Long-Awaited 61 Osteria Restaurant Is Set to Make a Big First Impression — Fort Worth Gets a Dreamy Italian Spot From a Powerhouse Duo

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Downtown Fort Worth’s dynamic duo of restaurateur of Adam Jones and his longtime chef Blaine Staniford has produced two of the city’s best restaurants. First at Grace and then with its casual bistro sister restaurant Little Red Wasp. Now Jones and Staniford’s long-awaited dreamy Italian restaurant dubbed 61 Osteria is set to open next Tuesday, January 31.

At opening, 61 Osteria will be dinner-only at first. With lunch, brunch and a family-style Sunday supper set to come in the near future. The new osteria is ready to take its star turn at the base of the First On 7th tower at 500 West 7th Street.

Osteria 61’s new 7000-square-foot space is both eye catching and open with seating in its main dining room for 120 people. The adjoining bar has room for 50 with seats both at the long counter and in cozy booths near walls of gleaming glass. There is also patio seating for another 30 to 45  — a la Grace Restaurant, which has a similar setup.

Still, it’s the menu at 61 Osteria that figures to be the star.

In Italy, an osteria is typically a neighborhood haunt with simple dishes featuring local produce and wine. Staniford has long embraced a seasonal, locally sourced approach to his cooking and his menu at 61 Osteria follows suit.

“61 Osteria will focus on the traditional foods that come from all 20 regions of Italy so the variety will be quite interesting for our guests,” Staniford says. “Every plating houses the philosophy of Texas ingredients with an Italian twist.”

Menu highlights include:

— House Antipasti with citrus marinated olives with parmesan, spiced corn nuts and pickled vegetables.

— Salumi with house cured calabrian coppa, truffle salami, fennel seed lonza and mortadella.

— Prosciutto di Parma Tasting of 12 and 24 month aged ham with Castelvetrano olives and parmesan.

— Wood Grilled Prawns with head on blue prawns, salsa verde and charred Meyer lemon.

— Housemade pastas including Bucatini Cacio e Pepe made of semolina pasta with cracked black pepper and pecorino fulvi.

— Smoked Spaghetti Carbonara with house guanciale, pecorino toscano and local farm egg yolk.

— Atlantic Swordfish paired with eggplant puree, castelvetrano olives and puttanesca sauce.

— Veal Chop Marsala with hen of the wood mushrooms, grilled baby artichokes and Sperone marsala.

— Bistecca Florentina with porcini and fennel pollen-crusted 28 ounce prime porterhouse.

Along with classic and modern cocktails, you’ll find a curated wine list that emphasizes Italian producers.

“Our wine list invites you to explore the variety of Italian flavors presented in our menu by region,” Jones says. “The wine list begins with a map of Italy for reference. You may use this to find wines that connect you to the foods and flavors you wish to enjoy.

“We focus on a couple of major areas within Italy: Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany and Sicily.”

Chef Blaine Staniford’s seasonal Italian feast at the new 61 Osteria makes for an impressive food array. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

61 Osteria’s Look

Ibañez Shaw Architecture was tapped to bring 61 Osteria to life.

“Context matters,” architect Greg Ibañez tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “The former First National Bank Building was the first modern (or international style) to be constructed in Fort Worth. It’s a mid-century marvel surrounded by Noguchi sculptures.”

While the word iconic might seem overused these days, in the landscape and history of downtown Fort Worth, what is now known as First on Seventh actually qualifies for the term. Originally designed by renowned architecture firm Skidmore & Owens, Ibañez reminds that its Noguchi tryptic of sculptures was installed as an urban and modern landscape.

“It remains an important piece of artwork in Fort Worth,” Ibañez  says. “The city was looking ahead when the building was designed in 1961. It speaks to post modernism and the feeling of limitless horizons in post-war America.”

The building’s exoskeleton is underpinned with transparent glass and this new Fort Worth restaurant works with that.

“The design of 61 Osteria was not intended to be retro or mid-mod, but we feel it is very much in sync with the space,” Ibañez says.

The finishes of the new restaurant are dramatic and cohesive, with massive slabs of Indian marble, which have been installed book matched, showing off rich colorations of maroon, orange, green and gray. The walls are covered with quarter-sawn oak paneling too.

61 Osteria – The dramatic yet sunny bar at 61 Osteria, backed by book matched Indian marble. Photo by Kathy Tran.
The dramatic yet sunny bar at 61 Osteria, backed by book matched Indian marble, makes for a dramatic space. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Perhaps the most striking feature at 61 Osteria is the central lighting element, which is fluid and able to shimmer ― crafted from aluminum fabric. The building’s original single-pane glass windows are another primary material. They presented both obstacles (requiring adequate air circulation to remain clear), as well as some unforeseen advantages (the mid-century glass is clearer than anything produced today).

“During the day the finishes stand out more dramatically,” Ibañez tells PaperCity. “At night it is sexy and moody and thanks to the glass, with its stunning transparency, it looks like a lantern.”

You may want to get reservations to this new Fort Worth restaurant quickly, or prepare to get in line. 61 Osteria is a highly-anticipated opening. For starters, the bar will be open Sundays from 5 pm to 8 pm, Mondays through Fridays from 4 pm to 10 pm, and Saturdays from 5 pm to 10 pm. Dinner will be served on Sundays from 5 pm to 8 pm, Mondays through Thursdays from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 pm to 9:45 pm. Lunch and brunch hours will be added at a later date.

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