Fred’s Texas Cafe is back. Though the grand opening event isn’t until May 21, the iconic Fort Worth burger restaurant is already welcoming customers at its new location, 7101 Camp Bowie Blvd.
“Thursday night, we opened for four hours, and I just didn’t turn people away,” said Quincy Wallace, a Fred’s owner. “Same thing Friday and Saturday and Sunday. We just unlocked the doors and didn’t turn people away, and they kept coming.”
It shows the value of word of mouth, Wallace said.
“We had 18 tables at 1:30 yesterday,” he said. “That’s 1:30 on a Wednesday. That’s insane. My plan of not letting the cat out of the bag for a couple of weeks? Totally didn’t work.”
The west Fort Worth location is larger than the original site on Currie Street with about 6,000 square feet of space. The new location seats around 260, not including a private dining room that can accommodate about 60. The original location probably topped out at about 200, Wallace said.
If the new location seems familiar, it was previously the Buffalo West Restaurant that closed two years ago and, long ago, a Steak and Ale location.
The space has the look and feel of Fred’s with the vintage pickup truck predominantly stationed outside, the painted door from the original Fred’s, and a variety of signs and animal horns that once graced the walls on Currie Street. Additional items brought from Currie include the flat top griddle, gold booths and photos. There are now 14 beers on tap, far more than what Fred’s started with: two, both Budweiser.
“That wainscoting (in the bar area) is from a buddy of mine’s barn in Parker County, and then it was on the side of the original Fred’s, inside the patio and underneath the bar around the patio,” Wallace said. “Then, we repurposed it again, so it’s at least its third time repurposed.”
Also key are returning cooks and other workers from the original, Wallace said.
The new location employs about 30 workers, and the restaurant probably will hire more as time goes on, Wallace said.
Purchased in 1978 by JD and Gari Chandler, the original café had been in the same location for almost 50 years. (It was previously Ken’s). The business has stayed family-owned and local through the partnership of longtime friends and co-owners Terry Chandler (JD and Gari’s son) and Wallace.
Howard Katz, a longtime customer who grew up on the city’s southside, is pleased by the reopening.
“I’ve never gone into Fred’s and it not meet expectations,” Katz said. “But more than that, I usually see someone in there I know. It’s that kind of place. I can’t wait to check out the new location.”
Fred’s showed up on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” several years ago in an entertaining segment that still draws customers, Wallace said.
“We had someone come in the other day who had seen us on the show or on their website,” Wallace said.
The Camp Bowie location will emulate its other location to the north (2730 Western Center, Fort Worth 76131) by offering brunch, Wallace said.
“It’s done well up there. I don’t see why it won’t work here, so we’ll do that,” said Wallace. “Just not now.”
If you go
WHAT: Fred’s Texas Cafe
WHERE: 7101 Camp Bowie West Blvd., Fort Worth 76116
- 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
- 11 a.m.-midnight Friday
- 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday
- 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday
MORE INFO: https://www.fredstexascafe.com/