In 1976 when Wonder white bread loaves had taken over the American landscape, Pete and Laura Wakeman founded the first Great Harvest Bread Co. in Great Falls, Montana. The word spread fast about their back-to-basics, whole grain breads that were not only more healthful, but also more flavorful than the over-processed, bland commercial breads that were stacking store shelves.
Since then, franchises have popped up around the country. Each local Great Harvest bakery grinds its flour daily and bakes its breads on site to keep them whole and maintain all the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Jon and Andrea Davis, who are both Texas Christian University grads, are opening the first Fort Worth Great Harvest location on Magnolia Avenue, next door to Avoca Coffee. Look for the electric blue door and trim details. Jon is leaving his corporate career with both RadioShack and GameStop to get into the bread business. The Davises are pushing for a November opening.
WHISKEY BUSINESS GRAND OPENING
Some locations get type-cast. That is definitely the case with the former Mule Pub (or perhaps you recall it as the Reservoir Lounge or even further back as the Pig & Whistle). The hidden pub behind the Mexican Inn on Locke Avenue has been a bar for far too long to shake off that expectation.
The venue has now been recast once more – as Whiskey Business, a new and improved yet very familiar Westside watering hole. While it quietly opened in October, the grand opening was held Nov. 5 with the Rev. Horton Heat officiating.
Owners Kevin Dunlap and Josh Campbell, also of the Rail Club, spruced up the well-worn space with new hardwood flooring and refreshed wooden bar top. Whiskey Business has added a new 100-inch theater-size TV for game day as well. Patrons can enjoy local craft beer, whiskey, wine and specialty cocktails.
WILD SALSA IN CITY PLACE
Two City Place welcomed its second restaurant at the end of October. The funky and vibrant Day of the Dead-themed interior shares the same breezeway with Avanti Italian; soon to open in the building are Chop House Burgers and Hooter’s.
This is the third location for this acclaimed concept which prides itself on locally sourced, from-scratch, regional Mexican cuisine (the first two are in Dallas and Fairview). The bar boasts a selection of more than 100 tequilas as well as Wild Salsa’s signature Wild Rita, which has roasted pineapple and jalapeno-infused tequila as its backbone. Wild Salsa will also offer a weekend brunch menu.
Chef Coby Baumann opened Thurber Mingus in February 2015. The laid-back taco and burger joint (with a consistently rave-worthy burger selection) closed unexpectedly in mid-October. The ambitious Saturday Market, which was held on the site, struggled to find an audience and ended in late May. Next plans were not available as Baumann could not be reached for comment.
Chef Erin Miller exited Texas Bleu in October as well. She was the chef whose menu opened the popular Keller steakhouse, garnering many awards along the way. Miller confirmed that she was looking for land and hoping her next culinary endeavor will reunite her with some of the talented staff she has worked alongside. A Facebook post stated: “Found a spot to start my new adventure. Now the work begins again. If I can do it once, I can do it again.”
After three years at Max’s Wine Dive in the West Seventh district, chef Stefon Rishel departed for Houston last spring. He said that he didn’t find the Houston culinary scene as open and inviting as Cowtown’s and he recently left his position at 51Fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails at Sak's Fifth Avenue at Houston’s Galleria. Rishel has announced that he will be taking over the kitchen at Texas Bleu.
Chef Jerrett Joslin, along with, then partner, Tom Moncrief, moved his original Wild Mushroom Steakhouse from Weatherford to Fort Worth in the fall of 2014. That incarnation of the upscale steakhouse only lasted a year when it was closed without warning.
The two had also opened the successful Vintage Grill in Weatherford, located on Main Street, in January of 2015, which married Joslin’s love of laid back Southern cuisine and Moncrief’s collection of rare automobiles, into one sweet ride.
Although Joslin created the original menu at Vintage, he is no longer affiliated with the popular Weatherford landmark. Moncrief is now its sole owner, and Chef Aaron Austin has taken over the wheel. The quiet transition officially took place in May of this year.
Austin served as Sous Chef when Vintage Grill first opened, then he took off for a while to open Varsity Tavern in West Seventh, but was asked to hop back into the driver’s seat in the Vintage Grill kitchen when the need arose.
“We are back to preparing our burgers with tender Akaushi beef from HeartBrand Beef,” Austin said. And, loyal customers are making the drive for their steaks as well. “We have upgraded our classic Chicken Fried Steak, for example. We actually butterfly a New York Strip steak for an amazing result which is more about the steak and less about the breading.”
Just across the street, the Car Museum part of the equation has expanded into a refurbished building which now houses around 16 additional vintage cars, something Moncrief has been planning for quite a while. The grand opening of the expansion was held on September 4.
Among the cars newly on display is a WWII era La Salle Taxi, which took a star turn in the movie Pearl Harbor in a scene opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. And, one of the rarest items must be the 1966 Mustang. Only three Mustangs of this vintage were crafted in Mexico with a Targa Top (one was red, one was white, and one was black – which is the one in Moncrief’s collection). The red and white 1966 Targa Top Mustangs have never been found, making the black one a truly one-of-a-kind collector’s item. If you are into vintage cars, Moncrief’s collection is a must see.
Not only did the newly renovated space, work perfectly as a car museum, it is also becoming a much needed event space in Weatherford as well. “The prep kitchen is getting its final touches, and we will be able to host events from 160-200 people just across the street from the Vintage Grill,” Austin said. “The event space should be ready for business by early November.”