On the Street Where We Eat
Chow, Baby’s answer to “What would your dream foodie day consist of?” is the same as most everybody’s: Central Market and a zillion dollars.
OK, but what if you had to spend the rest of your food-eating life in one place? Also easy: West Magnolia Avenue, between 8th Avenue and Hemphill Street. The concentration of eateries is impressive — a dozen great restaurants line this 14-block stretch — but it’s the variety that astounds. On Magnolia you can dine on a different cuisine every day for a fortnight — or longer, given the globe-trotting menu at Lili’s Bistro. There’s moussaka at Scampi’s, shawarma at King Tut, pad thai at Junsuree, and poblano chicken tamales at Hot Damn, Tamales! You can have Italian chic in Nonna Tata’s spaghetti carbonara, or Italian-American heartiness in Palermo’s baked ziti. And nothing satisfies an All-American hunger like a half-pound burger at BJ Keefer’s or a cheesesteak at Hoagie’s.
If it lived on its favorite restaurant row, Chow, Baby would begin every day with French toast and crispy bacon at Paris Coffee Shop, the grandmother of Fort Worth-style homecooking — every day except Sunday, that is, when vegan Spiral Diner features all-you-can-eat pancakes, made without milk or eggs but with plenty of fruit, nuts, and real maple syrup. And end every evening (2 a.m. on weekends!) with ceviche Yucateo at Benito’s. If you’re not sure what you’re hungry for, you can always find it on Magnolia.