One of the City’s Oldest Italian Dining establishments Has a Top secret Component to Survival

It’s like a scene from “The Very last Photo Show” or something you’d appear across whilst zooming down Route 66, this ramshackle building eking out of a dusty extend of U.S. Highway 80. Light by the solar and time, its previous signage features of “indoor plumbing,” and the entrance door squeaks like the monitor doorway to your grandmother’s dwelling.  

Step within, and you’ll obtain outdated-college Italian food served in an similarly previous-college environment: pizza and pasta and freshly created bread served on tables lined with checkerboard tablecloths. In this article, between the dim lights, glittery purple booths, and the jukebox that performs 33 1/3 information by Elvis, The Beatles, and Dean Martin, time has stood unapologetically nonetheless.  

Margie’s Authentic Italian Cafe is one particular of the city’s oldest eateries, dating to 1953. That 12 months, Italian immigrant Margie Walters opened the cafe with her mother and brother, who all moved to Fort Really worth two several years prior. Walters handed away in 1991, and the restaurant’s lease was picked up by Keith Kidwell and the late Paul Willis, founder of Fuzzy’s. Kidwell owns another historic cafe, M&M Steakhouse, on the city’s north side. It just lately closed — a further earn for COVID-19.  

Amid the pandemic, Margie’s, much too, was in threat of closing permanently. But Kidwell has managed to continue to keep the doors open, much to the delight of regulars who swear by Margie’s signature dishes: housemade lasagna, slathered in tomato sauce and cheese escargot crab and lobster cheese dip and excellent pizza pies, their crusts a perfect harmony of pillowy and crunchy.  

If the pandemic’s 2nd wave demonstrates mercy, the fruits of Kidwell’s labor could shell out off in strides, thanks to one thing that has extensive eluded the region: development. Following many years of inactivity, this desolate slice of the much west aspect is starting to come alive. 

Driving Margie’s is the new Westland Gardens, a hip nursery and yard shop that also sells contemporary develop. Within minutes are higher-stop housing developments, such as Montserrat and its subsequent period sibling, Montrachet, as very well as the model-new Ventana progress. A full new generation of Fort Worthians could be on the cusp of discovering this unpolished gem of a cafe.  

“Obviously, that is what we’re all hoping for,” Kidwell states. “Any time you have individuals coming to a new area, areas like Margie’s have the possibility to profit from it, places that are one of a variety.” 

Progress has been a prolonged time coming. Many years in the past, enterprises thrived along this backbone of Freeway 80, once a important thoroughfare. But they commenced to fade in the 1970s when then-new I-20 bypassed the area. 

What is stored the cafe alive is Kidwell’s admirably stubborn frame of mind towards not shifting it. “The pizza oven I’m applying now is at the very least 45 yrs previous,” he suggests, laughing. “That’s what folks really like about Margie’s, the point that it has virtually been the exact since the 1950s. It is 1 of the past dining establishments in Fort Value to have that historic truly feel — and that is well worth preserving.”  

9805 Camp Bowie West,