LET’S HOPE CULINARY FIRE-works are the only kind served up at Stonegate Mansion Restaurant, aka the old Cullen and Priscilla Davis house. And please: tequila shots only.
The 19,000-square-foot mansion on the hill above Hulen Boulevard, vacant since the mid-’80s, has been converted into a restaurant by Don Bowden of Mercado Juarez Restaurants fame. Bowden and partner Harold McGehee bought the house and three acres from Fort Worth’s Bass family for less than a million dollars, and, along with Walter Kaufman, who operated the Swiss House in Fort Worth for 30 years, have created what we can safely say is a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
After all, how many restaurants are the site of grisly murders like those in August 1976, when someone shot and killed Priscilla’s 12-year-old daughter, Andrea Wil-born, and Priscilla’s boyfriend, Stan Fair? Priscilla and another friend, Gus Gavrel, were wounded by the gunman,
That night three eyewitnesses- Priscilla, Gavrel, and his girlfriend, Beverly Bass-escaped to tell three different groups of listeners the same story: Davis was the killer. But as all true Texans (and Heather Locklear fans) know, Davis was tried but not convicted for Andrea Wilborn’s murder; no one has ever been tried for Stan Farr’s murder or the attempted murder of Priscilla.
Not surprisingly, the main characters in the 20-year-old saga disagree about the restaurant, as on most everything else. Cullen Davis was among those curious about the renovations to his dream home. He visited the property during the conversion, bringing photos that were helpful in the restoration of a large, round chimney that is the focal point of a circular “conversation pit.”
As for Priscilla, she says she has no desire to see her old home transformed into a restaurant. “Fort Worth has always acted like nothing happened there [the night Andrea was murdered]. This is just more of the same,” she says. “Really, I think it’s sick.”