June 7, 2023


Be Inspired By Food

Lambert putting stamp on Fort Really worth culinary landmarks

Of the quite a few presents the Greek immigrant has bestowed on American culture, the strategy of the greasy spoon coffee store and diner stand out.

A lot of of the diners serving New York City to this working day are owned and operated by any one of the quite a few descendants of the influx of Greek immigrants who arrived at the beginning of the very last century. To the shores of Ellis Island, they brought with them the kaffenion, that location back again at household wherever the blue-collar course gathered to discuss more than espresso or possibly anything more spirited.

The Greek diner that advanced in the melting pot of the land of prospect surely still left a lasting impression – anything akin to a total-body tattoo — on Louis Lambert.

Not all that long in the past, he was a young Texan in New York plotting the contributions he would make to culinary society in Fort Well worth as a student at The Culinary Institute of The us. During periods of respite, visits to the town normally included a halt at a single of these Greek diners.

“I was constantly fascinated by the Greek diners,” claimed Lambert. “That’s a phenomenon that we – or I – did not know about in Texas. I was usually fascinated by the idea and explained a single day I want to do that. I just by no means experienced the chance.”

That is all switching with 1 of the city’s most iconic dining destinations before long transforming fingers.

Lambert is part of the team purchasing the historic Paris Espresso Store on the northwest corner of Magnolia and Hemphill. He is joined in the enterprise with buyers Rodger Chieffalo, Mark Harris and Chris Reale, the same group bringing the historic Roy Pope boutique grocery on the west side back again from the ashes.

Not lengthy right after the consummation of that offer, the Paris Espresso Store came on the market, explained Lambert, who was alerted by Chieffalo, his longtime close friend and fraternity brother at TCU.

Out of the blue all visits to the diners in New York Town and visions of his own converged.

“That would be excellent for what I’ve been contemplating about all these several years,” Lambert recalled.

The offer announced in November is predicted to close in February, Chieffalo explained, and includes the entire “kit and caboodle.” In addition to the organization and every little thing inside of the developing, the team is attaining the property as effectively as an adjoining business office making.

Lambert, a Paris diner for additional than 40 a long time, beginning with his several years as a university student at TCU, vowed to sustain the “soul of Paris Espresso Shop.” At the similar time is the recognition of the will need to revive and modernize to replicate the instances and changed demographics in the bustling Near Southside neighborhood.

Paris Espresso Shop, which lived through numerous difficult moments along the Hemphill Street and Magnolia Avenue corridor, will be becoming a member of the renaissance of the In close proximity to Southside.

Lots of of the updates in the diner in fact will more closely resemble what was the old Paris with larger sized booths, new seating and surfaces, and a better ceiling and improved lights. The group strategies to increase and enhance the counter service as nicely as embrace the tradition of Paris’ famous pies with a new bake shop.

“We’re placing cash into giving our respect to what it was and what it demands to be these days to replicate the industry and demographic of the community,” Lambert mentioned.

Anything will be contemporary and created in-property.

The menu will be expanded, nevertheless include the blue-plate specials, but also lighter, much healthier possibilities, Lambert reported.

The layout of the restaurant will stay the exact, Lambert stated. Having said that, what was as soon as a storage region in the again will be transformed into a private eating location for enterprise meetings or overflow seating.

Not all of this will materialize at when. Upon closing of the sale, current proprietor Mike Smith will keep on for 30 days through the transition. Some tweaks will be built to the menu, but renovations will not come about for about 6 months, Lambert said. That stage of the project is anticipated to commence in July 2021 and just take two to three months to entire, he mentioned. It will also contain a gutting of the kitchen.

In addition to Paris’ breakfast and lunch hrs of the previous 95 several years, Lambert will increase evening meal when they reopen, as effectively as comprehensive bar services. (That will not include an actual bar.) Company several hours will be seven times a 7 days.

“I’ve finished a lot of genuinely exciting and interesting initiatives over the yrs, but this a single I feel extra stress than any I’ve at any time finished because of the historical past powering it and really like of what it represents,” Lambert mentioned.

To emphasize that, Lambert shared a recent conversation with an affiliate, who passed along a piece of advice on his most current enterprise: Really don’t, um, screw it up.

“It’s bought so substantially history and so lots of persons invested in it,” Lambert explained. “We have a good deal of eyes on it. I set a lot of pressure on myself to produce both of those an aesthetically great when nailing the food.

“And do it day following day soon after day.”

There is certainly a great deal of record below.

Paris Espresso Store has been in the arms of the Smith family members considering that 1926. The diner moved from its initial location, 614 W. Magnolia, in the mid-1970s when the metropolis widened Hemphill Avenue, Smith reported. For the previous 55 several years, it has been under the course of Mike Smith, the son.   

“We felt like it was a wonderful time to step in,” said Chieffalo. “Mike absolutely experienced an desire in selling. He required anyone to choose it and continue to run and it and not bulldoze it and turn it into a parking good deal.”

Stated Smith: “After 55 years, it is time.”

We do not keep superior food items – we market it was a mantra witnessed in advertisements during the 1930s.

Gregory K. Smith obtained the diner from Vic Paris. He ran it for 40 several years.

The 26-year-outdated Gregory K. Smith wound his way to Fort Worth from Rikers Island, the strip of land in the East River among Queens and the Bronx in New York.

When he arrived in The usa in 1913 as a 13-yr-outdated, his identify was not Gregory Smith, but instead Grigonos Asikis.

A Greek immigrant who ran a Greek diner.

“He transformed his title to Smith so he could get a occupation,” Mike Smith mentioned.

Unbeknownst to Lambert when this all commenced, the Paris Coffee Shop really is his desire undertaking in just about every way.