Jon's Grill Closing
Posted 22 December 2006 - 12:36 PM
Jon's was a favorite of mine when I lived in FW. I hate to see it go.
FORT WORTH -- Brittany Shea was there. So was Emily D.
Davis rules, but George is "blinded by the light."
Eastern Hills High School, Trinity Valley School and Texas Christian University graduates all proudly displayed their excitement about graduating in 2005, 2003 and 1990.
The story of visitors and customers played out on the walls, the picket fence, the doorknobs and practically anywhere a customer could write at Jon's Grille.
But Thursday night at 8 p.m., Jon's Grille checked out.
Today, the names of Brittany and Emily will still be there, but Jon's won't be.
After five years running the hamburger joint, Janis Meyerson, 64, decided to quit. It's the end of an 18-year-old TCU-area fixture.
"It was just time," she said. "I never planned to stay here this long."
Meyerson's brother Jon started the restaurant in 1988. When he died in 2001, she said that she planned to run the restaurant for five years before passing it on to someone in the family.
"It's been five years and three weeks," she said, adding that nobody in the family wants to run the business in her place.
The owners of Fuzzy's Taco Shop will take over the location near the intersection of South University Drive and West Berry Street, Meyerson said.
She said she did not know what they plan to do.
"I think it will be something really cool," she said.
Meyerson said the owner of Fuzzy's approached her a few years ago about the site, but it was not the right time to leave. She said she contacted him a couple of weeks ago and told him she was ready.
However, she intended to "sneak out the door," because she knew that closing the establishment would be emotional not only for her but for the customers. She didn't tell workers until Tuesday that the restaurant wouldn't open today, she said.
"I knew if it got out, people would say 'Don't leave' or 'This is the best hamburger in town,'" she said. "I just had to go."
Meyerson took over the restaurant in November 2001, days after Jon Meyerson committed suicide. He was 52. She had never been a workaholic, she said, but the emotional attachment she had to the restaurant drove her to continually be there.
"I could never leave," she said.
But the restaurant also had its rewards.
"I can't tell you how many people I've met over the cash register," she said. "I could sit here and talk to you for 10 hours about this place."
Some of the customers on the busy Thursday night weren't even aware that the restaurant wouldn't be open today.
"When are you closing?" Ali Norouzinia, 23, of Arlington asked Meyerson.
"Tonight," she replied.
"What? My girlfriend isn't going to like this," he said. "I'm glad I came in now."
Meyerson smiled and said, "I'm glad you came in, too."
Posted 23 December 2006 - 08:16 AM
Posted 23 December 2006 - 08:20 AM
Posted 24 December 2006 - 12:49 PM
Damn, still had some punches left on my JG card.
Posted 27 December 2006 - 07:55 PM
The article only said the Fuzzy's owner was purchasing the spot. I don't know if it will be a "Fuzzy's... whatever" (with Fuzzy's being in the restaurant's title). Remember, this guy also started Pedro's Trailer Park (Mexican food which was good, but folded).
With a second Fuzzy's on Race Street, I hope he doesn't go Mexican-themed again.
Posted 28 December 2006 - 12:04 AM
I would think they would not be interested in opening something that directly competed with Fuzzy's for business.
Posted 28 December 2006 - 07:49 AM
Posted 10 March 2007 - 12:18 PM
Spears unveils plans for TCU restaurant
Marsha Brown - March 12, 2007
Spears’ eatery will serve comfort food.
Photo by Glen E. EllmanChef Grady Spears, who announced plans last year for a far west Fort Worth restaurant called 80 West, will open a restaurant in May in the former Jon’s Grille location on University Drive.
“It’s really hard to put together two restaurants at the same time,” Spears said. “But while we were planning 80 West, this spot on University Drive came open. It was just too good a deal to pass up.”
The new TCU-area restaurant, currently without a name, will occupy a 3,000-square-foot storefront that will be what Spears describes as “a simple, casual joint.”
The latest venture will be far cry from past Spears endeavors such as Reata and the Chisholm Club.
“We’ll serve burgers, tamales and beer,” Spears said. “You know, joint food, simple comfort food.”
The building is owned by local commercial real estate brokers/brothers Doug, Walt and Bill Jennings. The brothers are also investors in 80 West.
“The TCU area is something of an underserved market as far as restaurants go,” Doug Jennings said. “It will be a great place for college students, during the day, and [a] good neighborhood spot at night.”
80 West will be located on Camp Bowie West, across from the popular restaurant Margie’s Italian Gardens.
“The 80 West building has a lot of work to be done,” Spears said, adding that renovation is set to begin within the next two weeks. “It will take five or six months to do everything we need to do to that building. It’s pretty rough, but it’s got a lot of character.”
Spears said he expects to begin renovation work on the building in early April and to open the restaurant by early fall.
What Spears likes about the 80 West spot is its promising architectural features, including a giant bay window. It also has an interesting roofline, he said, but it’s the building’s history that Spears finds most appealing.
“I’ve been looking for a way to save this building for over a year now,” Spears said. “It was the first drive-in restaurant in Texas. It was called the Jenny Lind. To get a job as a carhop there, you had to weigh at least 300 pounds. I have a picture.”
The food will be familiar to aficionados of Spears’ food.
“It’s going to be my same food,” Spears said. “We’ll be serving Texas food, made from Texas beef. It’s comfort food.”
Spears attained local notoriety at Reata, but got his start working in a restaurant kitchen at the Gage Hotel in the West Texas town of Marathon.
“I was running a vegetarian cafe in Houston, 18 years ago. I met this guy [J.P. Bryan] who owned the hotel. He offered me a job managing it. I went out there and looked around. I fell in love with it. Two months after I came there, my cook and my dishwasher walked out on me. Out there, you can’t just find another cook, so I cooked. The ranchers came out and helped. The ranchers’ wives waited tables.”
From there, Spears went to the original Reata restaurant in Alpine.
Spears left Reata in Fort Worth in 2000. In 2004, Spears left Chisholm Club, a restaurant in the Renaissance Worthington hotel, after a two-year tenure.
Contact Brown at email@example.com
Posted 10 March 2007 - 07:56 PM
Posted 12 March 2007 - 07:25 AM
Agreed. Spears has good ideas and is a good chef, but the guy can't seem to get his @*!! together long enough to stick to a project. I'll still check out his place when it opens. I'll get there shortly after the opening, who knows how long he'll be there.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 11:38 AM
He will not last 8 months at the prices I expect him to charge.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 06:41 PM
Or do they mean "munchies"?
The $8 burger crowd is the very well off TCU crowd. Just serve cheap booze and pimp the place out with some plasma screens.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 06:53 AM
Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:10 AM
where does he expect people to park?
That was precisely the reason why I only dined at Jon's on one occasion in the 9 years I've worked down the street. It was impossible to find anywhere to park.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:41 PM
Jon's was all about the student foot traffic on Univ. Folks don't drive out to Jon's to get a burger and leave (ala McD's). They would drive out to Jon's after a nearby golf outing, a nearby HS or College game, or to just to bring their kiddos to the fun laid back(wall writing) atmosphere that was Jon's Grill. I never really saw what would be the "regulars" at that establishment, just always a new wave of TCU students gathering at a local joint for chili cheese fries and beers, year in and year out. Was a fav of mine for years, and I would order to go back in the DTFW days. BEST cheesy fries EVER!
80 West should do exactly the same kind of business. Parking was never an issue, maybe when something spectacular was taking place at TCU, Colonial or nearby Paschal. Then and only then maybe.
Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:49 AM
80 West should do exactly the same kind of business. Parking was never an issue, maybe when something spectacular was taking place at TCU, Colonial or nearby Paschal. Then and only then maybe.
80 West is the one he's doing on Hwy 80 West. The University restaurant isn't yet named. Just clearing that up.
I hope it all goes great, I'm just skeptical. I've always enjoyed Grady's food and he's got a million good stories...some of which are even true. VJackson is right...I'm sure they will be good while they're around. The mid-priced stuff is his sweet spot, since I think his mish-mash style is heavy on art, and light on science and consistency. That style of cooking just doesn't work in a high-end place like The Chisolm Club, but I enjoyed the Nut House the one time I went down there.
Posted 14 March 2007 - 11:09 PM
I don't know Grady Spears personally or his "stuff", but I imagine that his name carries weight in Cowtown.
I would hope that he copies Zolon's menu to the T, add gourmet burgers, more draught, and like I stated earlier (PIMP the place out with some cheap plasma's).
Note to GRADY: There is an EXCELLENT cook (name escapes me) to be had who last I heard he PT's for the Sonic down the road on Berry St. Mexican-American guy, very polite and funny, HARD HARD worker, biblical kind of first name. PICK HIM UP! He is a goldmine that was never allowed to maximize his talents over at Jon's Grill. Makes THE BEST Mexican rice my lips have ever touched (puts my SA place to shame). Especially if you are doing tamales, he would be great to compliment those items. Usually your Mexican food cook and your tamale person are two totally different people, rarely do you find an all around excellent Mexican food cook. I would caution not to use the same tamales from the guy who sells them to Cabo's in DTFW. The samples never tasted authentic to me, cheap style with too much flair and creation.
Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:34 AM
On a side note, the review to Pappa's Burgers wasn't as positive. I must agree as when I ate there a few months ago, for the price, the grub was quite mediocre.
Earmark 2007 as the year the gourmet burger joints rode into Cowtown.
Celebrity chef Tim Love, owner of Lonesome Dove and Duce, led the pack in April when he opened the country-cool Love Shack next to his White Elephant Saloon in the Stockyards. Two more noteworthy burger-centric ventures debuted shortly thereafter, the first – Dutch's Hamburgers – from another renowned Fort Worth chef and the second – Pappas Burger – from one of Texas' most successful and diverse chains.
Both these newcomers show promise. They also illustrate that, even though umpteen places offer hamburgers, a distinctive, fastidious take on America's favorite fast meal is always worth considering and savoring.
"You mean this place is new?" cried a visiting friend when we walked into Dutch's for lunch. She gazed incredulously into the old-timey dining room with its whitewashed wainscoting. "It looks like it's been here forever."
Welcome to the golden era of 1950s diner culture, as envisioned by chef-owner Grady Spears and his partner, Louis Lambert. Across the street from a stately strip of Texas Christian University's campus, the duo has revived the space that until recently housed Jons Grille, a longtime lunch haunt for students and faculty. (The restaurant is named for Leo "Dutch" Meyer, a beloved football coach at TCU for nearly two decades.)
Warm details throughout the space feel well-preserved rather than slickly retro-fitted: the tin ceiling and lazily whirring fans; the evocative cracks in the wood paneling; the stools poised at the picture window, perfect for daydreaming.
The open kitchen, a shiny maze of stainless steel, is the restaurant's sole nod to modernity. Don't get the idea, though, that those grills and deep-fryers produce overly cheffy food. Mr. Spears, who was chef at the original Reata, has largely taken a purist's approach to his Americana menu. Goat cheese may be an optional sandwich add-on, and a portobello burger is offered, but the majority of items eschew gourmand overtures.
You order at the counter in front of the kitchen, and fetch your grub when your name is called. When it's busy, a staffer stationed by the counter hands out menus and answers questions. Standard beers like Miller Lite are available on tap. Be sure to grab a chubby, crunchy pickle bobbing in a bucket next to the soda machine.
Fries are half the secret to a great burger joint, and Dutch's will win your loyalty if you're fond of the floppy, crisp-at-the-edge variety that leave a bit of potato skin showing. I love that kind, particularly when they're trapped under an avalanche of chili and cheddar cheese shavings. Somebody hand me a shovel.
The chili hints at the subtle, knowing care with which the recipes here have been developed. That same deluge of spicy beef elevates Frito pie to rare heights of complexity (a refreshing handful of pico along with queso fresco dappled among the grated cheddar also help make this rendition special). Even the seemingly dowdy chicken sandwich takes a star turn: Herbed mayo, Swiss cheese and a tarp of a roasted green chile amp the flavors of the tender butterflied chicken breast way up.
As to the burgers: On my first trip, I requested the Lineman, a great big bruiser featuring two organic beef patties, cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions and the usual gamut of burger accouterments. The lettuce and tomato were fresh, the bacon crisp, the cheese precisely melted and the onions sweet and smoky. But the burger itself? Oddly firm. It was also on the verge of well-done. I'd neglected to specify medium-rare.
My friend with the smaller appetite went for the sliders, those miniature burgers that are at once trendy and timeless. The beef in that context seemed dead-on. Interesting.
Next visit, the bacon blue cheese burger, glossed with chipotle mayo, was emphatically ordered medium-rare. It arrived medium. At least it was pink and juicier, though still too dense for my taste.
The burger's compressed texture works most successfully in a patty melt, whose combination of ingredients (grilled mushrooms and onions, Swiss cheese, beautifully marbled rye bread) seems to call for a sturdier patty. That, or a double order of sliders, and a round of those glorious chili-cheese fries will deeply sate the specific, nostalgic craving this kind of food can arouse.
Even if you're stuffed, grab one of the fudge brownies or mini-bundt cakes to go. I intended to take a single bite of a white chocolate-Kahlua cake, but it was so moist, and its suggestion of booziness so grown-up, that I didn't even realize I'd finished it until I was scavenging through its cellophane wrapping for crumbs.
Published in The Dallas Morning News: 09.28.07
Posted 28 September 2007 - 09:13 AM
Hopefully we can get them to sponsor a TCU tailgate or two, especially the Nov. 3rd "Fight for a CURE" weekend. BTW, I am part of an outstanding tailgaters aasociation in town, every TCU home game, rain or shine. Not sure if there is actually a TCU Tailgater's Assoc., but WE OWN IT BABY! And with the help of William's Trew and a sales agent I have known throughout the years, the beers are plenty flowin and the brisket is smoked tender beyond belief. MESQUITE SMOKED that is.
DUTCH'S, give em a try. And a good parking spot is hard to find between 5 and 7pm(busy Univ.). But it can be found.
Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:04 AM
On the other hand, one of my friends who works in my building loves Pappas Burgers. I have not eaten there yet. I'm pretty behind right now in trying new restaurants due to my crazy work schedule over the summer. However, we did do carry out from the Flying Fish a couple of times after it opened.
Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:25 AM
Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:45 AM
Posted 07 October 2007 - 12:05 PM
I do LOVE the ordering process. You wait in line for maybe a couple of minutes, scan over the menu on the wall, get in a lil TV action, then you order. The cashier takes your order, hands you a bill booklet w/ receipt, and sends the order on through to kitchen. You then grab your own drink to start off with sit down at a table of YOUR CHOICE and have a waiter come YOUR way, review YOUR order (because it take a good 5-8 minutes before the order has actually begun) at tableside and ask for anything else to add food or drink wise. Then you wait about another 8 minutes or so for some FRESHNESS, such as the Shrimp/Catfish Platter (MY FAV) or the Ahi Tuna Sandwich (RUNNER UP, so tasty with the balsamic drizzle fo shizzle). Sometimes the fries hit the spot, but mostly they just don't.
Interesting concept menu and ordering wise, and the entertaining TV setups are just perfect with the weekend sports fan crowd. TV's GALORE!
I missed the FWST write-up on it last month. They TEASED it during the middle of the week and that just BLEW MY TOP as I saw the pic and really wanted to read what they would write about the place. Now it's like "F" WST! As in "FORGET" I don't understand the "tease" concept for food reviews or much less a burger joint with a faux In-N-Out signage???
Next REVIEW. SoDo Grill. YUM-OOOOOOOH!
Posted 08 October 2007 - 08:31 AM
A little of subject..Although Pappa's Burger is mediocre and overpriced, one of my favorite pizza spots is Pappa's Pizza in Addison. I've been going there for years and they have really good pizza/salad buffet during the week. (Believe me, it ain't Cici's). A coworker and I drove over Thursday evening and guess what...it was closed!!! I'm really gonna miss it.
Posted 08 October 2007 - 11:23 AM
Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:04 PM
Me too. I didn't know that Jon committed suicide.
absolutely positivly certain he took his life? I was very surprised to hear his sister say that in the first article. I mean hey, if he did, then he did, and I'm sure that she knows. So the overdosed on coke story was a suicide cover up at the time??
Jon was a friend and business associate of mine. He always wanted big things, he was a driven person that felt obligated to have a celebrated and successful career. He was good at many things, but it seemed that he yeared to be much better than good, or even real good. He wanted greatness. Although he was a sucess, he felt like he was underachieving. His burgers were wonderful, his guitar playin was not bad either.
Nonetheless, I hate to hear that he committed suicide. I did not know that.
Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:47 AM
I also heard that he was a wonderful man, loved his family and helped countless individuals with work and encouraged them to finish school. Never got to meet the man, but you can tell that he was important to so many lives. And Janis did an amazing job. She earned her time away. Really miss that place now that I think about it. Should have kept on her about taking it over, but I'm sure she still wouldn't want the Jon's Grill name to be transferred.
Posted 17 November 2007 - 08:08 PM
It was always a very sad suicide, and reported that way at the time.
Posted 03 December 2007 - 03:17 PM
I feel for his sister. It could not have been easy for her to take on the restaurant, but she did a good job with the place. Although I did not eat there often, I am sad to see it closed.
As a footnote, I haven't eaten at Pappas yet, but I've heard nothing but negative reviews. I will have to try Dutch one of these days!
Posted 03 December 2007 - 05:14 PM
Posted 04 December 2007 - 07:45 AM
As for service, the waitress picked up somebody elses order and placed it all at our table and we all of course handled those burgers before she realized it was the wrong table. She was very gracious in admitting her mistake and we got the correct order shortly afterwards.
I would have preferred they put in a Pappas Bros. Steakhouse than the burger place...
Posted 04 December 2007 - 08:36 AM
Posted 04 December 2007 - 12:27 PM
I finally made it to Dutch's last week and I was really impressed. Grady Spears was working behind the counter the entire time we were there. It was packed at lunch time, but the service was pretty quick. The blue cheese bacon burger was great, especially the homemade-style bun. I tried the onion rings, but I wished I had gone with the fries after my dining partner raved about them.
I was impressed with Dutch's as well. I think I'm moving it up to my favorite burger joint. And you missed out..the fries are terrific.
Posted 04 December 2007 - 04:38 PM
I've been to Dutch's several times and although I think it's good I wouldn't proclaim it to be in my top 5 but I did love the chili dog....something about the atmosphere that I don't dig, maybe because it's "Jons" place or maybe a bit high for a burger joint. The onion rings are good and the fries are better but the cheese fries has the cheese poured on and then shredded on top of that....just a pile of goop.
I went to Red Cactus (couple of doors down) right after they opened and it was confusion all the way around. The staff was unorganized, the food behind the glass was unappetizing and while I like the concept (sorta like Chipotle) they couldn't have failed worse. Hopefully they've worked out the kinks but when I drive by I never see a crowd.
Buffalo Bros (other side of Dutch's) I'm betting will be a hit...unless it already is. Cheap beer, pizza by the slice, excellent fries, buffalo wings allegedly from the guy who invented buffalo wings (and Jon Bonnell) and very good sub sandwiches....the grilled bologna is awesome! The pizza isn't really the greatest and maybe not much better than frozen (frozen pizza has come a long way though) but in that setting and "by the slice" it works. The only knock on the place is all the Buffalo (as in NY) signage and pictures on the walls. When you're inside you can't tell you're across the street from TCU or in Texas for that matter, which may be the point but I don't see how a restaurant that makes you think you are in Buffalo a huge draw in Fort Worth. The draw however will be the variety of cheap food, lots of specials and cheap cheap beer. A schooner of any draft (incl imports) is 3 bucks and a pint is 2.
Posted 04 December 2007 - 07:18 PM
Posted 04 December 2007 - 07:37 PM
Posted 04 December 2007 - 08:58 PM
Posted 04 December 2007 - 09:11 PM
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