogi Fries topped with sliced marinated steak, mozzarella cheese, and spicy mayo drizzle; and Korean Donuts, also known as Kkwabaegi (kwa-bag-gee) - soft, fluffy, twisted cruller-like treats coated with cinnamon and sugar. It's $5 for two doughnuts, plus another $ for a side of Sweet Cream Dipping Sauce.

Tiff's Treats is bringing their Snickerdoodle Cookie Cupcake, a collaboration with Sprinkles Cupcakes, to Dallas. The dessert mashup is a cinnamon cupcake with a Tiff’s snickerdoodle cookie crust, topped with cinnamon frosting, cinnamon sugar dust, and a mini Snickerdoodle cookie. The confection was initially introduced in Austin, and will be available through May.

Red Mango, the froyo chain, has a new lineup of toppings available through June 30: salty almonds, Easter Peeps marshmallow candies, Mango Boba bubbles, Tajin and Chili Chamoy gummy bears, and Green Apple Boba.

McDonald’s is making its Big Mac sauce available for the first time, but it's only available via the McDonald's app. This creamy, tangy, slightly sweet sauce can be requested with any order of Chicken McNuggets or ordered a la carte to pair with other McDonald’s menu items. It'll be available starting April 27 in little plastic "dip cups" done in a blue & silver packaging inspired by the 1968-era Big Mac sandwich wrapping.

Chick-fil-A has two new bottled sauces – Barbecue Sauce and Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Sauce – headed to retail shelves nationwide. They also have a new 11-piece sauce-themed merchandise line including tote bag, bucket hat, T-shirt, water bottle, saucy sneakers, etc. Everyone wants to sell swag.

Fall Creek Vineyards is releasing 2021 Lescalo Rosé, a new low-alcohol, low-calorie wine with 9.8 percent alcohol by volume, made with a blend of Chenin Blanc and Tempranillo grapes grown in Texas. It's the second Lescalo release joining Lescalo Chenin Blanc introduced in 2020. Market analyst firm IWSR has forecast sales of lower-alcohol still wine to grow approximately 27 percent from 2021 to 2025.

Pepsico has launched a program to help 10 Hispanic-owned food and beverage brands that includes a $20,000 grant and a six-month mentorship program. Candidates should apply online; the deadline is May 15.

Cici’s Pizza made the list of Pizza Marketplace’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list recognizing 25 executives and 75 brands during the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Cici’s Pizza placed first on the top marketing campaigns list for its new look with the Endless Pizzabilities campaign and president Jeff Hetsel was named a top executive.

Courtesy photo

These 10 beefy Fort Worth restaurants flip the best burgers in town

Tastemaker Awards

It’s a passionate subject in a city nicknamed “Cowtown” – burgers, that is. Everyone has their favorite, from unfussy classics to flashy gourmet versions with their aioli and brioche buns.

We're throwing charcoal on the grill and stoking fires of debate by making Best Burger our "Wildcard" category the 2023 CultureMap Fort Worth Tastemaker Awards. The Wildcard category changes every year depending on what's hot. And there's no hotter cuisine right now than burgers.

This group of nominees covers restaurants serving up wide-ranging styles, including the smashburger, the pitmaster burger, the fancy truffle burger, the eccentric burger made with local beer-infused ingredients, and the traditional chargrilled hamburger served basic with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Study up on the selections - and all the other nominees - in a special editorial series leading up to the Tastemaker Awards ceremony and signature tasting event, being held April 27 at The 4 Eleven (411 S. Main St.).

The event, emceed by Fort Worth chef Jon Bonnell, will feature bites and beverages from the nominees. Note that early bird ticket sales end April 2. Snag those here.

The Tastemaker Awards, returning for a second year in Fort Worth, shine a spotlight on the people making the local restaurant scene special and honor their innovation, energy, and creativity. Nominees and winners are determined by a panel of industry experts, including past winners — except for Best New Restaurant, which is determined by reader vote.

Here are the 10 nominated restaurants for Best Burger, in alphabetical order:

B&B Butchers & Restaurant
The Shops at Clearfork steakhouse knows how to get fancy with burgers in a big way. Maybe it’s topping them with a thick pad of indulgent truffle butter and slathering them with truffle aioli and three-onion jam, like on the restaurant’s Truffle Burger. Or maybe it’s serving them open-faced with fried oysters, filet, and pork belly as they do with the Carpet Bagger Burger. There’s also the Hill Country Burger featuring smoked sausage, barbecue sauce, and pepperjack cheese; and the Butcher Shop Burger loaded with thick applewood smoked bacon. All are served with thick-cut steak fries and are available only at lunch.

The Bearded Lady
The half-pound burgers are always head-turners at this South Main Street gastropub and patio. One example: The Bill Dill, a mile-high pickle-themed burger topped with fried pickles, bacon, dill ranch, queso made with Martin House Brewing Company’s Best Maid pickle beer, and pickles soaked in Martin House’s Salty Lady beer. There’s also the BOTM (burger of the month), a limited special that goes wild with creativity. March’s feature is The Jambalaya, ladeled with actual sausage and chicken jambalaya along with blackened shrimp and “dirty gravy.” Get ready to get messy.

Dayne's Craft Barbecue
Dayne Weaver’s elusive OG Burger is available from his barbecue trailer as a special only on Thursdays and Fridays, and word is that they can sell out by lunchtime. Comprised of two juicy patties made from a mix of ground beef and brisket trimmings, the smoky smashburger draws legions of fans for its cheesy, heavenly goodness. Because of its limited supply, the burger has achieved legendary status. Look for it to be a daily menu offering once Dayne’s opens its brick-and-mortar location in the up-and-coming Westland area on Camp Bowie West.

Dutch's Hamburgers
This TCU-area burger hub holds a lot of history. It’s named for legendary TCU grad and football coach “Dutch” Meyer and is located in the former home of another iconic TCU burger joint, Jon’s Grille (the original, not the reincarnated version recently opened by Jon Bonnell on West Berry Street). Burgers are mostly traditional here; they come with half-pound patties, shredded lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles if desired. Slightly flashier versions include additions like hickory barbecue sauce, bacon, blue cheese, mushroom and Swiss cheese, and fried onion and jalapeño strings.

Fred's Texas Café
Having moved after more than 40 years in its original Currie Street location to Camp Bowie West in 2022, Fred’s picked right up where it left off. The look and feel – with a patio stage for live music, icy schooners, and rustic Texas décor – is still the same, as are the medium-cooked Black Angus burgers that still come with a big pile of hand-cut fries. While the chipotle pepper and grilled onion-topped Diablo Burger is still popular, don’t sleep on creative newcomers on the menu like the Enchilada Burger; Guajillo Burger with Dr Pepper candied bacon; and the Spicy Todo Jalapeño Burger with fried jalapeños, jalapeño cream cheese, and jalapeño jam served on a cheddar jalapeño bun.

Hookers Grill
There’s nothing scandalous about this hidden Stockyards burger shack, where orders are taken and picked up from an outdoor window. Hooker is the last name of Ruth, who runs the place with her mom, Kathryn. Here, fried onions are pressed into the thin Hereford beef patties, which almost fall apart between smashed, griddle-top-toasted buns. The ensemble comes wrapped in red-and-white checkered paper and is a delicious, addicting mess. Most popular is the “regular,” which comes with mustard and pickles. Customers can add cheese, jalapeños, bacon, chili, green chili gravy, or a fried egg. Hookers is open late on Friday and Saturday nights to accommodate the honky-tonk crowd after dancing.

JD's Hamburgers
After losing its roof from high winds during storms on March 2, JD’s Hamburgers is still working hard to reopen. The Westland district burger café and patio debuted last September, drawing happy crowds from West Fort Worth and beyond for its long list of burgers and Southern-inspired bites like deviled eggs, salmon patties, and fried green tomatoes. Burger varieties include the Sherlie Ann & Donnie with bacon, peach pico de gallo, and Swiss cheese; the Cheryl & Bo with Hatch chile queso; and the more traditional Allie Mae & JD with shredded lettuce, American cheese, caramelized onions, tomato, and pickle ribbons. All come on a toasted sourdough bun and may be served with sweet potato fries or long-cut okra fries.

Kincaid's Hamburgers
The longtime Camp Bowie Boulevard burger dive evolved out of a 1940s grocery store and is still family owned and operated, now with five locations across Tarrant County. Praised on countless “best burger” lists over the decades, Kincaid’s keeps things simple with its half-pound chargrilled burgers presented with the classic build of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, white onions, and pickle chips. Additions include cheese, chili, and bacon, and all burgers come with mustard unless the customer requests otherwise. There are “fancier” options, like the “Cowtown Deluxe” with pimento cheese, bacon, and grilled jalapeños and onions, but it’s the humble original that’s kept customers coming back for generations.

Little Red Wasp
This downtown restaurant and bar hangs with the local burger elite for its “knife + fork” cheeseburger. The beefy ensemble can come with one or two patties, each melted with aged cheddar cheese and stacked with thick-cut tomatoes, red onion slivers, pickle chips, crisp lettuce, and a tangy “Wasp sauce.” A toasted potato bun holds it all in place. The concept is owned by restaurateur Adam Jones and chef Blaine Staniford, who also own and operate nearby downtown fine-dining destinations Grace and the new 61 Osteria Italian restaurant.

Wishbone & Flynt
Ask for the Flynt Burger at this South Main Street hub for high-end, home-cooked dishes. With a custom-blended patty made from short rib, ground chuck, and brisket seared in rich and luxurious duck fat (a game-changer), the result is juicy and flavorful. The burger comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles, along with tangy slices of white cheddar melted on top. A fluffy, toasted brioche bun keeps everything in place.


The Best Burger category is sponsored by Goodstock by Nolan Ryan. The Tastemaker Awards event will feature a Burger Throwdown where attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite slider.

Courtesy of Zonk Burger

Fort Worth's only vegan burger joint is calling it quits

Vegan News

A vegan burger joint in Fort Worth is calling it quits: Zonk Burger, the city's first restaurant dedicated to vegan burgers, which opened two years ago on Race Street, will close on April 2.

Co-founder Emily Hahn called it "a bummer," but said it was time.

"Four years ago, we started taking steps to open a high-quality but accessible restaurant, filling what we thought was a hole in the Fort Worth scene," Hahn said in a note. "We feel like we succeeded in many ways and are really proud of what we put together here. However, whether we were naïve, dumb or victims of broader macro trends, the demand just isn't there for what we're selling."

Zonk opened in a former doughnut shop at 2912 Race St., where it's serving a variety of vegan burgers, sandwiches, and fries.

Zonk was from Erin Hahn and Zachary Stacy, who started out with a food truck in 2019 before graduating to a permanent location in the River East neighborhood of Fort Worth taking over a former doughnut shop at 2912 Race St., where they served vegan burgers made from in-house recipes using high-quality ingredients, plus sandwiches, fries, and the occasional doughnut special.

Zahn started devising recipes as a labor of love, after she changed to a vegan diet, developing burgers from beans, grains, fungi, vegetables and seasonings.

Their burgers earned them a number of nods including making a list of Fort Worth's top 5 vegan restaurants, and a nomination for Best New Restaurant in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards.

Hahn says they nearly found someone to keep the dream alive by aquiring Zonk Burger, but it didn't work out, and were on a tight timeline before their lease ended.

"It has truly been our pleasure to get to know y'all, and we're so grateful to everyone who made us a part of their routine. Some of you seemed to get what we were going for, and you made this experiment worth it," she says.

They're changing their Saturday service to brunch, like Sunday, so they'll serve both the regular Zonk menu and their brunch menu from 10 am-4 pm. There may be unexpected menu changes or the possibility they'll sell out of items, and they recommend ordering online in advance.


Austin-based Hopdoddy fires up burgers & margaritas in north Fort Worth

Burger News

A beloved burger chain from Austin is opening a new location in Fort Worth: Hopdoddy Burger Bar, the "better burger" pioneer, will open a restaurant in buzzy Alliance Town Center, at 3101 Heritage Trace Pkwy.

According to a release, it'll open on January 17 with a spiffy renovation that incorporates music-themed interior décor and a covered dog-friendly patio overlooking Bluestem Park.

It's taking over a space previously occupied by a location of the Bryan, Texas chain Grub Burger Bar, which closed on January 7. Grub was acquired by Hopdoddy in January 2022. Alliance is the seventh of 18 Grub locations to be converted to the Hopdoddy Burger Bar brand.

Hopdoddy has almost 40 locations across Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana.

The menu features Piedmontese beef, grass-fed bison, and chicken from Red Bird Farms. They've been a pioneer in catering to a variety of diets with a vegetarian black bean & corn patty; a plant-based patty from Beyond Meat; and a dedicated Gluten-Free menu.

Burgers are served on one of three house-baked buns or as a bowl on house greens. A full-service bar features margaritas, draft cocktails, and local craft beer.

Hours will be Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm and Friday-Saturday 11 am-11 pm.

As Hopdoddy CEO Jeff Chandler notes in a statement, this is the second Hopdoddy in Fort Worth; the first opened in 2017 in Fort Worth's Left Bank. There's also a location in Euless which opened in 2018.

"The city of Fort Worth has been asking for more of our unique burgers and shareable fries," Chandler says. "We’re excited to open a second Hopdoddy location to serve North Fort Worth and can’t wait to see everyone at our grand opening on January 17!"

Hopdoddy will kick off the grand opening by giving a free burger to the first 100 people in line at 11 am. Guests can also enter to win free burgers for a year by sharing a post or story on Instagram, tagging @hopdoddy and using #hopdoddylove.

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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.

Country icon Willie Nelson returns to 'hillbilly' inspiration in new album

The Red Headed Stranger goes Blue

Almost as much as Willie Nelson is known for Austin, he's known for Nashville — and for subverting it. The 90-year-old singer has made an iconic, and extremely long career of conforming to and bucking against musical expectations, and now he's circled back around to tradition — without losing his own sound.

Nelson's new LP, Bluegrass, is his first album-length tribute to the traditional country genre. Yet, released on September 15, it's not even his first album of 2023. It follows I Don't Know A Thing About Love: The Songs of Harlan Howard, a tribute to the Nashville songwriter who gave folks "I Fall to Pieces."

Bluegrass, in a way, is Nelson's genre-bent tribute to his own work. The setlist gathers a dozen of the songwriter and his fans' "favorite" songs he wrote, according to a press release, re-rendered with a bluegrass ensemble.

The focus on orchestration highlights that this is a collaborative effort by the amiable, but largely solo performer. One song, "Good Hearted Woman," is the only track on the album not just written by Nelson, thanks to the similar creative genius of outlaw country great Waylon Jennings. Willie's son, Micah Nelson, created the cover art: an appropriately blue portrait of the singer with warm undertones and a wreath of familiar recreational leaves. The album was produced by Willie's longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon.

Willie Nelson BluegrassNelson's son created the cover art — in blue, of course.Image courtesy of Willie Nelson; created by Micah Nelson

Even if a listener doesn't recognize each song on the album, Nelson's voice is as unmistakeable as ever. Against a bluegrass arrangement, it floats undisturbed and unhurried. At times, it even sounds like Nelson and the band are performing in different meters, the band bustling along cheerfully while the singer lounges around the beat — but never on it.

In fact, listeners who avoid Bluegrass may find their tune changes when listening to these laid-back renditions. "Still Is Still Moving To Me" brings the more frenetic tempo and multi-part harmonies that the genre is known for at its most ferocious; but iconic songs like "Sad Songs and Waltzes" and "Yesterday's Wine" may not even strike listeners as bluegrass if they're not listening for it — just very string-heavy traditional country tunes.

"On the Road Again," "Man With the Blues," and album-opener "No Love Around" are perhaps the tracks that benefit the most from the Bluegrass treatment. All three seem a little more cheerful, a little more upbeat, and a little more reassuring than their original forms. There's nothing warmer than hearing the iconic "On the Road Again" melody on gut strings — except perhaps listening to the country legend offer his "advice" over that plucky, self-assured backcountry orchestra.

Most important, the arrangements rework rather than rewriting the songs. None of the renditions give off an air of hokeyness or trying to shake things up; These are just great country songs that sound even better with a banjo. It makes sense that the change in instrumentation wouldn't shift much, since according to the release, Nelson decided to record the tribute because the style informed so much of his natural songwriting style.

"Using his own catalog as source material, in the spirit of traditional bluegrass sourcing hillbilly folk music, Willie chose songs combining the kind of strong melodies, memorable storylines and tight ensemble-interplay found in traditional bluegrass interpretations of the roots (from European melodies to African rhythms) of American folk songs," acknowledges the release.

By Texas Monthly'scount (shared in the release), this is Nelson's 151st album. Avid collectors can look forward to a 12-inch special edition pressed in blue vinyl, available for purchase on September 29. Preorder ($29.98) at willienelson.com.

This year the songwriter was honored with a five-part documentary series, a blowout 90th birthday concert, the naming of a prestigious arts endowment by the University of Texas at Austin, and two Grammy Awards. His book, Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs, comes out October 23. He will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame days later, on November 3.

Listen to Bluegrass on your favorite streaming platform. More information is available at willienelson.com.

Flix Brewhouse set to open in Mansfield with food and beer brewed in-house

Let's All Go to the Movies

Austin-based Flix Brewhouse, famous for its first-run cinema and in-house brewery, will debut a new location in Mansfield, with an opening set for Thursday, September 28.

The theater will open at 416 N. US 287, in The Shops at Broad, with its trademark full menu of sandwiches, salads, burgers, and pizza as well as beer that's brewed in-house.

Mansfield marks the chain's 10th location and the fifth in Texas, joining the original in Round Rock, along with Frisco/Little Elm, El Paso, and San Antonio.

But Mansfield will offer something new that no other location has: the ability to order your meal directly from your phone. Instead of pressing the button at your seat and waiting for a server to take your order, orders can be transmitted directly to the theater's kitchen. So convenient!

Call buttons are still available to order for moviegoers without smartphones or for those who prefer that method.

The 38,000-square-foot theater and brewpub will have nine auditoriums featuring reclining chairs and personal, pivoting tabletops.

A full bar incorporates a fully-functioning brewery where a team of brewers craft beers that are unique to the location and the featured films. A small taproom is available for guests to enjoy a brew before or after a movie and play movie-themed pinball.

In addition to new releases, Flix Brewhouse offers their Flix Picks program, which curates specialty monthly FanFests around cult classic movies that are paired with a themed menu and souvenir glassware.

For those who go to the movies a lot, Flix has The Circle, a loyalty program with special perks like discounts, birthday tickets, and more. Early sign-ups for the free program receive an exclusive invitation to the theater's soft opening event.

The opening date coincides with the release of PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie for the younger set, as well as the sci-fi epic The Creator and the latest in a gruesome horror franchise, Saw X.

“Moviegoers can expect to have a transformative experience when they visit a Flix Brewhouse location,” said Chance Robertson, Flix CEO, in a statement. “Our team pours its passion into every aspect of the theater whether that is in a glass of award-winning, freshly brewed beer, a delectably-themed meal, or the state-of-the art audio visual experience of a movie."