Located in the northern reaches of the Lone Star State, the city of Fort Worth was first established in 1849, quickly evolving into one of the nation’s most prominent hubs for cattle ranching—and in the modern era, this sprawling city has diversified far beyond the realm of just beef. A rich tapestry of dishes and cuisines can be found in restaurants all across Fort Worth limits, while the local drinks scene has enjoyed its fair share of success as well.
And of course, in typical Texas fashion, there’s a massive array of incredible barbecue joints to explore during a visit. As you plan your next trip to Texas, be sure to save some room in the itinerary for Fort Worth, a king-sized city whose food and drink scene improves with each passing year.
Explore Fort Worth’s Decadent Barbecue Scene
“Fort Worth has become a hotspot for modern barbecue because of its long history with barbecue like Angelo’s, Railhead Smokehouse, Baileys BBQ, and many more. The people are passionate and the city has lots of real estate fitting into what barbecue needs.” – Jalen Heard, Co-Owner of Goldee’s Barbecue
Texas has earned worldwide acclaim for its incredible barbecue scene, and Fort Worth is no exception. There’s no shortage of beloved spots to explore all across the metro area, with venues like Angelo’s BBQ operating in the city since 1958—yet in the modern era, few restaurants can match the esteem of Goldee’s Barbecue. Renowned for their succulent brisket, homemade bread, and ultra-rich banana pudding, this spot was vaulted to international stardom this year in the wake of a Best Chef: Texas nomination from the coveted James Beard Awards. And for those wishing to further explore the local barbecue scene, savory brisket elote and pork belly jalapeño poppers can be found at Panther City, while nearby Hurtado has earned abundant acclaim for their Texas Trinity, a massive dish that’s packed with brisket, spare ribs, and sausage.
As an added bonus, the city’s barbecue offerings span far beyond the reaches of just Texas, with a wealth of international flavors infused into the local scene. For fans of decadent East Asian cuisine, Hoya Korean Kitchen is a top spot for hearty bulgogi beef bibimbap and teriyaki eel plates, with the added bonus of fried chicken, kimchi fries, and mandu all gracing the menu. Meanwhile, Goldee’s fans can look forward to the eventual launch of Sabar Barbecue, an upcoming venture led by employee Zain Shafi. Announced earlier this year, Shafi plans to marry the rich flavors of Pakistani cooking with classic Texas barbecue, incorporating a wide array of South Asian spices into traditional Lone Star State cuisine.
Discover Fort Worth’s Top Distilleries
“The silver lining following Covid’s slash and burn of the restaurant and bar industry, combined with burgeoning growth caused by population migration to DFW, has opened the doors to diversity and open-mindedness in the food and beverage scene—outside of the traditional Cowtown BBQ, Burgers and Tex-Mex.” – Markus Kypreos, owner and founder of Blackland Distillery
While Fort Worth excels at the art of traditional barbecue, the city is no slouch when it comes to the local drinks scene either. In recent years, the city’s spirits industry has undergone a massive boom, with Blackland Distillery serving as an essential spot for visiting whiskey aficionados. Cutting-edge technology takes center stage around here, with an elaborate distillation process taking place through computer calculations, and the venue is also committed to highlighting the rich flavors of Texas in each bottle, with ample amounts of Lone Star State grain featured in their mash bill. During a visit to the polished tasting room, guests can find rich notes of caramel and a touch of spice in the distillery’s Blackland Rye Whiskey, while the Texas Pecan Brown Sugar Bourbon pairs perfectly with a savory cheese and charcuterie plate.
In addition to whiskey, Fort Worth’s agave scene has enjoyed considerable success as well. After a string of successes with venues like Taco Heads, Sidesaddle Saloon, and Tinies, local restaurateur Sarah Castillo debuted a Fort Worth tequila brand just a few weeks ago. Launched alongside business partners Andrew De La Torre and Stephen Slaughter, La Pulga Spirits offers a flavorful roster of blanco, reposado, and añejo bottles, each one handcrafted and free from synthetic additives—and in other agave news, the trio are in the midst of creating Fort Worth’s first sotol distillery as well, aiming to vault this grassy spirit to new heights in the Lone Star State.
Experience Vegan Dining Across Fort Worth
“Fort Worth’s Near Southside, a haven for artistry and innovation, has recently embraced an expanding vegan culinary scene, blossoming with distinctive eateries across the city. While Spiral Diner stood as the sole vegan restaurant for over two decades, a shift in the past three to five years has brought forth new establishments, including our own new concepts.” – Amy McNutt, Fort Worth Restaurateur
In recent years, the Lone Star State has begun to dip its toes in the wide world of plant-based dining, with McNutt’s Spiral Diner being a particularly early arrival back in 2002. Since then, this local favorite has grown to include a second location in nearby Denton, with both venues offering hearty dishes like TX Hot Chik’n sandwiches and fajita quesadillas—and Fort Worth’s vegan dining scene has grown in tandem. In the 21st century, McNutt has expanded her portfolio with venues like Dreamboat Donuts & Scoops—a must-visit for apple fritters and vegan ice cream—and next-door neighbor Maiden, a sophisticated bistro that specializes in high-end coursed dinners that change seasonally.
Fort Worth is home to a wealth of top-tier Mexican restaurants, several of which have mastered the art of vegan cuisine. For those in search of flavorful fajitas, Belenty’s Love offers a massive plant-based menu, while Mariachi’s Dine-In is a must-try for fans of Monterrey-style cuisine, with two dedicated menus for both omnivores and vegan diners. And when it comes to hearty Middle Eastern cuisine, King Tut serves up dolma, falafel, koshari and a wealth of other vegetarian-friendly dishes in a colorful space, while lamb kofta kebabs and lamb shawarma serve as a few can’t-miss options for visiting meat lovers.