Could Mansfield Be the Next Foodie Hub? This, and More Local Food News

Dining options grow in Mansfield and Arlington, and Reata's owner puts a spin on sandwiches.

203 Cafe, the new breakfast and lunch spot from Reata’s Mike Micallef, quietly opened downtown last month on the second floor of the Fire Station No. 1 building at 215 Commerce St. (suite number – viola! – 203). The menu is vastly different than Reata’s, focusing primarily on sandwiches that go beyond the norm. The Rueben is comprised of housemade pastrami and housemade fennel sauerkraut, along with applewood-smoked bacon. The Chicago-style Italian beef is loaded with so much roast beef and giardiniera, you’re going to need a fork. Other lunch options include paninis and a trip through the build-your-own salad bar. For breakfast there are tacos stuffed with bacon, sausage, eggs and chorizo, along with sandwiches. Most of the staff comes from Reata, including executive chef Jason Klein. Hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

All of a sudden, Mansfield has a booming restaurant scene. Among several new places to open recently is a charming spot specializing in Southeast Asian cuisine. Opened in March by the Doan family of Fort Worth, Char’d is a Chipotle-style, fast-casual restaurant in which you build your own bowls of Korean, Japanese and Thai staples. There’s Thai red curry chicken, poke, bibimbap and Vietnamese grilled pork, all of which you can trick out with additional toppings and ingredients, ranging from veggies to proteins. Also on the menu are steamed buns, spring rolls and housemade ice cream. 1571 E. Debbie Lane, Mansfield.

Smoke’N Ash BBQ also opened in the Mansfield/South Arlington area. In a simple strip mall space, pitmaster Patrick Hicks does good old-school ’cue, smoking brisket, hot links, chicken and ribs over hickory. Stuffed baked potatoes are a specialty item, and they’re absolutely huge. Jammed with chopped brisket and/or sausage, they’re big enough to split. Desserts such as pineapple upside-down cake are made in-house. 7301 Matlock Road, Arlington.

In-the-know burger-lovers have been wise to Heim BBQ’s excellent “Heimburger” ever since owners Emma and Travis Heim launched the brisket-patty burger last year. Now there are two new burgers to try: the Funky Burger, topped with blue cheese crumbles and bacon burnt end jam, and the Hell Burger, which comes crowned with three-pepper cheese, grilled onions, jalapeños and bacon burnt end jam; it’s served on a jalapeño-cheddar bun. Burgers are still only available Monday nights, starting at 4 p.m.

Heim’s second location is still on track to open in the River District later this year. In the meantime, Heim’s food truck will be parked nearby, at 5200 White Settlement Road, every Wednesday from 10:30am to 1pm until the new spot is open.

We can now officially never, ever say there are no good coffee shops around here. Three new coffeehouses have opened or soon will. Now open in downtown Arlington, Urban Alchemy Coffee + Wine Bar comes from Tony Rutigliano, who left behind the cush life as prez and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation to open this cool spot in a former automotive repair shop. Wife Nicole is his partner. In addition to several hot and cold coffee options, Urban Alchemy has a full wine bar, with 28 reds and 28 whites. There are also light sandwiches, desserts and a build-your-own charcuterie option. 403 E. Main St., Arlington.

Coming soon to the Shops at Willow Park is Cafe 23:5. Owned by Alex and Denise Deapen and named after one of their favorite Bible verses, the cafe will serve a dozen or so specialty coffee drinks along with light bites. The Deapens are hoping to open later this month or early next.

Finally, a second location of Burleson’s popular Dwell Coffee & Biscuits will open this summer in the TCU area in the old Sovereign Bank at 3113 S. University Drive. Husband-and-wife duo Jeff and Stephanie Brannon’s new location will mimic the original, which opened four years ago in the Old Town Burleson area. That means: a huge menu of specialty coffee drinks and housemade buttermilk biscuits stuffed, topped and drenched in all sorts of glorious wonders, from gravy to Nutella to scrambled eggs. Look for it mid- to late summer.