I’m the wrong person to write a column about fitness regimens or a natural foods-based lifestyle. I am suspicious, though, because for the majority of my career, I’ve worked in and around the food and beverage industry. Buzzwords like “paleo,” “organic,” “gluten-free,” “sustainable,” “free-range,” “grass-fed,” “non-GMO,” and “unprocessed” are often just a new way to spin the same old thing. This is doubly true when a place is trying to tout the nutritional benefits of booze.
HG SPLY, CO. is one of these joints that cater to food fad fans. The About Us page of its website is chock full of esoteric copy like, “Living HG is not about living with restraint, but about living with the perfect amount. It’s about balance decided by you, not us. It’s about giving the world the ability to eat how and what they want.” Huh? That’s a lot of pressure to put on me when I’m just interested in seeing what goes into your frozen Moscow mule. Spoiler alert: It’s kombucha.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, my significant other and I decided to check out the Fort Worth HG patio, but it wasn’t my maiden voyage. During my single years, I had been to the Dallas location once. My date picked the spot because he was a crossfitting/paleo enthusiast and apparently this restaurant was a mecca for his people. For hours, he blathered on about his diet and how “doing FRAN” kicked his ass that day, which I thought was the name of a kinky afternoon hookup but which turned out to be a specific workout.
Between the quixotic website copy and the mind-numbing date with Mr. Clean, I didn’t have high hopes for a second trip. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. The Fort Worth restaurant offers a much more inviting atmosphere than its Dallas sister-site. It also boasts one of the best patios around. Facing the Trinity River and directly on the trail, the accessible outdoor environs make for a great place to jump off your bike and grab a cold one. There was a fun group of cyclists taking advantage of the trail’s proximity next to us, and they didn’t look out of place drinking beers in workout gear. Between the ample shade, copious fans, and the breeze off the water, the scene was downright pleasant for July in Texas. I have often walked my dogs past this spot, and I like the fact that it’s Fido-friendly, too.
In the summer, I crave things with cucumber in them, and this menu delivers. If you like a little sweetness, check out the Smash with cucumber-infused vodka, lime, mint, and turbinado raw sugar (calorically identical to regular sugar but sounding cooler than its granulated counterpart). I wasn’t in the mood for more sweetness, so on the second round, I elected for a perfect icy cucumber-infused vodka with Topo Chico and a twist of lime. My partner went for the Old Fashioned made with cinnamon and vanilla-infused Old Grand-Dad bourbon, and the flavor was a perfect balance without being overpowering or cloying.
Everywhere on this menu you could spy trendy ingredients meant to appeal to health-conscious patrons, like the Frozen Double Under, which features beet-infused tequila. There is even a whole section of non-alcoholic concoctions, including cold-pressed juices, which make HG a nice place to hit up with friends who don’t imbibe. The service at the bar was surprisingly slow in the beginning, but our bartender seemed to get out of the weeds as the orders picked up. I’ll definitely kick it on the patio again and try to avoid laughing at the nonexistent health benefits of the beer I’m tossing back.
HG SPLY, CO., 1621 River Run, Ste176, FW. 682-730-6070.