By Meda Kessler and June Naylor
Piaf Kitchen + Wine + Bar
Fabien and Yasmine Goury, whose Main Street Bistro & Bakery has been a downtown Grapevine mainstay for several years, expand their hospitality across the street with the recently opened restaurant and bar. Newly renovated, the two-story space that was formerly home to San Daniele is a contemporary setting for enjoying a diverse menu of Mediterranean specialties. Though the popular upstairs patio tables in the space called The Perch overlook the sweet downtown, we like the cozy booths in the downstairs area. Lighting from giant blue globes is low but music on the sound system is on the lively side. No matter where you sit, don’t miss the sharable plates like the fig-goat-cheese-and-prosciutto flatbread and, our favorite, the charred head of cauliflower, topped with a velvety yogurt sauce that’s sprinkled with chopped fresh dill, dried cranberries and a mix of crushed pistachios, marcona almonds and pine nuts. A lentil-French onion soup combines two fall favorites and adds a little luxury with a giant Gruyere crouton, and is one of several vegetarian options, along with mushroom ravioli with black truffle-wine sauce. That said, dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye is a lavish carnivore’s pleasure, served with a sinfully rich creamy hickory-smoked elote. Interesting wines are offered by the glass, and specialty cocktails include several made with freshly squeezed citrus juices and fresh herbs. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday and Sunday brunch buffet.
129 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817-527-6898, facebook.com/PiafGrapevine
SMOKE FIRE MAGIC
BBQ on the Brazos
Award-winning pitmaster John Sanford has left his tiny trailer in Cresson for bigger digs in Fort Worth, opening in late October in a former pub with plenty of parking on the Benbrook traffic circle. Look for lunch plates, tacos, sandwiches (all served on jalapeno cheese sourdough bread) and ’cue by the pound, along with sides. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; closing hours flexible due to sellouts.
3803 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-386-2970, bbqonthebrazoscressontx.com
Yes, the black trailer and barbecue pits located on The Trailhead at Clearfork are still turning out solid barbecue and sides months after the departure of Flores Barbecue pitmaster Michael Wyont, who opted to return home to his family in Whitney in September. Chris Reale, the familiar face in the ordering window, has added barbacoa tacos, swaddled in his homemade tortillas. Side dishes, including the beans, have been tweaked and are well worth ordering on their own. Find the Campo Smokehouse trailer just behind Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop.
4801 Edwards Ranch Road, Fort Worth, 817-666-0157, @camposmokehouse on social media
Panther City BBQ
With the new Smoke Pavilion finally open, owners Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales — and their many fans — say farewell to trailer life and hello to their permanent digs next to The Republic Street Bar, which still welcomes diners to eat there and enjoy an adult beverage. The Panther pavilion also offers indoor seating, TVs, more smokers and, of course, more barbecue.
201 E. Hattie St., Fort Worth, 817-300-3743, panthercitybbq.com
Neighbor’s House Grocery
The former Bank of America Building in downtown Fort Worth, now called First on 7th, has its first ground-floor tenant with the opening of this boutique grocery store, which also is home to Rollin’ N Bowlin’, a purveyor of acai bowls and healthy smoothies. Located on the north side of the building on Lamar Street, there’s plenty of free parking across the street in the former garage and mobile-banking building. Owners Kyle and Ashlee Cowan have created a destination for urban dwellers, who now have access to fresh vegetables and fruit (there’s also a juicer on staff), a butcher case, bread made in-house by The Proof Bakery, beverages, pantry and cold-case basics and gourmet items. Grab-and-go items include salads plus separately packaged proteins. Hot foods including pastries, breakfast tacos and sandwiches in the morning along with java from downtown neighbor Sons of Liberty Coffee; and a gourmet grilled cheese and soup bar in the afternoon. The self-serve iced tea selection is the best in town. Light and bright, the contemporary space is inviting, with tall shelves partially lining the wall of windows and short ones located in the middle of the store so as to not block sightlines; small baskets are provided for shopping. In the back of the store is a comfortable dining area behind a small bar where wines on tap are available. And wherever there’s a seat, there’s also a spot to plug in your mobile device, be it laptop or phone. Follow them on social media @neighborshousegrocery.
500 W. 7th St., Fort Worth, 817-507-9191,
Dutch’s Burrito Bar
Chef-restaurateur Lou Lambert takes over the space vacated by Salsa Limón and Shep’s Off the Hook, adding Dutch’s Burrito Bar to siblings Dutch’s Hamburgers and Dutch’s Locker Room (walk from one to the other through connecting doorways inside). There, you can enjoy burritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And there are a lot of options: Three kinds of tortillas; grain bowls using a mix of quinoa-millet and brown rice, cilantro rice or brown rice; and salad bowls. Choose from proteins including barbacoa, grilled chicken, barbecued pulled pork and carne falso (plant-based meat substitute). Toppings include creamy salsa verde, Tex-Mex slaw, pickled red onion and green chile queso. Breakfast and street tacos also are available, and there’s a kids menu.
3005 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, 817-927-5522
Toasted Coffee + Kitchen
Toasted is now serving all-day breakfast and brunch in a bright and open space in the Crockett Row at West 7th development in Fort Worth. We have found early mornings to be fairly quiet, all the better to catch up on email or hold a work meeting over coffee. While we’re not crazy about the metal trays as plates, we do dig the food, including the All-Day BAE, a thick slab of toasted marble rye topped with bacon, eggs (over-medium is best), avocado and queso fresco; and grilled salmon over potato-pepper hash with guajillo salsa and a cilantro sauce drizzle.
2972 Crockett St., Fort Worth, toasted.coffee
Another Dallas export, STIRR has redone the former Kona space in Crockett Row with the help of Coevál Studio. Look for a slick, modern bar and eatery done up in black-and-white tiles, caramel leather upholstery and smooth wood tabletops (plus a fabulous longhorn skull at the entrance). Chic decor elements and black-clad servers make it feel a bit nightclubby, but an abundance of TVs makes it clear that game-watching is encouraged. Graze on ale fondue — made with beer cheese, Gouda and cream cheese — with pretzel bites for dunking; Funky Town Hot Chicken served with maple piri-piri sauce and a special blue cheese dressing for dipping; or a prime rib French dip. Free valet parking.
3028 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-770-0947, stirrrestaurants.com
WORTH THE DRIVE
The Gap Café
Buffalo Gap, located just a few minutes south of Abilene, has become famous over the past 30 years for Perini Ranch Steakhouse. James Beard Award winners Tom and Lisa Perini run possibly the best steak joint in Texas, and the husband-wife duo know how to deliver great food and hospitality. So much so, in fact, that they can’t confine themselves to just one restaurant. That’s why they opened The Gap Café a few weeks ago in a vintage wood-and-stone building where they now offer breakfast and lunch daily. Located across the street from Perini Ranch Country Market, Lisa’s kitchen and housewares shop, the cafe grabs your attention first with a beautiful spread of pastries in a glass case. Produced by the adjacent Salty Roan Bakehouse, the assortment of almond croissants, apple-cranberry pie with lattice crust top, monkey bread, sticky buns and pumpkin cinnamon scones deserve a to-go box of their own. Our favorite breakfast thus far is the cast-iron skillet brimming with scrambled eggs, crisp-fried potato chunks, coarsely chopped peppered ground sausage, sliced green onion and grated sharp cheddar cheese. Be sure to ask for some locally made salsa on the side. A lunch menu debuts this month offering stick-to-your-ribs goodies like the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich and chicken-fried steak. Buy some Perini Ranch Cowboy Coffee beans to take home, and stop by the market for the popular “Where the hell is Buffalo Gap?” T-shirt.
2709 Farm Road 89, Buffalo Gap, 325-572-3334, thegapcafetx.com
By Michael Hiller
IN THE WORKS
Pitmaster Aaron Franklin and Uchi chef Tyson Cole will open a branch of Loro, their Austin restaurant that blends Southeast Asian cuisine with Texas Hill Country barbecue. Expect brisket with a chili sauce and Thai herbs, Japanese chicken karaage and sides including garlic rice noodles and green papaya salad. Under construction now at 1812 N. Haskell St., the East Dallas restaurant is scheduled to open next summer with a spacious floor plan, outdoor deck and patio seating, all designed to evoke the feel of a Central Texas dance hall. “Collaborating with Aaron on Loro has been such a great experience, and the reception to the food, drinks and atmosphere has been stellar,” Cole says. “We hope Dallas will dig the complex flavor combination of Southeast Asian food with the richness of smoked meat just as much as they do in Austin.”
OPENINGS | CLOSINGS
Cane Rosso’s original pizzaiolo, Dino Santonicola, now has his own restaurant to showcase his passion for his hometown of Naples and southern Italian cooking. Dino and his wife, Megan (both Cane Rosso veterans), have opened Partenope Ristorante, a smart, casual space in the historic Titche-Goettinger building in downtown Dallas. “You can’t make great pizza without a great oven,” says Santonicola, “so of course we imported one from Naples.” In addition to thin-crust pizzas, menu items include fresh and imported pastas, salads, vegan- and gluten-free options, Italian espressos and plenty of Italian wines.
1903 Main St., 214-463-6222, partenopedallas.com
Mudhen Meat and Greens
The healthy-eating alternative located in the Dallas Farmers Market is closing in early November.
True Food Kitchen
Instead of serving pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, swing by True Food Kitchen and pick up a roasted squash pie with a graham cracker crust and coconut whipped cream that’s even better than its more traditional cousin. It’s one of the good-for-you restaurant’s new fall menu items, along with roasted Brussels sprouts tumbled with mushrooms, miso-sesame seed vinaigrette and chiles; flatbreads topped with pumpkin seed pesto, goat cheese and roasted beets; and a butternut squash pizza with caramelized onion, roasted garlic, organic kale, vegan almond ricotta, dried cranberries and sage. The scratch kitchen also offers special keto and paleo menus, but only the insiders (and you) know to ask for them.
8383 Preston Center Plaza, 214-377-3333, truefoodkitchen.com