The panic began at midday Monday.
Callers and commenters were frantic: "What's happened to Fred's?"
Two events combined to set off turmoil in the Cultural District: Fred's demolished the patio and its stockade fence for remodeling. Monday is always a day off.
With the doors locked for a day and construction ongoing, diners feared losing the 62-year-old cafe and its famous Diablo burger to the great West Seventh Street urban village monster.
"People were freaking out," chef Terry Chandler said. "We are building a bigger, better patio. Till then, just come on in the shack. It might look shaky, but it hasn't blown down yet."
Fred's is an outpost of old-time beer-bar-and-grill culture in the middle of sushi bars and martini lounges.
The menu ranges from grilled steaks with chipotle butter to portobello quesadillas, but most customers come for the half-pound Fredburger or its cousins, the chipotle-jalapeño Diablo or the serrano burger.
The makeshift, fortlike patio replaced a sand volleyball court more than 10 years ago, and Chandler added the cedar stockade fence to block the view of the surrounding industrial area.
Now, the warehouses have been replaced by tony restaurants, with American F+B yet to come next door.
"We don't need to look like a fort anymore," Chandler said.
The patio bar will move to the corner on Currie Street, with bands playing next to the cafe.
Chandler hopes to finish by October and reopen with an '80s theme party. (The Chandlers took over the cafe and renamed it Fred's in 1978.)
Fred's is open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays at 915 Currie St., 817-332-0083; fredstexascafe.com. A cousin, Fred's North, is open every day at 2730 Western Center Blvd., 817-232-0111.
Roanoke's little piece of Germany is moving north.
Gerhard's German Restaurant, which never seemed to fit on Roanoke's restaurant row, will move to Denton later this year and open downtown there at 222 W. Hickory St.
Gerhard Pelzer's wife, Valrie, said the couple love Roanoke but that they want to create an old-time hofbräuhaus, and the Denton square is a better setting. Denton is also closer to German-American towns in Cooke County, and the new Gerhard's can become a stop on the way to festivals.
Gerhard's continues in Roanoke until about October. It's open for lunch and dinner daily; 301 S. Oak St., 817-491-0300, gvrestaurants.com.
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