This Friday will mark the grand opening of Buffalo Bros’ second location. The popular restaurant and pub is the collective brainchild of Ed McOwen and chef Jon Bonnell. McOwen hails from the Queen City. Around 12 years ago, he told Bonnell that a Buffalo-style bar that serves wings the “right way” would be a hit with Fort Worthians. Based on the large following the sports bar has garnered, his boast appears to have proven right. I sat down with Bonnell during a busy friend and family gathering at the new downtown location to chat about the restaurant and sports bar.
Beer will be a “big deal” here, Bonnell told me.
A total of 72 taps adorn the central tap wall. Behind the tap wall is a mural depicting the 2017 Buffalo Bills win over the Colts in the midst of a blizzard. The brews run from a climate-controlled keg box and through refrigerated lines before reaching thirsty customers. Bonnell is a fan of Fort Worth’s microbreweries and has allotted tap space accordingly. I asked Bonnell what he attributes the success of the original TCU location to.
“If you do really good bar food, people are going to love it,” Bonnell said. “It’s not hard to do bar food, but you have to be able to cook. You can’t do the cheapest thing possible. Most bars have the same type of menu. We start from scratch, rise our own dough, and buy the highest grade of chicken for our wings.”
Buffalo Bros fans can expect the same daily specials (Winging Wednesday included) plus a few new items at the downtown locale. When Bonnell isn’t putting in overtime at his restaurants, he works to instill a love of cooking with his two kids, ages 8 and 12.
“I love to take Monday nights off,” he said, noting that his wife is the family chef most nights. “We will go to Central Market, and I’ll ask them, ‘What do you want?’ ”
Nothing is off the culinary table. Artichokes and a whole octopus were recent choices the Bonnell family snagged for dinner. The adventurous approach to cooking keeps the task light and fun.
Bonnell confirmed what many of us have noticed. Fort Worth’s food scene “is on fire.”
“We are finally known as a food town,” he said. “We have Thai and sushi — things that did not exist 10 years ago. To see how Fort Worth is growing is awesome. Barbecue is exploding. We have a dedicated seafood restaurant (Waters Restaurant) in Cowtown. How great is that?”
When I mentioned that Bonnell and his team have been a big part of that growth, he redirected the credit.
“I like to think we helped out,” he said, “but it was destined to happen. I’m glad to be part of it.”
Women business owners and chefs like Melt’s Kari Crow and Clay Pigeon’s Bria Downey are taking on prominent leadership positions within the local restaurant scene, he added.
“Women are crushing it — in the kitchen, in the front of the house, and behind the bar,” he said. “It’s great to see.”
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On Tap this Week:
Back to School Trivia Night at PIB
From Panther Island Brewing: It’s that dreaded time of year again with summers winding down and back to school is right around the corner! Come out and test your school-house knowledge and all things pop culture! We’re also doing something special this go-round and gathering school supplies for FWISD. Bring three school supplies or a $5 CASH donation and you’ll receive a brew on us! Mega rad prizes will be given out for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, as well as bonus questions prizes throughout the night! Visit the event page here.
End of Summer Happy Hour
From Cowtown Brewing Company: Stop by the brewery on Saturday, August 3rd to continue our celebration of International Beer Day with our End of Summer Happy Hour on Saturdays until September. From 11am to 3pm all regular pours will be $2 off. Get a pour, a give a toast to beer! Visit the event page here.