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Big Cheesy Burger photo by DFW.COM / RON JENKINS

DFW.com Dining review: Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill

David and Ann Shaw were part of the Fort Worth food scene before there was a Fort Worth food scene, or at least a scene like the one we have today.

For more than 20 years, David Shaw had a series of west Fort Worth and TCU-area hangouts. The Shaws also ran Scampi’s, an Italian joint that was on Magnolia Avenue a decade before the street became a restaurant row. In late 2010, they closed Scampi’s and reopened as Shaw’s Burgers and Shakes. A couple of name changes later, the place is now known as Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill, but retains its unpretentious vibe.

What brought us back this time, though, was the burgers — specifically the “21 Burgers” menu, reflecting a recent expansion in burger offerings that already included something called “The SHAWsage” (Angus burger topped with spicy andouille sausage). A turkey burger and a meatless portobello burger are among the 21 varieties.

All photos courtesy of DFW.COM / RON JENKINS

The menu boasts that the red-meat burgers are made with lean Angus beef, and the consensus at our table of three was that maybe the patties were a little too lean. All were cooked to a perfect medium as requested, and the meat was tasty if a little too lightly seasoned, but it tended to get a little lost among the toppings, especially on the fancier burgers.

Granted, when you order something called the 3-Alarm ($10.59) — a burger encased in melted Monterey Jack cheese, topped with charred habanero, serrano and jalapeño peppers and dressed with chipotle mayonnaise — you’re just asking the patty (and your palate) to join a battle it might not be able to win. Surprisingly, though, this may be the burger where the patty performed best, flavor somehow coming through amid all that heat. The heat, though, was hit or miss — there were places on the burger where the peppers were absent (and the mayo seemed to be missing completely), and others where they ganged up and made us reach for the iced tea and nearby ranch dressing. Overall it was a winner, but with a little more balance, it could be a champ.

The toasted bun held up well on the 3-Alarm, but lapsed into sogginess on the Billy Goat ($9.99), a goat cheese/sauteed mushroom burger that came constructed in a nice, beefy tower. Once again, taken as a whole, it was a very good burger, more than generous with the mushrooms. But the patty could have used more seasoning. The Cowtown ($10.99) — Cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon and onion strings — found a better balance, but maybe that’s because we asked for the onion strings on the side rather than having them crowd the burger. There were a lot of onion strings left over after we used a delicate hand with them.

Speaking of onion-style food, there was nothing delicate about the onion rings (an extra $1.99 as a burger side), which were wrapped in a beautiful, sturdy, crunchy and thick coating. Maybe not the most healthful option, but who eats onion rings for health? Even more impressive was the fried green beans appetizer ($8.99); again, we’re not talking tempura light-handedness here, but an enveloping coating with a peppery bite. This place knows how to fry stuff.

The dessert item that intrigued us most (other than the adult shakes we couldn’t drink during a workday lunch) was the Greek walnut cake, and we were well-rewarded for our curiosity. A fairly plain-looking block of cake even after it was dusted with powdered sugar, it proved to be melt-in-your-mouth moist with a stronger hit of almond than walnut, giving it a sweet, amaretto-ish flavor. That cake sent us back to work happy.

Shaw’s has plate meals as well, including chicken-fried steak (a Shaw trademark) and a pork chop platter that, at $14.99, is the most expensive thing on the food menu. The restaurant has kept up with the times, with a popular Sunday brunch on brunch-happy Magnolia, and a recent expansion of its craft-beer menu. The Shaws have been at this long enough to know how to adapt to their surroundings, yet retain that comfort-food feeling they’ve become so good at over the years.

By Robert Philpot, rphilpot@dfw.com
Posted 12:44pm on Wednesday, Jul. 02, 2014 | View Source

Eats Beat: Old-school Shaw’s joins the Fort Worth designer-burger trend

By Bud Kennedy dfw.com
Posted 10:30am on Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013

In 35 years running bar-and-grills, David Shaw has never been trendy.

At his old Abernathy’s and now at the very similar Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill, his restaurants are more comfortable than cutting-edge.

That’s why it’s such a surprise that even Shaw’s is adding specialty burgers and craft beers.

“We get all ages, and a lot of people want something new in burgers and beers,” said Shaw, coping with chef-driven gastropubs and gourmet coffee cafes in both directions on West Magnolia Avenue.

Shaw’s will add six craft beers for a total of 18 and “gourmet up” the burgers and hot dogs, he said.

Along with new dishes, he has added retro items: nachos, queso and appetizers from his old Abernathy’s menu, and pasta specials and salads from his in-laws’ old restaurant in the same space, Scampi’s Mediterranean Cafe.

The Diakis family’s beloved lasagna has even made a comeback as an occasional lunch special.

Shaw’s also serves Scampi’s Greek salad, and its house dressing and signature dessert, walnut cake.

Shaw’s is also expanding brunch to both Saturday and Sunday, adding migas and portobello items.

The weekend brunch has become a busy favorite on Magnolia, where Shaw’s started as a cafe serving burgers and handspun Blue Bell shakes and has become the all-ages, all-occasions standby.

Shaw’s experience helps. His service is more reliable than at some nearby startups.

Shaw’s first restaurants were on West Berry Street near TCU and on Camp Bowie Boulevard.

“Magnolia is much more of a walking street,” he said.

“People poke their head in, look at the menu, then maybe go look at another place.

“Then they come back.”

Shaw's Chili Burger

FWTX Magazine: Neighborhood Hangout

Post date: Monday, December 3, 2012 – 9:23am

The nostalgia and simplicity of a cheeseburger and chocolate malt is hard to resist. Shaw’s Patio Bar and Grill lets the good times roll again.

David and Ann Shaw have run some of your most favorite Fort Worth dining spots since 1977. Remember Blue Bonnets Grill, Shaw’s Restaurant & Bar, Bogards and Abernathy’s Restaurant & Bar? The Shaws were behind the success of each of them. Many local restaurateurs (and even certain magazine publishers we know) got their starts working in one of the Shaw establishments.

Most recently, the popular Scampi’s Mediterranean Cafe closed last year after a 15-year run on Magnolia when Ann’s father and the restaurant’s executive chef passed away. That space is where the new Shaw’s Patio Bar and Grill began in 2011. It has expanded bit by bit over the past year, incorporating other available spaces into its vast footprint, which now includes two charming patios to enjoy on either side.

Start off with an order of cheesy Frog Fries ($8.99). These crinkle-cut beauties are served London Pub style with brown gravy on the bottom and then crowned with a layer of cheddar and bacon bits. Fresh Ranch Dip and jalapeños come along side. For a spicy starter, the Fried Green Beans ($6.99) will wake up your taste buds. This is one of the biggest sellers. The crusty coating is speckled with red pepper flakes, wrapped around fresh green beans and served with a cool aioli for dipping.

The Chili Cheese Burger ($8.99) is served on an egg bun, with a fresh patty of lean Angus beef topped with meaty chili. For a side dish, try the baked beans. They have a smoky flavor with plenty of bacon and a touch of mustard. Besides burgers (and Shaw’s has any variety you could dream up), there are also lovely fresh salads and many other sandwiches to choose among. Shaw’s Club, for instance, is a triple-decker served on wheat toast with Applewood smoked bacon, smoked turkey, Provolone cheese, spinach, tomatoes and mayo. There also are pressed sandwiches like the Veggie Lovers Panini filled with eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, olive tapenade and Brie cheese.

On Sunday you can choose from the brunch menu as well. All brunch items come with free Mimosas and are served alongside fresh fruit, country-diced hash brown potatoes and a couple of slices of Applewood smoked bacon. Choose from Migas, French Toast or a baked Vegetable Frittata. I tried the Portobello Eggs Benedict ($8.99). Two grilled portobello mushrooms are presented on top of wilted spinach and are layered with perfectly poached eggs and a light, creamy pesto sauce.

When entering, you are greeted with a wall of glass blocks and a red stained-glass namesake feature to your right. Once inside, you feel welcomed into the quintessential neighborhood pub, with flat screens and a central bar area. Warm woods abound with a mix of booths and tables. The wood paneling and utilitarian concrete flooring are blended with browns and neutrals and the occasional pop of color from graphic modern artwork.

The entrance effectively separates two dining spaces with matching patio features. The patios are lively with bands that will serenade you on the weekends, and Wednesdays are Fido-Friendly with Yappy Hour and Mutt Mingling on the patio. Bring your pooch and enjoy a special hot dog menu from 5 p.m. to close.

There is no better way to finalize your meal than with an indulgent ice cream float in a frosty mug or a hand-blended milkshake or malt. We sampled the chocolate malt, blended by the master himself, owner David Shaw. It was a great throw-back dessert, both authentic and old-fashioned, and served in a soda fountain glass, topped with fresh whipped cream that comes along with what’s left in the blender cup to enjoy every last drop.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to make your New Year’s resolutions until next month.