Kincaid's Hamburgers' original Fort Worth location needed to replace the decorative tile ceiling. When owners ripped it out, they found handsome pine hardwood. Bud Kennedy bud@star-telegram.com
Kincaid's Hamburgers' original Fort Worth location needed to replace the decorative tile ceiling. When owners ripped it out, they found handsome pine hardwood. Bud Kennedy bud@star-telegram.com

Eats Beat

Something changed at Kincaid’s? Yes, but it’s still a 1946 throwback

By Bud Kennedy

bud@star-telegram.com

September 06, 2017 10:33 PM

UPDATED September 07, 2017 08:39 PM

FORT WORTH

Nothing ever changes at Kincaid’s Hamburgers’ flagship 1946 location, right?

But — look up.

The handsome original pine ceiling has been restored in Kincaid’s original Camp Bowie Boulevard grocery-grill, replacing a worn tile ceiling that helped give the location its pale-green glow.

Now the old Kincaid’s really looks like a 70-year-old grocery store, with the original ceiling fans turning overhead for diners coming for Fort Worth’s first nationally famous hamburger.

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Years ago, Kincaid’s was named one of America’s two great hamburgers in a 1960s Life Magazine story (along with Cassell’s in Los Angeles) and again in a 1980s chefs’ poll (along with Perry’s in San Francisco). In the 1970s, when both Texas Monthly and the Star-Telegram launched best-burger polls, Kincaid’s came out on top.

Decades and dozens of new competitors later, Kincaid’s still thrives at six locations, including the first, 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd.

“It’s kind of weird — basic cheeseburgers are in a renaissance,” said Ron Gentry. It was his father, butcher O.R. Gentry, who started grinding and grilling burgers for grocery shopkeeper Charles Kincaid.

“We used to sell mostly hamburgers. Now most people are asking for cheeseburgers the classic way, or bacon cheeseburgers. The original is making a comeback.”

In a city where other restaurants serve burgers with everything from brie and foie gras to peanut butter, Kincaid’s has stuck to basic mustard-lettuce-tomato-pickle-onion. But more diners now order burgers the “Cowtown” way with grilled onions and jalapeños.

Kincaid’s also has stuck to serving crinkle-cut fries, and Gentry is checking into new equipment for hand-cut crinkle fries.

There’s always a new sundae of the month. For September, it’s chocolate chip cookie dough.

Gentry said customers mostly like the new look, or haven’t commented. Only one customer complained, he said.

“That guy said he’d been coming here since the 1970s, and he liked the tile,” Gentry said. (But the pine looks more 1940s.)

Kincaid’s is open for lunch and dinner daily at 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-732-2881, with other locations in the Hulen and Alliance areas, Arlington, Southlake and Weatherford; kincaidshamburgers.com.

The Heim empire expands

The Heim family continues to conquer the barbecue world.

Craft barbecue kingpins Emma and Travis Heim bought Soda Springs Bar-B-Q in White Settlement this week, adding another option as Heim grows beyond its current location at 1109 W. Magnolia Ave.

Heim already has a new location in the works at 5333 White Settlement Road, a former Veterans of Foreign Wars hall at the West Fork bridge in what is now called the River District.

Soda Springs will be open through Saturday, owner Brenda Lewis said.

The restaurant opened in 1985 and became known for late founder Scott “Red Wheeler” Lewis’ barbecue, for an extensive memorabilia collection and for the Lewises’ following among classic country musicians, including Johnny Bush, Jack Greene and Red Steagall.

Soda Springs remains open, but only for a few days: lunch Monday through Saturday, dinners Thursday through Saturday at 8620 Clifford St., 817-246-4644, facebook.com/sodaspringsbbq.

Paula Deen in Arlington

TV chef Paula Deen is coming to Arlington, and raising money for Houston.

Deen was already planning an Arlington event to promote a new syndicated TV show, “Positively Paula.” Her Wednesday party at Legal Draft Beer Company is now a $100-per-ticket benefit for Houston storm relief.

Deen will have a local sidekick: chef Jenna Kinard, a Deen fan who became a friend and went on to a recent chef gig at Max’s Wine Dive.

The event is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Legal Draft, 500 E. Division St. For tickets, see pauladeen.com/fundraiser.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @EatsBeat.