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Two anchor restaurants agree to stay in Sundance Square; Mexican restaurant to open

June 15,2022

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

Two long-tenured downtown restaurants have agreed to stay in Sundance Square, and a highly rated interior Mexico restaurant will join them, an indication that the city’s retail center may be stabilizing after two years of heavy turnover.

The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, a tavern but also a busy lunch and dinner restaurant, and 31-year anchor Riscky’s Bar-B-Q have renewed leases as tourists and workers return to downtown, a Sundance spokesman said this week.

Paco’s Mexican Cuisine, a Near Southside restaurant that Texas Monthly once ranked among the 50 best interior Mexican restaurants in the state, will open this summer at 156 W. Fourth St., a former taco place.

A sourdough bread bakery and wine bar, 3rd Street Market, is also near opening at 425 W. Third St.

The news follows the March 30 announcement that Sundance anchor Reata Restaurant is seeking a new location after 20 years.

“The key at Sundance has always been the lunch crowds, and they’re finally starting to come back again” after corporate losses and the pandemic, said Eddie Sullivan, owner-operator of Riscky’s, the 95-year-old barbecue empire founded in a north side grocery by Polish immigrants Pete and Mary Bunkervitch Riscky.

“We just know we’ve been there a long time, we like it there and we wanted to stay there,” he said.

That Riscky’s location, 300 Main St., is believed to be the oldest anchor restaurant in Sundance Square.

It opened in 1991, replacing a deli and grill in a space originally built for a Lombardi’s Italian restaurant.

Riscky’s also operates a Stockyards barbecue restaurant and other locations, including the flagship grocery-deli at 2314 Azle Ave.

The downtown location is better known for affordable fried or smoked catfish platters, smoked or grilled chicken and the restaurant’s signature beef ribs, a tourist favorite.

The Main Street block is known as the scene of an 1887 shootout where Wild West gambler and tavern owner Luke Short gunned down detective and former city marshal Jim Courtright, who was stepping onto the street near what is now Riscky’s.

The Flying Saucer, 111 E. Third St., originally opened nearby in 1995 and moved to Third Street in 2012, replacing a corporate cousin, The 8.0 Bar.

The Saucer is promoted as a beer bar but also has developed a foodie following for pizzas, simple burgers with beef, turkey or veggie patties and bar food such as giant soft pretzels or grilled bratwurst.

Paco’s, founded as Paco & John in 2007 in a former Eighth Avenue gas station, has grown into a full-service restaurant and bar under father-and-son Francisco and “Paco” Islas, from a Pachuca, Mexico, family.

Paco’s will be adding a second location in Sundance, along with the current restaurant at 1508 W. Magnolia Ave.

The downtown Paco’s will open at mid-morning for late breakfast and will serve lunch and dinner in a space that was built for Taco Diner, a Mi Cocina spinoff, and most recently home to a Revolver Taco pop-up.

Tlacoyos, a stuffed-masa appetizer, are among Paco’s popular items along with birria tacos and sizzling molcajete. It is expected to open limited hours beginning in mid-July.

Locations Mentioned: Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Riscky's Bar-B-Q, Sundance Square Plaza