According to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index study, Fort Worth has become one of the 58 healthiest cities in the nation, while the United States, for the most part, is on the decline. What makes us so special? The answer, in part, is that after a rocky start six years ago, we’ve finally embraced the efforts of the Blue Zones Project, which is an organization that works with the community to improve the well-being of its citizens, including their home, work, and social lives.
Along with testimonials from local people on how they’ve personally changed their routine and entered into a state of wellness, BlueZonesProject.com has lists of grocery stores, caterers, and restaurants that are approved by the program. As this week is our official Alive & Kicking healthy-living issue, below are eight Blue Zones restaurants with Blue Zones menu items and what our food critics think of them.
1.) Byblos Mediterranean Lebanese Restaurant (1406 N Main St, 817-625-9667) won our Critic’s Choice for Best Vegetarian Selection in Best Of 2020. Mediterranean food leans heavily on plant-based cuisine, with a little dairy thrown in for interest. Eight of the 10 appetizers on Byblos’ menu are vegan or vegetarian, with cheeses made from yogurt, sheep’s milk, or cow’s milk, so you could create an essentially vegetarian mezze splurge for starters. All four soups and salads are vegetarian, and Byblos offers three vegetarian entrees. In addition to a moussaka with baked, not fried, eggplant and slightly nutty whole chickpeas, the fatt-ii bil-laban and moojjadra will keep vegetarians happy even as the carnivores enjoy their gyros and shish tawook.
2.) Cafe Modern (3200 Darnell St, 817-738-9215) launched a new menu under Wolfgang Puck Catering and Executive Chef Jett Mora’s new management team this past summer. The Weekly’s Kristian Lin said, “Maybe you figure that an art museum should be serving molecular gastronomy-inspired fare, dishes that are pieces of art in their own right. Such a thing would be really cool, but there’s some merit to the idea of going in the other direction, giving the customers a break from heavy contemplation with comforting flavors and textures and letting them save their deep thoughts for the art on the walls. That’s where Cafe Modern is, and they do it well.”
3.) Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge (401 W Magnolia Av, 817-708-2663) was recently visited by our own Edward Brown as part of his Hittin’ the Fort video series with Weekly video guy Wyatt Newquist. “We’ve heard a lot of buzz about the brunches, late-night cocktails, and duck wings at Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge, so we stopped by to chat up the Near Southside restaurant’s owner and executive chef, Ben Merritt. The popular restaurateur told us about his culinary journey that started in Grapevine. He also recommended popular brunch items that have made Fixture a destination for locals.” You can watch our past episodes on IGTV @FortWorthWeekly.
4.) Grand Cru Wine Bar (1257 W Magnolia Av, 817-923-1717) made quite a snack impression on our Last Call columnist a few years back. “About halfway through my extreme black beer, I figured since I was at a place dedicated to sophisticated palates, I might as well go whole hog. Or half-cheese anyway. Grand Cru offers an appetizing selection of snacks ranging from cheese trays to Mediterranean fare. I went with a serving of Spanish Manchego and English coast cheddar. After I finished my beer, I asked the bartender to pick a glass of wine within the parameters of dry and spicy, and she came back with a Portuguese red that seemed to give the cheddar a bold chocolate note. … I ate more cheddar, my brain wondering if each successive bite was more chocolaty than the last.”
5.) Local Foods Kitchen (4548 Hardwood Dr, 817-238-3464) won Critic’s Choice for Best Breakfast in Best Of 2018. Here are the three words you need to know about Local Foods Kitchen: smoked brisket hash. That dish is seriously incredible, though the rest of the breakfast menu makes the first meal of the day one to remember. Locally sourced ingredients transform ol’ standbys like omelets and blueberry pancakes into gems, but there are also breakfast burritos, street tacos (the eggs queso fresco tacos are cheesy, creamy heaven), and a tomato-avocado-bacon-lettuce-egg sandwich on toasted sourdough with mayo and Sriracha to wow your palate.
6.) Los Vaqueros (2629 N Main St, 817-624-151) was visited by our Chow, Baby columnist who had mixed feelings but found comfort in the decor and a love for its red salsa. “I was immediately struck by the size of the place. Most Northside eateries are a little on the cramped side, but you can really stretch out your legs there. It also has a nice vintage feel, with autographed pictures of bygone celebrities adorning the wall and an old gas station sign out in the parking lot.” As for the red salsa, it’s a must-try, “It’s a little on the chunky side, with just enough heat to make you reach for your water but not enough to cause you to tear up.”
7.) Spiral Diner & Bakery (1314 W Magnolia Av, 817-332-8834) — which is turning 20 this year — won Critic’s Choice for Best Vegan Dish in Best Of 2021 for its Texas Hot Chik’n Sandwich. “Not only is it the best vegan dish out there, but it’s maybe the best sandwich we’ve had in a long time. Don’t know about the calorie or fat content and, frankly, don’t care. Tossed in a blend of subtle barbecue and Buffalo sauces and served on a buttered sesame-seed bun with lettuce (some), pickles, and mayonnaise, the crispily breaded Chik’n strips simply melt in your mouth while stuffing it aggressively with savoriness. Little tip: Tell Spiral to hold the obligatory side of chips and instead order (and pay extra for) a cup of the scrumptious pasta salad. A bite of that and a bite of the Texas Hot at the same time? *chef’s kiss*”
8.) Thai Select (4630 SW Loop 820, 817-731-0455) won Critic’s Choice for Best Thai in Best Of 2019. “An unassuming restaurant in a strip shopping center just south of the Hulen Mall craziness, Thai Select is the slightly plainer older sister of West Magnolia Avenue’s Spice and a couple of other Thai restaurants all owned by the same family. The casual atmosphere belies the competence of the kitchen staff, who continuously execute classic renditions of Thai favorites. Well-priced lunch specials will keep you on time and on track during the day, and the generously portioned dinner menu provides the perfect late-night snack.”
For info on other great Blue Zones-approved dining options, go to Info.BlueZonesProject.com/ForWorth_Approved.