EATS | OPENINGS
Whistle Britches: Open, open, open
It’s been more than a year since restaurateurs Omar Flores, Alec Marshi and Alec’s father, Sammi, tapped Southlake Town Square for a third location of the Southern-inspired Whistle Britches in the old Hopdoddy space (two are in Dallas). Flores, who has a pair of James Beard nominations, is now hoping for a late April-early May opening. STS also is the location of Flores’ Muchacho Comida Tex Mex, which will open in the former Snuffer’s space, possibly in June or July. “The opportunity to open both in the same development was too attractive to pass up,” says Flores. The Southlake Whistle Britches menu will be anchored by customer favorites such as fried chicken, biscuits, sweet corn hoecakes with sorghum and homemade jellies. “It’s the kind of food you’d find at grandma’s house on Sunday afternoons,” Flores says. “As the concept evolves, we’re moving to expand to a more Southern menu with more variety. But I’m not sure anything will be more popular than our Whistle Britches sandwich.” Here’s why: You get a two-handed buttermilk biscuit stuffed with fried chicken, pepper jelly and honey butter. Southlake Town Square, 230 Main St., whistlebritcheschicken.com
heads west While rumors had the Dallas bakery moving into downtown Fort Worth, a Pi Day popup March 14 revealed their new location. Bessie, Emporium’s pie truck, parked on South Main Street in Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood and served whole pies and slices to a welcoming crowd. The original location in Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts district is still going strong after opening in 2012 as are the Deep Ellum and McKinney shops. Starting April 16, Emporium takes over the former Winton and Waits location, with to-go window service only. Full dining room service will follow by the end of the year. Emporium is known for a focused menu of flavors with favorites such as bourbon pecan and French silk chocolate. Look for specials during the holidays. Slices are served in little to-go baskets wrapped in paper and twine.
411 S. Main St., Fort Worth, emporiumpies.com
Delucca Gaucho Pizza & Wine adds second location in Cowtown
The concept is much the same as a Brazilian steakhouse, only with slices of wood-fired pizza. A prix fixe tasting menu includes lobster bisque, a salad and an appetizer. Then choose your pizza favorites from a menu that includes Turkish lamb and truffle oil-topped cheese along with classics such as margherita and pepperoni. Your server brings fresh slices to your table as needed. (Gluten-free and vegan options are available.) We like the nicely priced happy hour menu available 4:30-6 p.m. weekdays and served only at the bar. Get a whole personal pizza and appetizer (limited options) and $5 wine or cocktail. Reservations are highly recommended, even at the bar; we opt for seats on the spacious patio when possible.
3010 S. Hulen St., 682-224-5194, Fort Worth, delucca.com/location/fort-worth
Sidesaddle Saloon opens;
Taco Heads expands
Partners Sarah Castillo, Christian Lehrmann and Glen Keely have been busy this last month. Their Stockyards/Mule Alley project, the cocktails/tapas bar called Sidesaddle Saloon is finally opening. Meanwhile, Fort Worth’s Montgomery Street location of Taco Heads is temporarily closed, as it’s getting a major face-lift inside and out. Hint: No more rental tent when it’s too hot or too cold. Expect to-go service to be available in early April and the covered patio to follow a few weeks later. And they’re expanding the Taco Heads concept to the the Northside (a block south of Exchange Avenue), with a new shop opening there this spring.
Sidesaddle Saloon, 122 E. Exchange Ave., Suite 240; instagram.com/sidesaddlesaloon
Taco Heads 1812 Montgomery St., Fort Worth; 2341 N. Main St.; tacoheads.com
Magnolia Wine Bar: New look, new options, new name
The name is new, but Fort Worth’s Magnolia Wine Bar isn’t. It’s been almost two years since husband-wife proprietors Marty and Marilyn Englander purchased Kent & Co. on Magnolia Avenue. “We want enjoying great wine to be affordable and relaxed,” says Marty. “We keep prices reasonable to encourage guests to try something new.” Out of roughly 200 wines offered on the list, about half are available by the glass. The retail operation, which the Englanders said saved the business during the pandemic slowdown, continues to be popular. Katrina Carpenter of Carpenter’s Cafe is in charge of a food truck parked outside the expanded patio area formerly used for valet parking. She’ll offer Asian tacos and other shareable items. Floral murals by local artist Kristen Soble reflect the magnolia theme; one quotes a song lyric by famous Fort Worth crooner Leon Bridges, with whom the Englanders worked on a fundraiser for local businesses.
1101 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-632-6070, themagnoliafw.com
New faces on Locke Block: Mariachi’s Dine-In and Pizza Verde
When co-owners Ashley Miller and Angel Fuentes opened Mariachi’s Dine-In from a tiny kitchen at the back of a well-worn convenience store in 2018, they aimed to make homestyle Mexican specialties accessible. Miller, the vegetarian, found in chef Fuentes someone whose talent makes meatless tacos and quesadillas appealing even to dedicated carnivores. The duo’s classic and vegan renditions of traditional street foods have proved successful, and the concept now moves to a Westside restaurant space long occupied by Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen (and briefly by FiVi’s Kitchen). “We’d been looking for something larger, but the pandemic hit. But still, our business continued to grow,” says Miller, who at one time worked as a mixologist at Fireside Pies. “As soon as I saw this space was coming available, before it even went on the market, I put our hat in the ring. We are super excited.” There’s room for 98 guests, and they traded a matchbox-size kitchen for an ample one with a walk-in cooler. And along with plates that range from Baja “fish” tacos — made with crispy banana blossom, pickled red cabbage, roasted corn, cilantro, tomato and chipotle crema — to tortas stuffed with grilled carne asada or marinated pork, guests can enjoy Miller’s bartending talents. “We’ll do cocktails, margaritas and fun nonalcoholic beverages, too,” she says. Their future neighbor, Pizza Verde, a former pop-up venture offering only plant-based savory pies, is taking over the old Rocco’s spot a few doors down.
5724 Locke Ave., Fort Worth, mariachisdinein.com
DINING OUT DALLAS
Monarch at The National: Scenery, good eats and more
Skyline views, prime steaks, impeccably fresh seafood and the best handmade pastas in town are the stars at this downtown newcomer. Monarch is perched on the 49th floor of The National, a city landmark that got a recent reboot featuring residences, a hotel and restaurants. It’s the first of three Dallas restaurants that Chicago chef Danny Grant and his accomplished Windy City hospitality group plan to open here. Judging from two early visits, their take on a modern chophouse with Italian flair is a winning combination. Grant smartly recruited former Fearing’s Restaurant chef Eric Dreyer to run the show at Monarch, where he turns out swoonworthy dishes such as oxtail cappelletti, black truffle risotto, fresh Alaskan king crab legs glazed with Calabrian chiles and a half-dozen super-prime steaks grilled over pecan wood. If you’re ready to go big, “The Royale” promises an over-the-top assortment of the restaurant’s best dishes for $190 per person. However you order — a la carte or all-in Royale — it’s worth the restaurant’s lofty prices. Kessaku, a sushi lounge, opens this month on The National’s 50th floor.
1405 Elm St., Dallas, 214-945-2222, monarchrestaurants.com
Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar is back
Following a monthslong refresh, Saint Ann has reopened in the Harwood District west of downtown with former Nick & Sam’s chef Taylor Kearney in charge. The rebooted restaurant pledges a commitment to employing ingredients sourced locally and those produced or obtained using sustainable practices. The menu leans toward the Pacific Northwest and blends Asian influences with West Coast ingredients. There’s no better time than now, with long days and cool nights, to reserve a table on one of Dallas’ best patios and tuck into Kearney’s crisp-skinned seared duck with spaetzle and fava beans.
2501 N. Harwood St., Dallas, 214-782-9807, saintanndallas.com
Nusr-Et: Dinner and a show … at a high price
Dallas is the king of America’s steakhouse cities, so it comes as little surprise that a jester would eventually arrive. Turkish chef and butcher Nusret Gökçe unveiled his 18th Nusr-Et steakhouse last month, adding Dallas to a global list of locations that includes Dubai, Istanbul, New York and Miami. Gökçe, an internet sensation nicknamed Salt Bae, earned notoriety for his tableside theatrics of showering steaks by running salt down his forearm while diners ooh, aah and capture the performance on Instagram. Nusr-Et’s prime steaks and Japanese cuts are indeed exceptional, but they and the rest of the menu are most notable for the exorbitant price tags, including a $275 rib-eye steak, a $30 cheeseburger and wines offered at prices high enough to raise eyebrows among salespeople who sell wine for a living. The upside? A visit to the Dallas location doesn’t require a flight to Miami or New York for the saline experience, though your chances of Gökçe personally Salt Bae-ing your steak are about equal.
1900 N. Pearl St., Dallas, 972-961-1112, nusr-et.com.tr/en/home.aspx
Michael Hiller is a Dallas restaurant and travel correspondent for 360 West.