The first restaurant in Fort Worth’s new River District, Salsa Limón, will be moving soon from its University Drive address to its new home at 5012 White Settlement Road as the 276-acre community of homes, townhomes and apartments takes shape in a bend of the Trinity River just west of downtown.
Chris Powers Jr., the founder and CEO of Fort Capital LP, the district’s lead developer, said he is excited about the addition of Salsa Limón. Plans for the new River District were announced in April. Phase I includes 46,000 square feet of retail and office space and 265 apartment units.
The move of Salsa Limón’s iconic Museo building will come as soon as the movers can string together a few dry days in a row. Weather permitting, the renamed Salsa Limón Distrito could be serving tacos by the end of October.
“River District will not be a retail-heavy area,” Powers said. “We want to focus more on healthy lifestyle and entertainment. Our residents will have easy access to the Trinity Trail system, and our private office tenants will have a lot of great food options to choose from, including Salsa Limón.”
The Trinity River winds around the development and will be a major amenity that the developers plan to focus on in every aspect of design. “We want to utilize the river. We look at the River District as a central destination in Fort Worth and one that our residents can take ownership of, right in their own neighborhood,” Powers said.
Crystal Springs on the River will be home to three of the district’s key entertainment venues: River House, a restaurant and live music venue; Nourish, which is billed as a health and wellness café; and the Truck Yard, which will be a beer garden with a treehouse bar. There will also be an amphitheater and ample retail and commercial office space to balance things out.
“Lake | Flato Architects designed the Crystal Springs component of the project and its Texas Hill Country vernacular, with warm woods and metal elements, will be repeated in our commercial buildings and apartments. Our own Fort Capital headquarters resembles a barn clad in corrugated metal,” he said. The luxury residential homes will be designed to blend with the context of the historic neighborhoods nearby such as Crestwood, Rivercrest and Monticello.
“We are working with GFF Architects now and finalizing the master plan. The layout of the entire district should be complete by November. Then we will be able to have conversations and make deals with all the inbound interest we have been receiving,” Powers said.
“Sometimes opportunities come all at once,” said Ramiro Ramirez, co-owner of Salsa Limón. Not only is he busy salvaging his shiny landmark building and readying it to re-open in the River District, but Ramirez will be opening his newest location, called Centro, in downtown Fort Worth in October as well. And he is finishing the negotiations on his first Dallas location, planned for early 2017 in a mid-century modern building in downtown Dallas.
Salsa Limón Distrito will be planted on an acre in the River District that is full of possibilities and has Ramirez enthralled by what it could become. His excitement is contagious.
Not only is he a savvy businessman who holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University, but Ramirez is just as interested in neighborhood planning, cultural awareness and promotion of a holistic approach to communities. He hopes his restaurants not only become a part of the communities where he plants them, but that they also help to shape those neighborhoods and their culture.
“We are fortunate to be partnered with Chris Powers. In fact without his vision this probably wouldn’t have happened,” Ramirez said. “Everything lined up and we all have the attitude of, ‘Why not? Let’s try something new.’ That opens the door to a lot of creativity.”
Ramirez envisions string lights twinkling in the trees and natural elements surrounding Distrito, including a dreamy grove of white crepe myrtles. “We think that natural, organic and real qualities are more pleasing. I plan to banish plastic from the site altogether.”
He hopes that in the near future the property will become a landmark destination for all, with slides and long rope swings hanging from the trees inviting children to play. “The site has amazing trees. I see our deck space having multiple levels – like a treehouse,” he said.
There will be repurposed shipping containers positioned near a community garden and filled with gardening supplies. Ramirez hopes to have nearby school children as well as residents of the Fireside Lodge retirement community visit and tend the garden regularly. “There is nothing better than having your cup of coffee in the morning and wandering through beds of fresh mint and other herbs,” he said.
There will also be a reflecting pool to dip your feet into, Ramirez said.
Salsa Limón also plans to turn a vintage camper into a “ridiculous” outdoor bar with giant letters hanging overhead. He envisions a space where neighbors can congregate and visitors will feel welcome.
“We are in the concept stage now, and the possibilities are endless. We hope that Fort Worth will come and visit us. It may take a while for the entire plan to come together. … The addition of the chickens, goats and llamas may have to wait until Phase II of our design,” he said. In the meantime, Salsa Limón’s simply stunning tacos will be the initial draw to the emerging River District.