When Dallas-based Bread Winners opened its first Fort Worth location in the former Blue Mesa spot at University Park Village last June, it didn’t immediately meet expectations. The Fort Worth location underwhelmed with its service and overwhelmed with its higher-than-average prices.
After several months, service is still a little hit and miss at times. When we stopped in for a weekday lunch, there was a healthy crowd, but things weren’t off to a good start when our server informed us she was still in training. Luckily, her trainer was on top of his section and able to keep a close eye on ours as well. We had no service issues.
We started with a Pear and Gorgonzola Salad ($12 or add chicken for $3 more). A mound of field greens, cherry tomato, candied pecans and gorgonzola blue crumbles was lightly tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and crowned with thinly sliced, crisp Bosc pear. It made a lovely presentation, and we found plenty of cheese and pecan in every bite.
While Chicken and Waffles is a house specialty, unless you have plans for a lazy afternoon and your stretchy pants on, I wouldn’t suggest it. That’s why I chose the Grilled Vegetable Melt ($12) instead.
Served on a fresh ciabatta roll, with its chewy crust and tender interior, the grilled veggies were lackluster, with mozzarella melting on top. A blend of indistinguishable portabella mushrooms, red pepper, yellow squash and red onion made up the filling. A chipotle mayonnaise was substituted for the promised garlic aioli, but the sweet potato fries that I chose for my side arrived crispy and hot. All in all, there was nothing wrong with the sandwich, but I probably wouldn’t come back to order it again.
Bread Winners is known for its full bakery menu. All items are baked fresh daily in-house, so be sure to save room for dessert. The eye-popping bakery case is front and center, filled with cakes, pies, cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies, which are reasonably priced compared with the nearby competition.
The Strawberries and Cream Cake (Slice $6, Round $38, Sheet $76) has long been one of Bread Winners’ most popular. Each hefty slice is enough to satisfy a table of two to four. Three layers of moist cake are scented and flavored with real strawberries. Each layer has fresh whipped cream icing and strawberries in between. The cake is iced all around with the same and then painted with an apricot glaze.
Bread Winners is still working a few kinks out but seems to be slowly finding its footing and a following of its own.
Location: 1612 S. University Dr.
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat. 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
For Info: 817.984.8710, breadwinnerscafe.com
What We Liked: The bakery case is always filled with fresh baked indulgences, ready for take out or to order ahead for special occasions.
What We Didn’t: The Grilled Vegetable Melt was basic and missing the fresh grilled flavor we were hoping to find.
Recommendations: Weekend brunch is really what made it famous, and its classy brunch menu is still appealing.