Top 10 restaurant and bar stories that Fort Worth savored in 2020
Editor’s note: At the end of the year we look back on the 10 most-read restaurant and bar stories of 2020. This list highlights the unprecedented challenges the food service industry faced due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were new restrictions and some sad closings – but also some success stories. An Irish pub settled down and a taco truck handed out one of the hottest food trends of the year. These are the food stories Fort Worth readers devoured this year.
1. Fort Worth’s Alliance Center is a laid-back Dallas truck yard. Alliance Town Center, the 900-acre master-planned community near AllianceTexas in the far north of Fort Worth, enticed in a laid-back concept founded in Dallas: Truck Yard, an indoor-outdoor slope with food trucks, drinks, games and space for pets. The new company was announced in January and is slated to open in Fall 2020, but has not yet opened.
2. Main list of Fort Worth restaurants to reopen their dining rooms on May 1st. Armed with gallons of disinfectant, face masks and, in some cases, plastic table barriers, dozens of restaurants in the Fort Worth area planned to reopen for dine-in service on May 1 after the coronavirus shutdown. The state of Texas allowed restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to reopen, provided occupancy was limited to 25 percent and strict regulations were followed that would apply for the remainder of the year.
3. Restaurant cocktail kits alleviate the Fort Worth alcohol blues. In a spring when the virus had completely disrupted daily life, TABC loosened the reins on take-away cocktails thanks to a waiver by Governor Greg Abbott. While there was still some controversy over what exactly not having “mixed drinks” meant, restaurants seized the day (and the revenue opportunity) by packing cocktail kits for passing customers. These were some of the best options.
4. Cult California Fatburger chain opens its first Texas location in Dallas-Fort Worth. One of the most popular burger chains in California made its debut in Texas: Fatburger, a chain founded in Hollywood more than 70 years ago, opened a location in medium-sized cities, particularly in North Richland Hills, where it is working together with a co-branding concept Buffalo’s Express, a chain that specializes in grand piano. The restaurant opened on June 1st and had a line at the door all day.
5. The Irish native opens a proper Irish pub in Fort Worth’s West 7th District. In January, a new bar came to Fort Worth that would fill a largely vacant niche: the Irish Pub. The bar was called Trinity College Irish Pub and later opened on West 7th Corridor at 910 Currie St., where Tortaco used to live. The pub was instantly loved for its classic Irish dishes and weekend brunch, as well as its spacious terrace for al fresco dining.
6. Only one place in Fort Worth makes it on Texas Monthly’s Best New Restaurants list. A Fort Worth restaurant was named Texas Monthly’s annual Best New Restaurant Rating in the state, published in January. The list, titled “The Best New Texas Restaurants for 2020,” featured 10 establishments and honorable mentions. Gemelle, the Italian restaurant run by celebrity chef Tim Love, came in 9th.
7. Crunchy grilled tacos are the thing in this exciting new food truck in Fort Worth. In May, a new food truck made a name for itself in Fort Worth food circles on the east side of town for serving two distinctive products: grilled tacos and ramen. Called Calisience, it was permanently parked at 3318 E. Belknap St. and was the first food company owned by Los Angeles-born Jacqueline Anaya. Birria tacos turned out to be one of the biggest food trends of the year across the DFW.
8. These Fort Worth restaurants have had to temporarily close due to coronavirus. It wasn’t goodbye, it was see you later. That was the hope for these Fort Worth restaurants, which decided to cease operations during the COVID-19 outbreak, forcing bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms in March. Some tried to be picked up and delivered from the roadside, and even offered take-away alcohol. But many found that the takeaway did not allow them to keep the lights on.
9. The bird-themed restaurant in Sundance Square, Fort Worth is flying away. After seven years, a restaurant in downtown Fort Worth has surprisingly closed: The Bird Café on the edge of Sundance Square Plaza closed on May 22nd. The owner Shannon Wynne blamed the coronavirus for the closure. It was the first of several major downtown restaurant closings throughout the year.
10. Fort Worth Restaurant closes with soothing breakfast and brunch. After only three months of business, FiVi’s Kitchen closed on November 21st. The breakfast and brunch restaurant had made a big splash in West Fort Worth when it opened in late summer and offered a modern take on a good, old-fashioned restaurant. But with the coronavirus and a lack of business, the owners said it wasn’t sustainable and opted for a permanent closure.