If you’ve been craving a hamburger from iconic Fort Worth burger joint Fred’s Texas Café and wondering when you’ll be able to get it, take heart – the wait is almost over.
Like their longtime customers, Fred’s co-owners Quincy Wallace and Terry Chandler are eagerly anticipating the early-to-mid-March opening of the restaurant’s new and expanded location at 7101 Camp Bowie West. The original location on Currie Street closed its doors on Dec. 31.
The need to move became imperative when owners JD and Gari Chandler – who purchased the location in 1978 – decided to retire and sold the building. Their son, Terry, who has been running the restaurant since 2005, is now the co-owner with Wallace (2011 buy-in after managing since 2004) and the duo see this as an opportunity to bring new life to the legendary burger joint.
“The decision to move Fred’s is a hard one, but the right one if we want to keep making great food for great people,” Wallace said. “I’m gonna miss going into that building every day like a lot of our loyal regulars.”
Wallace grew up loving Fred’s. He recalled how his father would take him there as a youngster even before the Chandlers came along.
“My dad would take me to the diner every Saturday when I was a little boy, and when it changed owners and became Fred’s, we kept going until many years later, almost by chance, I found myself running it,” Wallace said. “The Chandlers are my family, and continuing their legacy is really important to both Terry and me. This isn’t a goodbye. Instead, it is an opportunity to bring what we’ve created together to new people across Fort Worth.”
The new location will include an extended patio, a bigger indoor dining space, event stage, and direct lot and street parking access. Chandler and Wallace plan to bring signature design elements and even some of the actual decor from Currie Street to the new location, including booths, the hallmark truck outside the cafe, and a few elements from the grill to ensure the flavor of Fred’s isn’t lost in its new home.
The new location will allow diners to enjoy an extended covered outdoor patio equipped with garage doors that can be opened on a beautiful afternoon or closed during inclement weather, plus heating and cooling elements.
And, as a fun addition to the new digs, the owners want to bring back the return of seasonal and specialty menu items of the past. The new location will celebrate the launch of Friday night specials and old-timer favorites from the grill. More information and menu rollouts will be announced on the restaurant’s social media channels as the opening nears.
The opening of the new location will also herald the promotion of Fabian Alvarado to the newly created position of head chef. Alvarado is a longtime member of the Fred’s family and no stranger to folks in the Fort Worth dining scene, having worked on the chuckwagon catering operation with Wallace as part of the original Fred’s, along with stops at LaPerla, Bearded Lady and LeCep.
Alvarado will oversee new additions to the Fred’s menu, including the return of beloved lunch specials, the rollout of a brunch menu later this year, and country cooking specialties recalling his experience on the chuckwagon.
“Fabian has been with us for a long time now and will be a great asset for Fred’s as we grow. I got to see his talent and work ethic cooking together on the chuckwagon all those years,” Wallace said. “He’s got a great palate and knows a lot about the culinary world. He’s going to bring a little bit of youth and renegade spirit to the food at Fred’s.
Wallace said the era for Fred’s will go beyond the opening of the
Camp Bowie location: “We have big plans for expansion in the way of menu additions as well as new locations ahead in 2022. Our first step will be in the opening of our Camp Bowie location sometime in March, but it won’t stop there. Stay tuned for new announcements later this year.”
While awaiting the new opening, folks craving western cuisine classics can visit Fred’s Texas Cafe Western Center at 2730 Western Center in north Fort Worth.
And there’s more. Fred’s recently announced the top three contenders in the restaurant’s inaugural Renegade Food Challenge, featuring culinary options that will be available at both locations this spring.
With the decision put in the hands – and mouths – of Fred’s supporters, three submissions rose to the top for a final round of voting at www.fredstexascafe.com/renegade-challenge. Voting closes on Feb. 28.
“We have wanted to create a Fred’s food challenge for a long time,” Wallace said. “We know Fred’s customers and family are just crazy enough to do it too,” he said. “When we launched the contest, we weren’t sure what we’d get back, but I have to say people did not disappoint.”
The three finalists are:
– The Big Ugly Burger : This is a triple Big Fred burger and combines three of Fred’s all-time favorites, the Hangover Helper, the Diablo and Serrano burgers. It’s served with a pound of fries.
– A Whole Dang Yardbird: Chicken marinated in Texas Pete Xxtra Hot and buttermilk, deep-fried extra crispy, served with a pound of fries and a side salad.
– Texas-Sized Chicken Fried Steak: A pound of chicken fried steak served with gravy, a whole fried jalapeño, a pound of fries and a side salad.
And, of course, all are served with a cold beer.
The winner will be revealed in conjunction with the grand opening celebration of the new location.