By Meda Kessler and June Naylor
Central Market celebrates the staycation Don’t miss the specialty grocery store’s summer events with nods to New York, through July 7; France, July 8-14; and the Tropics, July 15-28. All five locations of the grocer will feature specialty foods from these hot spots, culminating with Charc Week, July 29-Aug. 4. And no, it’s not all about the Great White, but all things charcuterie. Check out centralmarket.com for more information.
T-Johnny’s Seafood & Cajun Market hits a sweet spot Co-owner Phil Tullis, who hails from Houma, Louisiana, brings cooking expertise from that corner of Cajun country and also from Natchitoches, famous for its meat pies. Tullis already has tapped into a hungry market with everything from chilled, ready-to-cook and freshly boiled shrimp and crawfish; hot take-away specialties include those meat pies, boudin balls and cracklings, frozen shellfish, and fresh steaks and sausage. From the selection of dry goods, choose among mixes for fried fish breading, jambalaya, and red beans and rice, along with chicory-coffee blends. Open daily. 5409 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, 817-507-9391
Paco’s Mexican Cuisine: Birria tacos and a new look Birria. Literally, the word means apology, but the slang use as “hot mess” is more applicable to the tacos of the moment. In a good way. Traditionally featuring slow-stewed goat meat in its birthplace of Jalisco, Mexico, the del Norte versions of birria more often feature beef. In either case, there’s nothing to apologize about: rich and spicy, the tender-cooked meat is folded into a thick, soft taco along with cheese and cilantro, griddled just short of crispy, and served with the cooking broth — flavored with chiles, tomatillo, cumin, garlic — for dipping. Paco’s Mexican Cuisine has been delivering its delicioso beef birria tacos — with broth, limes and a smoky guajillo salsa — as well as other menu offerings curbside, and should be revealing its expansive remodel this month. Follow on Facebook or check the website; place carryout orders by phone or online. 1508 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-759-9110, pacosmexicancuisine.business.site
Bonnell’s welcomes Charles Youts, a chef with a green thumb Jon Bonnell welcomed longtime friend Charles Youts to Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine as executive chef as the Fort Worth restaurant reopened its modified-seating dining room to guests June 19. Youts spent 20 years as executive chef at The Classic at Roanoke, where he grew a vast, impressive kitchen garden. “I’ve always been impressed with Charles’ cooking skills and his gardening, and now we can have a garden that makes a real difference for our menu,” says Bonnell. Over about a month, Youts and the Bonnell kitchen crew built 15 raised beds, crafted from cedar, behind the restaurant. Watered by an irrigation line installed under the parking lot, the beds are designed for tomatoes, peppers, herbs and assorted greens, including vining spinach to climb trellis work connecting the beds. Bonnell continues to serve as executive chef for his namesake restaurant group, which includes four restaurants he co-owns with chef Ed McOwen. He’s continuing the popular curbside service offering a $40 dinner-for-four, which has attracted between 75 and 175 drive-by guests between 4 and 5:30 p.m. It’s just right for customers who aren’t yet ready to dine inside, Bonnell notes. Curbside from the regular menu, along with dining room service, is available Tuesday through Saturday evenings. 4259 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth, 817-738-5489; bonnellstexas.com
Salsa Limón returns to the Cultural District Ramiro Ramirez made news in 2016 when he moved a chrome diner from University Drive to its new location in The River District. He’s back with Ro Ramirez, his sister, in opening Salsa Limon Museo II as part of the Elan Crockett Row development, about a block north of the old location. The new restaurant — the design comes from Ramiro’s collaboration with Bart Shaw of Ibañez Shaw Architecture — is sleek with white tables, concrete floors and white powder-coated shelving filled with Mexican art pieces. Located across the street from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, there’s an homage to artist Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington sculpture, part of the museum’s permanent collection. The menu has changed a bit, too, with keto-friendly, vegan and meatless options (think romaine lettuce wraps instead of tortillas, tacos filled with potato and cabbage, a Mexican staple) along with new specials such as the Megadilla, a monstrous quesadilla. Margarita drink kits also are on the menu for curbside pickup, which will be made easier by Salsa Limón’s dedicated parking garage with easy entry and exit. 925 University Drive, Fort Worth, salsalimon.com
Stellini’s market offers all things Italian Next door to Stellini Trattoria comes a handy shop for those wanting to take home the flavors of the Italian restaurant. In a long, narrow space, beverage choices include craft beers in growlers, wines and makings for margaritas and sangria, as well as the premixed Stellini signature cocktail, The Godfather, made with scotch and amaretto. Food choices range from hot meatball subs and short-rib sandwiches to take-and-bake features that include lobster mac and cheese and spaghetti with pomodoro sauce, which you can pair with various salads and freshly baked baguettes and herbed butters. Satisfy your sweet tooth with freshly made gelato in flavors such as caramel and blood orange, or try the Italian cookies. Need your selections delivered? Ask for the Stellini staff to bring them to you on a cute black Vespa. Open daily. 400 E. Dallas Road, Grapevine, 817-410-9463
Dallas Dining Out
Stirr mixes things up in Addison The upscale modern American restaurant and cocktail lounge with locations in Deep Ellum and in Fort Worth has opened a two-story outpost in Addison. Culinary director Rodman Shields says it’s the first Stirr location to feature a refreshed menu, which includes big-flavored dishes such as chicken-fried rib-eye steak, volcano rock shrimp, tangy chicken wings and wok-fried beef. 5100 Belt Line Road, Addison, 214-903-0543, stirrrestaurants.com
Mot Hai Ba expands Popular East Dallas Vietnamese restaurant Mot Hai Ba has opened a second, larger location in Victory Park (the original is in Lakewood). Chef/owner Peja Krstic bounces between both restaurants, where bowls of pho and plates of shaking beef, fried squash blossoms, baked tilefish and caramel pork dumplings are among the current menu highlights. 665 High Market St., Dallas, 469-250-7293, mothaibadallas.com
COVID-19 interrupted DFW’s abbreviated welcome of several restaurants, including Enrique Tomás and Mendocino Farms. Enrique Tomás is the world’s largest purveyor of Spain’s legendary cured jamón Ibérico. The two-story Knox-Henderson store has reopened, offering both sit-down dining and a wide selection of to-go goods that make summer picnicking a breeze. Load up your basket with imported olives and cheeses, slices of jamón (you can buy as little as 1½ ounces or as much as an entire ham) and bottles of red or white Rioja. Or camp out in the restaurant’s upstairs tapas bar, cocktail lounge or downstairs restaurant, which is laser-focused on authentic Spanish dishes such as paella and red snapper baked in a salt crust. Mendocino Farms, a well-regarded sandwich and salad shop from Los Angeles, opened in downtown’s Trammell Crow Center. Opt for the pork belly banh mi or the “Not So Fried’’ chicken sandwich with roasted chicken, aioli and mustard-pickle slaw. The menu includes vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Enrique Tomás, 2822 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas, 469-577-4879, enriquetomas.com Mendocino Farms, 2000 Ross Ave., Dallas, 214-379-1490, mendocinofarms.com
Houston’s shuttered unexpectedly last month. The immensely popular Addison restaurant chose not to renew its expiring lease and is instead shopping for a larger location with more parking space.