A Look Inside Willow Park's Newest Southern Eatery
With just a handful of quality restaurants to feed the swarms of those migrating west to the Aledo area, folks were thrilled to see signage for Drakes Yoke emblazoned on the end of the row of brick buildings in a new development in Willow Park. The restaurant officially opened in December, and Parker County Brewing Company followed suit next door in February with craft beers and artisan-style pizza. Ryan Stockard, owner of Drakes Yoke, says it’s highly likely that they will be adding the brewing company’s product to the 20 beers already offered on tap at the restaurant.
Anchored by smoky barbecue offerings like the Carnivore Sandwich (featuring chopped brisket and chopped sausage on a brioche bun and dipping au jus) and battered classics, such as Chicken Fried Ribeye, Fried Catfish and Shrimp & Grits, the menu at Drakes Yoke is stacked with the kinds of items that have proven to be successful among local residents. An adequate wine list works to complement the heaviness of most of the dishes. It’s imperative to order a side of the Cornbread Donuts for the table — powdered sugar-dusted, glamorized hush puppies that are the perfect marriage of sweet and salty.
“Everything here is designed to be cooked over an open flame. It’s either smoked or fried … This is the South,” Stockard says. With the neighboring Walsh development predicted to bring 15,000 new homes and 50,000 residents, Drakes Yoke is poised to attract customers.
Stockard’s choice in location, an area lacking in dining options, was strategic. “We felt this location was in a quickly growing area. A lot of the folks that work in Fort Worth are moving out to Aledo for some property and the school district. We just think it’s going to continue to develop,” he says.
Every detail was considered in the finish out of Drakes Yoke. Country music echoes throughout the expansive dining area, and large red, tufted booths, mounted televisions, industrial lighting and an open kitchen create a comfortable vibe. A handsome full bar stretches along the west side of the eatery and offers unique cocktails and raw oysters. “We wanted to create a family environment where people could relax, watch a game and enjoy good comfort food,” Stockard says.
Location: 225 Shops Blvd., Ste. 101 Willow Park 76087
For Info: 817.598.0844, drakesyoke.com
What’s in a Name?
Colonel Edwin Drake was hired in the early 1800s to research how easily oil could be retrieved from the ground. It was Drake who put a team to work, after getting the idea from drills previously made to gather water, to construct the first oil derrick. Appropriately nicknamed “Drake’s Yoke,” the first derrick was not fruitful at first, and investors demanded that it be shut down. The next day, they found that oil had made it to the surface, and Drake’s innovative design was soon used by everyone. His drill motivated the Texas oil boom in the early 1900s, which majorly contributed to the state’s economic growth.