When I married into Fairmount almost five years ago, I had a vague idea of the culture I was entering . . . and how much I’d miss it when we moved. This article remains brief on the subject of what to love about the Near Southside and surrounding area (that post already exists). I’ll say only that my husband and I shared many conversations while sipping coffee on our porch about how we would never, ever leave.
Then we had a baby. The walls of our two cramped bedrooms seemed to shrink around our growing family. We couldn’t stomach the steep price required to upsize within the neighborhood. Southwest Fort Worth (SWFW) beckoned us to our lovely new home in the suburbs.
Our still somewhat homesick hearts find solace in the wide open spaces, quiet neighborhoods, and easy connectivity to literally anywhere in town via the Chisholm Trail. Our daughter first crawled the DAY we moved in — as though also inspired to explore by the welcoming new surroundings!
What follows are just a few of the things our family has grown to love about SWFW.
You don’t have to travel as far north as Magnolia Avenue for award-winning cuisine and great atmosphere. Bonnell’s wood paneling and upscale dinner service will make you forget it’s somewhat lackluster location nestled beside the 183 overpass at Bryant Irvin Rd. This date night destination stands out like an oasis in a geographic area dubbed by a friend as Fort Worth’s “culinary wasteland.” Seasonal dishes feature game, fish, and oysters in addition to steaks. Try the elk or buffalo tenderloin, then finish off the night with Gigi’s Chocolate Amaretto Cake, served with kirsch cherries and whipped cream. We found this confection more reminiscent of fudge or chocolate truffles, with the flavor or holiday chocolate cherry cordials.
When the weather is nice and I’m feeling cooped up, nothing beats a leisurely stroll, trail run, or picnic — or combination of the three — at this handsome city park. The hub consists of a large duck pond situated north of the Hulen Street/Sycamore School Road intersection. Here, birdwatch the many ducks and geese, and occasional crane or hawk. A playground, a fitness station, picnic pavilions, and barbecue grills are also featured here. Venture to the northwest where the paved walk circling the pond connects with miles of well-kept trails, stretching from Hulen Street at the west to Woodway Elementary School at the east.
Located off Hulen Street just north of Oakmont Boulevard in a small shopping strip near the big Walmart, this indoor play area caters to little ones up to six years old. Climate-controlled playdates are a perfect alternative during the scorching Texas summers or occasional winter day too chilly to enjoy the park. Drop in for a few bucks per day or $35-$40 per month (depending on how many children you’ll be bringing) with a membership. Or, reserve the space for a gathering or birthday party. Oh, and did I mention FREE COFFEE for you while the kids play? (Yes, really. I’ll meet you there in five minutes.)
Three words: Sparkle. Sandwich. Cookie.
Not enough can be said of the delicious baked treats, but that’s not all you’ll find here. A beautiful space welcomes you and your gal pals to enjoy a treat or host your next business meeting. This bakery, specializing in hospitality, is located on Bellaire Drive South, just west of Bryant Irvin Road. Don’t forget Homework Happy Hour from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. Then, you can enjoy 20 percent off bakery case items while the kids camp out to do homework. Pick up a delicious oven-ready takeaway meal on your way out, and you’ve got a head start on dinner!
Watch out, West 7th! Waterside is the next up-and-coming mixed-use development catering to the hipster crowd. Only this one appears to be more family-friendly. Nestled near the Trinity River on a site formerly owned by the Lockheed Martin Recreation Association, the shopping center and residences cradle green fields shaded by massive trees. Big names like Whole Foods Market, Sur La Table, and REI anchor the development. A variety of restaurants cater to almost any palate: from Japanese to Italian, from wood-fired-pizza to tacos. Here, you and the family can find all the fun and good food (and so far none of the bars or ghastly parking garages) common to West 7th . . . and room to play away from busy streets.
What have I overlooked? What’s your favorite destination in SWFW?