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Reata responds: Here’s a new hint about the Fort Worth restaurant’s next location

April 19,2023

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

Reata Restaurant is looking in the downtown area for its new 2024 location, the restaurant announced Tuesday in its first response to an public invitation last week from the Omni Fort Worth hotel.

In a two-line announcement at the bottom of a newsletter, the restaurant emailed: “Reata continues to look at some great locations in and around Downtown Fort Worth.”

“We are reviewing architectural drawing and renderings,” the announcement read, “to find a great new home for Reata.”

Reata owner Mike Micallef has said the restaurant will leave its current location, 310 Houston St. in Sundance Square, when that lease ends in June 2024.

Micallef had declined to respond after Omni executive Bob Rowling told a downtown business audience the hotel is “talking to some downtown restaurants” about relocating to help “activate” the West Lancaster Avenue side of new 400-room second tower, 1500 Houston St.

“It would be really exciting for that to happen,” Rowling said, without naming a particular restaurant. Micallef has not hinted at a decision.

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

The $217 million hotel expansion is part of $2.3 billion in downtown development, also including the nearby Fort Worth Convention Center and new Texas A&M-Fort Worth campus.

Rowling made the comment at the 41st annual meeting of the downtown business association, Downtown Fort Worth Inc.

He told business leaders that the Omni will double in size to 1,008 rooms, crossing West Fourteenth Street and replacing a former junior college building near West Lancaster Avenue.

In March 2022, when Reata announced the search for a new location, Micallef said the restaurant would be seeking 2 acres of land or a 12,000-20,000-square-foot building with up to 200 parking spaces.

At the time, Micallef and other retailers said that the increased price of valet and surface parking hurts business in Sundance Square.

Sundance garage parking is free weekdays with validation, weeknights and weekends. But the garages are a two-block walk from Reata.

Reata has already moved once. The original location opened in 1995 and continues to serve Alpine, the largest city in the Big Bend region of Texas.

In 1996, a Fort Worth Reata opened on the 35th floor of the building now known as The Tower, 500 Throckmorton St.

When that location was destroyed in the March 28, 2000 downtown tornado, the restaurant moved again to the three-story former home of the Caravan of Dreams jazz nightclub.

The Omni Fort Worth, 1300 Houston St., opened in 2009. It is currently home to a prime steakhouse, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, and other restaurants, including its Cast Iron all-day dining room and Whiskey & Rye bar and sandwich shop.

The expansion is one of several bringing more than 1,500 new hotel rooms downtown. A Sandman Signature hotel recently opened at 810 Houston St. that will soon include an upscale Asian restaurant, Musume.

A Le Méridien hotel, 815 Commerce St., is also expected to offer full-service dining.

Two major Camp Bowie Boulevard hotels with restaurants are also expected to open this year. Neither the Crescent Hotel Fort Worth nor the Bowie House, Auberge Resorts Collection, has announced a restaurant format or chef.

Locations Mentioned: Bob's Steak & Chop House, Cast Iron Restaurant at the Omni Hotel, Fort Worth Convention Center, Omni Fort Worth Hotel, Reata Restaurant, Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, Sundance Square Plaza, Texas A&M Fort Worth, Whiskey and Rye