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Photo courtesy of The Fitzgerald

Editor's note: Looking back at our most-read dining stories of 2022, we see Fort Worth's adoration of a certain Texas grocery store that's finally expanding into Tarrant County - it claimed two spots in our top 10. Readers also gobbled up news about new restaurants, a new high-tech McDonald's, and Fort Worth's very first Tastemaker Awards event honoring local culinary superstars.

1. McDonald's tests out one-of-a-kind new restaurant model in Fort Worth. McDonald’s is trying out a brand new test restaurant concept, and the only place it's happening is in Fort Worth. Located at 8540 West Fwy., the new store is a first-of-its-kind test restaurant that the company says is designed for customers on-the-go.

2. New Crazy German restaurant serves Dallas-Fort Worth the best wursts. There's a very-authentic German restaurant newly opened in North Texas. Called The Crazy German, it opened quietly on February 1 in a little shopping center at 27379 E. University Dr. in Aubrey and comes with the best credentials: The owner was born and raised in Germany.

3. Best Fort Worth restaurants for Thanksgiving 2022 dining-in or to-go. One minute it's January. The next minute, we were thinking about the holidays. It's never too soon to start dreaming about pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and stuffing fragrant with sage and thyme. In late October, we rounded up the best restaurants to get Thanksgiving 2022 feasts in Fort Worth.

4. Where to eat in Fort Worth right now: 5 hot new restaurants for March. Fort Worth saw a burst of restaurants open early in the year. There was a little something for everyone, including high-profile chef-driven spots and bar-driven restaurants with generous outdoor space. For our March edition of Where to Eat, we presented five need-to-know restaurants that recently had opened.

Photo courtesy of The Fitzgerald
Oysters from The Fitzgerald.

5. H-E-B supermarket chain opening first location in Tarrant County. In the biggest news of August, adored Texas supermarket chain H-E-B is opening a location in Tarrant County: specifically, Mansfield. The store will be located at the corner of US 287 and Broad Street. This will become the first H-E-B store in Tarrant County, joining its sibling Central Market in Fort Worth.

6. Location accidentally leaked for possible H-E-B supermarket in Fort Worth. On June 8, it was looking like Fort Worth was going to get an H-E-B grocery store, according to a press release from Parkside at Alliance Town Center that got nearby residents excited. An H-E-B spokesperson confirmed that the company owned land there but had no immediate plans to build a store. Then in October, H-E-B finally made it official: Fort Worth's Alliance is getting an H-E-B store after all. A groundbreaking took place at the northwest corner of Heritage Trace Parkway and North Riverside Drive on November 16.

7. Fort Worth restaurant vet to open burger joint in former dive bar space. Gigi Howell, a Fort Worth restaurant veteran, announced in January that she was opening her own burger joint. Called JD's Hamburgers, it's now located at 9901 Camp Bowie West, a space previously occupied by bars such as Last Call and Randi's Knotty Pine Saloon.

8. Fort Worth's best restaurant, chef, and more winners crowned at 2022 Tastemaker Awards. The annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards program came to Fort Worth for the very first time this year, with a brand-new event to honor the city’s talented and hard-working culinary stars. The nominees for bar, chef, and restaurant of the year, best new restaurant, and best breakfast were introduced in an editorial series, and winners were crowned at an awards ceremony and signature tasting event on Tuesday, May 10 at the 4 Eleven venue.

9. Fort Worth bar is one of 9 across the U.S. to host spooky Halloween pop-up. A Fort Worth bar was one of the few bars across the U.S. chosen to host a special pop-up with a Halloween theme. Called Black Lagoon, it was an immersive Halloween pop-up bar concept that hit nine cities across the U.S., and that includes Nickel City, the neighborhood bar located at 212 S. Main St. in Fort Worth.

10. Authentic deep-dish pizza from Chicago is coming to Fort Worth. An authentic Chicago-style pizza name announced in February it was coming to Fort Worth: Rosati's Pizza, a chain based in Illinois that's been doing Chicago-style pizza since 1964, then opened a location at 5152 Golden Triangle. It went into a new little center at the intersection of Park Vista Boulevard in far north Fort Worth.

Photo courtesy of H-E-B

Fort Worth's first H-E-B store tops this week's 5 hottest 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. H-E-B is in fact opening a supermarket at Fort Worth's Alliance. Despite some coy protests to the contrary, it turns out that Fort Worth's Alliance is getting an H-E-B store after all. The mega supermarket chain is continuing its expansion in the DFW Metroplex with plans to open H-E-B Alliance at the northwest corner of Heritage Trace Parkway and N. Riverside Drive.

2. Where to eat in Fort Worth right now: 5 sizzling new restaurants for October. Fall's almost always a good time for restaurant openings in Fort Worth and 2022 is no exception. There are burgers, sandwiches, street food, sushi, bread, dumplings, and a fried bologna sandwich. Here's where to eat for October.

3. Afton Battle steps down as Fort Worth Opera general director after 2 years. Fort Worth Opera general and artistic director Afton Battle has resigned after leading the company through two challenging, post-pandemic years; her last day with the company will be November 23.

4. North Texas bluebonnet capital flourishes as No. 4 best suburb in state. The North Texas city known as a bluebonnet capital of Texas each spring is also one of the state's best overall suburbs. Ennis lands at No. 4 in a recent SmartAsset ranking of the best suburbs near a large city in Texas. Nationally, it's ranked 102nd.

5. Glittering Auberge Resorts luxury hotel checks into Fort Worth Cultural District. A new hotel in Fort Worth's Cultural District will come with one of the hottest names in luxe lodging: Auberge Resorts Collection will manage Bowie House, a new "urban luxury retreat" being built off the bricks of Camp Bowie. Now officially called Bowie House, Auberge Resorts Collection, the hotel is expected to open in late 2023.

Courtesy rendering

First H-E-B in Tarrant County tops 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. H-E-B supermarket chain opening first location in Tarrant County. In the biggest news of August and maybe all of 2022, adored Texas supermarket chain H-E-B is opening a location in Tarrant County: specifically, Mansfield. The store will be located at the corner of US 287 and Broad Street. This will become the first H-E-B store in Tarrant County, joining its sibling Central Market in Fort Worth.

2. 3 North Texas cities unlock honors among America's best places to live. It's no wonder so many people are moving to "boomtowns" McKinney and Denton. A new ranking from Livability, whose research generates lists of the best places to live, work, and visit, puts both North Cities among the country’s 100 most livable small and midsize cities. Plano joins them on the list, too.

3. Eagles fly back into town with Hotel California tour extension in Fort Worth. Just when you thought that the legendary rock band Eagles was done playing shows in Dallas-Fort Worth on their current Hotel California tour, they've extended it yet again, announcing a date at Dickies Arena on Friday, November 25.

4. Turkey leg craze hits Fort Worth with new restaurant Turkey Den. A foodstuff that has made diners go mad with glee now has its own outpost in Fort Worth. Called Turkey Den, it's a new restaurant that opened in early July on the east side of Fort Worth at 1201 Oakland St., where it's serving stuffed smoked turkey legs, along with fried seafood and Cajun food.

5. 3 new outdoor sculptures from the Modern Art Museum grace an entrance to downtown Fort Worth. One of the corridors into downtown Fort Worth has gotten a little more artful. Three outdoor sculptures from the Modern Art Museum's permanent collection went on view along West 7th Street beginning Monday, August 8, and will remain there indefinitely.

Welcome to Tarrant County, H-E-B.

Courtesy rendering
Welcome to Tarrant County, H-E-B.
Courtesy rendering

H-E-B supermarket chain opening first location in Tarrant County

Supermarket News

In the biggest news of August and maybe all of 2022, adored Texas supermarket chain H-E-B is opening a location in Tarrant County: specifically, Mansfield.

The store will be located at the corner of US 287 and Broad Street. This will become the first H-E-B store in Tarrant County, joining its sibling Central Market in Fort Worth.

According to a release, H-E-B owns roughly 28 acres at the site. Plenty of room for a store and spacious parking lot, which it will totally need.

"We are excited to officially announce that H-E-B is coming to Mansfield," says H-E-B Executive VP Juan-Carlos Rück. "We look forward to providing this dynamic and growing city with the best H-E-B has to offer."

Additional details will be shared at the store’s groundbreaking, which is expected early next year.

The new store builds on the company’s growing presence in Dallas-Fort Worth, and reinforces its commitment to serve more customers in North Texas.

In June, some excitement was generated when it was mistakenly leaked that a store might be opening in Tarrant County at Parkside at Alliance Town Center. An H-E-B spokesperson confirmed that the company owns land there but had no immediate plans to build a store.

Fort Worth is actually surrounded by towns with H-E-B stores including Burleson, Granbury, Cleburne, Corsicana, Ennis, Hudson Oaks (the most recent opening), Stephenville, and Waxahachie. Just none inside Tarrant County.

In a statement, Mansfield Mayor Michael Evans calls his city the perfect home for H-E-B, although surely he seems biased.

"For years our residents have asked for an H-E-B, and on behalf of the City Council, we are proud to welcome this economic driver and much desired business to Mansfield," Mayor Evans says. "With our growing economy and invested community, Mansfield is the perfect home for the first H-E-B location in southeast Tarrant County and we are excited about the continued economic growth coming to our city and the entire southeast Tarrant County region."

Photo courtesy of Kroger

Kroger begins grocery delivery across Dallas-Fort Worth with new facility

Supermarket News

Fort Worth has scored another way to get food delivered with the opening of a new delivery service from Kroger. According to a release, the grocery chain has opened a new Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in southeast Dallas at 4221 Telephone Rd.

In a statement, Kroger VP and head of e-commerce Bill Bennett says the new service will bring fresh food and ingredients to our doorsteps.

The delivery range extends all the way to Oklahoma City to the north and Austin and San Antonio to the south. The entire DFW Metroplex will be covered.

"Customers can use Kroger.com or the Kroger app to check the weekly circular, select personalized digital coupons, search products by dietary preference and ultimately place their delivery order, saving time and money," Bennett says.

Kroger Delivery is a partnership between Kroger and grocery e-commerce company Ocado Group that first began in 2018.

The delivery network relies on automated fulfillment centers with more than 1,000 bots that move around giant 3D grids. Dubbed "The Hive," the grids contain totes with products and customer orders. Bots retrieve products from The Hive and take them to pick stations where items are sorted for delivery.

That process is governed by algorithms that ensure items are intelligently packed. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags, reducing plastic use.

Delivery vans are refrigerated, and can store up to 20 orders.

More algorithms are used to optimize delivery routes, considering factors like road conditions and fuel efficiency. Drivers can travel up to 90 miles with orders from facilities to make deliveries.

Kroger also just launched a membership program for $59 or $99 per year that offers benefits such as unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more and fuel points.

The facility will work in collaboration with "spoke" facilities in Austin, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City; each spoke facility will serve as a last-mile cross-dock that will enable Kroger Delivery to expand its services to more customers.

Kroger currently operates customer fulfillment centers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Atlanta, and Detroit, with more centers slated for California, Maryland, Arizona, Cleveland, Charlotte NC, Denver, south Florida, and the Northeast.

Photo courtesy of H-E-B

H-E-B carts out new home decor and furniture for Fort Worth-area shoppers

Shopping news

Milk, bread, eggs … accent chair? Beginning this month, some H-E-B shoppers in the Fort Worth area can pick up home goods and furniture along with their groceries.

On July 14, the Texas grocer announced the launch of two home decor lines under the new Home by H-E-B department. The two new brands — Haven + Key and Texas Proud — promise “hundreds of items” for shoppers, according to a release, including “timeless woven textiles, inspiring décor, and versatile furniture and accent pieces.”

Each line has its own distinct style. With its modern, sleek aesthetic, Haven + Key rivals Target’s Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, the smash-hit product line the mega-retailer developed with Joanna and Chip Gaines. Midcentury-inspired leather chairs, blond wood accents, gold-trimmed mirrors and objets d’art, and neutral pillows are just a handful of the home goods ready for browsing.

Texas Proud is just that: goods designed to remind us how proud we are of Texas.

“The Texas Proud collection will celebrate the bold and distinctive style of Texas, bringing home the iconic spirit of the Lone Star State. The line will feature items such as wood and antler art, leather goods, cowhide benches and candles,” San Antonio-based H-E-B says in a release.

The retailer also notes that many of the products are designed right here in Texas, and features accents like crosses, "Come and Take It," and Texas flag wall hangings.

Burleson shoppers are among the first to peruse the new collections, now available at the H-E-B plus! at 165 N.W. John Jones Dr.

Besides Burleson, the line is also available at H-E-B stores in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and the three-month-old New Braunfels location, which became the first H-E-B in the state to offer the Home by H-E-B department when it opened in April 2022.

The retailer adds it has hopes to offer the Home by H-E-B departments in 25 stores across Texas this year, specifically citing the coming stores in Frisco and Plano. (The other H-E-B location near Fort Worth, Hudson Oaks, was not included in the announcement.)

“At H-E-B, we’re always looking for ways to offer an unique, quality shopping experience, and Home by H-E-B is another way we’re able to better meet the needs of Texans,” says Sabina Israelian-Garcia, H-E-B Group vice president of general merchandise, drug store and beauty, in the July 14 release.

Currently, both collections can be purchased in-store or via the H-E-B app or website for curbside or delivery options.

The launch of Home by H-E-B and the Haven + Key and Texas Proud lines are the latest innovations for the South Texas retailer, which also owns Dallas-based Central Market. In recent years, H-E-B has dramatically increased its curbside and delivery services, continued the rollout of its award-winning Texas True BBQ restaurant, and has continued its expansion to the farthest reaches of the Lone Star State.

More recently, it launched a multimillion-dollar fund to build a new elementary school in Uvalde following May's devastating mass shooting.

The new collection is available at the H-E-B plus! store in Burleson.

Photo courtesy of H-E-B
The new collection is available at the H-E-B plus! store in Burleson.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Giant sea creatures made of recycled beach trash wash onto Galveston Island in must-see new exhibit

inspiring sea change

A giant great white shark, massive bald eagle, oversized octopus, and more enormous sea life have invaded Galveston Island.

"Washed Ashore," a compelling traveling art exhibit of giant sea animal sculptures made of trash collected from beaches, is now on display across 19 locations in Galveston.

The clever showcase features more than 20 pieces — most more than six feet tall and as much as 17 feet wide — such as coral reefs, jellyfish, penguins, sunfish, and more.

Sculptures can be found at museums, hotels, parks, attractions, and popular outdoor spaces. Thanks to a partnership between Oregon-based non-profit Washed Ashore and the Galveston Park Board, the exhibit, which is open though March 5, is free.

This innovative, powerful exhibit is designed to educate the public about the hazards of plastic pollution in the world’s waterways and comes at a touchstone environmental moment. Some 35 million metric tons of plastic entered the global aquatic ecosystems in 2020, according to the Ocean Conservancy’s research partners.

Similar "Washed Ashore" exhibits have been displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, as well as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens across the nation. Notably, this Galveston debut marks the first time the exhibit will not be behind a paid gate, per press materials.

“The sculptures are impressive,” Visit Galveston Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody says. “But they’re even more impressive when you look at them closely. The artists at Washed Ashore placed recognizable objects – like buckets and shovels – at a child’s eye view. This way, hopefully, they will learn to take with them what they bring to the beach.”

For more information on the exhibit, visit the official site.

Photo courtesy of Visit Galveston

Meet Greta the great white shark.

These are the 5 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

It’s a frigid start to February this week, but tasty events bring opportunities to warm up once the coldest weather passes. Get cozy with hand-made pasta and wine, a dim sum cooking class, two new Sunday brunch launches, and a complimentary educational class to watch online from the warmth of your own home.

Thursday, February 2

An Evening with Batasiolo Wine Dinner
Only 11 lucky individuals get to partake in this four-course dinner set to take place in il Modo’s intimate pasta-making room. Wines from Beni Di Batasiolo Winery will be paired with each course. Reservations are $199, plus tax and gratuity, and include valet parking. Dinner begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, February 4

Who Eats Cornbread? Who Eats Biscuits? Baking and Texas Identity Webinar by the TCU Center for Texas Studies
Curl up at home with hot biscuits or cornbread while watching this tasty and educational webinar led by Rebecca Sharpless, professor of history at TCU. She’ll talk through the history of baking in Texas and the American South, speaking from research conducted for her latest book, Grain and Fire. Learn who used white cornmeal, who used yellow, who used sugar, who didn’t, flour to fat ratios, and why it all matters. The free webinar begins at 10:30 am.

Jazz Brunch Launch at The Fitzgerald
The Camp Bowie Boulevard restaurant will channel New Orleans vibes with the launch of its new jazz brunch. The live jazz pianist will provide tunes on Fitzgerald’s heated patio both Saturday and Sundays from 11 am-2 pm. Plan for brunch dishes like crab cake Benedict, shrimp and grits, crawfish omelets, and bananas Foster banana pudding.

Dim Sum Time at Indulge Cooking Studio
The downtown cooking studio located inside Third Street Market hosts an array of classes regularly. This one will feature dim sum, the traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates featuring various dumplings and snacks. The menu will include chicken shumai, Chinese greens, spring rolls, and an egg custard tart. The class is $89 and will begin at 11 am.

Sunday, February 5

New Sunday Brunch at Craft & Vine
The Roanoke restaurant, wine bar, and craft cocktail lounge will launch Sunday brunch with new buffet-style stations. Enjoy eggs Benedict, a carving station, waffle bar, and more, as well as champagne flights, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and even a bar cart for crafting Old Fashioneds. The price is $39 per person and $15 for kids 12 and under. Brunch service begins at 10 am and the live music starts at 11 am.

Luke Bryan trucks to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2 tour stops, including Dickies Arena

Country on

Luke Bryan fans, clear your calendars in late September 2023. The five-time Entertainer of the Year and American Idol judge is making not one but two stops in North Texas on his "Country On Tour."

He'll play Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on September 28, then scoot over to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena on September 29. The only other Texas stop on his 36-city tour will be in Lubbock, on July 27. (So sorry, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.)

Special guests throughout the tour will include up-and-coming country artists Chayce Beckham, Tyler Braden, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, Jon Langston, Conner Smith, Alana Springsteen, Hailey Whitters, and DJ Rock.

According to the tour site, Beckham, Dean, Whitters, and DJ Rock will play the Dallas-Fort Worth shows.

Bryan has a history of investing in new artists by inviting them to join him on tour, a press release reminds.

“Artists get into the business to make music and perform it for the fans,” Bryan says in the release. “Leaving it all out on that stage is what it’s all about for me. I’m excited to support and have so many talented new artists along for the ride this year. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.

The tour is named for Bryan's 30th No. 1 single, “Country On” - a celebration of farmers, truckers, military, first responders, and all of Americana that hit the top of the country singles charts around Christmas 2022. He has amassed a career tally of 56 total weeks at #1.

Bryan launches his 2023 headline dates at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas on February 1. He's also returning as a judge on ABC's American Idol this spring.

Bryan's "Country On Tour" kicks off June 15 in Syracuse, New York.

Tickets go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lukebryan.com.

Presale for Bryan's fan club members will run 8 am Tuesday, January 31 through 5 pm Thursday, February 2. For details, go HERE.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from 10 am Wednesday, February 1 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb 2 through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.