Restaurants / Openings

Beloved Gourmet Grab-and-Go Restaurant Expands With New Fort Worth Locale

Lettuce Cook Goes Vintage in New Blue Bonnet Circle Space, Adds Beer and Wine

BY // 07.29.20

Along with the pandemic related closures of both Fred’s Texas and Rusty Taco around the Blue Bonnet Traffic Circle, another glaring Fort Worth restaurant hole was left by the pre-pandemic exit of Peter and Vlatka Grünewald’s long-time favorite, Greenwood’s German European Restaurant.

The Grünewalds announced the shuttering on New Year’s Day. No more buttery spaetzle and chewy fitness brot for you! (Read PaperCity Fort Worth’s exclusive story on the new restaurant taking over the Rusty Taco space).

PaperCity has also now learned what will become of the former Greenwood’s space at 3522 Blue Bonnet Circle. It will soon welcome another mom and pop restaurant to the area. Todd and Natalie Brown plan to open the second location of their popular Lettuce Cook in the location.

“I know it sounds crazy to open another location during a pandemic, but we know this isn’t going to last forever and we want to be ready to grow when it’s over,” co-owner Natalie Brown tells PaperCity.

The couple hopes to have this new Lettuce Cook open by October. The original was the first thing to open in the revitalized River District at 5101 White Settlement in May of 2016.

“We took that gamble and it paid off, positioning Lettuce Cook to be a vital part of the River District,” says owner/chef Todd Brown. But rehabbing the aging building was no picnic.

“I always said I wanted a hole in the wall ― just not a hole in the roof, the flooring and walls,” Brown jokes.

Lettuce Cook specialized in gourmet grab-and-go long before it was cool, (or one of the only ways to survive in the restaurant business during the coronavirus pandemic).

Special items shuffle often to keep the menu interesting.

In normal times, the Browns say their business is evenly split between dine-in, takeout and catering. But when dine in for the tiny original Lettuce Cook (a space that could only accommodate 21 people at 100 percent capacity) and their robust catering business both fell off the map completely, it was their already thriving takeout and delivery business that came to the rescue.

The catering and prepared food enterprise will have chef’s cases filled with entrees to take home and heat and will more than triple the seating of the original Lettuce Cook when it opens on Blue Bonnet Circle. Lettuce Cook will also serve beer and wine for the first time at the new locale. Once they install two garage doors, this new Lettuce Cook will have an open-air feel, even without a patio.

Lettuce Cook will install TVs for game day watch parties and will be delivering meals to surrounding neighborhoods as well ― just like they currently do in the River District.

“It’s a neat neighborhood, much like Arlington Heights where we both graduated high school and now live,” Todd Brown says.

The best part may be how it will expand the catering abilities for the Lettuce Cook brand (when those opportunities pick up again).

“The entire space is around 2800 square feet, which will allow us to accommodate caterings of 800 to 1000. I can almost fit the entire White Settlement restaurant in our new kitchen space,” Todd Brown notes.

1961 Corvair pick up truck will divide the space inside the new Lettuce Cook.

The layout will be divided by a vintage 1961 Corvair pick up. The rare collectible will serve as a drink station, and be filled with other goods for sale. Brown and his father have a combined collection of vintage cars they’ve been acquiring since the 1980s ― nearly 50 cars in all. The Corvair is currently white with a red stripe, but will get repainted with a TCU-appropriate purple stripe before installation.

Casserole meals at Lettuce Cook range from $10 to $12. Staples such as their chicken, meatloaf or wild caught salmon meals and salads are always on hand.

“We don’t want people to get bored, so we change things up often, and have something for every dietary need,” Natalie Brown says.

Their goal is to provide people healthy and affordable options. Grazing boards, cheese plates, a full range of side dishes and desserts such as Lovey’s Almond Tart (named for Todd’s mother) are also ready in the case.

Once the Browns give the former German restaurant a facelift, they’ll be ready to introduce themselves to their new Fort Worth neighbors this fall.

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