Local Foods Kitchen
4548 Hartwood Dr, FW. 817-238-3464. 7:30am–7:30pm Mon-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Local Foods Kitchen’s location doesn’t stand out like other restaurants on the southern stretch of Hulen Street. Its storefront is practically hidden in a nondescript strip mall that also houses real estate offices and boutique clothing shops. Once you make it past the generic exterior, you’ll find an inviting and comfortable spot worthy of a hipper area of town.
The month-old café offers pre-prepared elevated deli cuisine using fresh, organic, and local products all made in house from scratch. The counter service is quick, making it a great place to run in and get something to go. For those not in a rush, the dining room is an inviting environment to linger and enjoy a languid breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The concept is like Central Market’s deli but with a cooler vibe, better ingredients, and even more variety.
The long, narrow café strikes a balance between warm and modern, with plenty of natural light and three well-appointed deli cases. Colorful displays of jarred fruits and vegetables punctuate its white walls. A vintage red sign hanging from the ceiling beckons diners to “eat,” and other antique accessories add character to the modern space. Dark wood tables adorned with fresh flowers are welcoming and homey. An expansive patio flanks the side of the restaurant, and its greenery distracts they eye from the adjacent parking lot –– though the view isn’t exactly picturesque.
On a recent weekday dinner visit, the dining area was half-full, and there was a steady stream of folks picking up items to carry out. The menu offers soups, appetizer salads, entrée salads, chef-crafted sandwiches, deli items, and desserts. Drink options include wines by the glass as well as an assortment of waters, juices, and sodas.
My guest and I found that the Local’s Famous Cream of Tomato Soup was aptly named. The delicious and soothing appetizer had a slightly chunky texture and was speckled with chopped basil. Its rich, creamy flavor seemed to get better with every bite.
Unfortunately, the guajillo chicken torta wasn’t as successful. The strong spice rub overpowered the sandwich’s subtler elements, like jack cheese, avocado, and chipotle mayo. But the grilled torta bread stood out, thanks to its pleasingly crisp texture.
The place has an impressive salad selection, and any leafy treat can be made into a wrap. The kitchen also offers a combo meal with a half-entrée salad and half-sandwich. My guest opted for the kebab cobb, which was piled high with fresh lettuce, multi-colored peppers, smoked bacon, and feta cheese and topped with toasted pita chips. The salad was coated with a creamy Greek tzatziki dressing that was under seasoned. Every other bite of salad had the bold flavors of bacon and feta, which saved the dish from being bland.
The kitchen recovered its flavor card with the steakhouse salad. The tender flat iron beef complemented the crunchy texture of the fried onions and crisp romaine leaves. The tang of the smoky bacon-Russian dressing and blue cheese crumbles made the hearty salad downright decadent.
The Italian Grinder, with its meat-heavy fillings of salami, ham, and sopressata tasted surprisingly light. The ingredients were well balanced, and each item stood out, especially the brightness of the marinated artichokes.
Another flavor triumph was the kitchen’s take on the classic BLT. The SBLTA was stacked with grilled salmon and avocado with bacon. The fish and pork made a harmonious salty-rich pairing, and the creamy texture and flavor of both the lemon aioli and avocado added a nice balance.
The smartly placed abundance of dessert options near the cashier made it easy to grab something before checking out. The banana cake had a tasteful, subtle fruit essence. The morsel was topped with a silky, sweet cream cheese icing. The alternating layers of rich chocolate mousse and dark chocolate cake in the mocha icebox cake were sinfully silken and rich.
The deli cases house a generous selection of gourmet takeout dishes, and the friendly staff gave helpful recommendations. It was tempting to take something home for the following evening after our dinner.
Fort Worth lacks choices when it comes to gourmet takeout, and Local Foods Kitchen fills that niche in a fresh and updated way. Though its sheer amount of options is ambitious, the quality of the food is still topnotch.
[box_info]Local Foods Kitchen
Steakhouse salad (half) $8.00
SBLTA sandwich $8.99
Italian grinder $8.25
Banana cake $4.99[/box_info]