FORT WORTH, TX (May 19, 2022) — In 1926, veteran café proprietor Vic Paris established a humble little restaurant that would become a beloved Fort Worth landmark. Opening Paris Coffee Shop just east of Hemphill Street on Magnolia Avenue, Paris sold the business to Greg Asikis (who changed his name to Smith) in 1930. Taking over for his dad in 1965, Mike Smith grew the café to icon status, even as he moved it one block west in 1974 to a former Safeway grocery store at the corner of Magnolia and Hemphill.
Over the past century, generations of Fort Worthians — along with TCU students, countless celebrities, and local luminaries — came to call Paris Coffee Shop home. Family and friends built traditions around frequent visits to Paris for biscuits and cinnamon rolls, bacon and eggs, chicken and dumplings, and slices of the many popular pies.
Today, that all comes home again — and then some.
Following its eight-month update of interior and exterior details, Paris Coffee Shop’s team is serving up a menu of familiar dishes for which the landmark has been rightfully famous. The new ownership, who bought the landmark one year ago, makes good on its promise to the Mike Smith to bring back quality, homestyle food and the friendly staff that made Paris a favorite to generations of patrons.
Honoring the heritage of both the building and the business, the team studied archival photos to inform the extensive restoration effort. Working with Fort Worth native Jack Sanders at the Austin-based Design Build Adventure (who also renovated the team’s Roy Pope Grocery in 2021), they deliver a freshened-up café that is period-perfect. On top of that, they offer a menu true to Paris Coffee Shop tradition, with the bonus of a few modern dishes, as well.
At breakfast, diners can dive into chicken-fried steak, sirloin steak, or pork chop with eggs, biscuits, hash browns or grits; corned beef hash, or lox and bagel platter. Among griddle specialties, enjoy buttermilk pancakes with whipped butter and maple syrup; Belgian waffles or brioche French toast with whipped cream and fresh berries; and old-fashioned Dutch Baby with lemon butter or berries — all with a choice of ham, bacon, or sausage. Those Greek and Denver omelets are back, or you can opt for smoked salmon. Craving something healthy? Try the power grains bowl, fresh fruit plate with mint and honey, and fresh granola parfait, too, as well as watermelon aguas frescas.
Otherwise, daily blue plate specials satisfy comfort food cravings: Monday, it’s buttermilk fried chicken; Tuesday brings meatloaf; Wednesday means pot roast; Thursday, naturally, is chicken-and-dumplings; while Friday’s special is the catfish basket. Brunch wil be served on Saturday and Sunday, and a handful of breakfast plates are served all day, too. Entrees include grilled rib eye with fries; fried chicken cutlet Parmesan; beef enchiladas; Salisbury steak with onions, mushrooms, and gravy; pan-roasted redfish; and, of course, CFS with black pepper cream gravy. Sides include fresh green beans, braised greens, butter beans, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, fried okra, and more.
On the lighter side, there’s a lemon Caesar salad, chopped salad, power grains bowl, Mexican shrimp cocktail, and a pesto hummus with grilled pita and veggies. Old-school choices include burger, club sandwich, tuna melt, BLT, beer-battered onion rings, and cast-iron chili. New but familiar, there’s Roy Pope’s chicken salad and chicken caldo (think tortilla soup).
All this washes down nicely with regular cups of joe and espresso drinks, along with a bloody mary, peach bellini, or mimosa. And there are specialty cocktails to consider: The Reale Deal blends Blackland vodka, fresh lemon and lime juices, jalapeño simple syrup, fresh mint, and cucumber in a glass with half-salted chile rim; and, the festive French 77 mixes Aviation gin with St-Germain and fresh lemon juice with a prosecco topper.
Everything’s served with a smile and a joke from the returning morning wait staff, who are joined by eager new faces throughout the day and evening. Guests find seating at two counters, with swiveling stools with backs for comfort; booths for two, four, and six guests; and tables spread across the expansive dining room. And on the long hallway leading to restrooms and new private dining spaces, guests see enlargements of the historic black-and-white photos that hung for decades on Paris Coffee Shop walls. In back, The Magnolia Room is available for meetings and private dining.
Paris Coffee Shop is open now for daily breakfast and lunch. Watch for Saturday-Sunday brunch, as well as daily dinner hours to come. Follow us on Facebook, facebook.com/ParisCoffeeShopftw; and, on Instagram, @pariscoffeeshopftw.