Photos by Brooke Mathis: Beautiful Evolutions Photography
Courtesy photos: City of Burleson
Fish City Grill isn’t just a seafood restaurant; it’s a culinary haven that brings the flavors of the sea to Burleson with a heartwarming commitment to community …
In a culinary showdown that celebrated creativity and innovation, Fish City Grill emerged as the victor in Burleson’s month-long contest, bringing the State Fair flavors to the heart of the city. With 22 restaurants competing for the title, Fish City Grill’s winning entry, the “Sopapleasure,” captured the hearts and taste buds of both judges and locals alike.
Before we dive into the mouthwatering details of Fish City Grill’s State Fair-inspired victory, let’s take a moment to explore the history and values that have made this seafood haven a cherished part of the Burleson community. Fish City Grill first cast its culinary net in Las Colinas in August 2012, when Jack and Vicki Hartnett embarked on a journey to serve great seafood and made-from-scratch recipes at affordable prices. Their commitment to honoring the mystique of seafood and preserving its flavors has been the restaurant’s compass ever since.
Over the years, the Fish City Grill family has grown, expanding to locations in Mansfield in July 2016, Burleson in February 2021, and most recently, Waxahachie in February 2023. The Hartnetts’ vision is to continue expanding their horizons and be a part of even more communities, fostering culinary connections wherever they go. Soon, Fish City Grill will take its flavors on the road with food truck options, bringing their delectable dishes to even more eager taste buds.
Judging the event were an esteemed panel of gastronomic experts, including Jon Bonnell, the owner of five different restaurants in Fort Worth, Trey Chapman from Trey’s Chow Down, and Tiffany Niko from Local Life Magazine and Marketing Group. With their discerning palates and passion for great food, they had the difficult task of selecting a winner from the array of tantalizing entries.
Fish City Grill’s winning creation, the “Sopapleasure,” was a culinary masterpiece that wowed the judges and patrons alike. Inspired by the success of their previous creation, the beloved Banana Pudding Nachos, the team at Fish City Grill decided to push the boundaries of flavor and creativity.
Antonio Flores, the kitchen manager at Fish City Grill, played a pivotal role in the development of the winning dish. The creative process involved days of experimentation and taste-testing with loyal patrons providing invaluable feedback. Each iteration brought the team closer to culinary perfection, and it wasn’t long before they realized they had a winner on their hands.
The name “Banana Sopapleasure” was conceived by one of their cherished customers, a testament to the close-knit relationship between the restaurant and its patrons. It perfectly encapsulated the delightful fusion of State Fair nostalgia and Fish City Grill’s unique twist.
The Banana Sopapleasure featured an enticing blend of flavors and textures—a crispy, cinnamon-dusted sopapilla base topped with luscious banana pudding, drizzled with caramel sauce, and finished with a dollop of whipped cream. It was a symphony of sweet, creamy, and crunchy, evoking the nostalgic joy of fair food with a sophisticated twist.
What truly sets Fish City Grill apart is its deep connection with the Burleson community. As a local establishment, they understand the value of supporting and giving back to the people they serve. On the first Tuesday of each month, every FCG location hosts a First Tuesday Benefit, where they choose a local charity and donate 15% of the entire day’s sales to support it. This initiative began after the tragic events of 9/11 when the restaurant recognized the need to assist local charities struggling for funding.
When disaster strikes, FCG extends a helping hand with their “Cup of Hope” program. They donate all sales from every cup of gumbo or soup sold over a specific date range to assist victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, and other calamities. The restaurant’s commitment to their own extends to the Fish City Cares fund, where team members donate their own money to help colleagues facing personal tragedies.
Fish City Grill prides itself on providing a unique and personalized dining experience. Thanks to their chalkboard specials, every item on the menu is fully customizable, ensuring that you get exactly what you want, prepared just the way you like it. Their dedication to honoring the mystique of seafood, creating a welcoming culture for their team members, and leaving every guest feeling better about life sets them apart in the culinary landscape.
Fish City Grill isn’t just a seafood restaurant; it’s a culinary haven that brings the flavors of the sea to Burleson with a heartwarming commitment to community and a passion for delivering unforgettable dining experiences. Whether you’re savoring the “Sopapleasure” or exploring their chalkboard specials, Fish City Grill invites you to taste the ocean’s treasures right in your own backyard. Their story is one of culinary innovation, community support, and a promise to leave every guest with a smile and a satisfied appetite.