By: Malcolm Mayhew
Owned and operated by Chef Danny and his wife, Rose Badillo, M&O Station Grill is a retro diner next door to Leonard’s Department Store Museum. The Badillos are hands-on restaurant owners, and Chef Danny has more than 38 years of food industry experience.
I discovered this hidden gem as I was killing time one afternoon after dropping my car at a nearby mechanic. Stepping through the door is like traveling back to the 1950s. Vintage Formica tables are bordered with vinyl and metal chairs, and a soft glow is emitted from old neon signs hanging on the walls.
While M&O was put on the map because of its creative gourmet burgers, it also dishes up sandwiches, soups and large salads. You won't leave hungry.
After ordering at the counter from one of the friendly owners, I had time to explore the adjoining museum. The M & O in the restaurant’s name stand for Marvin and Obadiah (Obie) Leonard, owners of the historic Leonard Brothers' Department Store that once took up six blocks of downtown Fort Worth. Their store had the first independently owned subway system, hence the station in the name.
Aromas from the grill pulled me back to my table where I was pleased to find the first of my lunch items. If you’re going for a mid-day splurge, you might as well do it right. Nothing screams for an ice cream treat like a burger joint. The old-fashioned homemade strawberry milkshake ($4) at M&O is a dream and served with just a dash of cinnamon.
My Avocado Sister Salad ($9) arrived next. It was an artistic presentation of baby spring mix, crumbled Feta, purple onions, wedge tomatoes, diced avocado and mixed berry vinaigrette. Ingredients were fresh, and the sweet dressing was made in-house. Add grilled chicken or salmon if you want to make it a meal.
There was a stint about a decade ago where I tried the whole vegetarian thing. That was swiftly terminated with a trip to M&O Station Grill and the irresistible temptation of the “award-winning” Bleu Cow Burger ($12).
Two loosely formed patties are topped with a heap of blue cheese and two slices of smoky, crispy bacon. A griddle sauce adds a sweetness complementing the tartness of the cheese, and the meat had a nice sear and was juicy. Traditional trimmings of iceberg lettuce, tomato and onion were fresh. My only complaint about this carnivore’s dream was the bun. The messy burger eventually gave way before it could be completely devoured.
At an additional cost, burger add-ons include an extra meat patty, bacon, fried egg, grilled onions, roasted jalapenos, green chili sauce and sliced avocado.
To keep my burger company, I ordered a side of the Hand-Cut Fries ($1.50). The generous portion of good-and-greasy potatoes was fresh out of the fryer with a golden crispy outside and hot tender inside. They were well-seasoned and acted as efficient tools for transporting the house-made Chipotle Ketchup to my eager taste buds.
With those last few bites and a final sip from the shake, my trip down memory lane was over. M&O provided a savory snapshot into Fort Worth’s past and left me stuffed with good food and pride in my city.
Location: 200 Carroll St.
For Info: 817.882.8020, bestburgerfortworth.com
Prices: $ - $$
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
What We Liked: Homemade sauces and quality ingredients.
What We Didn’t: The bun gave way before the burger could be finished.
Our Recommendations: The shakes and fries are a burger’s best friends.
By: Malcolm Mayhew