Take it from one of Texas’ most famous cowboy chefs: The city has come into its own as a cultural and culinary mecca. But don’t worry, you can still get dust on your boots if you try. Tim Love gives us his recommendations for where to eat and what do it in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth’s reigning celebrity chef, Tim Love is also one of the city’s most innovative restaurateurs and enthusiastic promoters. “I’ve lived here for 14 years, and in that time the city has turned a corner,” he says. “There’s a greater awareness that this is a cool place.” Over the last decade, Tim has helped Fort Worth make that turn by opening spots such as The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro (located in the city’s Stockyards National Historic District), the Love Shacks (three critically acclaimed burger joints), the White Elephant Saloon (a new take on a classic Texas dance hall), and Oui Lounge (a swanky spot for craft cocktails).
His newest venture, Woodshed Smokehouse (3201 Riverfront Drive; woodshedsmokehouse.com or 817/877-4545), serves a rotating roster of globally inspired barbecue dishes (think bourbon-and-cola banh mi tacos and smoked redfish en papillote) cooked over a variety of woods such as mesquite, hickory, oak, and pecan. It’s also Tim’s first restaurant to sit on the banks of the Trinity River and one of the greenest eateries around. “We rely on natural woods for smoking and grilling,” Tim says. “I’ve done fine dining. What I’m interested in now is food that is going to make people happy.” Here are some Fort Worth stops that make Tim happy.
Where To Eat
The Black Rooster Bakery
“The Rooster’s head baker and owner, MarcheAnn Mann, makes a European-style artisan bread that is unbelievable. We sell her gorgeous pies at the Woodshed,” Tim says. “I love the fact that in our town we finally have some serious bakeries, and The Black Rooster is one of the best.” 2430 Forest Park Blvd.; blackroosterbakery.com or 817/924-1600
Joe T. Garcia’s
Since 1935, this has been the place for authentic Tex-Mex fare (including handmade tortillas and enchiladas with red sauce). “You have to have a margarita along with a plate of nachos covered with pickled jalapeños,” Tim says. “For the longest time Joe T.’s only sold enchiladas, then they added fajitas to the dinner menu about 20 years ago. They don’t take credit cards, so bring cash.” 2201 North Commerce Street; joets.com or 817/626-4356
Cowtown Farmers Markets
Fill your shopping bag and support the local economy—all of the fruits, vegetables, artisanal baked goods, cheeses, cut flowers, and plants sold at these passionately local markets are grown or produced within 150 miles of the city. With locations in Fort Worth’s downtown, Westside, Near Southside, South Fort Worth, and Richland Hills areas, it’s easy to stock up on the freshest food in town. Visit cowtownfarmersmarket.com for specific times for each.
What To Do
This 42-mile-long system of walking and cycling trails running along or near the Trinity River is a great way to get out of the car and explore Fort Worth. “Thanks to the Trail you can get almost anywhere in the city. My wife and I love to ride bikes on it,” Tim says. “In fact, just about everything I own and do is on this trail, including my restaurants, the Woodshed, and the Lonesome Dove, my house, and my son’s baseball field.” streamsandvalleys.org
Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive
For a taste of real cowboy culture, head to the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District for the twice-daily downtown cattle drive, as a herd of 16 Longhorns rumbles through the Stockyards along East Exchange Avenue (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.). “It’s still the best way to see what Texas was and is,” Tim says. 130 East Exchange Avenue; fortworth.com or 817/624-4741
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Amon Carter Museum of American Art
With works ranging from Rothkos (at the Modern) to Remingtons (at the Amon Carter), these stunning museums present a vast trajectory of American art. “When I was a kid growing up in Denton, my dad and I would come to Fort Worth to visit the Modern and Amon Carter about twice a month,” Tim says. “I learned Texas heritage by looking at their collections.” The Amon Carter will kick off the exhibit To See as Artists See: American Art from the Phillips Collection on October 6, while the Modern will feature portraits by artist Lucian Freud (grandson of Sigmund Freud) through the end of October. The Modern, 3200 Darnell Street; themodern.org or 866/824-5566. The Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd.; cartermuseum.org or 817/738-1933.