Near Southside continues with new openings

Scott Nishimura

Fort Worth’s Near Southside is enjoying a surge in restaurants, bars and shops expected to open this year. Latest announcement: Melt, a “craft” ice cream shop that Kari Crowe, a photographer and Near Southsider, plans to open this year in what used to be an old coffee shop aat 954 W. Rosedale St. “For years, my husband and I have said the South Side really needs an ice cream shop,” says Crowe, who envisions made-from-scratch seasonal flavors like lavender honey and sweet potato pumpkin. She wanted to be on West Magnolia, but chose the lower rent of West Rosedale. That’ll bring more competition – in the ice cream category – for Chadra Mezza on Park Place Drive in the same neighborhood, where restaurant owner and chef Nehme Elbitar’s icy concoctions range from Spice to Rosewater and Turkish Coffee. More announcements are in the offing. Land has been moving in the South Main Village area between Vickery Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue, says Megan Henderson, spokeswoman for the Fort Worth South Inc. economic development nonprofit. “If you’re an entrepreneur looking to take a risk, our neighborhood seems to be the landing spot,” she said. Other expected openings: * TreyMark Black-Eyed Vodka in historic Firehouse No. 5, 502 Bryan Ave. Ex-bean farmer Trey Nickels conjured up the idea to distill vodka from the crop. The company leased the old, remodeled firehouse. Expected production target date: Feb. 28. * Spice, 24 Plates and Proper, in the Magnolia May redevelopment, West Magnolia Avenue and May Street across from the Moncrief Cancer Institute. Spice, at 411 W. Magnolia Ave., a Thai restaurant owned by the family who runs the Thai Select restaurant in Southwest Fort Worth, is set to open in February or March, developer Dak Hatfield said. 24 Plates, 407 W. Magnolia Ave., a tapas restaurant and creation of caterer and retired Weatherford chiropractor Joel Kleven, is due to open in the spring. Proper, at 409 W. Magnolia Ave., a bar owned by Lisa Little-Adams, opened in January. The three buildings in the Magnolia May complex are arranged in a horseshoe around a courtyard, and each tenant has its own patio. Hatfield and his business partner, Andrew Blake, bought the package a year ago and opted for rehab instead of tearing them down and building medical offices, said Hatfield, who most recently teamed up to redo the former Supreme Golf warehouse on South Main Street into lofts. “We are not making as much money, but we are keeping the character of the street, and that was very important to us,” Hatfield said. He declined to say what he and Blake have invested. Of the 10,000 square feet leasable in the three buildings, he and Blake still have 3,300 square feet remaining in a two-story at 1306 May St. They expect to complete renovations in that building within a month and are fielding inquiries for restaurant, retail and office use. 24 Plates chef Beau Johnson and Kleven developed the small plates idea from Kleven’s catering forte in heavy appetizers. They are calling the menu “global tapas” – a mix of Italian, French, Mexican and Spanish. Dessert will be cupcake and wine pairings called Sweet Revenge. Kleven said he’s interviewing bakers to outsource the cupcake production because the 3,300-square-foot restaurant will be too small to have its own baking facility. 24 Plates’ indoor-outdoor bar will open onto its patio, Kleven said. * Republic Street whiskey bar and patio, 201 E. Hattie St. east of South Main. Entrepreneur Brian Reising has overhauled the interior of the former Lois bar and is expected to open the last week of January. * Cane Rosso, 815 W. Magnolia Ave. In the most heavily touted of the expected openings, the Dallas purveyor of Neapolitan pizza was due to open in late January in the former Ryan’s grocery and deli space. * Kent & Co. Wines, 1101 W. Magnolia Ave. Will Churchill and Corrie Watson, the brother and sister duo who operate Frank Kent Motor Co., are opening an 8,000-square-foot wine bar and package shop, automotive drop-off service center, and rotating collection of new and classic cars in a rehabbed building on the site. Kent’s auto dealership off West Loop 820 has a small restaurant. May is the scheduled opening date. * Grand Cru, a southwest Fort Worth wine shop, is moving to 1257 W. Magnolia Ave., with opening as early as late January. * Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour gym, 1714 8th Ave., run by a husband-wife team, is due to open in mid-February. * Nosredna Boutique Catering. Caterer and new food truck operator Carleen Anderson – Nosredna, Anderson spelled backwards – is hunting for a brick-and-mortar site in the South Main Village to open a “boutique lemonade stand” and supper-club-style restaurant, Fort Worth South’s Henderson says.