Graze Craze, 4750 Bryant Irvin Rd, Ste 808, FW. 817-886-8933. 10am-3pm Sun, 8am-6pm Mon-Sat.
At this point, anyone can rustle up a grazing board, from little dudes with their Lunchables to my twentysomething daughter, who favors dessert-based extravaganzas. I’ve been on the receiving end of a sweet birthday grazing board from her, and you haven’t lived until someone has transformed Little Debbies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Red Vines into artfully rendered butterflies and flowers just for you.
The shtick with Graze Craze is that charcuterie-inspired grazing boards should be accessible, perhaps not 24/7 but at least on a daily basis. The new location is open daily before breakfast and after work. Graze Craze is a chain with six locations in Texas, and it’s definitely corporate. But the sweet Fort Worth-based owners Celeena and Donnie Bedore are assembling the cookie-cutter fresh ingredients with love notes and enthusiasm.
If you order by early afternoon on a weekday, your board will be ready by closing time. Choose from the more traditional Gone Grazey (meats, cheeses, hummus, a handful of nuts and berries, a few pieces of chocolate bark, crackers, and three different kinds of bread) or a keto-style board that’s heavier on the meats, with ham, soppressata, and salami along with broccoli, cauliflower, more cheeses, and a cottage cheese dill dip for dunking the carrot sticks, tomatoes, and crudité.
Most places will sell charcuterie for 10 people or more, but Graze Craze offers a variety of sizes if you just want a nibble. The Char-cutie-cup is an individual serving of goodness. The veggie version comes with a single slice of both Manchego and sharp Dubliner cheese, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and asparagus along with crackers. And the container (reminiscent of a large French fry container, minus the grease stains) is perfectly sized to fit in your car’s beverage holder. I don’t know who needs to hear that. I’ve spent more money on junk food to travel home with, and I am not embarrassed that I polished off the cute little cup halfway home. The unblanched asparagus wasn’t terrible, but I’m sure I’d have been happier if I’d waited until I got to the table to dunk the raw veggies into the lemon-dill mayonnaise.
The Lone Grazer was a good size for two to share (especially if one of us had just eaten a cup of fruit and veggies with a little cheese). The breads were tasty. The baguette paired well with the thick, salty chunks of fennel-kissed ham, while the sweeter dessert bread was tasty with a smear of raspberry jam and the savory brie. The prosciutto managed to be both salty and slightly floral. One small quibble: There wasn’t a lot of cheese in the smaller board. A single piece of brie and four slices of mixed deli-style cheese caused my dining partner to mutter and run to the refrigerator for some Swiss to go with his porky meats. The hummus was definitely not house-made, but still, the variety of veggies and berries and three perfect squares of nut-kissed chocolate bark was pleasant.
Certainly, there are notable locally owned places to get your graze on. If you haven’t tried the house-cured and smoked meat with veggies and pickles plated on a bespoke wood plank or giant salt platter at Grace (777 Main St, 817-877-3388), you should head over there quickly. Elsewhere, Callie Salls is acknowledged as the local queen of grazing boards, and you can order one of her masterpieces loaded with seasonal cheeses, cured meats, fancy olives, and sweet or spicy nuts from her Meyer & Sage (2621 Whitmore St, 817-386-5009) in time for Thanksgiving. At Piatello (5924 Convair Dr, 817-349-0484), Chef Marcus Paslay makes some of the most beautiful boards, with parmesan and house-made mozzarella. At The Charcuterie Sisters (7409 Columbia Drive, Arlington, TheCharcuterieSisters.com), you get the best of all possible worlds, with individual charcuterie cones, cups, and little bento-style charcuterie boxes.
But none of these options will offer any kind of instant gratification. And that’s where Graze Craze excels. Sure, Costco or Central Market will sell you the charcuterie fixins, and, for that matter, you can put the basics together from Aldi or Trader Joe’s, but if you just want a grazey snack in a hurry (and you realize that you can’t really assemble something with the amount of variety for around $15-ish per person), Graze Craze will do the trick.
Vegetarian Char-cutie-cup $8
The Lone Grazer $27