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Here’s what Reata will look like when the Fort Worth restaurant returns to The Tower

March 21,2024

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Bud Kennedy here.

Reata Restaurant won’t return to The Tower until July.

But we now know how it will look.

New, bright vermilion red awnings will line the restaurant’s picture windows along Throckmorton Street and also West Fourth Street, according to an application filed with a city downtown review board.

Reata owner Mike Micallef has said the restaurant will move to 500 Throckmorton St. at the end of June. The lease is ending on the current location, 310 Houston St.

In the application, Reata’s owners hope the Throckmorton location will be “temporary.”

They are looking for a location with more space for private dining and events, maybe in a future hotel that has yet to take shape.

The move to a vacant streetside space at 500 Throckmorton — two blocks from the current location — is actually a return to the original address for Reata, the 28-year home of Texas “cowboy cuisine.”

Reata, known for steaks, chicken-fried steaks and signature dishes such as tenderloin tamales or jalapeno-cilantro soup, originally opened on the top floor of The Tower in 1996.

That restaurant was damaged by the tornado that struck downtown March 28, 2000 and closed in February 2001.

The new Reata will replace a Cantina Laredo location that closed in 2020 when downtown business slowed early in the COVID pandemic.

Micallef had hinted a year ago that the restaurant was looking at “some great locations in and around downtown.”

Reata’s announcement back then said nearby office towers, the Fort Worth Convention Center, the Bass Performance Hall and new hotels have made downtown a “thriving environment.”

“Our history with The Tower is both storied and strong,” Micallef was quoted in the statement.

Referring to the restaurant’s portability, Micallef said: “Like Fort Worth, Reata is a testament to resilience and rebirth. Together, we will continue to create unforgettable experiences, regardless of geography.”

A citywide search and widely promoted customer poll seeking advice on a new location with 12,000-20,000 square feet and “up to 200 parking spaces” instead led Reata back where it started.

Omni Hotels executive Bob Rowling had said a year ago that the hotel is talking to downtown restaurants about moving into the new second Omni tower, now under construction at 1500 Houston St.

He said landing the downtown restaurant he talked with “would be really exciting.”

The original Omni tower, 1300 Houston St., is closer to the Fort Worth Convention Center and an even more attractive location. That currently hosts the hotel’s all-day restaurant, Cast Iron, and a Bob’s Steak and Chop House.

Neither the hotel nor the restaurant has announced any agreement or deal.

Micallef had already said the increased convention and tourist business downtown make the city center attractive to Reata, the restaurant that launched “cowboy cuisine” and produced a generation of chefs known for contemporary Western cooking.

Micallef had announced in March that the restaurant would leave its current home, the former Caravan of Dreams nightclub and rooftop patio, in June 2024. The restaurant was unable to work out a new lease, he said, and had concerns about a price hike meant to encourage customers to use parking garages instead of congested valet stands.

The new location will offer valet parking along with free parking in the Tower garage for up to three hours with validation, Micallef had said.

The Tower is also home to the Mercury Chophouse prime steakhouse and the Salsa Limon taqueria.

Mercury Chophouse offers $10 valet parking at the Studio Eighty nightclub, 500 Taylor St.

Reata also operates a Reata at the Rodeo location for four weeks every year in the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall during the Stock Show rodeo.

Locations Mentioned: Bass Performance Hall, Bob's Steak & Chop House, Fort Worth Convention Center, Mercury Chop House, Omni Fort Worth Hotel, Reata Restaurant, Studio 80, The Tower