Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson/Getty Images

Fort Worth folks know that sometimes — okay, many times — it feels like they're living in the shadow of Dallas. Well, a new ranking of the best U.S. cities for startups flips the script by putting Dallas in Fort Worth’s shadow.

In the ranking, produced by commercial real estate platform CommercialCafé, Fort Worth appears at No. 12 among the country’s 20 best cities for startups. The city is three notches above Dallas (No. 15) and seven notches above closer neighbor Arlington (No. 19).

“Fort Worth is coming into its own and embracing the startup scene,” CommercialCafé declares.

CommercialCafé’s analysis looked at the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. For each city, CommercialCafé examined these data points: growth rate for solo businesses, startup survival rate, startup density, startup growth rate, success of Kickstarter fundraising campaigns, education levels, growth in tech employment, wage growth, rent-to-income ratio, coworking costs, and presence of millennials.

Among the factors in Fort Worth’s favor were a low rent-to-income ratio of 15 percent (versus 16 percent in Dallas), tech employment growth of 25 percent (versus 20 percent in Dallas), and millennial population growth of 11 percent (versus 10 percent in Dallas).

Still, Dallas held its own at No. 15. “Ranking third for [coworking] cost affordability and fifth for rent-to-income ratio, Dallas is a place where a tech salary can stretch a long way,” CommercialCafé notes.

As part of an economic development blueprint released in 2017, the City of Fort Worth strives to ensure “that expanding startups see the city as hospitable to their continuing growth.” That includes expanding networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in Fort Worth.

“Communities with a highly engaged, connected, and collaborative startup scene have a built-in advantage in the global competition for high-growth business development,” the city’s economic development plan says.

To help burnish its startup-welcoming attitude and promote tourism, Fort Worth — now the 13th largest city in the U.S., climbing ahead of Columbus, Ohio, and San Francisco in population last year — sent a contingent to this year’s South by Southwest confab in Austin. By contrast, Dallas had no official presence at SXSW.

“Fort Worth is a bit of a blank slate for folks,” said Robert Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth, told Texas Monthly of Cowtown’s SXSW blitz this year. “This is an opportunity with people from all around the world, all across the country, to be able to give them a sense of what opportunities exist, what the spirit and energy is for the city of Fort Worth.”

Jameson added that Fort Worth boosters at SXSW were spreading “a message of innovation and inclusion and creativity and technology and inspiration … .”

At No. 1 in the CommercialCafé ranking was Austin. Among the standout statistics for Austin were success of Kickstarter fundraising campaigns (26 percent), tech employment growth (37 percent), millennials’ share of the population (31 percent), startup density (17.9 percent), and growth of solo businesses (3.9 percent).

One way Fort Worth hopes to emulate Austin’s startup success is by mirroring the popularity of SXSW’s interactive conference, a premier tech event that has helped forge Austin’s status as a global tech hub.

“Elevating the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival to incorporate tech-related elements that draw an international audience can serve as a vehicle for the attraction of artists, graphic designers, and related creative individuals to Fort Worth,” the city’s economic development plan says.

SXSW sounds off with celebrity-filled 2019 keynote and speaker lineup

SXSWho have we got here?

A few short weeks after SXSW dropped the first details of its 2019 programming, the homegrown festival made its second keynote announcement and added even more notable names to the featured speaker lineup.

On October 9, SXSW revealed Joseph Lubin will join SXSW Interactive as a keynote speaker. According to a release, Lubin is the founder of ConsenSys and "co-founder of blockchain platform Ethereum, a decentralized application platform incorporating a virtual machine that executes peer-to-peer contracts based on cryptocurrency micropayments." (Got that? Sure. We did, too.)

"Lubin is one of the foremost visionaries shaping the rapidly developing blockchain industry, and as such we're excited to have him as the first-ever Keynote complementing the Blockchain & Cryptocurrency track in the second half of SXSWeek," said Hugh Forrest, SXSW's chief programming officer.

Lubin joins the previously announced Chrvches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry; writer, producer, and director Marti Noxon; Garbage singer Shirley Manson; and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom as next year's keynote speakers.

Leading this round of featured speakers is comedian and actor Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project, SuicideSquad); VP of Amazon Web Services Sandy Carter; musician Wyclef Jean; and famed French chef Dominque Crenn.

Additional speakers include:

  • Cannabis rights activist Steve DeAngelo
  • Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson
  • Senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and author Valerie Jarrett
  • Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab Neha Narula
  • Author and entrepreneur Neil Pasricha
  • Former Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz
  • Actress and entrepreneur Zoe Saldana
  • Award-winning journalist and author Maria Shriver
  • EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager
  • Author Frank Warren
  • Author and Kiip co-founder and CEO Brian Wong
  • Actress and comedian Sasheer Zamata
  • CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker

"The speakers announced today run the gamut of conference content," continued Forrest, "exemplifying our standing as the foremost destination for creative people to gain the skills, knowledge, and inspiration to achieve their goals."

SXSW returns to Austin March 8-17, 2019. Badges for all portions, including Interactive, Music, and Film, are available now.

6 music acts poised to be the breakout stars of SXSW 2017

Brink of Stardom

These days it's impossible to know exactly what any artist is going to pull from SXSW Music festival in Austin, but that's not stopping us from taking a guess at who might beat the odds and flip a bit of buzz into a wave of success. Take a look, make some notes, and maybe jump on a bandwagon or two.

Originally from Houston, the now Minneapolis-based Lizzo is entering SXSW poised for a legit breakout. The singer/rapper and her commanding stage presence will surely steamroll every crowd she comes across at the festival. Make sure you're in one of them.

SXSW will serve as a great opportunity for Austin-based S U R V I V E to parlay the attention garnered from their work on Netflix's Stranger Things soundtrack into something bigger. Expect to hear a lot from months-old album, RR7349, which is just as synth-infused and atmospheric as what they did on the show.

D.R.A.M. (Does.Real.Ass.Music.) may have just been nominated for a Grammy, but he's still flying slightly under the radar. His unique sound and ever-loveable personality should hit at SXSW, and it will be really surprising if he doesn't jet out of Austin with a new legion of diehard fans.

White Reaper
White Reaper are getting ready to release a new album called World's Greatest American Band, so they're certainly in the right mindset heading into SXSW. It is, however, the band's infectious energy and super hooky songs that will be what SXSW-goers latch onto and talk about long after the fest is over.

Tei Shi
The stage is set for Tei Shi. Not only is she riding a solid wave of buzz, but her debut album, Crawl Space, is set to release at the end of March. Expect the alluring singer to make a splash at the festival and emerge with fans galore.

Jay Som
Jay Som is 22-year-old Melina Duterte. Her diverse indie pop act is out of Oakland, and her recently released debut, Everybody Works, is being called one of the year's best albums. Expect to hear her name bandied about frequently during and after the festival.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

The best free parties of SXSW, plus RSVP secrets you need to know

Festival Fun

You're in Austin for SXSW, you have neither a wristband nor a badge, but you're still set on participating. What do you do? That's easy: Hit up the following parties that are free and loaded with great acts. Show up early, hang tight, and have fun.

First of all, if you're an early bird, local radio stationsKUTX and KGSR have morning broadcasts March 15-18 that are pretty stacked and totally worth the effort. Now, onto more afternoon-oriented affairs:

Independence and Lagunitas present Austin BugOut
BugOut is described as a "two-day celebration of fresh beer, killer bands, and freaktacular entertainment." On a normal week, it would be advised that you avoid anything listed as "freaktacular," but since it's SXSW, we think you should jump in feet first. See garage rock vets Thee Oh Sees, synth poppers Sylvan Esso, the buzzy Diet Cig, the even buzzier Lizzo, and lots more. RSVP here.
March 14-15 at The Historic Scoot Inn

Levitation at SXSW
Unfortunate circumstances may have put a hitch in Levitation's step, but that's not stopping the Austin fest from rolling out a very strong SXSW showing. Head to Hotel Vegas on March 16 for a rad and varied mix of rock acts, including Royal Trux, Cherry Glazerr, Boogarins, No Joy, Wand, Guantanamo Baywatch, and Meatbodies. Be sure to pack your earplugs for this one. The event is free — no RSVP required. Check out the full lineup here.
March 16 at Hotel Vegas

Waterloo Records
Waterloo Records has daily shows lined up between March 15-18, and they're all worth your time. A great bill is set for March 17; not only are hometown heroes Spoon playing, but you'll get a diverse mix of support that includes Grandaddy, Middle Kids, Diet Cig, Allison Crutchfield, PWR BTTM, and Tkay Maidza. Plus, Mastodon and Future Islands will be doing a signing. The store is also just off the beaten path enough that if you'd like to participate in SXSW without being in SXSW, it's the perfect spot. Check out the full lineup here. It's free and all ages.
March 15-18 at Waterloo Records

South By San Jose
South by San Jose runs March 15-18 at Hotel San Jose, but we think it's the best place to spend the final Saturday of the fest. By that time, you're going to be feeling largely done with the SXSW experience, so it's best to avoid downtown and head to SoCo. The event starts at noon, it's free, and you'll get to showcase your fest-closing dance moves with Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, while indulging in Merchandize, Cherry Glazerr, PWR BTTM, Khruangbin, Ron Gallo, Slow Dancer, and the Peterson Brothers Band.
March 15-18 at Hotel San Jose

RSVP tips and more free parties
If you're interested in diving into even more free parties, we recommended you do one of two things:

No. 1: Toss $40 to RSVPster and let them do all of the work. Just show up, knowing that you're on the list.

No. 2: Use a combination of Do512 and Showlist Austin to dig up RSVP links and build the greatest schedule known to all SXSW-goers. This is the manual way, but if you're determined to have a free SXSW, a little legwork shouldn’t bother you.

Photo by Tye Truitt

The best official SXSW events that are totally free to attend

Free Festival Fun

Heading to Austin for SXSW? The festival doesn't have to break the bank. Here's the lowdown on the best free official SXSW happenings throughout the festival, which runs March 10-19. All you need to get in is a Guest Pass, and it won't cost you a dime.

SXSW Create
This community-oriented showcase at the Palmer Events Center offers cool tech-driven demonstrations and activities for innovators of all ages. March 10-12.

General Assembly + SXSW
The folks at General Assembly are hosting a variety of educational panels for those looking to learn more about fundamentals of business for musicians and technology for everyone. March 10-12.

SXSW Outdoor Film Screenings
SXSW is bringing back its free film series at the Long Center. Catch the original animated version of Ghost in the Shell, a 20th anniversary screening of '90s grunge doc Hype!, and new content from Cartoon Network. March 11-14.

SXSW Job Market
Sure, SXSW is about partying and having fun, but the festival is also about networking. Connect with some of the hottest companies and employers during the SXSW Job Market at the Austin Convention Center. New this year is a stage showcasing speeches from top businesses and professionals.March 11-12.

SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake
SXSW's annual outdoor music showcase returns for three days. Our advice? Come early and prepare for a massive crowd. This year's acts have not yet been announced yet, but stay tuned. March 16-18.

Flatstock at SXSW
Flatstock is a long-running tradition at the Austin Convention Center, displaying beautiful work from top poster artists. Peruse the collection and purchase a few new additions for your office or home. March 16-18.

SXSW Marketplace
The first-ever SXSW Marketplace at the Austin Convention Center (next to Flatstock) is a curated exhibition of local and national brands selling everything from tech to jewelry. March 16-18.

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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.

Denver pizzeria to debut in Fort Worth with New York pies and craft beer

Pizza News

A pizza concept from Colorado is coming to Fort Worth. Called Parry's Pizzeria & Bar, it's a Denver-based restaurant group known for its New York-style pizza and commitment to craft beer, and will open its first Fort Worth location at the Victory Shops at Heritage development at 2801 Heritage Trace Pkwy.

It's going into the former Rachel's Mediterranean Grill, the New York-based chain that opened there in 2022 and which closed in July.

According to a Parry's spokesperson, the pizzeria will open in spring 2024.

Parry's was founded in 2007 outside Denver by David Parry, a native of New York who wanted to bring a New York-style pizzeria to the Denver suburbs. They currently have 21 locations in Colorado, Texas, and Arizona, with additional coming-soons slated for Las Vegas and Houston.

Though Parry's started out as a small New York-style pizza joint with wings and beer, their menu has expanded to include sandwiches, appetizers, and more. Fans love their wings and fried dough.

Dishes at every location differ but might include curly fries, fried mac and cheese bites, calamari, and bruschetta.

Pizzas include familiar combos with a twist such as pepperoni with jalapeños and cream cheese; a white pie with steak, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and garlic; buffalo chicken with blue cheese crumbles; and a "loaded potato" pizza with potato, bacon, cheddar, and green onions.

There are calzones, wraps, and sandwiches including chicken parm, cheesesteak, meatball sub, sweet Italian sausage, fried chicken, and a huevos rancheros steak sandwich with green chili and fried eggs.

Desserts include fried dough, cheesecake, churros, and cannoli.

They offer a daily special as well as lunch deals with combos such as a personal size pizza or sandwich with choice of wings or a salad. A happy-hour-style deal from 3-6 pm features wings, pizza, and other items for $10.49.

Parry's is also heavily into craft beer, with lots of fun beer events. At their location in The Colony, which opened in 2019, they feature more than 75 taps, including numerous local Texas brews. They also have a location in McKinney, plus two in San Antonio and two more in South Texas.

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

This Week in Gluttony

Outdoor events are prominent this week just in time for the arrival of fall (-ish) weather. There’s a rooftop luau for a good cause, a patio clam bake, a stadium-size barbecue, and an outdoor cooking competition featuring a slightly scary main ingredient. Also on the list – one more opportunity to partake in Oktoberfest-themed fare and fun.

Wednesday, October 4

Ohana Luau Fundraiser at Rooftop Cinema Club
Enjoy dinner and a movie at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel’s Rooftop Cinema Club and help support Maui fire relief efforts. Guests will partake in a Hawaiian-style barbecue dinner before an outdoor movie screening of 50 First Dates. Tickets are $25 per person, $10 of which will be donated to the Marriott Disaster Relief Fund. Additionally, 50 percent of all alcohol sales will go the fund. Doors open at 5 pm before the 7:15 pm movie start time.

Piroshky Piroshky Bakery Pop-up at Martin House Brewing
Bakery founded in Seattle will stop in Fort Worth on a Texas-wide tour, offering their signature Russian hand pies in delectable fillings such as beef & cheese, cabbage & onion, and vegan-friendly mushroom & potato. The full menu is online, and pre-ordering is required by October 2 at 4 pm. There's a minimum order of $50. Pickup at the brewery is 5-7 pm.

5-Course Whiskey Pairing Dinner at B&B Butchers & Restaurant
A powerhouse lineup of premium whiskeys will be served at this five-course pairing dinner at B&B, including brands like WhistlePig, Horse Soldier, and local Blackland Distilling Rye. Menu highlights include baked oysters with truffle butter and Roquefort crust, Colorado lamb lollipops, and 28-day dry-aged A5 Japanese ribeye. Dinner is $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and will begin at 6:30 pm.

Thursday, October 5

Clam Bake at Grace
Grace’s annual outdoor clam bake is back. Set to take place on the fine dining restaurant’s streetside patio, the menu will feature a selection of littleneck and chowder clams, Diver scallops, Maine lobster, jumbo prawns, Moosabec mussels, and king crab. Save room for New England apple cider doughnuts. The $195 per person ticket price, plus tax and gratuity, comes with a reception of bubbly and canapes starting at 6:30 pm. Dinner will start at 7 pm and is expected to sell out.

Port Tasting at Texas de Brazil
Savor the Brazilian steakhouse’s signature churrasco bites paired with an array of ports during this tasting for a good cause. All proceeds from the $54.99 per person ticket price will go toward Warrior Rising, an organization that helps mentor and coach veteran entrepreneurs. Guests will start with a reception cocktail followed by four ports, including a 20-year tawny. The tasting starts at 6:30 pm, and those who stay for dinner afterward will receive 25 percent off the regular dinner price.

Friday, October 6

Rattle Battle hosted by Tim Love
Chef Tim Love is hosting a cooking competition in the Fort Worth Stockyards featuring one of his signature ingredients: rattlesnake. A who's who of Fort Worth chefs will compete, and guests judge whose bites are best. Participating chefs include Jon Bonnell (Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Waters), Graham Elliot (Le Margot), Blaine Staniford (Grace, 61 Osteria, Little Red Wasp), Rodrigo Cardenas (Don Artemio), Juan Rodriguez (Magdalena’s), and Travis Heim (Heim BBQ). Tickets are $125 per person and include open bars and a token for voting. The Rattle Battle will take place in Mule Alley from 3–5 pm in conjunction with PBR Rattler Days to be held at Dickies Arena and the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Saturday, October 7

Q BBQ Fest at AT&T Stadium
Arlington will get a little smoky when more than 30,000 pounds of brisket, chicken, pulled pork and ribs are dished out over two days at AT&T Stadium. Hosted by the Dallas Cowboys and Miller Lite, Q BBQ Fest will feature pitmasters from across Texas and throughout the nation. Indulge in all-you-can-eat with tickets starting at $69 (alcohol not included). Or go VIP ($129) and enjoy an open bar along with access to exclusive lounge areas and VIP-only pitmasters. Tickets are $35 for young adults ages 13-20, and children under 13 get in free. The event runs Saturday 11 am-8 pm and Sunday 10 am-2 pm. Note that tickets are sold in three- and four-hour time blocks.

Oktoberfest at Rusty Nickel IceHouse
The South Fort Worth indoor-outdoor restaurant, beer garden, and live music venue keeps the Oktoberfest celebration going with a party on the patio. Patrons can purchase a table ($180 for a six-top and $240 for an eight-top), which comes with food and drink for everyone. Each person will receive brats, sauerkraut, and potato salad along with a beer-filled stein and two buckets of Alstadt’s or Shiner Variety for the table. Games with prizes will include stein-hoisting, Dachshund races, and a bratwurst-eating contest. Table reservations will be good from 3-10 pm for the duration of the event.