By: Kyle Whitecotton
If you’re fearful that the upcoming move of Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen from the west side to Willow Park means the restaurant won’t be serving its popular Christmas tamales this year, co-owner Crystal Padilla has a message for you: “Yes, yes, yes, we’re still doing them.” Stuffed with baked turkey and handmade dressing, they’re one of the city’s most in-demand holiday edibles — and undoubtedly Mariposa’s most popular item.
This’ll be the last Christmas you can get them in Fort Worth. Open since 2012 in a strip mall on Locke Avenue, Mariposa’s closed in October in anticipation of a move to a bigger and better space in Willow Park. “Instead of trying to run one restaurant while opening another, we decided it would be best to close the original store so we can focus on the new one,” Padilla says. Since the lease on the Locke Avenue space doesn’t run out until next summer, Padilla and her co-owner/mom Irma Gamez are using it for catering needs and pop-up and tasting events.
Slated to open next fall, the new Mariposa’s will be the first restaurant to open in Willow Park North, a new mixed-use development next to The Shops at Willow Park; the development will also include an amphitheater and hotel. Mariposa’s 2.0 will be a major upgrade. The standalone building will be a lot bigger — 4,500 square feet — and will occupy a killer footprint, right next to the Trinity River. “It’ll be very much like Press Café,” Padilla says. “You’ll have these spectacular views of the river.” The restaurant will also have two components the original lacks: a patio and a full bar.
In the meantime, Mariposa’s will be accepting orders for Christmas tamales through Dec. 21.
The south side will get a new barbecue joint for Christmas. Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue will take over the matchbox of a building at 1116 Eighth Ave., best remembered as Paco & John’s original spot. Allan, a Fort Worth native, has been working out of a food truck in Grapevine for two years. But Fort Worth is home, and when he heard about the spot on Eighth Avenue, he and wife/biz partner Brittany jumped on it. “I was born right down the street at Harris Hospital,” he says. “This is where we want to be.”
Allan will smoke his ’cue over oak, using custom offset smokers he’s built himself. Beef, he says, will be of the wagyu variety. “It’s a bit more expensive for me to use, but it’s worth it,” he says. “It makes a tremendous difference in the flavor.” While most barbecue joints focus solely on brisket or ribs, Allan says he’s putting a lot of thought and energy into sausage. “It’ll be a brisket sausage, made by hand,” he says. One of his smokers will be just for the sausage, he says. In addition to brisket and pork ribs, the menu will also include housemade sides and desserts and specialty items such as beef ribs.
Allan is hoping to open late December/early January.
The city’s hot new catering and grab-and-go spot Meyer & Sage is offering unique holiday menu items for all of your I-don’t-feel-like-cooking desires. Options range from meat and cheese boards, to sliders, to fruit plates, to desserts. Four words: egg nog panna cotta. Four more words: turkey chutney brie sliders. Opened this fall by local chef Callie Salls in a cool spot in the burgeoning Foundry District, Meyer & Sage is one-part meal-delivery service and one-part retail shop with chef-driven grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, grazing boards, jarred items and oven-ready meals. Salls uses wild-caught seafood, organic pastured chicken and turkey and humanely and sustainably raised beef, pork and lamb from Niman Ranch. Soon she’ll launch a series of cooking classes and workshops.
2621 Whitmore St., meyerandsage.com.
If I were a betting man, I’d say Fort Worth-based barbecue newcomer Brix Barbecue is going to have a dynamite 2019. Right now, pitmaster Trevor Sales is working pop-up events out of a trailer. But soon he’ll have a new mobile kitchen, inside a 31-foot, 1973 Airstream. Find out where he’ll be by following him on Instagram @brixbarbecue and do yourself a favor:
Get his smoked beef cheek tacos. You’re welcome.
By: Kyle Whitecotton