Imagine you are driving through Fort Worth, Texas looking for a restaurant that offers you a delicious bite to eat, a cold one, and an artistic atmosphere neighboring you at every corner; The Bearded Lady is the perfect place for you. When I first walked into The Bearded Lady, my eyes were immediately drawn to the array of unique posters and stickers on the walls, while the aroma of their mouth-watering famous “L.U.S.T Burger” filled the entire restaurant, complemented by the sound of cold, local crafted beer being poured to customers. Who would’ve known local milk was used to make their homemade bacon mac n cheese that looked baked to perfection and caused a person’s mouth to water just by looking at it! With a fancy grilled cheese and a cup of hot tomato soup sitting on a costumers table, the Tree Hugger Veggie Sandwich resting on another, and a bar filled with working people from the area, I was quick to understand that this restaurant idealizes the idea of catering to all types people, but with an emphasis on an artistic aesthetic. Back at home; if my friends and I wanted to go eat at a place where we received the same artistic atmosphere as Bearded Lady, we would have to go into a dangerous part of town, and probably experience lesser quality and poor service; making us not want to go there. The Bearded Lady has provided this ever-growing community with a down to earth environment that acts as a cornerstone for Magnolia street; a restaurant where casual employees serve local customers with delicious homegrown food and drinks, which leads me to believe that they will be expanding from one location very soon.
When we nervously pulled up on the corner of 7th street, we honestly believed that our Uber driver had made a mistake. As we searched for the restaurant it took us awhile to realize that the place we were looking for, was actually an old house! Besides the little sign placed on the corner with the restaurants name, there were no other ones anywhere that hinted to us that the Bearded Lady was just on the corner. However, the alternative music playing from inside, and the bright green umbrellas circling the building gave us the idea that we were in the right place after
all. Before we entered the restaurant we noticed a sign next to the door that said “World Class Beer” and a wooden dog bone placed beneath, implying that the Bearded Lady is dog friendly. As soon as we walked in we immediately caught on to the decor that embodied a quirky personality and were greeted by numerous spirited and laid back employees. We came into the restaurant with hopes that we would get to speak with an employee because we knew they would be busy, however the host told us to take a seat and a few minutes later we were bestowed with the opportunity to sit down and talk to the half owner, Shannon Osbakken.
According to this article, “the vibe of this restaurant was described as an eclectic mix of people — hipsters, curious foodies, families with small children, singles with big appetites, sun-lovers (some with dogs) on the patio on a hot early Sunday afternoon — in a house that feels like it was decorated by your grandmother, if your grandmother was a south-side hipster with a keen eye for comforting interior design.” As we asked Shannon what their main inspiration for the restaurants design was she had a response that a lot of people would find to be surprising! “Our design an
d decor is basically just from us collecting a lot of random stuff from our own houses. There was also years spent on going to flea markets and antiques stores where we would buy things with beer references and quotes that fit our artistic genre and we started hanging it on the walls one by one”(Shannon). As we continued to eye the interior we saw that the decorations mostly consisted of posters and artistic pictures that fit with the personalities of the employees; the most of whom served as body art with tat
toos of their own. There were chalk boards placed above the wide selection of the craft beer in the bar area with reminders such as “Sunday Brunch” and “Karaoke Night,” making the restaurant family friendly, but a good place to go to for a night out. Shannon expressed how the house itself is a large part of the decoration, the wood is part of the house and they covered some of the exposed brick. The house has multiple dining rooms where wooden tables and chairs of all sizes were dispersed, a perfect idea if you want to enjoy a nice dinner for two or have a night out with a party of ten.
The Bearded Lady is a restaurant that serves as a bar and can be compared to other places that spark similarities. Out of curiosity, we asked Shannon about the reasoning behind choosing a home for their location and how her restauarant is compared to others around the area. “Before it was “The Bearded Lady” the family that lived here had owned a salon where they ran their business through that tiny door next to the newly constructed entrance! Th
e daughter that lived here actually came on our opening day and she is around 90 years old so, that was a heartwarming sight to see. When she walked in she was lost for words at how we turned her old home into a restaurant. We really wanted our restaurant to feel like you are in the comfort of your own home, eating comfort food, and that is why we chose it” (Shannon). The Bearded Lady is a restaurant that serves as a bar and can be compared to other places that spark similarities.
As we continued to ask Shannon questions, we couldn’t help but inquire about the unique name of the bar and how her restaurant differentiates itself from others. The name was spoken into action one night when Shannon and some friends were out and after a couple of drinks they began throwing some names out there and “The Bearded Lady” rolled off her partner’s tongue and after that it just stuck. “The name was just an idea but being the founders of this establishment, we happen to really be into circus shows and things of that sort so the more we pondered it the more everything clicked and came together” (Shannon). With 1229 7th Avenue previously serving as a hair salon, the building itself came with such a unique story, that they felt that a quirky name such as The Bearded Lady was needed to fulfill a perfect match.
Aside from the tatted waiters and waitresses, the converted household, and the chalk on the walls declaring Karaoke Night; The Bearded Lady prides itself on the use of local ingredients. You don’t have to search for too long to find grazing cattle in Fort worth, Texas; and it’s safe to say that this restaurant doesn’t look any further when looking for meat and dairy supply. All of the meat and cheese that is served via burger to eager customers is more than likely from “right around the corner,” as some would say. In addition to all of the bread and cheese that is brought in locally, Shannon stated, “some things we do have to bring in, but one thing we are very passionate and big on is supporting Fort Worth’s local beer market” (Shannon). As I scanned the restaurant I came to recognize the three big fridges positioned next to all of the tap beers behind the bar and thought how awesome it was that they provide such a wide selection for their customers, half of them being from their own hometown. DFW.com says “The two main reasons to go to The Bearded Lady, which has been a pretty hot Magnolia Avenue spot since it opened in 2013, are its beer list — more than 30 drafts, and we lost count of the bottles and cans after looking at three long columns of them on the menu — and its patio, which is one of the best in Fort Worth and provides some Magnolia people-watching both.”As every glass poured was filled to the brim, and as every can was opened, you can see the enjoyment customers had as they sat back, drank a nice local beer along with any mouth-watering food imaginable.
Serving as an attraction to the area and helping make the area a hot spot for craft beer and the place to go to if you’re into that sort of vibe, just across the street there is an old bus that was turned into a mobile bookstore, along with walls placed unsystematically so artists can express themselves whenever they want to. This really grabbed my attention because The Bearded Lady provides their costumers with a patio that sits on Magnolia with a view that captures the communities hippie culture. Plus you can do all of this while having your dog sitting next to you with a nice lunch accompanied by a cold crafted beer. Overall, it gives people in the community or people who are even visiting Fortworth an option for a place to come and eat while relaxing. “We are considered a comfortable and laid back restaurant and not a fine dining restaurant like a lot of other places here. We are well received from the community because of that.” (Shannon). They receive a wide variety of costumers and to support it, Fortworthchamber.com mentions “As the 16th-largest city in the US — and the largest “Fort” city — Fort Worth embraces and celebrates its western heritage without being entirely defined by it. With more than 5.5 million visitors each year, it is safe to say that it has the luxury of growing at all times.” With this being a peak time of growth, it is also an ideal time for restaurants to boom as well. Business wouldn’t be anywhere near as profitable as it is now if it was in a different location. With TCU campus being only seven minutes away via automobile; they serve a lot of college students, which isn’t hard to believe considering that the environment of the place seems to cater to young people.
The Bearded Lady is portrayed as a restaurant that attains undeniable attractions along with their savory menu. As they continue to flourish, they seem to be taking a step in the right direction when locals went on a binge over the summer of 2016 for the costumers favorite dish; “The L.U.S.T Burger.” “Ever since our burger appeared on the cover, we have been having trouble keeping up with demand”(Shannon). The popular establishment graced the cover of Texas Monthly in August where a woman named Anna Caplan wrote about the mouth-watering experience she had while taking her first bite. “I am thinking about: A) moving near Magnolia to eat this burger every day B) increasing my cardio just so I can eat this burger every day and C) leaving my husband for this masterpiece. Well, there you have it folks; if you happen to be in Texas and are craving a burger stuffed with feta and peppers with avocado smothered on top, the L.U.S.T Burger is calling your name.”
In conclusion, you are essentially surrounded by restaurants in Fort Worth, but The Bearded Lady stands out above all. Their w
ide variety of food options, crafted beer, and a place to enjoy yourself gives the restaurant a reason to flourish. Whether it’s the casual vibe that is given off by the environment, the artistic culture of the employees, or the aroma of their signature burgers and local crafted beer, this establishment is bound to make an unique impression on you. Next time you are craving a nice brunch with a bottomless
mimosa visit The Bearded Lady on Sunday afternoon; If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a nice cold beer while singing karaoke, make your way down there on Sunday nights! Due to their atmosphere and amazing feedback they have received from the Fort Worth community, if The Bearded Lady continues to be this popular, with the help of exposure and word of mouth, it can soon become a cornerstone of Fort Worth and maybe even create a chain of restaurants.
Shannon. Interview. 12 October 2016