One more reason not to have to drive to Dallas. Campisi’s — the Big D joint that introduced pizza to the city — is planning to open a western outpost at 6150 Camp Bowie Blvd. The Campisi family took over the Egyptian Lounge on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas in 1946 and never got around to removing the original sign. There are eight other locations, but this one is the first in Fort Worth. No target date as yet. Campisi’s is famous, among other reasons, because Jack Ruby, the man who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, dined there on the eve of the Kennedy assassination. Closest Fort Worth can come is that at least seven members of JFK’s Secret Service detail visited the legendary (notorious?) nightclub The Cellar that same night. The Warren Commission Report said the Cellar’s manager described it as “ ‘a unique show place with continuous light entertainment all night [serving] only coffee, fruit juices and no hard liquors or beer.’ ” Right.
If you’ve been missing your Bennigan’s Monte Cristo — for the uninitiated, that’s a sandwich that is assembled, dipped in batter and deep-fried — relief is on the way. Bennigan’s leased a 7,316-square-foot space at Overton Park Plaza. Projected opening is late October, said Jason Puig of SRS Real Estate Partners who represented Bennigan’s in the deal. He also points out that a Bennigan’s is now open at 6535 Lake Worth Blvd. if you want to get an idea of the new concept. The original parent company collapsed in bankruptcy in 2008.
Bennigan’s bankruptcy also claimed Fort Worth’s Steak & Ale, but the old building on West Camp Bowie is getting new life. You can say goodbye to that sign east of the CVS. Construction was underway in late June, changing the look of the place from English to Western. Chef and restaurateur Paul Willis plans a steakhouse with a projected fall opening.
Through Aug. 12, you can get Wholly Guacamole without going to the grocery store. You just pop into a Sonic for a Wholly Guacamole Dog. The companies teamed up in celebration of national hot dog month in July, but the promotion doesn’t end until the August date. Who knows? It might hang on after that. The deal includes television ads featuring Sonic’s “Two Guys” theme.
Salata, which bills itself as “The Next Generation Salad Bar,” is opening its first location in Fort Worth at 500 Commerce St., Ste. 520, in Sundance Square. Target opening date is late summer. The first one opened in Houston in 2005.
Arizona-based Grimaldi’s Pizzeria opened in Grapevine in late June at 1401 William D. Tate Ave., Ste 100. All Grimaldi locations are company owned and operated and feature coal-fired ovens, which the company says gives the pizza a unique, smoky flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible from gas, convection or wood ovens.
Cane Rosso restaurant is on a mission to bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Dallas — and now to Fort Worth as well. The restaurant brags that its pizza is made “according to the strict guidelines of the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana.” If that makes you curious, you can catch a sample when the Cane Rosso Food Truck visits Times Ten Cellars, 1100 Foch St., on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Former 7th Haven owner Jimmy Moore and Brad Hensarling (The Usual Bar) team to open The Gold Standard bar in the former 7th Haven spot at 2700 W. Seventh St. 7th Haven closed earlier this year, but the lease on the current location runs through 2013. Yes, there will be food trucks around but not as many as Moore originally hoped. Planned opening was late June.
The site that opened as the Gunsmoke Grill and Saloon and morphed into Old Rip’s Tex-Mex just off Berry Street is getting another shot at life, this time as a Los Vaqueros restaurant. Cisneros Restaurants Inc. leased the 3,500-square-foot space and hopes to open there in August. “With TCU entering the Big 12 Conference, the timing feels right. We’re looking forward to seeing familiar faces and making new friends,” Vicki Cisneros said in a news release. It’s the second effort by the company in the area. It opened and later closed a restaurant in the space now occupied by Café Brazil.
Neiman Marcus is branding the contemporary departments within each of it 42 stores CUSP shop-in-shops. Neiman Marcus launched the CUSP brand in 2006 with freestanding stores that offered customers a contemporary assortment of items in a boutique environment and is now integrating the concept into its full-line stores.
The Usual’s Austin Bird won the first-ever Texas Tequila Partida Spirit Bird Cocktail Challenge in June in competition at the Dallas Convention Center as part of the Texas Restaurant Association’s Southwest Foodservice Expo. His drink is called The Valley Fizz. The only requirement was that all cocktails had to include the bartender’s chosen marque of Tequila Partida as the base ingredient.
Oh, by the way. In case you’ve been in a coma for a couple of months, the long-anticipated Trader Joe’s grocery at 2701 S. Hulen St. opened in June to long lines. It’s the California chain’s first North Texas location. Bring on Two Buck Chuck.