Lunch at the Stockyards!
In late November, I had a fun reunion with good friends, at a new hotel located in Fort Worth's historic Stockyards District.
We didn't spend the night in this unique luxury hotel, but we spent a couple hours dining and exploring!
Since moving to Texas 20+ years ago, Don and I have had quite a few visits to the Stockyards. Here are some random photos from over the years.
We've always enjoyed the cowboy kitschy vibe! But there's so much real history in the 98-acre district. In the early 1900's when the Stockyards Hotel was built, there was pretty much nothing but cattle and cowboys on the brick streets... or were they dirt then?
The upscale Drover is just steps away from the historic former livestock district. But when we pulled up, there were no smells of dust or cattle.
There was a city feel to the hotel, with valet parking and some neon signs. The western decor and friendly staff made it feel more like a relaxed, luxury ranch.
I loved the neon cowboy on the side of the building. Or should I say DROVER. I honestly didn't know that a drover was a cattle driver, or livestock mover... until this visit.
The cowboy nutcracker at the main entrance was pretty impressive. But his face wasn't nearly as welcoming as the faces that greeted, when we pulled up. We 4 felt like celebrities as we climbed out of Christy's car. Staff welcomed us and held open doors... and then the festive lobby greeted us!
Late November was a fun time to visit the hotel. It was about a week before Thanksgiving and the holiday decor was already on display.
My eyes were drawn to the permanent decor first... the glowing fireplace and the 12 spotlighted longhorn skulls! I spotted a TV above the fireplace, (which seemed unnecessary) but the screen was showing some fun, retro videos.
Everywhere we turned, we saw cozy seating.
I loved this nook with all the shelves and books.
There was a classy mix of decor in this bar area. I spotted a saddle, casually resting on the back of the blue couch.
There were no cowhide barstools. Just some modern white stools, a cow skull and 3 crystal chandeliers.
Hats and Barbed Wire
This bar was modern also, but I spotted more western hints in this area.
There was a chandelier made with barbed wire and cowhide chairs. And a few cowboys, (or at least cowboy hats) seated at the bar.
Everywhere I turned there was a perfect set up for me to take a selfie.
But I don't do selfies. And who would want to clutter up this photo with a person anyway. I love the images behind the neon. Old pages of Western Romance novels, I believe.
Down the Hall
As we moved towards the restaurant, we 4 stopped and grinned and commented with every decorated wall and table and piece of furniture. And how about the that circular arrangement of bulbs, on the ceiling! No wagon wheel light fixture here!
This little table was jam-packed with Christmas decor, but it was the wall behind, that had me pondering. I thought they were hanging peppers at first. Succulent leaves of some kind? Pretty fun, the way they were hanging from railroad spikes.
The hotel only opened last March I believe. I'm not sure if they've had time to rack up any famous guest on their register. But I spotted a few famous faces on display. A Western version of Marilyn, greeted folks on their way to the restrooms.
A classic image of the Lone Ranger had me feeling I should raise both hands high.
One More Nook
I loved this little sitting area, near a dramatic staircase.
Each guitar was decorated with a western image. One had the hotel's H-D "brand".
While we got checked in for our table, I studied the trees. They were so packed with ornaments, I wondered if there were really a trees under there.
I loved our host's outfit. I thought she was wearing chaps at first, but I think they were just fringed pants.
97 West Kitchen & Bar
There is evidently seating for 200 at this restaurant, but it felt more intimate. I spotted some fun tables. The long table in the back corner, had a colorful "kids table" nearby! How darn cute is that!
I wish I'd gotten a better photo of the large table, near the open-air kitchen. The backs of each chair revealed their own western art image.
Behind Lorrie and Me
This happy photo reveals more than enthusiasm. Behind Lorrie and me, you can see hat stands. Two were being used to hold the hats of nearby diners. Lorrie almost looks like she's wearing a hat!
Further behind us, you can see (barely) the tops of a 12 heads seated at the long table near the kitchen. A dozen cowboy-hat-wearing-women, had gathered at that table. Just a couple kept their hats on.
Christy and Shari
I made Christy and Shari do a little posing, too. We honestly were just giddy to be dining out together, for the first time since the pandemic! What a fun place to celebrate!
Just to the right of Christy and Shari, I had fun studying the wrought iron chandeliers. I'm pretty sure those were made up of branding irons.
Larry! The Best!
And 3 cheers for our waiter Larry! He was absolutely the best. When asked if he was a real cowboy, he laughed that he was a little more like "Woody" from Toy Story.
Something about his long arms, I think he said. He was absolutely the most upbeat, enthused, efficient waiter and we couldn't praise him enough.
And Larry of course graciously took a photo of the 4 of us, so we could remember our reunion outing.
Take note of the interesting wood and mirrors behind us. There's a lot of wood at The Drover. The hotel is full of reclaimed hardwood flooring. I read that 27 wood stains, are used throughout.
BLT Deviled Eggs for Starts
The lunch menu looked fabulous. We started with this shared appetizer.
Smoked pork belly burnt ends.. bacon jam! Larry was so excited about our mouth watering choice. The mention of deviled egg got him talking about his grandmother, which was pretty darn cute. We had enough to share, but he was too busy to join us. And I'm sure there are rules about dining with your customers.
Soup & Salad
I was so excited about my Creamy Cauliflower Soup. It was picture perfect and I hardly wanted to mess up the swirls. But I'm glad I did. I ate every spoonful.
My Farm Stand Salad was just right, with candied pecans and spinach. It was the perfect combo.
I said I don't like selfies, but Larry claimed his long arms and skills made his the selfies best..
We raved about our meal and service. We had become quick Larry fans and it was only his first week on the job! (I think I heard that right) For every compliment we had for Larry, he gave one back. He searched for a name to call us. No. Golden Girls wouldn't do. We all agreed. Sex in the City? Closer!
After lunch we headed for the back door to peek at the outside dining... for future warm weather visits!.
The covered patio looked lovely, overlooking the "yard" and fountain. The weather was chilly, but one occupied table looked comfortable, near a standing heater.
The tables looked out on an area called The Backyard. What a homey name for a hotel's outside property.
Such beautiful, large shade trees.
A lineup of wooden stools, looked down towards Marine Creek. There was an entrance to The Backyard, from Trinity Trails below. Guests can arrive on bike or foot and stop in for a drink or meal.
Following the Walkway
We followed the path towards another bar area.
I can only imagine how crowded this property might be, on warm summer nights!
It was tempting to step into the fenced in pool area. But it's for hotel guests only.
The lounge chairs looked heavenly and the pool looked inviting, Even from a distance I could see longhorn images in the tile. They were in the process of putting up a 5-story Christmas tree, as we wandered by.
After passing the pool, we took a look at one more bar/lounge.
The space was out right out of a magazine. I loved everything from the metal cactus to the flocked tree... to John Wayne peeking out from a frame, propped against the mirror.
Before we moved on from the picture-perfect-rustic-chic, Veranda Bar, Christy took a photo of me with Lorrie and Shari. We've done a few poses over the years.
Now that I see this photo, it's clear that we girls were missing something. Luckily there are lots of places to buy hats and boots at (and near) the hotel.And no we didn't buy any.
As we headed towards the rear door that opened to the lobby, we pointed out more lovely areas for sitting. Was that a fireplace, beneath the golden logo?
I wouldn't mind sitting on those chairs near the koi fountain, with water trickling from the old pump. We will have to return!
Hotel Drover Adventure
When we decided to go have lunch at the new hotel, I didn't expect to write a blog post. This was supposed to be a yummy lunch outing, focussed on catching up.
We did end up with great food and wonderful converstaion. But the whole outing was much more of a dining adventure, than any of us expected.
Yeehaw for our Texas Reunion Lunch at Hotel Drover! Let's do that again!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.