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Is Taylor Sheridan buying iconic Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican restaurant?

Customers wait in line at Joe T. Garcia’s on March 13, 2024.
Bob Francis
Fort Worth Report
Customers wait in line at Joe T. Garcia’s on March 13, 2024.

Fort Worth insiders are abuzz with speculation about the future of one of the city’s most iconic restaurants in the Stockyards.

The talk of the Stockyards is that the Lancarte family, which owns Joe T. Garcia’s restaurant, has put the nearly 90-year-old institution up for sale.

The family responded to questions about a potential sale by saying that “nothing has happened, so there is nothing to say,” according to a spokeswoman for the business.

Several posts on the Reddit page r/Fort Worth have speculated on the sale and on one person believed to be looking to purchase the restaurant: Taylor Sheridan.

Sheridan is the creative force behind the “Yellowstone” series and its various spinoffs. Sheridan has not responded to inquiries about the possible sale. One insider familiar with the deal told the Fort Worth Report that Sheridan has put together a purchasing group.

Sheridan is no stranger to investment in the Stockyards or iconic Fort Worth restaurants.

In 2023, Sheridan and several partners acquired Cattlemen’s Steak Houseat 2458 N. Main St., which opened in 1947. The group has since poured at least $3 million into that restaurant, upgrading the interior and making changes to the outdoor patio, according to filings with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Sheridan has filmed several scenes of his various series, including “Lawmen: Bass Reeves,” in Fort Worth. He is currently filming “Landman” in the area, which has brought Hollywood stars such as Billy Bob Thornton, Demi Moore and Jon Hamm to Fort Worth and, at times, to Joe T. Garcia’s.

Carlos Flores, who represents District 2 on the Fort Worth City Council — where Joe T’s is located — said he has heard the rumors several times.

“What I’ve heard is based on speculation,” he said.

Longtime Fort Worth restaurateur Jon Bonnell has heard the rumors as well, but noted that he hears similar rumors every few years.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said.

The Fort Worth Stockyards has seen a rebirth of business in the past few years after Hickman Companies and Majestic Realty Co.formed the Stockyards Heritage Development Co.and began redeveloping the area. When the Hotel Drover opened in 2021 and Mule Alley was redeveloped, tourists and new business flocked to the area. Visit Fort Worth estimates 3 million visitors come to the area annually, with food and beverage sales estimated at $74 million.

According to the city of Fort Worth, the value of land in the tax district, which was formed to spur development in the Stockyards, increased 20% during 2022.

The Stockyards has been a key factor in marketing Fort Worth since the redevelopment began, said Robert Young, executive vice president at Weitzman, a Dallas-based real estate firm that focuses on retail.

“Fort Worth committed to the iconic presence of the Stockyards,” he said. “That was key. The interesting thing is that it’s now part of every conversation for anybody looking at or talking about Fort Worth, which is a great driver for business.”

Joe T. Garcia’s dates its beginningsto 1935, when the Lancarte family opened a grocery store on the Northside, serving sandwiches, barbecue and Mexican dishes. The Lancartes eventually opened a restaurant at their home at 2201 N. Commerce St.

The restaurant became renowned for its small dining space, cash-only sales and the one dish it served: a combination dinner of enchiladas, tacos, guacamole and rice and beans. In the 1970s, the restaurant expanded to include a small patio and cabana. The restaurant now serves a second dish, fajitas, and has expanded the patio and added two more kitchens, allowing it to serve more than 1,200 guests. The property has grown to include the next block to the south, which houses Esperanza’s Mexican Bakery on North Main and the event venue La Puertita, an old church across from the main restaurant. Esperanza’s also has a second location on the Southside at 1601 Park Place Ave.

Joe T.’s has become iconic for Fort Worth, not just for the food but also for the experience, said John Fletcher, owner of Fletcher Communications.

“You can sit out on the patio and feel like you’ve taken a trip somewhere,” he said.

Joe T.’s is a key part of visiting the Stockyards, said Douglas Cox, principal at Ride for the Brand, a digital agency that until a recent move to Weatherford was located in the Stockyards.

“People from out of town, they want that experience to be in that place, the Stockyards, and Joe T.’s provides that,” he said.

The Fort Worth institution is also well-known around the world. Celebrities who have dined at Joe T. Garcia’s include Harrison Ford, George Strait, Bruce Springsteen and Tiger Woods, and it’s also a draw for presidents, governors and others in positions of power. More recently, many of the stars of Sheridan’s various projects have dined and been photographed there.

Family businesses sell for many different reasons, said Shaun Limbers, director of the Institute for Family Business at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business in Waco.

“A lot of times with a family business in the third or fourth generation, there’s just not a clear line of succession,” he said. “Some of those in the later generations have other interests and just aren’t as passionate about the business.”

Joe T. Garcia’s is not the only Fort Worth family-owned restaurant that has made changes or is considering doing so. Pulido’s Mexican Restaurant, founded by the Pulido family in 1966, announced plans to close their restaurants in October. In December, Westland Restaurant Group, which operates JD’s Hamburgers and West Side Cafe, acquired the restaurants, with plans to reopen them this spring.

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policyhere.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.