Tucked away down a tree-lined residential street, Blind Alley Projects is so discreet you might miss it. Married artist couple Cameron Schoepp and Terri Thornton—he an art professor at TCU, she the curator of education at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth—have maintained the gallery on this block since last spring. “Gallery” is perhaps overstating it.
The 8-by-10 vitrine, constructed of rock-filled gabion walls and a living roof, is set next to a garden on an overgrown lot near the couple’s home and studio. It’s a haven for single-work installations or ephemeral performances. The Cultural District’s gems—the Modern, the Kimbell, the Amon Carter—are mere blocks away. But in this verdant oasis, artists with national and international renown land numerous times a year to make utterly site-specific work that uses the space ingeniously and defies anything the small, secretive location suggests.
This is the way art works in Fort Worth. Scratch the surface, and you’ll find our smaller sibling is roiling with creativity. This is true, too, of its food scene. Which is why, as the dining critic and a de facto arts writer for our staunchly Dallas-centric magazine, I make an escape once every Blind Alley Projects cycle for the good stuff.
5724 Locke Ave. 682-760-9606
Quite possibly the best fuel for museum-going, Mariachi’s decamped from a gas station to this larger location in May. It has a boisterous, rollicking vegan menu that lives beside its carnivorous twin. Dive in with crispy jackfruit birria tacos, cashew queso, or a vegan al pastor burrito that’s all smoky depth.
Also try: Shinjuku Station, 711 W. Magnolia Ave.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell St. 817-738-9215
The glass, steel, and concrete edifice, designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, is stunning and alone worth the trip. On weekends, after a day spent meditating on the reflecting pond and the art, nab a bite at the elegant Cafe Modern and stay for the artsy Magnolia at the Modern film screenings.
Also try: Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Hip Pocket Theatre
1950 Silver Creek Rd. 817-246-9775
The Simons family has created a hot spot for intimate experimental theater under the stars. Shows incorporate miming and shadow puppetry in ways that entrance and bewilder. Enjoy live music around the ramshackle snack stand before the show.
Also try: Stage West Theatre, 821/823 W. Vickery Blvd.
Hatsuyuki Handroll Bar
907 Foch St. 817-720-5330
Like Deep Ellum, this college town’s West Seventh hub buzzes with frenetic nighttime energy. And like Deep Ellum, it boasts a handroll bar, where you can sit at the U-shaped counter and contemplate rice draped with roe pearls, pristine fish, and uni with a quail egg to break over it.
Also try: Grace, 777 Main St.
Fort Worth Botanic Garden
3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. 817-463-4160
Within the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, the Japanese Garden is an oasis of gingko trees and flaming Japanese maple. In the spring, the cherry blossom festival fills it with taiko drumming amid a gauzy froth of pink and white petals.
Also try: Trinity Park, 2401 University Dr.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
3501 Camp Bowie Blvd. 817-738-1933
People often underestimate this demure museum on a hill with its graceful Philip Johnson facade, but ask the connoisseurs and they’ll tell you this is the spot for the most sensitive temporary exhibitions of photography. It is, in fact, a temple to photography, period.
Also try: National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, 1720 Gendy St.