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Ascension Coffee, ZAAP Kitchen announce openings in Fort Worth

🕐 3 min read

 An Australian-style coffee shop and cafe and a restaurant focusing on Thai Street food and Lao cuisine are coming to Fort Worth.

 WestBend, University District’s retail & dining destination near the Trinity River, on Sept. 21 announced the opening of Ascension Coffee and ZAAP Kitchen this fall. 

“Trademark is thrilled to bring Ascension and ZAAP Kitchen to Fort Worth, as entrepreneurial brands with a unique story to tell,” said Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark Property, developer of WestBend. “Today’s consumers have a real thirst for passionate, independent retailers. Ascension is an Australian-style coffee shop and café that will bring a great new gathering spot for breakfast, lunch and through the evening. ZAAP Kitchen is family-owned, focusing on fresh, made to order, authentic Lao cuisine and Thai Street food. I believe both concepts will be well received by the Fort Worth market.” 

Ricotta Souffle Pancake Ascension courtesy

Ascension originally launched in Dallas in 2012 by restaurateur Russell Hayward. Growing up in Sydney, Australia, mealtime for Hayward meant sitting around a big table with family, friends, fresh food, bantering and debating. Hayward struggled finding a great cup of coffee in a warm, conversation-filled environment in the U.S. that also offered a chef-driven food menu. After a year spent researching and developing the concept, Hayward opened his first shop in Dallas’ Design District. Ascension’s entrance to Fort Worth with the 2,420-square-foot shop at WestBend will mark the brand’s sixth location in the metroplex. 

Daniel Velez who was raised in Ft. Worth, will be the General Manager and has been working in various locations across the DFW area.  “We cannot wait to finally open and serve my hometown with the finest tasting coffee in the world,” says Velez. Ascension believes in creating community and has curated this café with its own design to fit its new environment. Being a part of WestBend, we will offer an incredible patio on the river, spacious indoor seating, and coffee to-go directly from the trail. However guests choose to dine, we want everyone who comes into our café to feel safe and comfortable. We believe Ft. Worth will appreciate the taste of the highest quality, top 2% of coffee produced in the world and each menu item carefully created and inspired by Russell’s global travels. We hope our guests will like what we have created for our first shop west of DFW.”

Bagel and coffee Ascension

Ascension features grab & go coffee and local pastries from Black Rooster Bakery, as well as a full-service menu offering all day brekky, lunch, brunch and happy hour. Its coffee beans are sourced from countries around the world, such as Rwanda, Kenya, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Papua New Guinea.

ZAAP Kitchen courtesy

With a focus on traditional Lao cuisine and Thai Street food, family-owned and operated ZAAP Kitchen will open its doors by early November. Based in Dallas, WestBend will welcome the brand’s fourth store and first location in Fort Worth. While ZAAP Kitchen focuses on fast-casual dining in its modern and inviting space, each dish is hand-crafted with care and made to order. Quality, freshness and exemplary service are company pillars. Heading up the kitchen, Operating Partner and Chef Kevin Singharaj has an extensive culinary background, including chef work at coastal poke concepts in Seattle, Washington and locally at Nobu. Singharaj looks forward to creating signature dishes such as Tom Kha Soup, Green Papaya Salad, Nam Khao, Pineapple Fried Rice, Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai. Dine-in is offered with safety in mind. Delivery and to-go orders are also available. 

For more information about WestBend’s upcoming openings, events and safety protocols, please visit

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