A swelling population and steady business growth have made new restaurant openings a weekly occurrence. That was far from true 10 years ago when food blogger/writer Josie Villa-Singleton started Eat this Fort Worth, an online forum to “Eat, Experience, and Connect” with the local food scene.
We met up to chat at Tim Love’s new restaurant, Gemelle. We were hoping to grab some “America/Italian” fare but had to settle for bright orange cocktails instead. Villa-Singleton said her blog was inspired by local fuel critics.
“My dream job at the time was to be a food writer,” she recalled. “That’s when Fort Worth’s food culture was starting to turn. Things were happening, and I found that exciting.”
The blog began getting clicks, and Josie began connecting with other food influencers like Crystal Willars Vastine, founder of Fort Worth Foodie (Instagram @fwfoodie) via Twitter. The early blogging efforts led to professional clips in 76107 Magazine, Fort Worth Weekly, Fort Worth Foodie Magazine, and online blogs for Visit Fort Worth.
Villa-Singleton, who has a background in counseling/psychology, made the switch to graphic design several years ago. The refocus allowed to further refine the quality of her online presence. Villa-Singleton has carved a unique niche in the local food writing world. While some critics spend 400 words describing a dish in great detail, the self-taught blogger is more concerned with the over dining experience — that important “fun factor” that draws people back to their favorite restaurant week after week.
So what makes for a great dining experience?
“Great food and great service,” she said. The ambiance is important, but it “doesn’t even to be a part of it. I’ve had great meals at dank taquerias.”
Lately, Villa-Singleton has been focused on two great Fort Worth unifiers: margaritas and tacos. The original concept came about after some friendly but firm nudging from Melt founder Kari Crowe. The two friends were musing on how fun it would be if Fort Worth had a taco/margarita tour. After Crowe suggested that Villa-Singleton make the concept a reality, and after several months of business planning, Fort Worth finally had its first Taco and Margarita Tour. The inaugural launch was May 5.
Villa-Singleton found four taquerias that had the “perfect combo” of experience, vibe, food, and size. Some spots had great Mexican grub but limited seating. Other popular locations had notoriously long lines. Salsa Limon, Tacos Del Norte, and Los Tacos H’s, among others, made the cut.
“I’ve been following and writing about [these spots] since they opened,” Villa-Singleton said. “Part of the tour is about telling the stories of the owners.”
The tours are also meant to connect strangers around a shared love of tacos and margaritas. It’s a formula that’s working. Villa-Singleton plans to expand the tours to feature barbecue and craft beer later this fall and into next year.
“The subject of the tours will change,” she said. “The goal is to highlight the best and most unique parts of Fort Worth. Hopefully, this is a conduit for people to meet new people. I want our guests to have a wonderful experience and to make connections along the way.”
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On Tap this Week:
Wild Acre Brewing Company Turns 3
From WIBC: Come out and party with us! Saturday, June 15th from 11am to 6pm we are celebrating our 3 year anniversary. We will be tapping over 20+ beers, including taproom exclusives like Home Grown Cucumber Kölsch, Wreck Room IPA, and our gingerbread strong ale Snap’d, just to name a few. $20 gets you exclusive 3-year anniversary glassware and 8 half pours! Live music from David Michael George and Jake Paleschic. Food: Joe Riscky’s Barbeque & Alchemy Pops. Visit the event page here.