Restaurants / Openings

Fort Worth’s Getting a New Burger and Brisket Restaurant Near TCU — Jon’s Grille is Almost Here

Chef Jon Bonnell's Latest Is All About the Beef — Plus Milkshakes, Craft Beer and Patio Power

BY // 08.21.22

Jon’s Grille is in the hiring and training stages now, prepping for its September 9 opening. Chef Jon Bonnell’s newest restaurant will be a welcome addition to the Fort Worth food scene, planted near the TCU campus. The craft burger joint will bring ranch-to-table cuisine, promising burgers, brisket, cocktails and, of course, a tap wall of beer.

The new Jon’s Grille is taking over the space at 2905 W. Berry that used the house the former TCU hangout known as the Aardvark.

Bonnell’s Restaurant Group already has Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Water’s Restaurant and the casual Buffalo Bros. with its game-day atmosphere at two locations ― one in Sundance Square, the other just a few blocks away from this new Jon’s Grille.

It’s more than a nod (more like a praying hands bow) to the original Jon’s Grille, which became a fixture just around the corner at 3009 S. University Drive in 1989. That’s where Dutch’s Hamburgers currently resides. The first Jon’s Grille was operated by Bonnell’s old friend Jon Meyerson. It closed sadly in 2001 after Meyerson’s death.

“We both spelled our name the same and I always wanted to do this as a tribute to him,” Jon Bonnell tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “There will be a photo of Meyerson on the wall with a special dedication.

“But this is not a rebranding. There won’t be any Sharpies on the wall. It’s something completely different.”

Jon’s Grille – Inside the burger and brisket haven.
Jon’s Grille is a burger and brisket haven.

Bonnell notes that his friend Meyerson also was a musician who often played at the former Aardvark. So this new Fort Worth restaurant represents a full circle moment. Chef Bonnell has been working on Jon’s Grille since 2020 when the pandemic took the wind out of its sails and pushed it to the back burner.

He’s happy to see Jon Grille’s finally set to open now.

The Jon’s Grille Beef

For chefs, sourcing quality product is paramount. That’s why the burgers and smoked brisket served at Jon’s Grille are coming straight from the Bonnell Ranch, where Jon and his brother Ric have been raising cattle together since they purchased their first 32 head in 2018. The Tolar ranch is owned by Jon’s brother Dr. Ric Bonnell, who is a professor at TCU’s Burnett School of Medicine.

“We come from a cattle-raising family and Ric just loves it. It’s become a joint venture of the doctor and the chef,” Bonnell laughs.

Their cattle herd is a cross between Akaushi and Red Angus ― bred to be both heart healthy and flavorful.

“We’ll be serving the ribeyes, tenderloins and strip steaks at both Bonnell’s and Waters soon,” Bonnell tells PaperCity. “It’s antibiotic-free meat, with no growth hormone ― an all-natural product.”

On the barbecue front, there will be sliced brisket, smoked turkey and house-made sausages on the menu at Jon’s Grill.

“We’ve utilized our mobile smoker for many years, serving brisket at TCU games, caterings and it has appeared at least once a week on our curbside meals,” Bonnell says. “But until now our brisket has never been a menu item at any of my restaurants. We’re excited to showcase it at Jon’s Grille.”

As for the craft burgers, Bonnell is not ready to reveal all just yet. He says the first question you’ll be asked is whether you want a fatty or a flatty. The shape of your burger will dictate its toppings. Meatier means less room for toppings and vice versa. Jon Grill’s will even have “Fatty or Flatty” T-shirts you can buy. You also will be able to go low-carb and get your burger in a bowl at this new Fort Worth restaurant.

Jon’s Grille – The side wall now sports a familiar face. Sam Elliot from the series 1883 painted by Juan Velazquez. Photo by Velazquez Murals.
The side wall now sports a familiar face. Sam Elliot from the TV series 1883 painted by Juan Velazquez. (Courtesy Velazquez Murals)

Hand-spun custom milkshakes and some boozy adult milkshakes are also on the Jon’s Grille menu. The tap wall will have 32 handles of Texas brews to choose from, 22 of which are dedicated to local breweries. Bonnell also plans to feature craft cocktails mixed with some local and Texas liquor brands. This chef always tries to showcase local spots.

The interior space of the new restaurant includes a long bar along the righthand wall with scattered high and low top tables and, yes, a few flat screens to watch sports on.

One exterior side wall was just embellished by one of Fort Worth’s most sought-after muralists. Juan Velazquez used his spray paint magic to craft a life-like portrait of Sam Elliot from his role in the Yellowstone spinoff TV series 1883.

Jon’s Grille has room for 190 diners inside with a narrow patio along Berry Street seating about 30 more. Bonnell anticipates a cool cross draft this fall when all the garage doors are opened for an indoor/outdoor feel.

A new Fort Worth hangout is almost here.

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