Fort Worth’s West Side Cafe gets new, very familiar, owners

By scott@360westmagazine.comAugust 16, 2023August 21st, 2023No Comments
West Side Cafe in west Fort Worth gets new owners.

West Side Cafe gets new, very familiar, owners

By Scott Nishimura
Photo courtesy of West Side Cafe

West Side Cafe, the Fort Worth institution where “Country Cookin'” gets top billing over the restaurant’s name, has new owners.

Joel Hancock, the restaurant’s general manager for more than 20 years, his son Brian, and the Westland Restaurant Group — headed by Gigi Howell and Bourke Harvey — have purchased the 7950 Camp Bowie Boulevard West restaurant, the group announced Wednesday.

The sale “ensures a seamless transition that honors the cafe’s legacy since its beginning in 1996,” the group said in a release.

Tracey Sanford, who bought the restaurant in 1996 when it had been open for three months, owned it until he died in 2021, cultivating a reputation for comfort food and community.

“Customers can expect the same home-cooked favorites that have defined West Side Cafe’s experience, such as buttermilk pancakes, biscuits and gravy, chicken n’ dumplings, and chicken fried steak,” the restaurant’s new owners said in the release.

“West Side Cafe might technically be changing hands, but from a customer perspective, nothing changes,”  Joel Hancock said in the release. “Taking ownership with my son, Brian, is both an honor and a continuation of our commitment to serve the same great food, with the same great service. Tracey’s mentorship and friendship mean the world to me, and partnering with Westland Restaurant Group, led by Bourke Harvey and Gigi Howell, aligns with our values.”

Howell said “I’ve been a fan of West Side Cafe for years. You can often find me there on a Sunday morning, sitting at the counter. Their dedication to quality and community resonates with us, and we’re thrilled to support Joel and Brian in this next chapter.”

Stacy Phillips is the restaurant’s new general manager.