Chefs tend to be a nomadic bunch, moving around from kitchen to kitchen as hot new restaurants open (and close). Not so for Blaine Staniford, who's been strutting his particular brand of modern American cooking at swanky downtown Fort Worth destination Grace since it opened back in 2008. While Jones will be the first to admit that in the beginning, Staniford's cooking may have pushed Fort Worth diners a bit too far out of their comfort zone, it's clearly paid off: Since then he's racked up accolades from local publications — such as being named a Rising Star Chef by the Dallas Morning News in 2011 — and now, the chef is headed to New York on August 3 to cook at the illustrious James Beard House. (For those who can't make it to NYC, Grace will also host a preview dinner featuring the Beard House menu on July 24.)
Eater recently caught up with Staniford to find out where he eats (and drinks) when he's not in the kitchen at Grace or sister restaurant Little Red Wasp.
Favorite breakfast or brunch place?
For Sunday brunch I love going to dim sum at Kowloon in Arlington. Probably the best I've had in Texas.
Most of the time though, my breakfast consists of a few cups of coffee and occasionally Greek yogurt with granola. On a rare occasion I will make myself soft scrambled farm eggs with fresh ricotta and chives.
Where do you go for a quick lunch?
For great Mexican tortas, I go to Tortas La Hechizera; they have a few locations around the Metroplex. Get the Torta Cubana or a Pambazo — they'll change your world!
Where/what do you eat after you get off work late?
Revolver Taco Lounge in Fort Worth. This place is great — authentic food, great tequilas. Gino and his family always aim to please.
Where do you like to drink, and what do you usually order?
In Dallas it's the Windmill Lounge (when Charlie Pap was there... waiting on his new venture). In Fort Worth I like a local dive next to my house called Corporate Image.
Drinks of choice are usually red wine, local beer, and anything with gin.
Best date night destination?
Sitting on my patio with my wife with a bottle (or two) of wine and grilling on my Big Green Egg.
What's your favorite pizza place?
Really like the white pie at Coal Vines in Uptown. Have to get it with their secret habanero sauce on the side.
Do you have a favorite burger in town?
The Diablo Burger at Fred's Texas Cafe in Fort Worth [with chipotles, grilled onions, and Swiss cheese].
What about other international cuisines — Japanese, Thai, Indian, etc.?
Shinjuku Station and Yatai Food Kart in Fort Worth for Japanese. Kevin Martinez makes some fantastic food! Also, Chaat House in Irving has great Indian.
How about hidden gems or hole-in-the-walls you swear by?
The Boiled Owl on Fort Worth's Magnolia Avenue for cocktails.