Compiled by Meda Kessler and Babs Rodriguez
Desert Rose: Western style and much more
Two of our favorite stylemakers are together again at Desert Rose, the newly merchandised gift shop inside the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Leslie Distler and Gretchen McClendon of Tres Chicas Jewelry. Distler formerly was the buyer for Leddy’s Ranch at Sundance Square and went on to open Feathers, a boutique in Fort Worth’s Foundry District. McClendon is known for her chunky jewelry with Western/Southwestern flair. Now Distler is giving the gift shop a new look and feel with more locally sourced products, a smattering of clothes, accessories and unique jewelry including the Tres Chicas line. Distler plans on special events throughout the year.
1720 Gendy St., 817-336-4475, cowgirl.net
Heather Essian Home Gallery: Art and artful elements
Fort Worth artist Heather Essian has opened a home gallery (next to JAG Jewelry and Goods) to display not only some of her paintings, but also pillows showcasing her new textile line, Turkish hand towels, candles, decorative items and Essian’s handcrafted plaster bowls. Part of the compact space doubles as her studio, too. For now, the shop is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays or by appointment. 3926 W. Vickery Blvd, heatheressian.com/shop-original-art
Lush: Feel good, smell good
Lush, the holiday pop-up store in The Shops at Clearfork (across from the plaza and next to Starbucks) is open through Jan. 15 for all your bath and body needs. Fort Worth is the only city to get this special store, which will be stocked with bestsellers and all kinds of giftables.
The Shops at Clearfork, 5014 Gage Ave., 682-683-2175, lushusa.com
Lanny Lancarte II launched Eat Fajitas in 2020, from the kitchen of Righteous Foods, his Cultural District restaurant. With takeout still popular, Lancarte now has moved the offshoot to its own special kitchen and is adding two new concepts to the to-go business. Taking over a former Northside church — not too far from Joe T. Garcia’s, his family’s famous restaurant — he has opened Fantasma Kitchens, using the Spanish word for “ghost.” Eat Fajitas joins El Pollo Tocayo, serving fried chicken and chicken al carbon, and Pizza Zapasta, with a menu of handmade pastas, pizzas and salads. (Zapasta is slated to go online next.) The ghost kitchen concept also includes Fantasma Spirits, premixed cocktails that have natural botanical ingredients and are packaged in branded bottles packed in nugget ice for delivery or take-away.) “What’s here allows me to do so much more, and I’m ready for that. I feel like I’ve been fighting gravity for a long time, so doing this is exciting.” Open for to-go orders and lunch and dinner delivery daily. Find Fantasma Kitchens’ updates at facebook.com/fantasmakitchens and on Instagram @eat.fajitas and @elpollotocayo and @pizzazapasta
The revisit: Cookies by Design
We like oatmeal cookies that are a little chewy, lightly caramelized and studded with raisins. We never expected to find one to our taste at Cookies by Design, known for its glossy sugar cookie bouquets. Years ago, while on an errand to the Box & Ship, we were surprised at the “homemade” aroma wafting from the franchise next door. Inside, we discovered a baker’s case filled with fresh-baked goodies, from chocolate chip to snickerdoodle. And, yes, the perfect oatmeal cookie, with no icing and no preservatives. Last May, the corporation shuttered the shop, then put the franchise up for sale. “My aunt and I talked it over,” Joshua Tooley says, “and decided we should buy it.” It wasn’t a tough decision, because the shop’s baker, Juan Lima, is married to Joshua’s aunt, Tracy Lima. Juan, a native of Peru, was back mixing dough and royal icing when the family reopened the store that has been his second home for 16 years. Order themed bouquets of the sugar cookies by phone or online, and call ahead to be sure your favorite un-iced cookie is in the case. If you’re gonna just drop by for an oatmeal cookie, you better get there before we do.
Rivercrest Station, 4455 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-732-0109, cookiesbydesign.com
ON THE MOVE
Fred’s Texas Cafe is heading west
The iconic burger joint/cafe shocked a few people is leaving its Currie Street location, home for 40 years, for bigger digs at 7101 Camp Bowie Blvd. The corner location was home to Buffalo West and, before that, Steak & Ale. Fred’s owners, who purchased it in 1978, are retiring and have sold the corner spot, which has seen massive development go up around it. Quincy Wallace, co-owner with Terry Chandler, says they look forward to a bigger kitchen, dining space and patio, and much more parking. “We’ll bring touches of Fred’s with us but we really want to focus on food: Terry’s Friday-night specials and maybe even brunch.” As far as their Dec. 31 exit plans, Wallace says they want to close out with cool music, good food and a lot of friends. Look for an early spring opening date at the new Fred’s.
Sugarman’s now open in the Hotel Revel
Hotel Revel now has a cocktail lounge that complements its sleek contemporary vibe. No surprise there, as architect Bart Shaw of Ibañez-Shaw Architecture is responsible for both. In the daytime, it’s bright and inviting. In the evening, it sparkles in the low light. No matter the time of day, we appreciate the minimal design. It’s cool but not cold, thanks to all the polished birch plywood furniture. There’s plenty of seating at the long bar and the banquette. There’s also a scattering of small tables and, outdoors, a patio with lounge furniture faces the street. The specialty cocktail menu is a sly nod to familiar dive bars. The martinis are strong and service is smooth thanks to veteran bartender Mark Irving. If you need a little something to eat, check out Ober Here, the Filipino food truck that uses the hotel parking lot for its regular evening gig. Sugarman’s also is inviting other trucks for dining options. They’re experimenting with open times, but happy hour runs until 7 p.m. every day.
1165 8th Ave., 817-928-3688, sugarmans.wtf
Flower Child to open first location in Fort Worth
The popular clean-food restaurant is taking over the former McKinley’s Bakery and Cafe space in University Park Village, much to the delight of its many fans (there are three Dallas locations and one in Addison). Renovation of the space started in September with a target opening date early in 2022. The space will include outdoor seating. Flower Child’s menu caters to nearly every specialty diet: vegan, vegetarian, keto, gluten-free and paleo. All dishes are made from scratch with the bowls being some of the most popular items. The Mother Earth bowl may make you feel especially virtuous, thanks to a combo of ancient grains, sweet potato, portobellos, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, charred onion, leafy greens, red pepper-miso vinaigrette and hemp seeds. Just know that you can get a steak with sides of smashed gold potatoes and green goddess asparagus. Adult beverages include local beers, seasonal sangria and wine. Takeout items include family packs that serve four to 6 people.
University Park Village, 616 S. University Drive, iamaflowerchild.com
Ober Here keeps on trucking … for now
Chef Mark Guatelara will be moving into a brick-and-mortar restaurant come the new year — but he doesn’t have very far to go. Guatelara has built up quite the fan base in the last six months serving a limited menu of Filipino rice bowls along with addictive lumpia and other specialties from his food truck. He parks in the lot behind the contemporary Hotel Revel at 1165 8th Ave.; loyal customers bring their own lawn chairs and stay for food and conversation. The development next to the hotel currently is building out space for three tenants, and Ober Here will be one of them. With the holidays coming up, Guatelara is in no rush.
Spectacular Modern Homes of Texas
Fans of modern design and architecture will want this book by Jolie Carpenter Berry for their coffee table collection. Some of the state’s top talent from Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, the Hill Country and West Texas is represented in more than 330 photo-filled pages. Fort Worth firms Norman D. Ward Architect and Ibañez-Shaw Architecture also are represented; their projects just happen to be in the same Arlington Heights neighborhood and are less than a mile apart. Ward’s residential design, pictured above and to the right, is all about the inside-outside relationship. Greg Ibañez’s personal home, pictured below, is a great example of how to make a modern addition work with an existing home in an older neighborhood. $50, amazon.com
The dirt is flying in the Camp Bowie District
Dirt is moving for the highly anticipated Crescent Real Estate mixed-use project at the corner of West 7th Street and Van Cliburn Way. The two empty lots are the site of Fort Worth developer John Goff’s First Crescent development. The ambitious project includes a 200-room luxury hotel, located on the west side of Van Cliburn, and the 26,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch spa and fitness center. The indoor-outdoor rooftop bar of the hotel, which will have stunning views of the Modern Art Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum across the street and downtown Fort Worth to the east, will be named Ralph’s Bar, a nod to Fort Worth’s Mary Ralph Lowe, a noted philanthropist and real estate investor. Lowe and Goff struck a deal on the site; she asked for the naming rights as part of the negotiation. The hotel will include a restaurant and spacious ballrooms/meeting space. A courtyard offers the opportunity for outdoor events. Also in the works are the corporate headquarters for Crescent and Goff Capital, plus 170 luxury residential units. Goff, a longtime resident of Fort Worth, says the project will look and feel different than the Dallas Crescent development; a mid-2023 completion is projected. Just a few miles west, preliminary work has started on the Bowie House development although there has been no official word of a “groundbreaking.”