Break The Chain
by Lanny P Lancarte II
The restaurant climate in Fort Worth is rapidly changing. When I was growing up in Fort Worth, places like Joe T.’s and Angelo’s defined the restaurant scene. Of course, it was a much smaller town that seemed to be identified by the Stock Show, Colonial, Mayfest, and TCU. Walking into a restaurant was like walking into a party of friends where at most you were one degree of separation from everyone in the room.
Today I walk around Righteous Foods and other restaurants, and often I don’t know a single person in the room. And I fucking love it. The growth and diversity we have in our town is incredible; people are moving to Funkytown because we have cool shit going on, and people have shown up to join the party.
The double-edged sword here is that there are lots of folks capitalizing on our growth. They don’t live in Fort Worth and don’t have the emotional connection to our town that the rest of us do. It takes me back to my younger days, when I might have said “Hey man, this is a Fort Worth party; you guys need to pack your shit and skip your feet.” But big developers and their Rolodex of chains are deep-pocket-bullies who seem to make a living out of crashing cool parties.
Dudes are flooding our market with their typical brands and turning the cool dial on Fort Worth slightly down. I am starting to think they are pointing the Fort Worth ship in the direction of a vanilla metropolitan island that might as well be shipwrecked anywhere in the country.
Am I against progress? Hell. To. The. No. Am I scared of competition? Bring it Bitches. Do I want to keep the funk in in our town as much as possible? You bet your sweet ass I do.
So, what’s a hungry diner to do?
When you go out for dinner, check the website of the buckets that you pitch your dimes into and see where they are headquartered. If it’s not here, consider if you want Fort Worth to look like one of those towns. Nothing against another city, but we’ve chosen Fort Worth as our home, right?
We aren’t Austin, and we aren’t Dallas, so let’s support the local entrepreneurs in our town who have vision AND ability so that they can open more locations unique to our city. If you’re moving here, living here, and doing business here, then right on; keep adding your flavor. The Fort Worth I love is all inclusive and totally cool. It’s the out-of-towners and even some in towners who are sending their dollars out that I’m not digging.
If you know any developers who are ACTUALLY willing to put their marbles in our jars as opposed to supplying lip service about trying to get local operators in their projects solely to receive tax incentives and credits before ultimately signing these chains, tell them to give me a jingle.
To the local entrepreneurs out there, collaborate but don’t imitate, and keep a beat on what’s coming down the channel. But, remember it’s a competitive market out there, and you gotta be original and all-in to fight for your spot on this new dance floor of competition.
Let’s do this, Fort Worth dreamers; let’s keep shit real. Real Authentic. Real Funky.
Keep on Rocking in the Free World.