Funky Picnic Brewery & Cafe, 401 Bryan Av, Ste 117, FW. 817-708-76104. 11am-8pm Sun, 11am-10pm Wed-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Forget the red-checkered blanket — balance is the key to a successful picnic, unless you want potato salad dribbled down your shirt and a lap full of beer. Funky Picnic Brewery & Café plays the balance well, pairing a fun-loving vibe with elevated cuisine that’s crafted with finesse. Flavors frolic in harmony: salty with sweet, nutty with bitter, and creamy with bright. Someone in the kitchen knows what they are doing.
Co-owners Samantha Glen, Jenni Hanley, John Koch, and Collin Zreet opened the seven-barrel brewery and restaurant in the South Main Street area last month. It’s the fourth brewery in the neighborhood, joining Rahr, HopFusion, and Collective Brewing. But there’s no cutthroat competition here. Funky Picnic walks the walk of Fort Worth’s friendly craft beer culture by serving beers from all three breweries on tap. Other Texas beers are represented on the glassware, which comes from breweries across the state.
My guest and I joined a boisterous crowd on a Saturday evening. The playground mood was set off by chalkboard-doodle walls and cheerful yellow chairs. Squeaky kids tinkered with toys under a giant glowing PROST sign. Big windows rolled open along one wall just as soon as the outdoor temperature cooled to slightly below hell’s front porch. Clever little details make the brewpub feel special, from National Park-themed table cards to quirky signs in the restroom. Such attention to detail also shows just how much the people behind the curtain care.
Prices for the no-side sandwiches seem a little high until you realize that tax is already included — and that the food lives up to the hype. On the charcuterie board, a pickled pink carrot, a finger-like conversation piece that we all had to try, stole the show. But not before we finished the melt-in-your-mouth cheeses from Pachi Pachi Farms, smeared with fragrant fig paste on seeded crackers. Our waiter stopped by to mention he’d bring more crackers whenever we wanted, his first “win” in an evening of exceptional service from start to finish. He handled my continuous onslaught of questions with grace, was honest when he didn’t know something, and returned promptly with the answer.
Hands-down the most beautiful bite of the night, the blackberry bruschetta, shone with a summery purple salsa over pearly ricotta. The beer cheese fondue arrived in an adorable black pot and quickly started to disappear. We sopped up the mild cheese with cubes of spongy house-made focaccia.
Funky Picnic’s brews appear frequently in the kitchen’s food, like the house-brined IPA pickles with a tang of apple cider vinegar. The brewpub is all about pairing their beers and bites, but the Hashtag Influencer IPA sure seemed to go with everything.
Beer-bacon jam played nice with the smoked cheddar cheese in Throw Your Hands in the Heirloom, a simple yet refined sammy. The juicy tomato and slightly sweet jam ignited a flavor bomb in the sourdough-flanked sandwich. The Jimmy Pesto roasted chicken sandwich seemed a little Plain Jane by comparison, despite its vivid green pesto and lemon aioli. We gobbled down the hot-from-the-fryer potato chips and then attacked the German potato salad. Warm and chunky, it featured a delicate beer-mustard dressing that united a rainbow of golden and purple spuds, rings of boiled eggs, and tiny green onions.
The surprise blockbuster of the night slid onto the table under a drift of powdered sugar: Aww Nuts, a PB&J sandwich on steroids. Top-quality berry jam and peanut butter burrowed inside next to Granny Smith apples and thick-armed bacon. We ordered the sandwich on a whim and wound up loving it the most. Like all the sandwiches at Funky Picnic, the bread was fresh and crusty-soft. I almost asked for another, but we would soon have to tap out as the desserts arrived.
A monstrous wedge of key lime pie walked to our table on its own, its eight-foot-thick crust buttressing a meticulous balance of tart and sweet. No frou-frou meringue here – a simple dollop of whipped cream did the trick. The warm brownie with vanilla ice cream is perhaps the most cliched of restaurant desserts, right up there with crème brulée and cheesecake. But the kitchen’s brownie was no basic bitch. A peanut butter stout glaze, beer caramel drizzle, and perfectly baked brownie transformed an ordinary dessert into a spoon-jousting free-for-all.
Since my initial visit to Funky Picnic, I’ve returned twice and experienced the same excellent service and food. My fellow diners have all been impressed, from my young foodie friends to my 80-year-old father who “just wants a normal beer!”
A sunny atmosphere and standout cuisine set Funky Picnic on solid ground, rain or shine. Watch for a new Sunday brunch menu to debut on September 1.
Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
Beer cheese fondue $9
Blackberry bruschetta $6
Throw Your Hands in the Heir-Loom $13
Jimmy Pesto $14
Aww Nuts $12