Photo courtesy of H-E-B

Shawn Mendes and Camillo Cabello called it quits. The word “cheugy” became a thing. Addison Rae got a Netflix deal. Lots of bummer things happened in 2021. But for Texans, no greater indignity was suffered than H-E-Bfalling behind Amazon on dunnhumby’s Top U.S. Grocery Retailers list.

Thank goodness that’s all behind us. The consumer research firm recently released its 2022 Retailer Preference Index report, a survey of over 30,000 consumers. Once again, H-E-B took the throne, besting more than 60 grocers ranging from giants like Walmart to beloved regional chains like Wegmens.

To arrive at the rankings, dunnhumby zeroed in on five sectors of customer preference: price, promotions and rewards, quality, speed and convenience, digital, and operations. H-E-B scored near the top of three drivers — price, quality, and digital.

H-E-B slipped to the second spot in 2021 due to that all-too-familiar bogeyman — the Covid-19 pandemic. Quarantines and other outside pressures made timesaving and a seamless eCommerce experience more critical to the average shopper.

With pandemic concerns receding, H-E-B’s overall quality and leadership in price, promotions, and rewards have moved to the top of customers’ minds. Meanwhile, the hometown hero has managed to close the digital gap.

Dunnhumby recognized the shift by naming H-E-B in its inaugural survey of the best online grocery retailers in the U.S. in July 2022. In that study, the San Antonio-based chain received high scores for ease in ordering and payments, on-time deliveries, and accuracy in charges, among other metrics.

However, the reason locals keep giving H-E-B its flowers may be more intangible. The retailer has made a name for itself by supporting small Texas companies and supporting community causes, particularly education. And, of course, its fleets are among the first to act during statewide emergencies.

As dunnhumby’s online study stated in 2022, “It is worth highlighting the regional grocer has the best emotional connection … out of all of the retailers in this study.”

In Dallas-Fort Worth, this certainly explains the enthusiastic reaction to the long-awaited opening of new and coming-soon stores in Frisco, Plano, Mansfield, and Fort Worth-Alliance.

Photo courtesy of H-E-B

H-E-B gets the ball rolling on its newest DFW supermarket: Mansfield

Supermarket News

It's Mansfield's lucky day: Texas supermarket king H-E-B officially started construction on a new location in Mansfield, breaking ground in a ceremony on February 3.

According to a release, the store, which was first announced in August 2022, will open in spring 2024.

The store will measure 118,000 square feet, and will be located at the corner of US 287 and Broad Street. H-E-B owns roughly 28 acres at the site.

H-E-B Mansfield joins H-E-B Alliance, currently under construction and set to open in spring 2024, as the first locations in Tarrant County. H-E-B also operates a Central Market location in Fort Worth.

H-E-B Executive VP Juan-Carlos Rück said in a statement that the company was excited to strengthen its commitment to DFW.

"Our H-E-B locations across North Texas continue to stir up great excitement with customers, and this H-E-B store will allow us to answer the long-standing call for an H-E-B in this thriving community," he said.

The store will follow a template set by stores in Plano and McKinney, including a True Texas BBQ restaurant with drive-thru on site; an H-E-B Pharmacy with drive-thru, backyard department, and home décor department with furniture, textiles, and pieces from the Haven + Key and Texas Proud collections.

It'll also have H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery, allowing customers to place orders online for pickup at the store or delivery to the home.

Other highlights include bakery, deli, cheese, charcuterie island, sushi made in-store daily, Asian grill with rice bowls and teriyaki, live demonstrations and samplings, produce, meat, and floral department with online ordering and delivery service.

Also, an extensive craft beer and wine section with sampling station, bulk food items, sports nutrition products and supplements, frozen foods, cosmetics, pet food including Heritage Ranch by H-E-B pet food, plus seasonal items.

Decor will reflect the Mansfield community and incorporate energy-efficient inclusions such as CO2 refrigeration units, LED lighting, and native landscaping.

Time for a quote from the mayor:

“The Mansfield community welcomes H-E-B as a partner and advocate for quality service and world class standards of operation,” said Mansfield Mayor Michael Evans. “Our residents will be the recipients of top-quality grocery and produce, and we are excited about their presence in our city.”

Photo courtesy of The Fitzgerald

The 10 most delectable dining headlines Fort Worth devoured in 2022

This year's hottest headlines

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.

H-E-B Frisco
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."

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'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.

Hop on over to this fun new boozy snack bar in Fort Worth's Sundance Square

Sundance Square News

There's a fun new spot to grab a bite and a drink, now open in Fort Worth's Sundance Square: Called Hopscotch, it's a new concept from Mockingbird Food Co., and it opened on June 9 in the former Jamba Juice location at 101 W. 3rd St.

Jamba Juice closed in November 2022 after 20 years in that space, leaving a vacancy in the Jett Building, known for the big mural of the Chisholm Trail.

Mockingbird Food Co. founders Dena and Trent Shaskan are already well versed in the Sundance Square scene, having opened 3rd St. Market, the bright and airy cafe-market-bakery at 425 W. 3rd St. in October.

"We loved the idea of being right in the middle of Sundance Square - the entire plaza is basically our patio," Dena says. "We saw an opportunity to bring something new to the crowds that hang out on the Square. Moms bring their kids to play in fountain and there's live music every week."

She calls Hopscotch a "bar-slash-snack bar."

The menu has hot dogs, popcorn, chili dogs, and Frito pie, with the chili made in-house from a recipe with Shiner Bock. There are sno-cones. There are cakes by the slice from Loft 22. And there are giant cookies - the only crossover item from 3rd Street Market, in varieties such as snickerdoodle and chocolate chip.

A vast selection of beverages includes lemonades in different flavors such as rosewater lemonade, fresh strawberry lemonade, and vanilla bean lemonade.

They also have beer, wine, and cocktails like a margarita and a peach daiquiri, plus four cocktails on tap, including the trendy, popular frosé, as well as AF drinks such as a non-alcoholic yet decadent pina colada.

"But we can make any of them boozy if you want, the lemonades, the frozen drinks, just by adding a shot," she says. "So you can get a regular one for your kid or a boozy version for yourself."

They're still resolving hours but will likely follow the live music: Wednesday-Sunday 12-10 pm.

Dallas-Fort Worth arrives at surprising spot among top summer travel destinations


Dallas-Fort Worth recently racked up more than a dozen accolades at the 2023 Texas Travel Awards. But a new survey reveals it's not necessarily such a hot travel destination this summer.

DFW comes in at a middle-of-the-road No. 45 in WalletHub's recent 2023 Best Summer Travel Destinations report.

The report compared 100 of the largest metro areas in America across 41 metrics, including number of attractions.

DFW scored an overall rating of 52.56 out of 100. Broken down by category, the Metroplex ranked 86th in "Travel Costs & Hassles;" 32nd in "Local Costs;" 20th in "Attractions;" 41st in "Weather;" 27th in "Activities;" and 50th in "Safety."

Taking the top spot in Texas was San Antonio, at No. 11, with Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown at No. 14. Behind Austin and San Antonio in the 2023 rankings is El Paso (No. 18), then Houston (No. 38). After 45th ranked DFW came Corpus Christi (No. 62), and McAllen (No. 86).

Dr. Susan Weidmann, assistant professor in the department of recreational management and physical education at Appalachian State University, said in the report that summer 2023 is going to be a “good season for travel” despite recent economic downturns that have many worried about a recession.

“Coming out of Covid, I think many people have taken these last few years to really evaluate what they want out of life, and for those that love travel, I think they have probably put it at the top of their list of things to do,” she said. “As far as economics are concerned, many may have saved their traveling money from the last multiple years, so will have money to spend. That being said, after the airline chaos of last year, many people may be thinking about domestic travel over the long-haul, just to alleviate many of the concerns that airlines, especially in Europe, are still grappling with, such as reduced staffing leading to flight cancellations.”

Weidmann predicts the time period between July and early August will be the most popular season for National Parks, like Texas’ Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains.

Despite none of them being in Texas, the top 10 destinations in WalletHub’s report are all popular cities worth a glance in sun-friendly states like Hawaii, New York, and Florida.

The top 10 best summer destinations are:

  • No. 1 – Atlanta
  • No. 2 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • No. 3 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 4 – Wichita, Kansas
  • No. 5 – New York City
  • No. 6 – Chicago
  • No. 7 – Tampa, Florida
  • No. 8 – Orlando, Florida
  • No. 9 – Richmond, Virginia
  • No. 10 – Springfield, Missouri