Hey there BAL’ers! Let’s eat.

I’m ecstatic to have the Brand Accelerator Live come to my hometown. Since one of my marketing niches is shopping developments, restaurants & entertainment, I keep informed with the latest around town. As a show of Texas hospitality, here’s your very own Best Eats Cheat Sheet. These are great places that rank high with locals. If, on the other hand, you prefer the familiarity of a chain restaurant, just Google it – with a population of 874,168, Fort Worth has plenty of ‘em centrally located in downtown.

Props to Yolk, 203 Café, and FunkyTown Donuts. They’re the source of perks for attending this event. They’re also good breakfast and lunch spots, so we’ll start with them.

FunkyTown Donuts | Breakfast • Dessert • Beverages

Deliciousness. This family-owned restaurant is a local favorite. These aren’t your normal donuts: they’re funky. The menu changes weekly and includes seasonal favorites – this week, they are Lemon Blueberry, The Funky Goat, Double Stuff, and Cookie Monster. For morning brew, they serve in-house roasted Avoca Coffee. A FunkyTown barista told me they had to undergo intensive training before they could serve their beloved Avoca. So skip Starbucks and drink Avoca!

Not big on sugar in the morning? Stop by in the evening for a sweet treat and a draft beer, or wine, mimosas, Prosecco, lemon-chico and other alcohol-laced drinks. Imbibe on site or order your drink in a to-go cup. FunkyTown’s bar is open till 8pm on Thursday and 11pm on Friday.

FunkyTown Donuts offers a 10% discount when you show your BAL event badge. 

Tip: Downtown Fort Worth is open container-friendly – meaning you can order a drink and go on about your street strutting with beverage in hand. This regulation only applies to the Downtown area, which just so happens to be where you are for this meeting.

Yolk | Breakfast • Brunch • Lunch

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Way better than a hotel breakfast is a short stroll over to Yolk. This is your classic sit-down comfort-food breakfast eatery. Yolk serves both savory and sweet breakfast dishes. And just like any good restaurant in Fort Worth, Yolk features unique plates like pot roast benedict and breakfast mac & cheese.

Yolk offers a 10% discount when you show your BAL event badge. 

203 Café | Breakfast • Lunch

203 Café is a great lunch spot that serves up hot sandwiches, salads and soups. They bake their turkey right in the restaurant, so you know it’s always fresh! They offer complimentary delivery in the Downtown Area for orders over $50, so if you aren’t used to the Texas heat, team up with some event attendees and place an order. Or just order $50 of delicious food for yourself, we won’t judge. Access the building through Sundance Square Garage 1.

203 Café offers a free fountain drink or iced tea when you show your BAL event badge.  

Downtown Fort Worth is full of history, and 203 Café is located in the original Fire Station #1 in Sundance Square. The fire station was in use for the northern part of Downtown until the 1980s when renovations began.

Baily’s BBQ | Lunch

If you hanker for Texas BBQ, skip the chains and take a little extra walk to Baily’s BBQ. If you have never been to Texas, try the beef. It doesn’t matter what type of beef, it’s all good. This is one of the two things I crave when I leave Texas, good beef and authentic Tex-Mex food!

Fort Worth earned its nickname as “Cowtown” because it was a main stop-over from the cattle fields of Texas and New Mexico to the railheads in Kansas, for transport to the Union Stock Yards in Chicago. As befits a rest stop for all-male crews out in the bush for weeks, Fort Worth had a red-light district known as “Hell’s Half Acre.”

Bird Café | Lunch • Dinner

Want something truly unique? Visit Bird Café and treat yourself to a savory Bone Marrow dish. Unique, right? But be warned: once you try it, you will never be the same! Other favorites are chicken and waffles, Deviled eggs (the recipe changes seasonally to keep things interesting), and pimento dip, a great sharable dish.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House | Lunch • Dinner • Cocktails

Kevin’s Pick – he loves their Prime Cheeseburger. For locals, this is a go-to spot for a business lunch or an impress-the-date night, and Del Frisco’s has the awards to back its reputation. Try the steak, especially the bone-in filet, but also Ahi Tacos and the Mediterranean Shrimp bowl.

Del Frisco’s is presumed to be haunted. In the late 1800s, it was an upper-class bathhouse. Rumor is that a cowboy who won at gambling was shot while bathing. If you have the gift, you’ll see his ghost in the upstairs bar or in the banquet halls.

Istanbul Grill | Lunch • Dinner

This is a great spot for Mediterranean food, with a focus on healthy, fresh-daily ingredients. Choose among many kabob choices. The vegetables are always flavorful.

Little Red Wasp | Lunch • Dinner

Looking for something normal? The Little Red Wasp is a good version of normal – it’s a simple, down-to-earth eatery with great food and a full line-up of beers. Try the pot stickers and deviled eggs for an appetizer – chef recommended. They make their chips in-house along with their ranch dip. And what’s more convenient than having it right across the street from the Hilton?

Reata | Lunch • Dinner • Cocktails

Another Fort Worth icon. A lot of corporates events are held here, and the environment works for business lunch or date, but it also works as a good sit-down and relax restaurant. The menu is broad and varied. My personal favorite is the lunch starter sampler (it’s a lot, split with a friend) paired with their homemade Sarsaparilla – if you don’t know sarsaparilla, it’s like root beer taken to the next level. You can’t go wrong here with anything you order, and they have a beautiful upstairs bar.

Wild Salsa | Dinner • Snacking • Cocktails

Wild Salsa made the list because of their Happy Hour. Because truthfully – what would a trip to Texas be without a Margarita? As a local, I can tell you Wild Salsa is not true Tex-Mex, but I have to admit, their tacos are delicious.

Have time to break out of downtown? Here is a quick list of my preferred stops: