Keith House: A meeting house, an art installation, and so much more.
As Keith House continues to take shape at The Trailhead at Clearfork, we have answers to your questions. — Meda Kessler
What is Keith House?
It’s a modern-day meeting house, a nonsectarian space where visitors can gather to contemplate, meditate and celebrate. And it’s an equally special art installation.
Is it public or private?
Anyone can visit, but it can be leased for private events such as weddings, memorials, lectures and performances.
What’s the art about?
The Keith Skyspace is by internationally renowned artist James Turrell, whose mediums are light and space. The roof will open at sunrise and sunset, weather permitting, to allow interaction of the changing light in the sky with lighting installed around the perimeter of the ceiling. Turrell’s commissions can be found around the world, including at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas.
Who’s behind Keith House?
Adelaide Leavens and her family are the benefactors. Leavens is the onetime director of Streams and Valleys, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the Trinity River. Her mother founded the Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation, which led to the formation of the nonprofit Entrada of
Texas in 2020. When Bratten died in 2007, she left her estate to the foundation with the wish that the money be used to improve Fort Worth through music, art or the outdoors. Entrada of Texas, run by Leavens, is making sure that wish comes true. The word “entrada” translates to “an expedition or journey into unexplored territory.” Says Leavens: “That’s exactly what we want to do with Keith House. This project is about honoring my mother and her family. We broke ground July 11, which was her birthday. I think she would approve and appreciate what we’re doing for Fort Worth.”
Who chose the location?
The foundation looked at several sites in Fort Worth. Crawford Edwards, president of Cassco Development Co., stepped up, providing the land and 2 wooded acres for Keith House. There will be direct access from the Trinity Trails and an entrance from the trailhead parking lot.
What will it look like?
Renderings from architectural firm Bennett Partners show a more traditional design. (The exterior will be clad in stone from a home on Leavens’ family ranch in Wichita Falls.) A deep covered porch wraps around the meeting house. Inside, movable pews will face toward the center of the room, which can hold 120 people.
When will it be finished?
The meeting house and installation are expected to be finished late spring-summer of 2023. To learn more, check out keithhouse.org.
North Z Boaz Mountain Bike Trail: Single-track dreams come true
The former Z Boaz Golf Course already has been repurposed into walking trails and a popular dog park. Now you can add mountain biking to the amenities. The North Z Boaz Mountain Bike Trail had its “soft ending” at the end of February, getting riders on the dirt-topped single track to help pack it down. But lots of work has gone into the project, starting seven years ago when Randall Archie (Archie’s Gardenland), developer Mark Harris (8 Feet Development, Roy Pope Grocery) and Wade Chappell (Pearl Snap Kolaches, former Camp Bowie District president) went to the city to get the trail added to the Z Boaz master plan. They got the green light in January to build the trail, with design input and help from the nonprofit Fort Worth Mountain Bike Association (FWMBA), an all-volunteer group that helps maintain trails at Gateway Park, Sansom Park and Fossil Creek. Monetary donations came from a GoFundMe campaign, and Archie’s Gardenland provided everything, including the labor, for the trail build, with Silver Creek providing the dirt and limestone. “Many other businesses and individuals donated, too,” says Archie, an avid cyclist who’s happy to create something in this part of town. A little over 4 miles, the trail is accessible to kids and novice riders in the “Wee Boaz” and “Easy Boaz It” sections. Also in the works is a kids’ balance-bike section, which Archie calls “the cherry on top.” “Steele Boaz” awaits more experienced riders looking for step-ups and jumps. “Phase one is roughly done now,” says Archie, “with much more to come.” Check the website or Facebook page for a trail map and more information. 7001 Calmont Ave. (the parking lot is located here), fwmba.org or facebook.com/FWMBA.org
Keeping Up With the Joneses: New address, fresh look
Boutique owner Judy Jones Rotzoll moved east from her longtime Ridglea shopping center location to a Craftsman-style bungalow that had been a legal office in the Camp Bowie District. The brick house offers a new feel and look with double-hung windows, hardwood floors and front porch. Rotzoll created changing rooms and repurposed the custom shelving from her previous store. Abstract art by Fort Worth painter Brett Oliver adds a splash of color. Another new feature is Jonesy, the adorable shop dog who loves everyone. Rotzoll, who has built a loyal customer base with her smart merchandising — she was a buyer for Neiman Marcus at one time — is filling the shop with spring-summer inventory including jewelry by local brands such as Lorren Bell jewelry and Hot Girl pearls. Parking is available in the back of the store and on the street.
5017 El Campo Ave., 817-995-0787, keepingupfw.com
The eyes have it
Tulsa-based Black Optical joins The Shops at Clearfork with a hope-for April launch. Founder Gary Black opened his first store in 2007 after working at Sunglass Hut when he was in high school. Today, there are Black Optical stores in Oklahoma City, St. Louis and Dallas, which he calls home. Brands include many international labels such as Baars, a French line; Japan’s Eyevan; and Mykita from Berlin.
The Shops at Clearfork, 5145 Monahans Ave., blackoptical.com
Olivella’s Pizza & Wine expands with more seating and cocktails
Takeout is still brisk at Olivella’s, but there’s now a spacious dining room, too. Along with a bigger bar — cocktails also are available — there’s room for about 70 diners. Start with Mama’s Meatballs with mozzarella, scooping up every bit of sauce with focaccia. Move on to a Neapolitan-style or thin-crust pizza. Half-price bottles of wine on Tuesday and $10 pitchers of sangria are popular specials. Look for weekend brunch to begin this spring with entrees such as Nutella French toast, breakfast bruschetta and Italian burritos. Check the website for updates on lunch service, which, as of early March, was available only on Fridays. (Dinner service starts at 3 p.m.)
4910 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-439-7676, olivellas.com
Goat & Vine Restaurant + Winery
A familiar Montgomery Plaza location gets another tenant, and early response has been mixed but mostly favorable. Like any new restaurant, Goat & Vine is still working out the kinks, but we’ve had more hits than misses along with the friendly service. Unlike earlier tenants that had a bar-and-grill vibe, Goat & Vine appeals to a broader audience with its menu of shareables, generous appetizers, housemade pastas and substantial entrees, along with a smart cocktail and wine list. The interior is snazzy, making lunch feel extra special.
Montgomery Plaza, 2600 W. 7th St., 630-634-0333, goatandvinewinery.com
The pub is back in Ridglea
Just in time for patio season, Burleson-based Old Texas Brewing Co. has completed its lengthy renovation of the former Baker St. Pub & Grill in Ridglea’s 6333 shopping center. Baker St. closed in 2017 after a 12-year run in that space, which has been empty ever since. Seating is plentiful — as are the flat-screen TVs — or opt for a table on the wraparound patio. The extensive menu offers something for everyone for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. For libations, choose from a decent craft beer list or cocktails.
6333 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-386-0752, oldtexasbrewing.com
Boozie’s open for business
The former Wild Acre Brewing spot has made the transition to new owners and a new name, although it still has a familiar feel. Outside, the patio is now covered — a smart move for warm weather. Inside, the Nicolas Cage mural still dominates the dining room. Chef/partner David Hollister’s popular Reuben is still on the menu, but the popular German charcuterie board is no more. We do like the Chef’s Burger with bacon, fried jalapenos, arugula and egg. The salmon bruschetta is a flavor bomb with roasted garlic cream cheese and chimichurri. The house brews were not ready on our early March visit, but other beer is available along with wine and cocktails.
6473 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-353-2074, booziesrg.com
Adios to The Original
Commemorative T-shirt sales have been brisk and wait times long at The Original Mexican Eats Cafe ever since the news of its closing became official. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last December on the restaurant’s likely demise due to a dispute over a lease signed in 2003. The courts sided with the landlord in February, saying that the lease is not “perpetual.” When The Original announced it would close its doors at the end of March, the hue and cry among its loyal and faithful patrons was palpable. The restaurant, which opened in 1926 in the red-tiled building on Camp Bowie Boulevard, says it has offered positions to staff at The Original’s Northside location. Owner Robert Self bought El Rancho Grande in 2020 and renamed it The Original Del Norte, adding many of the dishes from the Camp Bowie location while keeping some El Rancho Grande classics. The Original’s closing does not affect any other tenants in the strip shopping center.
1400 N. Main St., 817-761-1890, originalmexcafe.com
Edelweiss says, “See you later”
The German restaurant that called Southwest Boulevard off of the Benbrook traffic circle home since 1967 shut its doors at the end of February, as the strip center’s owners continue to make changes. While patrons debated the merit of the food in recent years, nostalgia cast a warm glow over its past, including the live music. Edelweiss owners say they are looking for a new location.