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New Adam Jones restaurant reflects the past

February 13,2023

See full Fort Worth Report article by Bob Francis here.

The new restaurant of longtime area restaurateur Adam Jones and Chef Blaine Staniford, 61 Osteria, opened earlier this month, but it looks like it could have been there since the building opened in 1961.

That’s by design, said Jones and the restaurant’s lead architect Gregory Ibañez of Fort Worth’s Ibañez Shaw Architecture.

“The designs, the materials, everything we worked with, we choose to look like it could have been here originally,” said Ibañez.

Ibañez also feels connections to the building’s 60s-era design. He went to architecture school in Chicago, at the Illinois Institute of Technology where legendary modernist architect Mies van der Rohe was a force. Ibañez wasn’t there when Van Der Rohe was, but “modernism, that way of thinking was what we learned.”

And that, said Ibañez, is exactly the type of architecture reflected in the First on 7th building in downtown Fort Worth.

“The architecture of this building is something I feel like I have a pretty deep understanding of,” said Ibañez. “When we talked about this restaurant, we wanted to do something that was working in that modernist language.”

As a result, Ibañez said, the restaurant could almost look like it was here when the building originally opened.

Ibañez moved to Fort Worth in 1997 and worked for Gideon Toal as director of design. That firm, which later became Bennett Partners, was located in the First on 7th building.

“That’s another reason I feel like I understand this building,” he said.

Jones, who owns Grace and Little Red Wasp, long had his eye on the location, but now feels the time is right.

“This was nearly the location of Grace,” he said. “So I’ve always thought this location had promise.”

But it wasn’t quite ready at the time, 2008.

“Now it is and I’m very pleased with it,” he said.

The name 61 Osteria derives from the building’s completion date in 1961 and the celebration of its 61st birthday this year. Owner Jones was also born in 1961. The origin of the word Osteria comes from Italy and means a place serving wine and simple, local food, said Jones.

The 8,200-square-foot, 209-seat restaurant is located in a 21-story building that was modeled on New York’s Lever House and opened in 1961. Designed by New York firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building is considered Fort Worth’s first modernist international-style building. For years, the building housed the First National Bank of Fort Worth and the restaurant was part of the bank’s lobby.

Among the signature elements of the restaurants are two large marble-clad walls that divide the restaurant and the bar area.

Ibañez worked to get the Indian Rainforest Green Marble slabs, which were from a single block of stone to be “book-matched,” where the veining and color flowed into each other.

One of the key elements of the restaurant is the hanging sculptural centerpiece of 24-rectangle forms made of anodized aluminum with a polished sand finish that was sourced from a manufacturer in Spain.

Ibañez’s firm is working on several more restaurants, but most are in Dallas.

“Fort Worth is home, so I’m proud to have done this work here,” he said.

Locations Mentioned: 61 Osteria, Grace, Little Red Wasp