Photo by Ralph Lauer

Seokyoung Hong, a 15-year-old phenom from South Korea, took home the top prize at the 2023 Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival in Dallas on Saturday, June 17.

As winner, Hong received a cash award of $15,000. He also was chosen as the winner of the Audience Award ($500).

A past prize-winner at several international competitions, Hong moved from his native Seoul to Boston in 2022, where he now studies piano at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.

Notably, Hong's triumph at the Cliburn Junior competition came exactly a year (to the day) after fellow South Korean pianist Yunchan Lim's historic and gold medal-winning performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Yifan Wu, 14, of China, won second place (a cash award of $10,000) at the Cliburn Junior. Wu, who hails from Shanghai, made his concerto debut with the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra and is a laureate of Chinese national competitions.

Third prize ($5,000 cash) went to Jan Schulmeister, 16, of Czechia, who has taken home more than 30 awards at piano competitions and has recorded two CDs.

The top three winners also received $2,500 scholarships to further their musical advancement.

Three semifinalists - Zihan Jin, 14, of China; Modan Oyama, 17, of Japan; and Zhonghua Wei, 14, of China - each received cash awards of $2,500.

The winners were announced by jury chairman Janina Fialkowska at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center on Saturday at the conclusion of the final round, in which all three finalists played a concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Valentina Peleggi.

Before an excited audience of piano fans and Cliburn supporters from across Dallas-Fort Worth, the affable Schulmeister started the afternoon with Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2, followed by Wu on Chopin’s lyrical Piano Concerto No. 1. Hong finished the competition with Rachmaninoff’s virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

The 2023 Cliburn Junior competition took place June 8-17, with the first three rounds contested at Caruth Auditorium at SMU before moving to the Meyerson for the finals with the DSO.

Twenty-three pianists, aged 13-17, from around the world came to Dallas to compete in the event. In total, 38 pianists representing 13 countries were selected (from a pool of 248 applicants) as either contestants or participants in Cliburn Junior festival events.

A webcast of the competition drew more than 1.2 million views in 122 countries, nearly doubling the 2019 Cliburn Junior total of 650,000 views, the organization announced.

The Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival was established in 2015 “as another means for the Cliburn to use its standing and expertise to encourage tomorrow’s great artists, to provide a valuable forum for them to express themselves, and to give them an entrance to the next step of their journeys,” the organization says.

The next Cliburn competition will be the Seventeenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, in 2025, in Fort Worth.

Photo courtesy of The Fitzgerald

Fort Worth's best chef, restaurant, burger, and more crowned at 2023 Tastemaker Awards

Meet the Tastemakers

The annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awardscame to Fort Worth for the second year, with a grand celebration to honor the city’s talented and hard-working culinary stars.

The winners were crowned at an awards ceremony and signature tasting event on Thursday, April 27 at the 4 Eleven venue on South Main, emceed by chef Jon Bonnell and benefiting Cuisine for Healing.

For weeks leading up to the event, we published a special editorial series that highlighted nominees in eight categories. A panel of expert judges helped select all of the winners, except for Best New Restaurant. That was determined by you, our readers, in a bracket-style tournament.

New this year: The Tastemaker Awards event featured a Burger Throwdown where attendees had the opportunity to taste and vote for their favorite slider. The Best Burger category was sponsored by Goodstock by Nolan Ryan, which also supplied the meat for the Burger Throwdown.

Now, without further delay, let's raise a glass to the 2023 Fort Worth Tastemaker Award winners:

Best New Restaurant: Calisience
The Calisience food truck was a smash hit when it debuted in 2020, gaining a following for its signature birria tacos, served with a side of beef broth consommé. Owner Jacqueline Anaya opened a brick-and-mortar location on Race Street in 2022. Hours are still limited as she awaits a liquor license, but the shop does steady business from folks hungry for her crispy grilled tacos and signature birria ramen.

Chef of the Year: Juan Ramón Cárdenas - Don Artemio
Juan Ramon Cárdenas is credited as the concept creator and founder of Don Artemio, which continues to hover in the national spotlight thanks to a nod by the James Beard Foundation Awards. The upscale Mexican restaurant on West Seventh Street is one of 10 finalists for Best New Restaurants in the country. A native of Coahuila, Cardenas has a business degree but grew up with restaurateur parents, which fueled his desire to become a chef. His culinary ventures have taken him around the world, from Chicago to Berlin. At Don Artemio, which opened last year, diners take a journey deep into Mexico through cuisine and atmosphere. Dishes like the crispy fried cactus and Chilean sea bass in black mole add to the adventure.

Photo by Nancy Farrar

Oysters from The Fitzgerald, Restaurant of the Year.

Restaurant of the Year: Fitzgerald
West Fort Worth was craving something fancy – both in cuisine and atmosphere – when Fitzgerald opened in 2022 on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Not since Café Aspen (once located in the same space) had a Ridglea-area restaurant generated such buzz from longtime locals. Chef Ben Merritt eventually closed his first endeavor, Fixture, in the Near Southside, to give full attention to Fitzgerald. The restaurant focuses on Gulf Coast-style seafood with influence from the Crescent City: New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp served with crusty French bread, seafood gumbo with oysters and crawfish tails, and more. But don’t sleep on the Mexican-style redfish or ribeye steak. Sunday brunch with crab cake Benedict, shrimp and grits, and crawfish omelets add to the French Quarter vibes.

Bar of the Year: Birdie's Social Club
Birdie’s debuted with a bang late last summer for its cheery open-air concept with pastel-painted patio furniture and Palms Springs vibes. It took over the former Lola’s space between 5th and 6th streets and draws mostly a young crowd for live music, game-watching, and picture-perfect cocktails served in pretty glassware. Try the Western Breeze made with TX Whiskey, strawberry puree, and pink lemonade. There’s also a recently updated food menu of tacos, nachos, quesadillas, queso, and kids’ items. Also new to Birdie’s is Bourbon & Shine, a Western-outfitted cocktail lounge hidden on site, which opened in March with darts, pool, and a back patio.

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

Best Brewery: Martin House Brewing Company
The creative minds at this tenured Fort Worth brewery, which just celebrated a decade in business, go wild with imaginative (and sometimes really “out there”) limited edition beer flavors like ice cream with pistachios, barbecue sauce, and soon, mayonnaise beer, set to be launched with a party on Cinco de Mayo. But silly savors aside, Martin House is one of Fort Worth’s most esteemed breweries for its longstanding, easy-drinking favorites like The Salty Lady Gose and Toadies Texas Bock; its weekend, festival-style parties right on the Trinity River; and the friendly nature of its staff. Don’t miss House’s Best Maid Pickle Beer, now a staple in Fort Worth.

Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Cafe Bella
Open since 2000 in the hidden Westcliff Shopping Center, Café Bella is the Cheers of several nearby neighborhoods, from Bluebonnet Hills to Tanglewood. Except at this place “where everybody knows your name,” it’s up to you to BYOB. Perhaps that’s part of the draw, along with the unpretentious classic Italian dishes served at affordable prices, like chicken piccata, fettucine alfredo, and baked lasagna. The interior is also inviting, with faux floral hanging from the ceiling along with preset glassware and folded napkins. Also inviting is the owner, Eli Golemi, who’s gained a loyal following not only for her comforting dishes but for her gracious personality – like that of a best friend.

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Angel Fuentes - Guapo Taco
The Monterrey, Mexico native left his computer programming gig at an early age to embark on a restaurant career, eventually serving as managing partner and chef of Mariachi’s Dine-In in a Riverside gas station. Word spread via social media, and the taqueria quickly gained a loyal following for its discreet location and picture-perfect tacos. That was 2018, but by 2021 the restaurant moved to bigger digs on the west side of town. Fuentes stayed put in that space where he opened Guapo Taco, using his creativity to expand on the menu, which features birria tacos, burritos, tortas, beef cheek barbacoa, and the popular chile chicken posole soup that comes in red or green.

Winner of the onsite Burger Throwdown: Omni Fort Worth Hotel

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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.