The sign on the door tells all you need to know about the Czech-American Restaurant.
"Now serving margaritas," it advises.
"Try our famous pierogis."
An hour south of Fort Worth, the Picha family's old-school cafe in a former West confectionery shop is a crossroads for Texas cultures, serving pork schnitzel on the lunch menu alongside turkey, meatloaf or Mexican caldo "stew."
Since 1980, the Czech-American has drawn diners to downtown West for stuffed cabbage rolls, local sausage and kraut or "Czech fries," home-fried potatoes with onion.
The American side of the menu is represented by fried chicken, pot roast, chicken-fried steak and -- most of all -- the Pichas' sky-high meringue pies.
The Czech-American is open for lunch and dinner Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturdays, lunch only on Tuesdays. It's closed Sunday; 220 N. Main St., West, 254-826-3008.
The gastropub was always with us.
Before the term was coined, bars with better-than-average food were called bar-and-grills, or bistros, or just "that bar with the froufrou menu."
The newest bar with a froufrou menu is Reservoir, a broadly ambitious lounge, dining room and patio in the crowded Foch Street warehouses near West Seventh Street.
If there is any question whether Reservoir is more of a bar or a restaurant, that's answered by the cigarette smoke wafting from the patio into the dining room.
New canvas covers enclosing the patio were meant to keep out the north wind. But they also keep in the patio smoke, and that makes Reservoir seem like less of a gastropub and more of a grandiose bar-and-grill.
For what it's worth, Reservoir's bar food holds up. The Road House Burger ($10) is actually four sliders with bacon and a side of fries or salad. Friends have recommended the Cap'n Crunch-battered chicken fingers.
Someday when the air is clearer, I'll go back and try the roast chicken or chicken-fried steak ($13-$14) or a weekend brunch with ham-and-eggs atop French toast ($11) or breakfast biscuit sliders ($8).
Reservoir is open for lunch and dinner daily and at 10 a.m. weekends at 1001 Foch St.; 817-891-0677, bar-reservoir.com.
The much-awaited Daddy Jack's New England Lobster & Chowder House in Southlake is scheduled to open next week, maybe as soon as this weekend.
Watch 355 N. Carroll Ave.; 817-442-0983, daddyjacks.org.
Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com Weekend. 817-390-7538
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