Pulido’s restaurants in Fort Worth sold to JD’s Hamburgers

When the Fort Worth-based Pulido’s restaurants closed after 57 years, a sign on the door read, “Hopefully we will be back!”

Restaurateurs Bourke Harvey and Gigi Howell made that come true Thursday, buying the five Pulido’s locations to add to the company that owns JD’s Hamburgers, West Side Cafe and the forthcoming Margie’s Italian Gardens.

The flagship Pulido’s, 2900 Pulido St. on a side street renamed for founders Dionicia and Pedro Pulido, will be the first to reopen, Harvey said.

The company, Westland Restaurant Group, will refresh the restaurants with a goal to reopen all five within a year, he said. The other locations are at 5050 Benbrook Highway in Fort Worth near Benbrook; 1224 Precinct Line Road, Hurst; and in Cleburne and Eastland.

The original Pulido’s near Montgomery Street still looks like in the 1970s.
The original Pulido’s near Montgomery Street still looks like in the 1970s. Bud Kennedy bud@star-telegram,com

The company also brought those four restaurant properties and is leasing the flagship building from the founding family, Harvey said. That property is well-hidden, but walkable from hotels between Dickies Arena and the Fort Worth Zoo.

Harvey, also owner of Curly’s Frozen Custard and several out-of-state Jason’s Delis and a partner in Rogers Roundhouse, said he has dined at the flagship Pulido’s and also at the Eastland location regularly for years.

“I’d sit down and they’d know my order right away — ‘Number 4 lunch special, enchilada, taco, rice and beans,’ “ he said.

Harvey and Howell, a former Reata manager, made their name for JD’s Hamburgers, 9901 Camp Bowie Blvd. West. But they have since found a future in legacy west Fort Worth restaurant brands as the city continues to grow toward Walsh Ranch and Parker County.

The original Pulido’s is hemmed in by road ramps, but accessible off Vickery Boulevard or Montgomery Street.
The original Pulido’s is hemmed in by road ramps, but accessible off Vickery Boulevard or Montgomery Street. Frank Vasquez Special to the Star-Telegram

Pulido’s closed indefinitely Oct. 14 after keeping intermittent hours for weeks due to lack of help.

The restaurants are known for traditional Tex-Mex, including enchiladas with Texas chili con carne or with traditional sauces such as mole or a mild “old-fashioned” sauce, and for low prices.

For example, Harvey’s regular No. 4 lunch special cost $8.50. Fajitas — which did not come to North Texas restaurants until 1976, nearly 10 years after Pulido’s opened — sold for about $11 at lunch. Enchilada dinners sold for $12.

“We want to try to welcome back the people who made it happen in the kitchen,” Harvey said.

Harvey and Howell plan to add family memorabilia to the bar at the Pulido Street location, he said. The late Dionicia and Pedro Pulido founded the flagship location to feed his co-workers in the adjacent Texas & Pacific railyard, now a Union Pacific yard.

July 3, 1982: Dionicia and Pedro Pulido, owners of Pulido’s Mexican Restaurant, still open at 2900 Pulido St..
July 3, 1982: Dionicia and Pedro Pulido, owners of Pulido’s Mexican Restaurant, still open at 2900 Pulido St.. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Westland Restaurant Group’s Margie’s Italian Gardens, 9805 Camp Bowie Blvd. West, will resume its 70-year history when it reopens in spring, Harvey said.

He and Howell had originally planned to redecorate and reopen, but the building — a travelers’ landmark in the days when that road was a major transcontinental highway and the neighborhood was a dusty old feed-store town named Westland — needed more work, he said.

JD’s is now open for lunch daily and dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays and will soon add a food truck parked out front to handle the high volume of to-go and delivery orders.

Harvey said he is also looking for a location to open a second Curly’s Frozen Custard. The first location, 4017 Camp Bowie Blvd., is seven blocks west of Dickies Arena.

The old-fashioned enchiladas at Pulido’s, similar to those once served at Don Felipe.
The old-fashioned enchiladas at Pulido’s, similar to those once served at Don Felipe. Bud Kennedy bud@star-telegram.com

This story was originally published December 20, 2023, 4:53 PM.

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Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth Star-Telegram “Eats Beat” dining columnist and restaurant podcast co-host. In print since 1985 and online since 1992, he has written more than 3,000 columns about Texas cafes, barbecue, burgers and where to eat.
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source: star-telegram

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