By: Malcolm Mayhew
Chef John Tesar is finally opening a restaurant in Fort Worth, and — drum roll, please — it will be his third Knife Burger concept, and the first with a full bar.
Knife Burger will be located inside the new 16,000-square-foot Crockett Street Food Hall, which is now under construction on the northwest corner of Crockett Street and Norwood Street.
The food hall will be the first entry into the North Texas market by Hospitality Alliance, which already has a presence in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The Food Hall will house 14 different concepts. “We will have barbecue, Italian, Asian, coffee and even doughnuts,” says CEO Kevin Lillis of Hospitality Alliance.
Lillis confirmed that Chicago-based The Dapper Doughnut has signed on as well, serving up its handmade, fresh-from-the-fryer, mini doughnuts. “The Dapper Doughnut will have a to-go window, as will the coffee shop, which will have two pass-through windows on Crockett Street,” says Lillis.
Lillis says they are hoping to open the food hall by the first of the year, but while the ground floor space is already built, the finish-out construction schedule may realistically push the opening to February or March of 2018.
The Food Hall will be divided into two separate spaces with a covered paseo in the middle. “There will be live music, a sound stage and speakers throughout, along with artworks and murals for our patrons to enjoy,” Lillis says.
After John Tesar’s laudable performance at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, he opened Spoon Bar & Kitchen in 2013 in Dallas.
Tesar then turned his attention toward more lethal cutlery … something closer to his sharp-edged persona. He opened Knife, where he is chef partner and restauranteur, the following year in 2014.
“Knife has been very successful for us,” he said. Knife serves up steakhouse dishes featuring all-natural Texas purveyed beef, pork and lamb — dry-aged in-house to perfection. He has even been experimenting with dry-aged foie gras in his meat locker with tantalizing results.
After appearing in season 14 of “Top Chef,” Tesar is in high demand, jet-setting to appearances at food festivals around the country. Unfortunately, Tesar says he will not be back for season 15 of “Top Chef.” He simply has too much on his plate.
His first cookbook, Knife: Steakhouse Meals at Home, was released in May 2017. He has also been busy working on concepts around the country and consulting on many other new ventures.
Oh … and Tesar is currently in the developmental stages of two different television show pilots, one tentatively named “Pop-Up Kitchen,” and another which will be a restaurant restoration show.
With his 60th birthday just around the corner this November, he said, “It’s time for me to focus more of my time on training talented chefs and on expanding the brand.” John Tesar has big plans to do just that.
Knife Steakhouse will add another location in the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, along with a Knife Burger with direct mall access, and a butcher shop for customers to take home some of those expertly aged steaks. “The meat locker at our Plano location will hold 500 pieces of meat,” Tesar says. All are set to open there in February.
Knife Houston is still on the horizon, but he says, “I am actually looking at opening a location in Denver next.”
Another Knife Burger is already in the works — opening at the new Legacy West development in Plano this November.
When questioned why it took him so long to get to Fort Worth, Tesar said, “It’s only 30 miles between Fort Worth and Dallas, but sometimes it feels so much farther away.”
“Knife Burger at Crockett Street Food Hall will have wine and wine-on-tap, along with plenty of beer selections and craft cocktails,” Tesar says. “The atmosphere and energy of the new food hall makes it the perfect location to open a fun and social place like Knife Burger.”
By: Malcolm Mayhew