A chill new restaurant and bar is coming to Fort Worth's River East district from a veteran team. Called Tropic Lady, it'll open in the former Fuzzy's Taco space at 2719 Race St., and is a sibling to Bearded Lady, the popular bar-restaurant in Near Southside.

Bearded Lady owner Shannon Osbakken, her business partner Sarah Allen, and their GM Amanda Yunger are banding together to open what they call "Fort Worth's newest eatery for a staycation," with a lazing ambience and "vacation vibes."

"Take a sabbatical from your 9-5, sip on a hand-squeezed coconut margarita, and enjoy life in our little oasis in the city," they say.

At Tropic Lady, they'll serve craft cocktails and mocktails, craft beer, bowls, wraps, and sandwiches with a tropical twist. They promise also to have tons of vegan and vegetarian items.

"We are excited to bring a new spot to relax at and show off the creative and fun ideas we have been dreaming of for so long," Osbakken says.

The fact that they're offering alcohol-free "mocktails" has been well received, and people are also enthusiastic that something is finally making use of the old Fuzzy's space.

Osbakken says they've been working on the location for about a year.

"I love the area," she says. "It reminds me of Magnolia when were first were on it 10 years ago in our old location. It's a great community and the neighbors have been friendly and reaching out."

"And something about the space felt right," she says. "It helped inspire the vision of a very relaxing vacation-vibe place."

They plan on beautiful decor with wallpaper and thematic light fixtures. It currently has a medium-sized patio on the side of the building, but they'll extend it to the front.

"I think it'll be great to have a front-facing patio on Race Street to make a connection with the neighborhood," she says.

At 3700 square feet, it's similar to Bearded Lady, but with a larger kitchen. Food and drink will take its cues from some of the recent experimentation they've been doing at Bearded Lady.

"We've been experimenting more with cocktails and we'll delve into that aspect with this restaurant," she says. "We're also wanting to create a healthier menu, with food that's lighter, approachable, and good to have a few cocktails with."

They're in the fun phase of menu-testing ideas such as plantain nachos made with fried plantain chips topped with different types of proteins and queso.

"Last night we debuted a burger we want to serve, topped with bacon, blue cheese, caramelized pineapple and honey habanero — it was really good," she says.

The Bearded Lady team have earned many nods, including a game-changing ranking in 2016 as one of the Top 5 Burgers in Texas by Texas Monthly magazine; Bearded Lady's "L.U.S.T." burger came in at No. 3 and also made the magazine's cover. They've been nominated this year in the 2023 Tastemaker Awards for Best Burger.

Tropic Lady is penciled in for an opening by late summer — hopefully in time to catch those vacation vibes.


Restaurant starring soup dumplings to open in Fort Worth's Near Southside

Dumpling News

Fort Worth is getting an exciting new dumpling spot from a team of high-profile collaborators. Called Teddy Wong's Dumplings & Wine, it'll be a Chinese restaurant with a stellar selection of dumplings and Chinese classics, opening in the Near Southside, at 812 W. Rosedale St., in the space previously occupied by Le's Wok Asian Food.

Targeted opening date is early May.

Teddy Wong's is from Patrick Ru, who previously owned restaurants in New York before moving to Dallas in 2020. He's a perfectionist at his craft, who wanted to do dim sum with a special focus on dumplings.

In 2021, he very quietly opened Bushi Bushi in Addison.

Now, for his Fort Worth debut, he's partnered with a high-powered team that includes Fort Worth chef Stefon Rishel and hospitality veteran Jeffrey Yarbrough, a Fort Worth native and owner of bigInk Commercial Real Estate.

Yarbrough has decades of experience in restaurants, bars, and nightlife, including partnering in 1998 with Dallas chef Annie Wong (once dubbed "the mother of Thai food"), in a pan-Asian restaurant on Greenville Avenue in Dallas called Liberty Noodles that was well ahead of its time.

For Yarbrough, who took care of Annie until she died in 2007, this offered an opportunity to rekindle a like-minded collaboration.

"Patrick had that entrepeneurial spirit and wanted to expand, and I felt like what he was doing was even cooler than what he realized," Yarbrough says. "He also wanted to find a chef partner, and I've known Stefon for years. Stefon and I drove to Addison, and he started eating this Peking duck. He and Patrick made a real connection."

But it's the dumplings that will be the thing.

They'll have a variety of options: veggie, chicken, seafood, both steamed and pan-fried, six pieces for $8 to $10, and then soup dumplings, which have become a big bestseller at Bushi Bushi. (Soup dumplings, aka xiao long bao, are a big foodie trend. They're not actually filled with soup but with ingredients that melt and form a broth; they're staples of a traditional Chinese dim sum brunch.)

Peking duck and BBQ pork will also be signatures.

Le's Wok closed in 2021, and the property was originally slated to be razed — until Yarbrough persuaded the new owners that it could be a cool location for dumplings and carry on the tradition for Asian food.

The restaurant will occupy the left side of the space, while on the right, they're planning a second concept called Bushi Bushi Market, which will sell grab-and-go dumplings plus bottles of beer and wine. It'll be a cool cosmopolitan spot featuring a chef's communal table for large groups and single diners.

As for the name, there is no Teddy Wong, at least not in real life.

"He's in my head," Yarbrough says. "I miss Annie, it's my channeling her spirit into this imaginary guy, this mythical cool character, a hip Asian cowboy with a passion for food and wine."

Courtesy photo

Grapevine food hall puts lobster rolls, hot chicken, & pizza on the menu

Food Hall News

A buzzy food hall in Grapevine has exciting new vendors serving chicken, Italian food, and seafood: Harvest Hall, the European-style food hall in historic Grapevine, has added three dining options that will open in March, joining current vendors ZaTaR Mediterranean, Arepa TX, and Monkey King Noodle Co., and representing a wave of new kitchen partners at this evolving dining destination.

The food hall opened in 2020 and is operated by Coury Hospitality, which also owns Hotel Vin, the six-story boutique hotel in Grapevine where the food hall is located.

The newcomers include:

Dock Local. Coastal cuisine concept with signature dishes such as lobster rolls and fish & chips has been a DFW favorite since its opening in 2019. They're well versed in food halls, having previously had a stand at the short-lived Food Hall on Crockett Row, and they currently have two food hall outlets - at Dallas' AT&T Discovery District and at Legacy Hall in Plano - in addition to their original location in Uptown Dallas.

Firehawks Hot Chicken. New hot chicken concept is a sibling of ZaTaR Mediterranean, from founder Niddal Abedrabbo with a menu that inlcude the Chicken Sammy, with fried chicken, coleslaw, pickles, and sauce on a brioche bun.

Pizza by Luigi. Italian concept is from veteran chef Luigi Iannuario, a native of Italy whose resume includes La Stella Cucina Verace in Dallas' Arts District, and most recently at Eataly. Luigi features a unique style of pizza, combining Roman and Neapolitan recipes as well as generational recipes reminiscent of Iannuario’s childhood in Milan.

The menu will be a taste of Italy within a family budget, changing with the season, with dishes prepared by his wife Fabiana, both traditional and modern Italian cuisine. Pizza will be the foundation, baked in an authentic pizza oven, with dough made daily on-site.

Harvest Hall Director of Operations Mitch Johnson says that their goal at Harvest Hall is to offer a variety of cuisines.

“These three new kitchen partners all aim to fill a gap in the Dallas-Fort Worth culinary community, from authentic and affordable Italian cuisine, coastal specialties, and Nashville hot chicken," he says. "Guests will continue to experience global delicacies as they always have at Harvest Hall.”

Harvest Hall is also home to Third Rail, a listening room-style venue for live entertainment, the Harvest Hall Main Bar, and Main Line Coffee Bar.

Photo courtesy of Hibachi on Fire.

Sizzling-hot mobile hibachi company is bringing the heat to Fort Worth parties

Cooking with fire

A Fort Worth-based mobile hibachi business is the newest flaming-hot trend for backyard parties across town: Hibachi on Fire, launched by financial services advisor Mimi Tatami in 2022, has been trending on Instagram for its flame-throwing, sake-shooting, egg-tossing good time.

Hibachi on Fire

Photo courtesy of Hibachi on Fire.

Leave the flames to the professionals.

The company brings the interactive Japanese hibachi experience to its customers, complete with a professional chef, mobile grill, three-course dinner, and lots of flowing sake.

“I think people need more fun entertainment while eating,” says Tatami, a California native who says the mobile hibachi concept is popular in her home state. “People always say it’s such a great idea that we come to your house and do all the food, so they don’t have to go out.”

Diners get to choose from several protein options in advance, including New York strip steak, chicken, scallops, shrimp, or filet mignon and lobster tail for a small upcharge. Guests start with a spring mix salad with ginger dressing, then move to hot fried rice made to order with some egg-throwing assistance from willing participants.

Other entertaining elements from the chef – who serves as a master of ceremonies – include flaming torch juggling, mesmerizing knife skills, and water gun sake shots, if desired.

The dinners start at $60 per person and there’s a $600 minimum (or 10 adults) per party. Children 13 and under can get a kids portion for $30. Parties are booked online.

Tatami says her inspiration to launch the business came during the start of the pandemic in 2020. She had just moved to Fort Worth and wanted to open a restaurant. The COVID-19 shutdown halted her plans. She eventually became a server at a local hibachi restaurant while working to grow her fledging financial advising career.

“That’s when I got the idea,” she says.

She recruited a chef from the restaurant to join her and Hibachi on Fire officially debuted in January 2022.

“But I didn't get my first customer until April 2022,” says Tatami. “I kept waiting and waiting and wondered, ‘Okay, is this going to happen or not?’”

Word – and videos on Instagram – spread like wildfire, she says. Now Tatami has grown her staff to three hibachi chefs who take on private parties in homes from Mansfield to Aledo and everywhere in between. Tatami says her farthest distance traveled was to Waxahachie.

Table seating and dinnerware are provided by the customer, and the parties are required to take place outside due to the propane-powered grill that’s used. Birthday parties are most popular, although Tatami says this past Christmas season saw bookings almost every night for holiday parties. Many folks also book for dinner party gatherings for which they simply don’t wish to cook.

Tatami still wants to open a hibachi restaurant in Fort Worth, she says, although her mobile business keeps her plenty busy as she nails down plans.

“Social media is helping a lot,” she says. “Business is getting better because more people know.”

Customers currently can take advantage of a special 15 percent discount on Hibachi on Fire menu prices through March 31; check for more details at hibachionfire.com.

Dr Pepper

Texas' favorite soft drink Dr Pepper spins off fruity-creamy new flavor

Soda News

Texas' favorite soda Dr Pepper, loved for its cherry-ish flavor, has a new berry variety: Strawberries & Cream, available in regular and Zero Sugar versions, now on shelves everywhere.

According to a release, Dr Pepper Strawberries & Cream Regular will be offered in 12-packs with 12-ounce cans and also in 20-ounce bottles. The Zero Sugar version will be offered in 12 packs only.

Both will be permanent additions.

The release says that the new flavor combines the original 23 flavors of Dr Pepper but with layers of strawberry flavor and a creamy finish. That sounds like a lot of activity for a little old soda.

"Our expert team of flavor scientists are constantly innovating to bring to life new varieties that will surprise and delight treat seekers and our existing dedicated fans," says Dr Pepper Marketing VP John Alvarado. "Dr Pepper Strawberries & Cream is an exciting evolution for our brand's flavor portfolio as it joins our permanent lineup alongside popular varieties such as Dr Pepper & Cream Soda and Dr Pepper Zero Sugar."

Dr Pepper is part of Keurig Dr Pepper but is also the oldest major soft drink in the United States, around since 1885.

The "23 flavors" theme, which is said to be responsible for its unique taste, is a secret recipe, ooooh, and is thought to include amaretto, almond, blackberry, black licorice, carrot, clove, cherry, caramel, cola, ginger, juniper, lemon, molasses, nutmeg, orange, prune, plum, pepper, root beer, rum, raspberry, tomato, and vanilla.

The current full Dr Pepper lineup includes Regular, Diet, Caffeine Free, Cherry, Zero Sugar, and Cream Soda.

A spokesperson says that Dr Pepper has introduced several LTO flavors over the past few years, including Dr Pepper Fansville Reserve Bourbon and FANtastic Chocolate in celebration of college football season, and Dark Berry, all available for a limited time only.

The spokesperson neglects to mention some other special edition flavors from the past that have included Dr Pepper Red Fusion, Dr Pepper Berries & Cream, Dr Pepper Cherry, Dr Pepper Vanilla Float, and Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper, which was delicious.

The two best were definitely Heritage Dr Pepper and Dr Pepper "Made With Real Sugar" — best because they used sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Alas, discontinued.

Hugely popular Austin-style hangout Truck Yard is ready for Fort Worth debut

Biergarten News

A hugely popular come-as-you-are backyard hangout is opening Fort Worth: Called Truck Yard, it'll open at the Alliance Town Center at 3101 Prairie Vista Dr., and according to a release, it'll officially debut on January 16.

Founded in Dallas on Greenville Avenue in 2013, Truck Yard is known for its food truck fare, live music, and bountiful bar. It was among the first in Dallas to celebrate the outdoors with a laid-back indoor-outdoor space furnished with yard games and quirky vintage decor.

There are now four locations total: the original in Dallas (which is currently closed for renovations), plus The Colony and in Houston which opened in 2019.

Alliance will be the largest Truck Yard, with 7,500 square feet of interior space and almost 2 acres of outdoor space. Unique features include a vintage Airstream mobile stage, murals, and an operational Ferris wheel.

Truck Yard AllianceThe outdoor space spans nearly 2 acres.Truck Yard

The location, which has been in the works for more than two years, comes with new unique amenities including a "West Texas Pole Barn" which serves as an indoor honky-tonk homeland offering space for dining, events, and live music.

The space is outfitted with large patio heaters and fire pits, and they're also offering a new technology-driven ordering system that allows customers to order at any table from their phone.

Food will be provided by a rotating lineup of local food trucks as well as Truck Yard’s own cheesesteak and nacho truck. Beverages include craft cocktails on draft, frozen drinks, wine, and local beer including drafts from the company’s own brewery, Second Rodeo Brewing.

Truck Yard is also famous for monthly themed events such as Trucktoberfest, Loco for Coconuts Luau, and Pour Decisions Wine Party.

Truck Yard AllianceUnique features include vintage Airstreams.Truck Yard

In a statement, founder Jason Boso, who also founded the Twisted Root burger chain, says the goal is to have a place that feels like you’re enjoying a lazy afternoon with friends in your backyard.

“The Alliance community has been awesome to us. If the number of inquiries about our opening are any indication of their excitement, we’re in for a great ride!” says Boso.

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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.

Get free pet food, vaccines, and spay/neuter at Fort Worth animal event

Animal News

Animal shelters across North Texas are overcrowded right now, due to an increase in owner surrenders, and a group of animal rescues are coming to the rescue.

Several Texas-based animal welfare organizations are coming together on Saturday June 3, to offer a day of free pet food, vaccines, microchips, and spay/neuter vouchers to pet owners in Fort Worth.

The owner surrenders are a symptom of economic pressures and related issues such as food insecurity, which are up in Texas and across the U.S.

According to a release, in Fort Worth alone, the North Texas Food Bank estimates that 30 percent of the population faces challenges accessing nutritious food. These issues affect not only people, but pets as well - often resulting in families surrendering their pets to a shelter or to an animal rescue.

Fort Worth Animal Care and Control (FWACC), which receives animals from the area, has seen an increase in animals—more than 1,000 additional animals coming through its doors so far this fiscal year—with many exhibiting signs of illness easily prevented by vaccinations.

The significant increase in animals has stressed resources that are already maxed out. FWACC for example, has faced a difficult crease in its "live release rate" - the percentage of animals that leave their care alive. Last year, its live release rate was at 96 percent and a year later, it has decreased to 87 percent.

Keeping pets at home where they have families who love them is a key component to preventing shelter crowding and the impact felt by the organizations who are faced with it.

The event is Saturday June 3, from 8 am-12 pm, rain or shine, and will take place at 1678 Rockwood Ln., across from Rockwood Park.

Organizations stepping up to help include Cowtown Friends of Fort Worth Animal Control; Spay Neuter Network; Dallas Pets Alive; The Love Pit; and SPCA of Texas.Partners: Fort Worth Animal Care and Control; Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank; Saving Hope Animal Rescue; and Rahr to the Rescue.

The event is supported by CUDDLY, a mission-driven company centered around the needs of rescued animals and the community focused programs that sustain them.

3 Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023

Elite entrepreneurs

Twelve of the country's 100 most successful female entrepreneurs live in Texas this year, and three of them call Dallas-Fort Worth home. So says Forbes in its 2023 list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, released June 1.

"Bolstered in part by a rebound in the stock market, [the richest 100 female entrepreneurs] are cumulatively worth a record $124 billion, up nearly 12% from a year ago," says Forbes.

To make the Forbes list, women had to garner wealth on their own, rather than by inheriting or winning it.

Texas' wealthiest women have made their fortunes in fields ranging from home health care, insurance, and aviation logistics to jewelry design, dating apps, and running the show at SpaceX.

The three female entrepreneurs from North Texas who appear in the elite club of America’s richest self-made women (and their national rankings) are:

  • Robyn Jones, No. 29, of Fort Worth. Her net worth is estimated at $830 million. Jones is founder of Westlake-based Goosehead Insurance Agency LLC. She started the property and casualty insurance agency in 2003 after being frustrated with her truck-driver husband's "road warrior lifestyle," Forbes says. He joined her in 2004 and they took the company public in 2018. It has nearly 1,000 franchised offices.
  • April Anthony, No. 34, of Dallas. Forbes puts her net worth at $740 million. She founded the Dallas-based home health and hospice division of Encompass Health Corp and sold it for $750 million to HealthSouth. In 2022, she was named CEO of VitalCaring, a home health and hospice care firm.
  • Kathleen Hildreth, No. 44, of Aubrey. Her net worth is estimated at $590 million. Hildreth is co-founder of M1 Support Services LP, an aviation logistics company based in Denton. A service-disabled Army veteran, she graduated from West Point in 1983 and was deployed all around the world as a helicopter pilot.

The nine other Texans who appear on the list are from Austin and Central Texas. With an estimated net worth at $4.8 billion, Thai Lee, of Austin, remains at the top of the list in Texas, and ranks No. 5 nationally.

She falls behind only No. 1 Diane Hendricks of Wisconsin (co-founder of ABC Supply, $15 billion net worth); No. 2 Judy Loveof Oklahoma (chairman and CEO, Love's Travel Stops And Country Stores, $10.2 billion); No. 3 Judy Faulkner of Wisconsin (founder and CEO, Epic Systems, $7.4 billion); and No. 4 Lynda Resnick of California (co-founder and co-owner of Wonderful Company, $5.3 billion) among America's richest self-made women.

For some additional perspective, Oprah Winfrey lands at No. 13 on the list for 2023. The TV titan (and most famous woman on the planet) has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, Forbes says.

Austin's Lee, a native of Bangkok who holds an MBA from Harvard University, is founder, president, and CEO of SHI International Corp., a provider of IT products and services with a projected revenue of $14 billion in 2023. Fun fact: "Lee majored in both biology and economics," Forbes says, "in part because her English was less than perfect and she wanted to avoid writing and speaking in class."

The remaining eight Texas women on the list are:
  • Gwynne Shotwell, No. 27, of Jonesboro (Coryell-Hamilton counties). Her net worth is estimated at $860 million. Shotwell is president and COO of Elon Musk's SpaceX. She manages the operations of the commercial space exploration company and owns an estimated stake of 1 percent, Forbes says.
  • Lisa Su, No. 34, Austin. Forbes pegs Su’s net worth at $740 million, tying her with April Anthony of Dallas. The native of Taiwan is president and CEO of Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices.
  • Kendra Scott, No. 47, of Austin.Forbes says she has amassed a net worth of $550 million as founder of Kendra Scott LLC, which designs and sells jewelry in more than 100 stores (and is worth $360 million). The celebrity entrepreneur is also a judge on TV's Shark Tank.
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, No. 52, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $510 million. Herd is co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. She owns a 17% stake in Bumble and became the youngest self-made woman billionaire after it went public in February 2021.
  • Paige Mycoskie, No. 73, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $380 million. Mycoskie created founded her 1970s-inspired California lifestyle brand, Aviator Nation, which took off during the pandemic and now has 16 retail locations across the U.S. If the name sounds familiar, that's because she'sl the sister of TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, with whom she competed on TV's The Amazing Race.
  • Imam Abuzeid, No. 77, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $350 million. Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, which she started in 2017 to help alleviate America's nursing shortage. Forbes describes it as "a souped-up version of LinkedIn for nurses." Abuzeid is one of only a handful of Black female founders to run a company valued at more than $1 billion, Forbes notes.
  • Julia Cheek, No. 92, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $260 million. Cheek founded at-home testing company Everly Health in 2015 "out of frustration at having to pay thousands for lab testing to diagnose issues related to vitamin imbalance," Forbes says. It got a Shark Tank deal with Lori Greiner and is now worth roughly $1.8 billion.
  • Belinda Johnson, No. 96, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $250 million. Johnson was Airbnb's first chief operating officer and led many of its legal disputes. She stepped down from that role in March 2020, Forbes says, and left the company's board in June 2023.