Restaurants

Pan-Latin Fort Worth Steakhouse Brings in a New Chef — International Celebrity Chef Has Made His Pick

Toro Toro Stays Bold, While the Worthington Hotel's Coffee Shop Expands its Reach

BY // 12.11.20

Celebrity chef Richard Sandoval chose Fort Worth for his artful Toro Toro Pan-Latin Steakhouse & Lounge, with a prime position inside the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel, just over a year ago. The Fort Worth Toro Toro remains the first in the state of Texas, joining sister restaurants in Scottsdale, Snow Mass Village (Colorado), Miami, Washington, D.C, Qatar, Tokyo, Dubai, Mexico City and Belgrade, Serbia.

Now Sandoval is bringing in a new chef de cuisine for his Fort Worth restaurant. Meet Chef Rafael Villalpando. Villalpando brings a deep passion for both modern Mexican and Latin cuisine, having spent several years cooking in Mexico, where he grew up.

Toro Toro welcomes new chef
Toro Toro welcomes new chef Rafael Villalpando.

“I am pleased to welcome Chef Rafael Villalpando to the Toro Toro Fort Worth team. He has an extensive background working in hotels and high volume, multi-outlet establishments,” Sandoval, who heads his international restaurant group Richard Sandoval Hospitality, says. “As a Mexican native, Chef Rafael’s culinary skill set is diverse and he’s been immersed into a variety of international cuisine types ranging from modern Mexican, regional Mexican, contemporary and Mediterranean.

“I believe Chef will be a great natural fit for the Toro Toro concept, which involves an eclectic mix of cuisines and techniques from across Latin America and around the world.”

Villalpando, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Mexico, was inspired to cook by his grandmother. He has worked in high-end restaurants in Monterrey, New York City and most recently San Antonio, where he worked as the kitchen supervisor and sous chef at 18 Oaks Restaurant in the JW Marriott San Antonio hotel. This appointment marks his reunion with Richard Sandoval Hospitality’s corporate training chef Alejandro Melendez and corporate executive chef Carlos Hannon.

With Toro Toro’s live, open grilling station integral to the wide-ranging wood-fired menu, it helps that Villalpando embraces the process in his cuisine.

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“I lived in a state where steaks are part of their culture,” Villalpando says. “I like the embers, the fire and the charcoal. I enjoy grilling and love to smoke food. My passion is Mexican food — and everything that goes with it. The mixes we make with sweet, salt, sour and spice.

“I love to use all kinds of dried chilis in my dishes. Everything is bigger in Texas and so is the Southern hospitality, and the hearts of people. Texas always makes me feel like my home away from home.”

Once the new chef gets settled in, you can expect Toro Toro’s brunches to relaunch in early 2021.

Corrida Coffee now open inside The Worthington.

Another new addition to The Worthington is its new coffee shop – Corrida Coffee. The snug coffee haven, which replaced the former BarWired Internet Cafe, only has seating for about 10 people, along with a brisk takeout business. It quietly opened to only hotel guests in late October. Now, it is open to general public too, from 6 am to 10 am daily.

Corrida Coffee serves up a food selection from Toro Toro as well as La Colombe coffees, including the popular canned draft lattes, which are just ideal for the morning commute.

Toro Toro Fort Worth is located in downtown at 200 Main Street, with its own dramatic side entrance. The restaurant and lounge is open daily for lunch from 11:30 am to 2 pm and for dinner Sundays through Thursdays from 5:30 pm to 9 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 10 pm.

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