A lot of restaurants in town are sorta kinda socially responsible — as long as it suits their needs. Maybe the chef buys from local producers or offers an organic, grass-fed something or another. Perhaps there’s a “healthy” item buried deep in the menu. Then there are places like Spiral Diner (1314 W. Magnolia Ave.) where not only is the food vegan, but everything from the cleaning products to the napkins is made from recycled, organic materials.
With the word “organic” and phrases like “farm to table” thrown around so cavalierly by marketing people, it might be easy to overlook a place like Burgundy Pasture Beef, an organic, grass-fed cattle ranch in Grandview, owned by Jon and Wendy Taggart.
I first heard of the place about a year ago. A neighbor gets a weekly slab of cow from Burgundy Beef — it offers a home-delivery service — and the neighbor raved about Burgundy’s storefront and in-house grill in Grandview. So I stopped by to check it out when other duties took me out to that neck of the weeds. I imagined it like a lobster tank, but with cows. I was a little bummed that I didn’t get to choose my burger donor, but I was impressed by the place. The Taggarts are the real deal. The beef on offer there is not pinky-out, cucumber-in-your-water “organic.” It’s “I’ve been a rancher for a long time, and I wear a cowboy hat because I’m actually a cowboy” organic.
I wished they’d set up a place nearer to me.
If wishes were cows … well, let’s just say I was head over hooves when I found out the Taggarts were opening a Fort Worth version of Burgundy Pasture in the West 7th area (3326 W. 7th St.). The recently opened butcher shop is everything I’d wished for, including a burger grill that (of course) uses ingredients from the Taggarts’ ranch.
Next to the old Four Star Coffee Bar location, the tiny space is arranged with enough feng shui sensibility to make it seem bigger. A wall of refrigerators is stocked with every imaginable part of the cow, chicken, and pig, with some other critters mixed in. There are also honey from bees on the ranch, various cheeses from the Taggarts’ own cows and other locals, and assorted treats. The grill is open Friday through Sunday for lunch, but the store is open seven days a week. There are only a few tables inside and a couple more on the patio.
When my guest and I arrived, the place was hopping. There was a line practically out the door, composed equally of butcher-shop customers and burger fans. There are just two items on the grill menu: burgers and hot dogs. I went for the former ($10.97), with pickles, lettuce, tomato, Tillamook cheddar cheese (from Oregon), and onion slices on a wheat bun. The burger had a perfect sear that locked in the juices, and it gushed as though I were biting a grape. The cheese, while not overpowering, had a rich, creamy, sharp flavor that added drama to the burger. All of the veggies were fresh and flavorful. Maybe it was the smoke from the grill getting in my eyes, but a tear rolled down my cheek at first bite.
I also thought it was fitting that Wendy Taggart was working the grill, since she might have been there when the bovine whence came my burger was born and probably herded it somewhere a time or two. How’s that for farm to table?
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