While many great burger options exist across the DFW area, not many of them sidle up to a museum.
Fort Worth's M&O Station Grill is located in The Foundry District, which is similar to other places in North Texas — bustling with new development. But the owners behind this particular spot have been in the game awhile.
Chef Daniel Badillo’s passion for food and cooking began in the 1970s at the Fort Worth Petroleum Club, where he worked for 24 years.
Badillo (also known as "Chef D") eventually started his own catering business, and in 2000 opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant, the 7th Street Grill Station.
In 2006, Marty Leonard invited him to be her neighbor at the small museum dedicated to the original Leonard’s Department Store in downtown Fort Worth.
The store opened in 1918 and was a cornerstone of shopping until 1974, when Dillard’s bought them out. Leonard is the granddaughter of founder Marvin Leonard.
“When we received the invitation by Mrs. Leonard, this building had no restaurant,” says Rosa Badillo, Daniel's wife. “This all had to be built out.”
The museum pays homage to the long history of Leonard’s Department Store, but one of the interesting tidbits within tells the story of the first subway in Fort Worth.
In 1963, Marvin Leonard and brother Obie Leonard (hence, M&O) built a subway line to bring shoppers from a parking lot north of downtown to their store. The M&O Subway remained in use through 2002, and the abandoned tunnel is still there.
So now the space is part museum, part diner, but in separate rooms to keep the mementos and artifacts smudge-free.
Daniel Badillo’s signature burgers include Nathan’s Toluca ($14), which comes with chorizo, a fried egg, Jack cheese, roasted jalapeños, green chiles and sliced avocados with a chipotle mayonnaise.
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In all there are about a dozen different burgers, each with the same hardcore-level of toppings. There‘s also a handful of sandwiches, such as the signature grilled cheese ($8) that includes cheddar cheese, garlic cream cheese, mozzarella, blue cheese and feta. You can add bacon for $2.
The salads are fantastic, and there’s a chicken-fried steak plate ($13 at lunch, $15 at dinner and on the weekends). They also serve beer and wine.
Sunday brunch is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and, of course, it includes chicken and waffles. After a meal and a jaunt through the museum, you can (and honestly should) hop across the street to check out the albums and cool and weird old stuff at Doc’s Records and Vintage.
M&O Station Grill, 200 Carroll St., Fort Worth. Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.