Ober Here's homemade spam bowl shows the new Magnolia Avenue restaurant's fresh power.
West Jax Cigars & Spirits fills a niche in Fort Worth's Magnolia Avenue land.
Cheba Hut's The Chronic roast beef sub shows what it's bringing to Fort Worth's Magnolia Avenue scene.
Once Fort Worth’s trendiest revitalization, Magnolia Avenue is proving it has plenty of staying power. Just look at the roster of new restaurants that are rolling in.
PaperCity Fort Worth’s already reported on the recently opened The Radler beirgarten and Lockwood Distilling. Another notable newcomer is Ober Here Filipino food truck, which is now set up at 1165 8th Avenue. It is run by Chef Mark Vincent Guatelara, who brings his Filipino heritage into every dish. There is a selection of rice bowls with soy glazed meats like Guatelara’s homemade Spam along with a honey shrimp in a spicy honey milk. These bowls are explosions of color and flavor.
Like Paris Coffee Shop, Lili’s Bistro on Magnolia — which first opened in 2007, just at the beginning of the Magnolia Avenue wave — is also hitting the reset button. The beloved spot is getting a time out to update the entire restaurant. Owner/chef Vance Martin wrote on social media: “Lili’s Bistro will temporarily close for 30 to 90 days for freshening up the concept, menus and staffing.” I can’t wait to see what the veteran restauranteur has up his sleeve.
West Jax Cigars and Spirits Lounge quietly took up residence at 1708 8th Avenue in mid- December. Lined with humidors and boasting a sleek and masculine interior, West Jax pairs a selection of high-end bourbons and tequilas with other craft cocktails and fine cigars.
Cheba Hut will soon take over the former Super Chix space, which is also along 8th Avenue. This sandwich center is a national toasted sub chain with locations in 15 states, including four in Texas already ― Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. This will be Fort Worth’s first Cheba Hut.
These sub shops are known for their laid-back vibe and the doobie smoking birdie mascot. Cheba Hut founder Scott Jennings found the cure for the munchies in 1998 ― toasted sub sandwiches — and he has spread the love far and wide. There are 30 sub sandwich creations, a few salads and a variety of Rice Krispy Treats including the Goo Ball, which features Rice Krispies, peanut butter, cocoa, honey, butter and marshmallows. Cheba Hut also believes it brings the cure for cotton mouth. There is traditional Kool-Aid for kids of all ages, plus a beer and full bar menu to boot. Look for Cheba Hut to open soon, next door to White Rhino Coffee.
Another new restaurant coming to the Magnolia neighborhood soon is The Beast and Company. It is currently putting on the finishing touches for its debut. More on that next week.
If you haven’t taken a stroll around Magnolia in a while, there’s a lot of new food spots to see.
The Rebirth of Magnolia Avenue
Magnolia Avenue’s seemingly built a near perfect mix of stores and restaurants, from fine dining and upscale cocktail and wine bars to casual hangouts. You’ll find everything from ramen and poke to fried chicken and barbecue. This now beloved Fort Worth neighborhood has become a magnet for developers and young families alike.
Long before its relatively recent restoration and the explosive building boom in and around Magnolia Avenue, Spiral Diner planted its flagship there in 2004. Donatella Trotti opened her uber-authentic Italian fantasy restaurant Nonna Tata in 2006. King Tut Egyptian has been a staple there since 1992. Then there’s Benito’s Mexican, a longstanding late night haunt dating all the way to 1980.
Of course, Paris Coffee Shop, which is currently undergoing a major update, predates them all. With a history that stretches back to 1926, it relocated to the corner of Magnolia and Hemphill in 1974. Co-owner Chris Reale tells PaperCity Fort Worth it will now reopen in April.
But the boom, which turned many eyes to Magnolia, really began in earnest in 2009 with the entry of fine dining, farm to table darling Ellerbe Fine Foods and the coolest cocktail lounge many had ever seen — The Usual.
Then, all the cool kids took notice and made their way to Fort Worth’s Southside. Avoca Coffee Roasters opened one of Fort Worth’s first homegrown coffee havens in Magnolia in 2011. Another coffee and brunch mainstay called Brewed burst on the scene in 2012. Stir Crazy Baked Goods relocated from its South Main storefront to the Magnolia neighborhood in 2012. MELT Ice Creams moved from its first location along Rosedale to Magnolia in 2014. Heim Barbecue opened its first brick and mortar restaurant here in 2016, spawning a budding ‘cue empire. Salsa Limon brought its own “Maggie” to the hood in 2018. The list goes on, but you get the picture.
Magnolia is still driven by that mix of locally owned, one-of-a-kind spots that are easy to love. Now, more new ones are on the way.