The Dallas dining scene undoubtedly garners — nay, demands — most of the attention in North Texas, so our friends to the west are often overlooked. Yes, exciting things are happening right now with food in Dallas, but Fort Worth shouldn’t be treated like a spelling bee runner-up.
Tillman’s Roadhouse in the West 7th entertainment district shuttered in August 2015 after a five-year stint. Without skipping a beat, owner Todd Fiscus launched a new concept in the space two months later: FW Market + Table, a chic blend of casual and fine dining with a market thrown in for good measure.
Chef Kalen Morgenstern, the former Tillman's sous chef who became executive chef at FW, knows her audience. “We have a gym right across the street, and we enjoy being able to cater to those customers after a workout," she says. "They need somewhere to get their protein bars and juices — why not be the place for them?” FW opens at 7 a.m. for breakfast with fresh juices and frittatas or wraps that can be taken to-go. Hang around for locally made coffee and mains like banana-oat-egg pancakes.
The Texas-born, Georgia-raised Morgenstern returned to her Texas roots after culinary school in Nashville, where she worked at the Patterson House and Opryland Hotel before a stint with Tim Love in Fort Worth. Taking over FW gave her the opportunity she was waiting for: to create a modern take on her family’s generations-old recipes.
At FW, the feel is casual French countryside, which gives new life to the former rustic design that made Tillman’s oh-so popular. The market — filled with cheeses, cured meats, crackers and jams —
is reminiscent of an old fashioned dry goods store, complete with sliding ladder. A more handsome side of the restaurant is fine dining only; it opens for dinner Wednesday through Saturday.
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The menu changes daily, with lighter lunch options on the market side — salads, flatbreads and sandwiches like Morgenstern’s grilled cheese with kale pesto. Morgenstern hopes to have their cured meat program ready by the summer. After 5 p.m., the dishes get a little heavier. Morgenstern’s family recipe for Cornish hen dates back to her great-grandmother, but the updated dish has a mild Asian influence.
Crossing from the market into the table side of FW guarantees a little more culinary finesse. Modern takes on Southern staples — like house-made pimento cheese and veal cheeks with smoked tomato grits — anchor the menu.
FW Market + Table's goal is to be a “go-to” place in Fort Worth — which is why you'll also find a full bar that utilizes kale in cocktails, along with plenty of locally crafted beer on tap. There's a lot going on at FW Market + Table, but it all hits the mark.
FW Market + Table, 2933 Crockett St., Fort Worth