Fort Worth chef scoops up fave ice cream shop for new Latin restaurant
One of Fort Worth’s most popular ice cream parlors has closed, but the historic building on the east side already has a new tenant: a Latin American-style bar and restaurant from a top-class local chef.
Called The waveIt’s located at 2905 Race Street in a 1918 bungalow that was inhabited by Gypsy Scoops for five years and closed earlier this year. A second Gypsy Scoops location will remain open on South Main Street.
La Onda, which means “the wave” in Spanish, will be the first stationary restaurant by chef Victor Villarreal and his wife Misty. Victor says they are shooting for an opening in October.
The restaurant’s focus is evenly split between food and drink, with Victor handling the former and Misty handling the latter.
“We value both equally,” says Victor. “If you want to come in for a drink, you’ll have a great drink. If you want to come to eat you will have a great meal. We don’t want one to be less important than the other. “
The Latin American menu mainly focuses on raw and cooked seafood. The dishes include seasonal oysters and mussels on the half-shell, which are served with mezcal mignonette. smoked fish cucumber escabeche; Ceviche; Sausage boards with seafood; and raw seafood towers with oysters, shrimp and clams.
Victor says he also plans to serve caviar.
“There will be three different types of caviar, ranging from $ 35 to $ 120,” he says. “We also make caviar of the month.”
The drinks menu focuses on Latin-inspired craft cocktails made from tequila, artisanal mezcals, and pisco, a Peruvian brandy, says Misty. Many of the drinks are fortified with fruits, vegetables, and herbs from Mexico and South America, she says.
Drinks include a house sangria with Verdejo wine, a mezcal and cantaloupe paloma, and a margarita made from coconut and ginger. There will also be a wide range of beers with an emphasis on local and regional produce.
Over the course of more than a decade, Victor has worked at some of the finest restaurants in North Texas, including Magnolia Cheese Co., Grace, Tontaube, Sera Dining & Wine, Max’s Wine Dive, and Rosewood Mansion Turtle Creek.
Most recently, he was the owner / head chef of Abe Froman’s, a pizza stall in Fort Worth’s Food Hall on Crockett Row. He closed it earlier this year to focus on La Onda.
“The great thing about Abe Froman is that it prepared me to own my own restaurant,” he says. “Before Abe, I mostly worked for and with other chefs, cooking food that wasn’t necessarily my own. Abe’s was well educated to start my own restaurant. “
In the dining room Victor met Misty, the bar manager and general manager of the hall. Prior to joining the Food Hall, Misty was a bar manager at the Fort Worth location of HG Sply Co.
“We make a good team,” she says. “He knows his field and I know mine and we don’t step on each other’s toes.”
The bungalow in which La Onda opens was built in 1918. Many of its original features, from the hardware to the hardwood floors, have been kept intact by Gypsy Scoops. Victor says he’ll keep the historical elements too.
“It’s a beautiful old building and we want to keep it that way,” he says. “We’re going to repaint it so that it fits more with the theme of the restaurant. I hope to involve some local artists in one way or another, either by exhibiting their artwork or by hiring them to create original pieces exclusively for the restaurant. “
The new direction of Gypsy Scoops
Julie Markley opened Gypsy Scoops’ original bungalow location in 2015. This was an instant hit and drew attention to Race Street, an up and coming neighborhood with restaurants and retail outlets.
The ongoing road construction eventually led to a decline in business, she said, and she turned her attention back to her second location, which opened in the busy South Main area last year.
In March she quietly closed the Race Street store. In early July, she sold the business, which includes the South Main store and an ice cream truck, after her husband took a new job in Georgia, where the couple now live.
The new owners of Gypsy Scoops are Jeff and Stephanie Brannon, who also own Dwell Coffee & Biscuits, a mini-chain of cafes with two locations in Burleson and one in Fort Worth.
“It worked out so well,” says Markley. “I wanted to sell an ice cream parlor while they were opening one.”
In a Facebook post, Stephanie Brannon wrote that the couple would be making some changes to their business and brand. “We’ll be doing some minor renovations over the next few months,” she wrote. “You will see a name change and several different menu options.”