Iconic Fort Worth Restaurants Celebrate Major Milestones With Special Menus, Improvements — Celebrity Chef Tim Love Keeps It Low-Key

Lonesome Dove and Ellerbe Are Still Going Strong

BY // 06.12.20

With little fanfare, Fort Worth celebrity chef Tim Love marked the 20th Anniversary of his first restaurant― The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro — this week.

“Quietly, @lonesomedovebistro turns 20 today!” Love posted on this personal Instagram page Tuesday. “I am honored and humbled by all of those who have made this journey with me. Thank you to my family for all the support. Thank you to all of my team members. Thank you to all of my guests. Thank you to Fort Worth and the great state of Texas! There are not enough words that can really express my gratitude.”

To celebrate the occasion, Love is bringing back a host of his all-time favorite dishes from the last 20 years with a new tasting menu. The lavish spread is $120 per person and features a taste of his seared lobster cakes with cilantro orange butter, antelope tacos with pickled chiles, and Tuaca chocolate mousse layer cake with raspberry coulis ― just to name a few.

Come hungry, because the extravagant tasting menu includes 13 courses in all. Yes, 13.

Love survived Y2K hysteria (how quaint that seems now!) and opened his critically acclaimed The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards in 2000. Now he celebrates 20 years in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and racial unrest. His menu continues to be influenced by all of the ingredients and cultures of the West ― with seafood, steak and wild game.

Since opening The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love, who is nationally known for his truly Texan menus, has ventured into many other cuisines, including a recent Mediterranean binge. He opened Gemelle Italian and his new Spanish tapas joint Atico back to back in Fort Worth.

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Lonesome Dove Western Bistro – La Cava
Lonesome Dove Western Bistro Turns 20 – La Cava fine dining room.

Of course, Love long ago grew into a serial restaurateur, with his portfolio including two additional Lonesome Dove restaurants in Austin and Knoxville, Tennessee; Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie’s Steakhouse, Gemelle, Love Shack burgers, White Elephant Saloon, and Ático as well as his ever-growing catering arm. His lifestyle brand, LoveStyle through Love|Bodega, sells everything from Hammer Stahl knives and leather key fobs to his meat rubs and sauces.

In June of 2014, Love expanded Lonesome Dove by adding a downstairs fine dining room called La Cava. It has a glass wall running the length of the room, displaying the award winning wine cellar, as well as a beautifully landscaped courtyard out back.

One tasty item that never goes out of style is Love’s original rabbit-rattlesnake sausage atop spicy Manchego rosti with crème fraîche, which is also on the Taste of 20 Years menu.

Ellerbe – shrimp cake benedict
Molly McCook’s shrimp cake Benedict.

Ellerbe Fine Foods’ Happy Comeback

Another milestone was achieved by Molly McCook and partner Richard King this week.

First, their Ellerbe Fine Foods, one of Fort Worth’s first farm-to-table restaurants, celebrates 11 years this month. Secondly, Ellerbe Fine Foods reopened its dining room this week for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 pm to 9 pm, with Sunday brunch also resuming from 10:30 am to 1 pm. Ellerbe plans to also continue its curbside takeout Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 pm to 8 pm.

The quaint restored gas-station Ellerbe calls home has undergone some major improvements itself this year. The patio dining room has been enclosed, complete with chandelier overhead, which is especially nice now that the sweltering summer heat has arrived.

ellerbe – bar
Ellerbe Fine Foods, serene new bar space.

Ellerbe also introduced its serene new bar area in February, with plenty of room to showcase a vast wine collection.

The back wall of the bar now sports a relaxing mural that serves as the anchor for the lovely floating gantry, lined with sparkling glassware. “A fun detail about that gantry. . . it was color matched and painted by an auto body paint company, here in Fort Worth,” an Ellerbe social media post notes. The delicate magnolia blossoms pop against a robin’s egg blue sky, which in turn flows down to the fabric on the plush bar stools.

Ellerbe is celebrating its 11 years (no small feat in the restaurant world) by offering half-priced champagne in the dining room this week. I think a toast is definitely in order.

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