Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Holding Out ‘til Midnight at Fred’s Texas Cafe

Fred’s Texas Café
915 Currie St.
Fort Worth, TX

Did you ever notice how much better food tastes when you are starving?

That’s all I could think of as I devoured my Diablo Burger at Fred’s Texas Cafe.

It was a half hour before midnight on a Tuesday night. I had been in meetings, standing in TSA lines and crammed into metal tubes all day and night. Other than the shrink-wrapped donuts at the Newark Airport Best Western continental breakfast bar at 8am, I hadn’t had time for a meal all day.

Of course it could have been worse.

Thanks to the alignment of the stars and the kindness of the gods, I somehow scored a First Class upgrade on my flight from Newark to DFW.

Great. All you can drink Beck’s Beer on an empty stomach.

In case you haven’t been upgraded in the last century or so, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

You don’t get fed in First Class any more. Potato chips, peanuts, pretzels. Basically the crap the airlines USED to give you in coach.

By the time I got in my rental car and drove to Fort Worth, I desperately needed two things.

First, the get out of the suit I had been wearing for 16 straight hours. And, second, to put something in my stomach that had been growling for the same amount of time.

Unfortunately, those two objectives were in conflict.

With time rapidly approaching the witching hour, I figured I better not press my luck.

No time for checking into my hotel and changing out of my suit.

Fred’s Texas Café is a cool retro bar and burger joint in the hip up-and-coming section of “Cow Town”. But even late night hangouts like Fred’s eventually shut down the burger grill.

A tiny little dining room decorated in mounted animals and long horns, the locals downing fish bowls of beer and monstrous burgers didn’t bat an eye as I grabbed a yellow plastic booth.

When I walk into places like this in a suit, I’ve been confused as a politician, health inspector and even a preacher.

This night, I suppose I just looked like exactly what I was – a hungry, tired business traveler looking for a slab of dead cow.

Like most places in Texas, Fred’s doesn’t offer up much creativity with its beer selection. Texans like their suds pale, big and cold.

Fred’s fits the bill. Variations of the same old yellow mass produced light colored brew is poured into frosty glass fishbowls from taps under a sign that reads, “Coldass Beer”.

My waiter said they do have a local brew on tap from Rahr & Sons Brewery, but it was their summer seasonal wheat beer.

Blah. Wheat beers are for girls.

So I ordered a Lone Star draft.

When in Rome.

Lone Star is a local beer. But it’s no microbrew.

It’s the kind of beer Texans make fun of. While haughtily sipping a Coors Light long neck.

But my theory is I’ll take a bad local beer over a bad mass produced beer. Any day.

It’s the ubiquity of the Coors/Miller/Bud triumvirate that irritates me. Not the taste. I mean, they all taste about the same anyway.

At least when I’m downing a Lone Star I’m engaging in an activity I can’t do at home.

Hey, when you spend your life on the road, you’ve got to appreciate the little things.

Not that I needed any more beer on my empty stomach. But I think it is required at Fred’s.

Coldass beer. And big burgers.

That’s why folks flock to the divvy Texas charms of Fred’s Texas Café.

By the time I sunk my teeth into my drippy, juicy Diablo Burger, I was near a state of nirvana. Beer munchies combined with legitimate starvation made this one of the greatest burger eating experiences of my life.

Dripping in melted Swiss cheese, sautéed onions and pink grease, these boys in Cow Town really know how to make a great burger.

But it was the smoky, spicy chipotle peppers slathered all over the top of the meat that elevated this burger to shirt-buying levels.

The tingling of my lips from the spicy burn did nothing to slow my feeding frenzy. I must have paused occasionally to douse the flames with Lone Star because I ended up downing two fish bowls before last call.

As I polished off my final few skin-on crispy French fries and polished off the tail end of my Lone Star, I just sat there for a moment trying to appreciate the sheer joy of the occasion.

When you haven’t eaten anything in 16 hours, a midnight beer and burger binge like this is a virtual life-altering experience. It’s what makes being a Suit in Strange Places so much fun.

I feel sorry for some of the folks I know who have to be constantly eating. One friend told me he doesn’t even know what it feels like to be hungry.

That’s sad.

Thanks to my Suit757 schedule, I don’t enjoy that option. I eat when I can. That means long stretches of stomach growling.

And I’m okay with that. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-deprivation.

Especially when the reward at the end of the day is a big juicy Diablo Burger and fish bowl of Lone Star.

Yeah. I can hold out all day for that.

Rating: Bought the Shirt!

Fred's Texas Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. The Diablo is a fantastic burger...but Lone Star????? Bleh!

  2. Two things you should know... First, us Texans call them schooners, not fishbowls, though there are some froo-froo places that do serve fruity girly drinks in fishbowls and too many straws... Second, when in Texas, don't even think about it, if you're looking for a non microbrewery, order a Shiner... Lone Star is in the realm of PBR and Natty Light, what we refer to as "Hipster Beer"...
    If you remember those two, you'll be OK...
    Fred's is a great place... It also ain't called "retro" if that's the way it's always been...
    Thanks for visitin'... Come back now, ya hear?

    1. Got it! Thanks for the insider tips. And thanks for making my point about Texans' view of Lone Star!

      But I have to say, Shiner doesn't do much for me either. Like Bud with brown food coloring. If you give me a St. Arnold Amber or a Rahr and Sons IPA, now you're talking!