Fall is always a good time for new restaurants to open. They get a few weeks to get their feet wet and kinks smoothed out before the busy holiday season begins.
This fall has to be one of the busiest our city has seen for new restaurant openings in years. I think some may end up opening in 2015 but here’s who is banking on arriving by year’s end.
Cheesecake Factory: The popular chain is opening a sixth location in Sundance Square in the old Barnes & Noble and Ferre spots across the street from Bass Hall. I haven’t been to a Cheesecake Factory, so I can’t attest to the quality of the food. But the menu is absolutely huge. There are pizzas, burgers (I counted 8 different kinds), salads, steaks, pastas, flatbread and traditional sandwiches, coffee drinks and of course different kinds of cheesecake. I stopped counting at 20. A manager at the Arlington location said the menu at the Sundance location will pretty much be the same as the others. Sundance Square marketing director Tracy Gilmour said it will open Dec. 9. 455 Commerce St.Hoya Korean Kitchen: Sundance Square will also be home to a new fast-casual Korean restaurant, Hoya Korean Kitchen, which takes over the vacated Quizno’s spot at Taylor and 3rd Streets. It’ll be run by Odes Kim, who also has a sushi restaurant in Dallas called Little Katana. But at Hoya he’ll focus on food – with a healthy slant – from his homeland. The interior, which will include an indoor/outdoor seating area with a retractable roof, is being designed by Hatsumi Kuzuu, who also designed Tei An, FT33 and Urban Taco. Tracy Gilmour from Sundance says it could be open in November.
Le Cep Restaurant Next to Burgundy Pasture Beef will soon be this quaint French and modern European restaurant from local couple David and Sandra Avila, who were inspired by trips to France. Sandra also worked and studied in France, for a while at the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel, according to an article in Indulge magazine. A menu hasn’t been released yet, but various stories have mentioned dishes such as seared duck, scallops with almonds and champagne vinaigrette and that there will be an 8-course tasting menu. It is slated to open Oct. 30. 3324 W. 7th St.
Pho Hung: Authentic pho is coming to Camp Bowie, courtesy of the Pham family, who also runs Pho Hung locations in Haltom City, Portland and Vietnam. I love how they have three different levels of pho – Beginners, Everyday Favorites and Adventurers Choice. The latter includes pho made with honeycomb tripe, brisket fat and tendons. Beginners pho selections feature pho with meatballs, chicken and beef brisket. Owner Charlie Pham says the new location should be open in December. It’ll be nice to see the old Wan Fu space brought back to life. 6399 Camp Bowie Blvd.Righteous Foods: Opened Tuesday, Lanny Lancarte’s new “clean living” restaurant is the first of its kind in Fort Worth – a “healthy” restaurant that emphasizes “responsibly sourced” and organic food that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although you gotta get there quick for dinner; it closes at 7:00 p.m.). Breakfast dishes include coconut and quinoa oatmeal, smoked salmon and eggs and pork shoulder omelete, while lunch and dinner features smoked pistachio guacamole, pork tacos, a variety of salads and an organic burger. You can also get fresh fruit drinks, cold pressed drinks and coffee from Stumptown out of Portland. When I swung by last week to check out the interior, I didn’t even recognize the place. The space has been opened up to one room and its interior is now brightly decorated with vivid and striking color schemes. I really hope this place does well. 3405 W. 7th St.
Social House: Dallas restaurants continue to move into Funkytown. This one at least comes from a good pedigree. It’s a spruced-up bar food concept dreamed up by Chef Brian Olenjack of Olenjack’s Grille in Arlington.
This will be the third Social House location. Two others are in Dallas. A manager at the Uptown location said the menu will be nearly identical, so expect chicken fried oysters with horseradish sauce, pizzas, burgers, salads, sliders, steaks and speciality dishes like a three-meat meatloaf, rosemary bourbon butter chicken and apple jalapeno chutney pork chop. If you look on their Facebook page, you’ll see a lot of photos of people partying and drinking. It could be Brownstone all over, but I’m willing to give that bourbon chicken a shot. Opening Nov. 6. 840 Currie St.
The Wild Mushroom Steak House and Lounge: If you haven’t been to The Wild Mushroom in Weatherford yet, no need to make that drive now – it’s coming to Fort Worth. Chef Jerrett Joslin is closing his 5-year-old steakhouse on Saturday but will barely miss a beat as it will reopen next month in the space recently vacated by Ray’s Prime Steak & Seafood in the Ridglea Village Shopping Center, next door to Little Lily Sushi. Joslin won’t be the executive chef, however (he’s focusing on another endeavor in Weatherford, the soon to open Vintage Grill & Car Museum. Instead the chef will be Darrin Green, who has worked at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth and Central Market. A manager at the Weatherford location said the menu will be scaled back to steakhouse essentials, including several cuts of steak, pasta, salads and seafood dishes, and that the wine list will be expanded. It’s scheduled to open November 6. 3206 Winthrop Ave.
Other new restaurants coming in early 2015 – Fuego Burger, long awaited burger spinoff from owners of Salsa Fuego, Dee Lincoln Steak Bar in Museum Place (scheduled to open in March) and Wild Salsa and Chop House, a pair of Dallas restaurants that’ll be side by side in the new One City Place development downtown. Rumors continue to swirl about a new location for Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ. I’ll keep tabs on that one, too.