Salsa Fuego reopens in new location

Salsa Fuego has reopened in the old Red Dragon spot.

Salsa Fuego has reopened in the old Red Dragon spot.

Tiny Salsa Fuego isn’t so tiny anymore.

The beloved Mex-Mex restaurant has finally moved to a new location, in the much larger space once occupied by Red Dragon Chinese Buffet (3500 Alta Mere Dr.) It’s just a few feet from its previous sardine-can-size location, which will now turn into a burger joint, Fuego Burger (3520 Alta Mere Dr.), run by the same family.

Owner and chef Carlo Rodriguez said Fuego Burger will focus on the burgers he popularized at Salsa Fuego. It should be open later this spring/early summer. He also said a new menu at Salsa Fuego is coming soon. In the meantime, you can enjoy dishes from the original menu.

More burgers coming to W. 7th: Brewsters opens Monday

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Brewsters West 7th, a new burger and beer restaurant in the W. 7th district, opens Monday at 6:00 p.m.

Its location, at 2837 Crockett Street (just a few feet down from AF+B), will pit it head to head against two of Fort Worth’s best burger joints – Rodeo Goat and Fred’s Texas Cafe. Owner Steve Brown, who also runs Esparza’s Mexican restaurant in Grapevine, said he’s going for a more sports-bar-oriented crowd, pointing out that the 3,000 square foot restaurant has 11 flat-screen TVs.

In step with the current craft beer craze, Brewsters will offer 45 beers on tap, with a mix of local and national crafts, along with bottles and cans, and a full bar. The restaurant will also have Abita’s Root Beer (from New Orleans) on tap.

When I dropped by Saturday, the menu was still being finalized. As of now, it features basic burgers with bacon and cheese to burgers with zany names and unusual toppings like jalapeño jam, candied bacon and peanut butter. The Humpty Dumpty burger will have a patty infused with sausage and maple syrup.

Patties will be hand formed daily and cooked on a state-of-the-art electric grill, similar to this one.

You Gotta Eat This: Lil’ Meat burger at Carter’s

The cheekily named Lil' Meat burger.

The Lil’ Meat burger at Carter’s.

The 3-week-old Carter’s #1 Sandwich Shop & More is primarily a barbecue restaurant, but I never made it to the brisket or ribs when I went in for a visit last week. After seeing the burger on another customer’s plate, I had to try it. This “Lil’ Meat” burger turned out to be one of the best burgers I’ve had in a long, long time.

Obviously owner Clinton “Dwayne” Carter gave the burger a cheeky name, as it’s anything but little. Three pieces of buttered and grilled Texas toast try their best to hold up two half-pound patties, along with lettuce, tomato, grilled jalapeños and mustard or mayo.

I usually don’t like burgers cooked well done. I prefer medium rare to medium. But the patties were full of so much flavor, I didn’t mind. What the patties lacked in juice, they more than compensated for with an old school flavor that put the spotlight on the richness of the beef and the seasoning skills of the kitchen. Clinton wouldn’t give up his recipe, but it tasted like the perfect blend of salt, pepper and garlic to me.

The first time restaurant owner said he’s been making this burger for family and friends since the early 1980s, and now he has decided to test them on the rest of Fort Worth. Lucky us.

I’m anxious to go back and try the ‘cue. He has a large smoker out back left over from the space’s previous occupants, Kip’z Barbecue (the Kip’z sign is still up). Don’t expect anything fancy or trendy. This is a small, modest mom and pop resto. There’s not even a web site or Facebook page. But he’s open every day starting around 9:00 a.m.

1509 Evans Ave., Fort Worth.

Late Night Dining in Fort Worth

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From old favorites to new kids on the late night dining block, here’s a guide to the best late night dining that Fort Worth has to offer. In compiling this list, I considered places with kitchens that stay open past midnight, at least on the weekends. If you feel like there’s anything missing, please say so in the comments. I’ll update this guide frequently.

Shrimp cocktail at Acapulco Beach.
Shrimp cocktail at Acapulco Beach.

Acapulco Beach Restaurant Open til 4am Fri-Sat. A staple of the Fort Worth’s north side (with four locations, two across the street from one another that are open until 4:00 a.m. Fri-Sat), and home to what has to be some of the city’s best Mexican seafood. Whole, breaded catfish is outstanding. I love the shrimp cocktail, too, served in a sundae glass (small) or beer goblet (large). It helps if you speak Spanish, but I’m about as gringo as they come and I’ve always felt welcome. 1320 & 1401 NW 25th St. 817-625-0491.

Burger and side of mac & cheese at The Bearded Lady.
Burger and side of mac & cheese at The Bearded Lady.

The Bearded Lady Kitchen closes 2:00 a.m. Thur-Sat. Restored 1926 house is now home to one of the Near Southside’s buzziest restaurants and bars. It’s a good place to take out of towners to soak up local atmosphere, but it’s also a good place to hang out with friends, especially on the large patio that overlooks Magnolia Ave. The menu is mostly American dishes given chef inspired makeovers such as larger-than-life beer-battered okra and cactus. Try the mac and cheese, spiked with bacon and Béchamel, and excellent burgers – the veggie black bean is just as good as the all-beef. Wash it down with one of their numerous local and regional tap and bottled beers. 1229 7th Ave. 817-349-9832.

Benito's, on the Near Southside.
Benito’s on the Near Southside.

Benito’s Open until 2am Fri-Sat. This award-winning hole-in-the-wall serves solid (and reasonably priced) Mexican food in a festive atmosphere in which piñatas dangle and Mexican music blares. Good tortilla soup, chicken enchiladas and spinach quesadillas. Complimentary pico (served instead of chips and salsa) is outstanding. There’s plenty of traditional Mexican breakfast dishes, too, served all day (and night). 1450 W. Magnolia Ave. 817-332-8633.

Chocolate and butterscotch chip pancakes at Cafe Brazil.
Chocolate and butterscotch chip pancakes at Cafe Brazil.

Cafe BrazilOpen 24 hours Fri-Sat. The Fort Worth branch of a Dallas based chain, Cafe Brazil is a great place to take someone who can’t decide on what they want. The menu is extensive, encompassing breakfast items like crepes, migas and French toast (served all day), veggie dishes and heavy entrees (pasta, burgers, tacos, chicken fried steak). Lots of drink options, from coffee to Italian sodas to smoothies. You can’t go wrong here. 2880 W. Berry St. 817-923-7777.

Embargo in downtown.
Embargo in downtown.

Embargo Kitchen open until 2am daily but call before you go Sun-Wed; closes early when slow. Downtown’s best kept late-night dining secret is this Cuban inspired bar serving Cuban inspired food. Through the week, you walk into the kitchen and place your order with the cook who prepares everything in front of you. On the weekends it’s table service, although it can be slow when the dance floor is crowded with people salsa dancing. The go-to is the “La Dominicana” torta, stacked with black forest ham, carne asada, mozzarella, chipotle mayo and sliced avocados on toasted bolillo bread. Get it with the Peruvian charro beans, infused with bacon and chorizo. So good. 210 E. 8th St. 817-870-9750.

Crawfish taco at original Fuzzy's on Berry St.
Crawfish taco at original Fuzzy’s on Berry St.

Fuzzy’s Tacos Open Thursday until 1:00 a.m. and Fri-Sat until 3:00 a.m. On West Berry in the TCU area Fuzzy’s Tacos still reigns supreme for late night foodage. The baja-style tacos are cheap and usually good, especially the crispy crawfish. 2917 W. Berry St. 817-924-7943.

Chips, salsa, guac and tacos at Los Paisanos.
Chips, salsa, guac and tacos at Los Paisanos.

Los Paisanos Open until 4am Saturday Popular with all walks of nightlife, Los Paisanos on the north side serves cheap and very good Mexican food. Some of the tacos are only $1 and you get lots of filling, grilled onions and cilantro for your buck. A must-get – the tender lenguna (tounge) tacos. Los Paisanos also serves breakfast anytime, along with excellent tomatillo enchiladas, whole fish and fresh and light guacamole. Chips and hot sauce are some of the best in the city. 1446 N. Main St. 817-625-8226.

Burger & fries at Love Shack.
Burger & fries at Love Shack.

Love Shack In the spring celebrity chef Tim Love expands the hours of his Stockyards burger shack to 1:00 a.m. Friday-Saturday, making it one of the few restaurants in the Stockyards to stay open late on the weekends (I would think more restaurants would try to grab the people spilling out of the clubs at 2 in the morning). Enjoy one of his signature Dirty Love Burgers, topped with bacon, quail egg and his signature sauce, while sitting (and carving your name) on picnic tables. The flat, salty fries are a must. Veggie burgers and chicken sandwiches, too. Warning: They only accept cash. 110 E. Exchange Ave. 817-740-8812.

Ol’ South Pancake House Open 24 hours daily. The only 24-hour restaurant in Fort Worth, besides chains like Denny’s and Waffle House, this classic breakfast/lunch/dinner dive recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Not much has changed. Waitresses still call you ‘hon’ and still whip up the fabulous German and Dutch Baby pancakes, slathered in butter, lemon and powdered sugar, tableside. Along with other breakfasty items like blintzes, waffles and crepes, Ol’ South also serves sandwiches, rib eye steaks, chicken fried steak and a mean cup of joe. 1509 S. University Dr. 817-336-0311.

Meat-lover's pie at Perrotti's.
Meat-lover’s pie at Perrotti’s.

Perrotti’s Pizza Open ’til 1am Fri-Sat. Perrotti’s Pizza is a local delivery mini-chain. But the original TCU location has a dining room that keeps late hours on the weekends. It’s basic pizza, but with a likably thick, buttery and garlic-y crust and zesty marinara sauce. It’s the best of the TCU pizza places. 3021 Greene Ave. 817-927-2209.

Chocolate cannoli at Picchi-Pacchi.
Chocolate cannoli at Picchi-Pacchi.

Picchi-Pacchi Open til 3am Fri-Sat. No other downtown Fort Worth restaurant keeps hours as late as this nearly 20-year-old Italian restaurant housed in the historic Sinclair building. On Friday and Saturday from 11:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m., the resto scales back its menu and serves only NY-style pizza by the foldable slice, plus desserts. The pizza is good and cheap, ranging from $3.50-$5 for a generous slice. And that chocolate cannoli? Out of this world. 512 Main St. 817-348-0085.

Salsa LimonOpen til 2am Fri-Sat. Traditional street tacos (and some other Tex/Mex dishes) served out of a food truck parked next to The Cellar bar on Berry Street. A Good choice is the the El Capitan taco, filled with skirt steak and pickled cabbage. 2916 W. Berry St. 817-675-2519.

Taco Heads Open until 2:00 a.m. Wed-Sat. Permanently parked behind bar Poag Mahone’s, this 3-years-running taco truck serves great brisket, pulled chicken, pork and veggie tacos – the brisket has an authentic, smoky flavor to it and the chicken is tender as silk. Both are excellent. Breakfast tacos are served after 11:00 p.m. Kick back on the outdoor wooden deck for some seriously good people watching! 700 W. 7th St. 817-368-5267.

Tater tots topped with goat cheese and egg at Velvet Taco.
Tater tots topped with goat cheese and egg at Velvet Taco.

Velvet Taco: Fort Worth’s newest late-night dining spot, open until 3:00 a.m. Thursday and 4:00 a.m. Friday-Saturday. It’s a Dallas import that takes a different approach to tacos – namely the kitchen sink approach. Among the 21 tacos, there are those stuffed with fried paneer, calamari, Atlantic cod and french fries, tabbouleh, and in one single taco, pulled pork, bacon and ham. And they’re all good – really, really good. Whatever you do, don’t forget to order the tater tots, which come topped with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, goat cheese and bacon. 2700 W. 7th St. 817-887-9810.


Wilson’s BBQ Open til 3:00 a.m. Thur-Sat. If you’re in the mood for barbecue at midnight, you’re in luck: this little drive through in east Fort Worth stays open until 3:00 a.m. Thursday-Saturday (they’ve been hoping to go 24/7, hence the sign, but have yet to take the plunge). Brisket can be hit-or-miss, but the meaty pork ribs are excellent. 6513 Brentwood Stair Road, 817-907-7690.

Buffalo Brothers near TCU.
Buffalo Brothers near TCU.

Also open late are a handful of bars that serve late night food. Some of the better ones:

Baker St. Pub Kitchen closes 1am nightly. One of the few places that stays open late on the west side. Chain English/Irish food like fish and chips and Shepherd’s pie, plus bar grub like burgers and nachos. Smoky and loud inside (on weekends, there’s live music) but you can flee to the huge patio. 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd. 817-377-9772.

Bar Louie Open til 2:00 a.m. Fri-Sat. On the weekends, this bar-restaurant transforms into a pickup spot for the well-heeled W. 7th crowd. But they do serve a full menu until 2:00 a.m. Fri-Sat, including flatbreads, burgers and decent blackened salmon sliders. 2973 W. 7th St. 817-566-9933.

Boomerjack’s Grill & Bar Kitchen open until 1:00 a.m. Fri-Sat. North Texas chain sports bar in Montgomery Plaza serves burgers, wraps, steak fingers, etc. 2600 W. 7th St. 817-810-2666.

Buffalo Bros. Pizza, Wings & Subs Kitchen open until 1:30 a.m. daily. TCU bar/resto originally opened in 2007 by chefs Jon Bonnell (Waters, Bonnell’s) and Ed McOwen. Buffalo, N.Y.-inspired wings, beef on weck, hot dogs and pizzas. Fratty atmosphere. 3015 South University Dr. 817-386-9601.

Ojos Locos Kitchen closes 1:30 a.m. Fri-Sat. Latin Hooters with some surprisingly good elotes. 515 Houston St. 817-289-5626.

Reservoir Limited menu served 10:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m. nightly. Flatbreads and apps. 1001 Foch St. 817-334-0560.