FORT WORTH, TX (Sept. 3, 2021) — The 1926 landmark Paris Coffee Shop, one of Fort Worth’s oldest restaurants, closes for renovation at the end of lunch service today. The legendary breakfast-lunch icon on the Near Southside’s West Magnolia Avenue will reopen in its same location in early 2022 with a fresh face.
Local restaurateur and chef Lou Lambert teamed up with Fort Worth developer Mark Harris and longtime colleague Chris Reale — the trio also are in the group owning Roy Pope Grocery on the city’s west side — purchased Paris Coffee Shop from owner Mike Smith last spring. Smith’s father bought the restaurant from founder Vic Paris in 1929 and Mike assumed operations in 1965.
Renovation begins about October 1, but longtime fans shouldn’t worry that Paris’ charm will be diminished.
“We’ve been studying early photographs and plans in order to reproduce the original look and feel of the place,” says Lambert. “It will be the same Paris everyone loves, just spruced up.”
Counter service, found along the east interior wall of the large space, harkens back to a long-lost time — and that will remain, along with the pie cases also along that wall. Ditto for the popular booth seating, found along the front windows, west wall, and along a shoulder-high partition separating the counter area from the expansive space with tables. Improvements primarily pertain to rehabbing kitchen equipment and updating cosmetics in the dining room, restrooms, and storage areas. Making use of ample space in the rear of the building, a private dining room and meeting room will be crated.
Fort Worth native Jack Sanders is charged with capturing the right vintage spirit for Paris’ improved edition. Sanders, whose Design Build Adventure firm’s work has been praised by The New York Times, was also the architectural designer responsible for refashioning Roy Pope Grocery earlier this year. Look for new wood detail on the Paris Coffee Shop exterior, as per original photos of the café, as part of the facelift. Signage and logo design by Fort Worth artist Sarah Ayala will evoke a 1930s-era style used in Paris’ early years.
During renovation, the multitude of historic photography hanging around the café will be cataloged and preserved. Selected images of the vintage café and surrounding neighborhood will be enlarged as part of the improved décor. Also returning: The staff — including servers who have become family to their customers — promises to be back in the new year.
Generations of customers loyal to Paris’ early morning bacon-and-egg plates, waffles, and legendary biscuits and gravy, as well as plate lunches, and its famous selection of homemade pies, will find a very familiar menu at the reopened Paris. Expanded morning offerings include things like eggs Benedict (a Mexican version is rumored), brisket hash, and breakfast sandwiches.
“We’re keeping the favorites while also making the menu relevant to the way people eat today,” says owner-operator Reale. “Our background in food means we’re putting more of a culinary eye on some classic dishes.”
At lunch and dinner, you can expect to see favorites like chicken-fried steak, chicken and dumplings, turkey and dressing, and burgers, but you’ll also see more salad options, vegetarian entrees, grilled fish, and steak frites. And the bonus: Guests can order mimosas, French 75, and bloody marys with breakfast and brunch, as well as a few choices in beer, wine, and classic cocktails during lunch and dinner, too.
It’s the Paris Coffee Shop that Cowtown has always loved, but better: “We embrace the coffee shop culture, and we’re committed to preserving the heritage of Paris Coffee Shop and everything that has made it a Fort Worth legend,” Lambert says.
Paris Coffee Shop is found at 704 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76104.