Stockyards venture the latest for cowboy chef Spears

Horseshoe Hill

Horseshoe Hill

204 W. Exchange Ave.

Celebrity chef/cowboy chef Grady Spears held the soft opening of his much anticipated Horseshoe Hill Cafe in the Stockyards July 16 and he’s excited about the new venture.

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“It is a very intimate place – only about 60 seats. This is just what I wanted to do,” said Spears.

The expanding menu will feature his to-die-for chicken-fried steaks front and center. His cowboy side dishes are just as famous, though. “I plan to expand the menu each week, but you can expect chicken-fried steak to be the backbone, served alongside camp biscuits, calf fries and enchiladas,” Spears said.

The menu has been hush-hush for months, but here’s a sneak peek at the menu for the week of July 23. At Horseshoe Hill Cafe you can get your chicken-fried steak the “cowboy way” with peppered cream gravy, the “vaquero way” with cheese enchiladas, the “farmer’s way” with chili gravy and a fried egg, the “frontier way” alongside a cheese chili relleno, or “Matt’s way” with chili con carne and queso blanco. Also on the menu is a dry-aged 16-ounce ribeye steak, green chili chicken enchiladas and a double-cut mesquite-smoked pork chop. Sides currently on the menu include blue cheese coleslaw, ranch beans, house salad, honey-roasted carrots, creamed corn and chipotle potato salad.

The Lazy Susan section of the chalkboard menu has those famous Rocky Mountain oysters, his Texana deviled eggs and snack-sized chicken-fried steak sliders. Leta’s steak salad was another addition that week, with oven-dried tomatoes and cornbread croutons.

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The Breads and Spreads section is where you will find the buttermilk cheddar biscuits served with gravy and rosemary orange jam. I cannot wait to taste the pan de campo (campfire bread) served with either candied bacon and greens or aged ribeye and tomatoes.

Spears plans to keep a close eye on his new venture while commuting to Houston regularly to oversee the menu at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. “I can’t believe I am beginning my seventh year as a consulting chef at the stadium. It has been a busy few weeks back and forth,” he said.

If you are new to town you may be wondering why all the fuss. What’s with all the murmurings, whispers and excitement over a new hole-in-the-wall chicken-fried steak joint?

For those who don’t know the background, here is a primer to get you up to speed. Grady Spears was the original “cowboy chef,” and not just in Fort Worth. He coined the phrase and put Cowtown cuisine on the map. He introduced the world to what real-life cowboys had been eating on cattle drives and by camp fires for generations.

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(Richard Connor says Grady Spears is an original who’s unfazed by fame. Read Connor’s column.)

It was nothing new really, he didn’t reinvent the wheel. He just repackaged it and polished it up for new clientele. But the packaging was brilliant. With his affable personality and winning smile, Spears quickly became the darling of publishers and television cooking shows. Cookbooks were written, and sold in mass quantities; restaurants were opened (Reata, Grady’s, and Grady’s Line Camp, to name a few); and his dance-card was filled from New York to the Governor’s Mansion in Austin to Beverly Hills.

A graduate of Arlington Heights High School, he was a local success story that folks couldn’t get enough of. We were all proud to hail from the same hometown.

That is why people still get a little giddy when he opens something new. We have been on the Grady-train for a lot of years, and we can’t wait to see what the next stop will be. My mouth is still watering over the velvety tomahawk pork chop he was serving at Grady’s Line Camp in Tolar. No matter what you may have heard (or read recently), chef Spears is more than just another “cook.” He is a talented chef, and he still has more fans than you can shake a stick at.

“Opening week has been a whirlwind, but I am so glad to be back in Fort Worth,” Spears said. “We are slowly but surely working the kinks out of service, and it’s been great to see so many friendly faces walking through the door.”