Radar: Dining Out
Neighbor’s House Grocery pivots to a restaurant hybrid
With COVID and business shutdowns in downtown Fort Worth affecting its grocery operations, NHG has transitioned to a casual full-time restaurant with a refresh of the space and what it offers. The name remains the same — it has been open since October 2019 — and there’s a selection of pantry items for purchase along with giftable plants and florals from Camellia Farm Flora, but the focus is on breakfast, lunch and dinner. Owner Kyle Cowan, who runs NHG with wife Ashlee, has extensive restaurant experience. His kitchen staff, which includes former cooks from The Fort Worth Club, has been involved with the new menus. Expect counter service, but the food is served on real tableware. The rotating specials are still available at lunch; dinner offers more entrees including bison meatloaf or shrimp and smoked cheddar grits. Shareables include elk meatballs and coffee-rubbed house-smoked wings. There also are soups, salads and sandwiches such as a wagyu smashburger or roasted corn chowder topped with pork belly. The casual setting has been upgraded with more seating; the cozy bar along with wine and beer specials remains, and you can also purchase both to go. And free covered parking is available across the street (validate at the checkout counter). Starting hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday for dinner.
500 W. 6th St., Fort Worth, 817-334-0526, neighborshousegrocery.com
The Pantry: Part restaurant, part food emporium
Hao Tran, one half of Fort Worth’s noted dumpling duo Hao & Dixya, a co-owner of The Table, a pop-up chef and an educator by day, is opening up another set of doors in early August. For this venture, her culinary partner is fellow teacher Natasha Bruton. The Pantry on Magnolia Avenue showcases Hao’s Asian cooking, including noodles, banh mi, curries and, of course, dumplings, along with Natasha’s scratch desserts, from mini Bundt cakes to addictive chocolate chip cookies studded with bacon. All the recipes are inspired by family, especially the pair’s own grandmothers. The former Hot Damn, Tamales! space has been spruced up and seats about 16, plus there are a few more spots on the cozy front patio. While originally envisioned as an evening-and-weekend-only spot, The Pantry plans lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Look for veggie and vegan offerings, too. Mondays are reserved for monthly themed dinners. Pantry items include desserts, frozen dumplings and more. The grand opening is Aug. 21.
713 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, thepantryfw.com
Longtime Flower Mound fave Istanbul Cuisine expands to Southlake
A popular destination in Flower Mound for Mediterranean cuisine, this family-owned restaurant opened a second location in late July in Southlake. The former Panera sandwich shop is made over with lovely tile and lighting. The menu features our favorites: lamb shank, classic kebabs and rice, as well as filling salads. The large kitchen also turns out beautiful bread — small oval loaves topped with sesame seeds. We got a couple of orders to go, still warm from the oven. While we typically skip dessert, Istanbul’s coffee is a must. It’s presented smoking hot in a dainty cup balanced on a wood board along with small cubes of Turkish delight, a nut-filled chewy candy that pairs well with the potent brew. Save room for the chocolate souffle, light in texture, rich in flavor, and a surprise find on the small dessert menu.
2140 E. Southlake Blvd., 817-251-1950, facebook.com/IstanbulSouthlake
Paco’s doubles the pleasure of tacos and tequila
Paco’s Mexican Cuisine owner Francisco “Paco” Islas has doubled down on serving Fort Worth with dishes inspired by his family’s roots in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. And, by opening a second location in downtown’s Sundance Square, he also has doubled his hours. “I start my day in Sundance for lunch, then handle dinner at Magnolia, then come to help close Sundance, and finally finish late night at Magnolia, where we close at 2 a.m. for our fiesta nights.” Dad Francisco Islas stepped up as general manager for the downtown restaurant, and other family members are helping where needed. Expect the same basic menu in both cafes, with more gourmet specials and a Sunday brunch buffet on offer in the new spot. Existing amenities and patio seating with a view of Sundance Square cinched the deal for the Islas family. “For us it was an amazing opportunity to be in such a great location,” Paco says. “The Sundance opportunity helped make it possible for a small family-owned and -run restaurant to make the transition into downtown.” But wait, there’s more. A food truck hits the road this month. Follow Paco’s Mexican Cuisine on social media for updates.
Sundance Square, 156 W. 4th St., Fort Worth, 682-224-6368, pacoscuisine.net
This Southlake newcomer, located in the space adjacent to the lower level of Trader Joe’s parking garage, offers the Japanese omakase experience (the deadline for this issue prevented us from dining at Nikko, but we’ll have a more in-depth report in September). Chef Tomohiro Tamura specializes in “kaiseki” dining (small plates, fresh and simply prepared food), having worked everywhere from Tokyo to stateside in Los Angeles, Denver (Nobu), Dallas and Kentucky. Tamura is now retired but is advising Nikko staff on the concept and food. The interior is full of warm woods, contemporary lighting, a vibrant chrysanthemum-motif wallpaper and an outdoor patio for whenever it cools down.
Southlake Town Square, 1420 E. Southlake Blvd., 469-369-1839, nikkosouthlake.com or instagram.com/nikko_southlake
Dayne’s Craft Barbecue
Owners Dayne and Ashley Weaver are doing a booming business from their trailer in Westland as they prepare their brick-and-mortar to open. (The trailer is parked near what will be the front entrance of the white brick building; you can’t miss it.) Barbecue fans have been queuing up early, especially when it’s burger day — get there early, as they often sell out. Service is well-organized, there’s an awning over the sidewalk to ward off the sun, and servers pass out cold water to those in line. Get your order to go or eat inside an air-conditioned room set up for temporary dining. Drinks also are available for purchase. Dayne’s is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Follow them on social media for updates on hours and menus.
9812 Camp Bowie West Blvd., Fort Worth, daynescraftbarbecue.com
Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House
The steakhouse takes over the former Brick House Tavern + Tap location (it was once Tarrant County’s first Romano’s Macaroni Grill) with an accessible menu of beef and Hoffbrau’s top seller: chicken-fried steak. No opening date has been set.
700 Texas 114 W., Grapevine, hoffbrausteakandgrill.com