Times are definitely good for local barbecue lovers. Everywhere you turn, it seems, a new barbecue virtuoso is coming forth, wielding expertly smoked meats. Newest to arrive on the ’cue scene is Hurtado Barbecue, run by North Texas pitmaster Brandon Hurtado. For the past several months, he’s been hauling his trailer from one pop-up event to another, fine-tuning his unique take on Tex-Mex barbecue. Beginning in March, he’ll be a lot easier to chase down: He’ll be permanently parked at Division Brewing in Arlington. There, he’ll serve his fantastic fatty slabs of 44 Farms prime brisket and T-Rex-size beef ribs, along with specialty items such as a housemade queso fundido sausage, smoked elote and housemade flour tortillas. Beginning March 9, Hurtado will be open at Division Brewing every Saturday at 11 a.m. until food runs out.
506 E. Main St., Arlington, facebook.com/hurtadobbq
A new restaurant specializing in Latin and Caribbean-inspired cuisine has opened in an unlikely location: Hulen Mall. Yes, the food court at Hulen Mall is now home to cachapas, patacon and pabellon, thanks to El Sofrito, a mom and pop spot sandwiched between Great American Cookies and Panda Express. Mom and pop are Dina Reyes and Fortino Diaz of tiny Texas town Keene. There, the longtime restaurateurs run 360 Degrees Restaurant, which serves international cuisine. At El Sofrito, the two serve a combination of Latin, Caribbean and Tex-Mex. There are tacos, burritos and quesadillas but also coconut curry chicken; cachapas, sweet corn pancakes grilled and filled with a triplet of cheeses; and patacon, sweet plantains topped with cabbage, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and your choice of chicken or beef. Open daily at 10 a.m. and noon Sunday.
4800 S. Hulen St., hulenmall.com
Fort Worth’s Wedgwood area lucked out and landed a terrific new Indian restaurant called King’s Kitchen. It’s hidden in a strip mall on Trail Lake Drive. Crane your neck looking for the sign, hit a couple potholes, snake through the narrow parking lot and, voilà, you’re there. What a cool little place — the décor is one part art deco, one part ’80s opulence. “I didn’t want it to be like any other Indian restaurant,” says owner Tarlok Signh, who designed the small, classy dining room himself. Taking cues from his parents’ international food store next door, Signh developed an interesting menu made up of Indian cuisine standards, such as an excellent chicken tikka masala, along with dishes that touch on other regions, like Nepalese vegetable momo and a Bosnian minced meat dish called
evapi. It’s one of the city’s best
5054 Trail Lake Drive, kings-kitchenrestaurant.weebly.com
The historic Haltom Theater, recently refurbished and reborn as a live music venue, will launch a Sunday brunch in March by Enchiladas Olé owner and chef Mary Perez. Perez grew up not far from the theater, which originally opened in 1941, on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. “I spent a lot of time in that area when I was a kid,” she says. Chaz Buchannan and a group of investors dropped a cool half-mil on renovations, adding a separate dining area, along with a stage that will host live bands. Perez has already been lending the theater a hand in the food department, serving her Tex-Mex take on a Philly cheesesteak sandwich on nights when there’s live music. Her Sunday brunch will include huevos rancheros, spinach chilaquiles and, of course, enchiladas.
5601 Belknap St., Haltom City, haltomtheater.com
Cowtown Brewing Company, a new barbecue restaurant and brewery on the outskirts of downtown, is hosting a grand opening shebang March 2. To ring in the occasion, co-founder and head brewer Shawn Kidwell will unveil a couple new brews, Everybody’s Doing It, a double dry-hopped IPA, and La Mera Hora, a Mexican lager. Things get rolling
at 1 p.m.
1301 E. Belknap St., cowtown-brewco.com
As of press time, Heim BBQ’s second location is scheduled to open in March in The River District in a 7,500-square-foot building that once housed a VFW hall. Designed by Coevál Studio, the new locale will feature a covered patio, a full bar and an outdoor beer garden.
5333 White Settlement Road, heimbbq.com
Local fave Fuego Burger won’t be returning to Rendon any time soon — the roof of Carlos and Christie Rodriguez’s burger shop on Highway 1187 was trashed by a storm last year, forcing the couple to close. With more free time, they’ve expanded the menu at their Benbrook Highway location. New items include Shiner Bock chili, a seared ahi tuna sandwich slathered in a housemade jalapeño mayo and a grilled avocado stuffed with beef fajita meat.
4400 Benbrook Highway, facebook.com/fuegoburger-benbrook