Treasured Anejo Taqueria settles in at cozy north Fort Worth storefront (2024)

The 2024 CultureMap Tastemaker Awardswere a grand celebration of Fort Worth's culinary all-stars - the restaurants, bars, and chefs who've made the biggest impact on the local dining scene in the past year.

After months of buildup, the winners finally were crowned at an awards ceremony and signature tasting event on Thursday, May 2 at the 4 Eleven venue on South Main, emceed by chef Jon Bonnell and benefiting Cuisine for Healing.

For weeks leading up to the event, we published a special editorial series that highlighted nominees in eight categories. A panel of expert judges helped select all of the winners, except for Best New Restaurant. That was determined by you, our readers, in a bracket-style tournament.

Now, without further delay, let's raise a glass to the 2024 Fort Worth Tastemaker Award winners:

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Michael Rios, Pantry on Magnolia
Fort Worth born-and-bred, Michael Rios has cooked in kitchens all over town since graduating from Trimble Tech High School in 2017 and attending culinary school at Dallas College. He gained experience from former hot spots like Shinjuku Station, Cannon Chinese Kitchen, and Four Sisters Vietnamese restaurant, which lent well to his current gig – getting creative with Asian fusion at Pantry on Magnolia. Rios is the brainchild behind dishes like Vietnamese pizza made with shrimp and seafood sauce on a rice paper “crust;” unique dumpling flavors like chicken cordon bleu and etouffee; and out-of-box items like burnt end pho. Note that Pantry on Magnolia is only open on the weekend, but hours run late until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 pm on Sunday.

Pastry Chef of the Year: Tareka Lofton, Loft22 Cakes
Lofton became famous during the height of the pandemic in 2020 for baking "quarantine" cakes that resembled rolls of toilet paper, part of a droll national trend in response to shortages of TP. She first began baking cakes from her apartment in 2013 before opening her Near Southside store-front bakery in 2017. A Le Cordon Bleu alum, Lofton is known for her visual artistry and creativity in her cakes, from her green velvet St. Patrick’s Day cake to her nostalgic cereal milk cake. Lofton also makes cookies, cupcakes, cobblers, and teaches baking classes, too.

Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Los Asaderos
Ask a local where they like to get Tex-Mex food in Fort Worth, and Los Asaderos (1535 N. Main St.) will likely top the list. The longtime North Side restaurant, located steps from the Fort Worth Stockyards, has been serving folks from all walks of life for more than 30 years - from out-of-town tourists and downtown executives. They go for the Villarreal family's hot salsa, green chile chicken enchiladas, carne guisada, and cold bottleneck beer. Regulars appreciate that, while the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, it serves an entire menu of breakfast dishes all day.

Bar of the Year:Thompson's Bookstore
The downtown Fort Worth craft co*cktail lounge has had a topsy-turvy past few months. On the heels of a $4 million facelift and expansion last summer, Thompson’s Bookstore was forced to close for a week in January after a massive explosion at nearby Sandman Signature Fort Worth Hotel. Despite the presence of rubble, road barriers, and caution tape near the entrance, things are mostly back on track. Thompson's opened in 2015 in the historic Vybek building at 900 Houston St., and new features since the renovation include a reimagined underground speakeasy, a new private event space, and cigar bar on two floors that previously sat dormant for 70 years. One thing that hasn’t changed is the password required to enter the underground bar, found by solving the weekly riddle on Thompson’s Facebook page.

61 Osteria/Facebook

61 Osteria won Restaurant of the Year in the 2024 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.

Best Patio: Joe T. Garcia's
Joe T. Garcia’s patio (2201 N. Commerce St.) is nothing short of legendary in Fort Worth. There's not another that comes close in terms of size, landscaping, or the line of patrons outside hoping to snag a spot to enjoy the 89-year-old restaurant's strong margaritas and enchilada dinners. With seating up to 1,000, Joe T.’s patio draws folks from all walks of life: locals and out-of-towners, business people and cowboys, girl groups and guy groups, young families and Hollywood celebrities. Fun fact: the patio fountain originated as the Lancarte family swimming pool in the early '70s. One too many tipsy patrons taking a dip (whether intentional or not) led to its transformation to a fountain.

Best New Restaurant: Plank Seafood Provisions
Oyster bar and wood-fired seafood grill in the Shops at Clearfork dazzles with diver scallops over house-made pasta, redfish ceviche, and Thai clam chowder along with coastal décor that feels like a waterside vacation. Opened in October 2023 as the first Plank location in Dallas-Fort Worth, the restaurant is a property of Flagship Restaurant Group, based in Omaha, Nebraska, and a sibling to Blue Sushi Sake Grill, which has operated on Fort Worth's West Seventh Street since 2010. Oysters are a mainstay and seafood towers are a signature dish, along with chowder fries, mussels, scallop a la plancha, and soft-shell crab sandwich.

Chef of the Year: Preston Paine, Emilia's, The Blue Room
Paine has experience in fine dining establishments like Eleven Madison Park in New York City and most recently worked for Exxir Hospitality in Bishop Arts, but it’s at The Crescent Hotel where he gets to really show off. Paine oversees two hotel restaurants: Emilia’s – one of 16 nominees for Best New Restaurant of the Year – and The Blue Room, an opulent fine dining experience featuring New American dishes with next-level presentation not found anywhere else in Fort Worth. Paine’s restaurant philosophy: refined food, detailed service, and encouraging guests to linger over a meal with loved ones.

Restaurant of the Year:61 Osteria
Restaurateur Adam Jones and chef Blaine Staniford (Grace, Little Red Wasp) planned this upscale Italian concept for at least three years before opening downtown in early 2023. Now 61 Osteria is one of the hottest reservations in town, named one of Texas Monthly’s best new restaurants earlier this year. Gorgeous interiors with shimmery chandeliers, sophisticated art, and floor-to-ceiling window views with a posh patio provide for an upscale experience. House-made semolina pastas, like bucatini cacio e pepe and wild boar pappardelle, along with dishes like porcini and fennel pollen-crusted prime porterhouse, draw discriminating palates to this be-seen spot – which is popular for its apertivo hour, too.

Treasured Anejo Taqueria settles in at cozy north Fort Worth storefront (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanael Baumbach

Last Updated:

Views: 5872

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanael Baumbach

Birthday: 1998-12-02

Address: Apt. 829 751 Glover View, West Orlando, IN 22436

Phone: +901025288581

Job: Internal IT Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Motor sports, Flying, Skiing, Hooping, Lego building, Ice skating

Introduction: My name is Nathanael Baumbach, I am a fantastic, nice, victorious, brave, healthy, cute, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.