New socialite restaurant in Fort Worth’s Near Southside has global plans

A new restaurant with a worldly twist is coming to Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue: Called The beast and company, it will open at 1000 W. Magnolia Ave., aka the former Mamma Mia space, serving an intriguing mix of Southern and global cuisine.

The Beast is a collaboration between founder Dustin Lee, a former marketing executive who moved to Fort Worth from Houston to launch The Beast; and chef Michael Arlt, a Johnson & Wales graduate who has cooked at restaurants in Florida, Chicago and Maine, including a stint at Emeril Lagasse E2 Emeril’s Eatery.

Both have traveled extensively and know multiple cuisines, and wanted to bring some of that accumulated insight to Fort Worth. They are in the final stages of construction and hope to be open by the end of February.

The Beast will be a globally inspired Southern restaurant, Lee says.

“It’s rooted in Southern traditions, but we like to trace flavors back to their point of origin,” he says. “Southern flavors incorporate a variety of elements including West African, North African, a bit of Vietnamese, French and Spanish.”

The menu will be seasonal but with a few key signatures that serve as emblems of what The Beast is all about. One is Mezze Maniche, a pasta dish with small tubes tossed in a “white” Bolognese sauce and made with goat cheese.

“It’s a type of Italian pasta that we’ll serve with goat cheese bolognese, it’s a white bolognese, that is, without tomatoes,” he says. “It has a savory Parmesan quality to it that really connects with the goat. Most often in a bolognese you have meat or lamb, but rarely do you see goat. Trust me, you want a game in your bolognese.”

There is also the Thai lobster bisque with a Thai lobster dumpling and a spicy version of bouillabaisse made with ray wing.

The restaurant will have a full bar, with cocktails that reflect their global focus, like a saffron-tinged Bees Knees.

Prior to his Mamma Mia tenure, the location was home to Jerry Van Dyke’s Soda Shoppe, owned by actor-comedian Jerry Van Dyke, which opened in 1998.

“Unfortunately, by the time of Mamma Mia, it had fallen into disrepair,” Lee said. “The walls were bleeding grease, we had to replace a lot of the drywall and the ceiling was crumbling in the kitchen. We did a lot of work on the floor to restore it.”

“This was built in 1941 – from what I understand it was a military warehouse,” he says.

“I like a place that has a story,” he says. “Fort Worth is a huge market, and we’re hoping to bring a new destination restaurant to town.”

About Walter Bartholomew

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