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Eats Beat

Chef Louis Lambert buying, reopening Roy Pope Grocery in Fort Worth

 

Roy Pope Grocery, an old-time neighborhood supermarket, meat market and burger grill serving west Fort Worth since World War II, will reopen under a partnership led by chef Louis Lambert, he said Thursday.

The grocery, 2300 Merrick St., is under contract to Lambert and investors Mark Harris and Rodger Chieffalo, Lambert said.

The butcher shop and market “will finally get the update and facelift that it needed,” owner Bob Larance said in an email.

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“It will truly be a neighborhood store.”

Lambert, co-founder of Dutch’s Hamburgers and owner of Austin restaurants, said “We want to embrace the history of service and everything that made Roy Pope special.

The specialty grocery will enlarge the kitchen, expand the deli and add indoor and outdoor seating for a neighorhood wine bar, he said.

He compared it to the Royal Blue urban markets In Austin — “small and with the fresh meats Roy Pope was known for.”

Lambert, an experienced restaurateur, is known for Lambert’s, Jo’s Coffee and Lou’s Bodega in Austin along with Dutch’s Hamburgers and a former Lambert’s in Fort Worth.

“Living in New York and San Francisco, I loved little neighborhood markets — there’s something romantic about it all,” he said.

Chef Lou Lambert Joyce Marshall Star-Telegram archives

In Fort Worth, he’s shopped every few weeks at Roy Pope.

“I would always think — wow, this place would be so cool,” he said.

Bob and Renee Larance closed the supermarket in March just as coronavirus restrictions began, but Bob Larance said they had already been planning to sell it.

Roy Pope Grocery includes an old-time meat market with housemade sausage. Bud Kennedy bud@star-telegram.com

In a month when supermarkets nationwide did record business, customers rushed to Roy Pope’s closeout sale to beat the superstore lines for meat, produce and paper goods.

“But one week doesn’t solve years of problems,” Larance said then.

When the grocery opened, it was a partnership between Pope and another grocer, Charles Kincaid.

In 1946, Pope and Kincaid split in a disagreement. Kincaid opened his own grocery three blocks east. It went on to become today’s Kincaid’s Hamburgers.

Over the years, Kincaid’s updated the store and eventually became a hamburger restaurant. But Roy Pope Grocery kept the original grocery layout with narrow aisles, cluttered shelves and a full-service meat market where diners could pick up a cheeseburger or some of the west side’s best fried chicken.

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