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Moves by Jeb Bush add to talk of 2016 candidacy

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush's decision to release a policy-laden e-book and all his emails from his time as governor of Florida has further stoked expectations among his allies that he will launch a presidential bid.

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Ebby Halliday acquires Fort Worth’s Williams Trew

Williams Trew Real Estate of Fort Worth has been acquired by Dallas-based residential real estate brokerage Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc.

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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Cousins Properties to sell 777 Main tower in downtown Fort Worth

Cousins Properties Inc. has confirmed plans to sell the 777 Main office tower in downtown Fort Worth, according to a news release from the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm.

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Glen Garden sale closes, distillery on tap

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. closed late Wednesday on its purchase of the historic Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth, with plans to convert it into a whiskey distillery and bucolic visitor attraction.

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Texas Rangers go big with ballpark food

A the Murph-A-Dilla

By Celestina Blok
 
Expanding on last year’s two-foot-long, $26 Boomstick hot dog, the Ballpark in Arlington has announced five new massive menu items. The Murph-A-Dilla, a two-foot quesadilla topped with shredded brisket, pays homage to outfielder David Murphy in a grandiose way. The Beltre Buster burger, named for heavy hitter Adrian Beltre, features a one-pound ground beef patty, but bacon, onions and a custom-ordered bun large enough to hold it all takes the mammoth meal up to 24 ounces. A two-foot pretzel resembles a long baguette, and the Boomstick’s cousins, the Totally Rossome Boomstick, an ode to pitcher Robbie Ross topped with brisket, and Sausage Slugger, available with sauerkraut or jalapenos and nacho cheese, rounds out the monstrous menu. All items can be found at the new Texas Sized 24 concession stand, where everything is either 24 inches or 24 ounces. Find it at the home plate entrance, and show up hungry.
 
Dallas chef to open Montgomery Plaza concept
Aaron Nelson has big plans for Deluxe Bar & Grille, Montgomery Plaza’s newest restaurant concept, which is set to open by early May in the former Mac’s on 7th and Monty’s Corner space at 2600 W. Seventh St. The Fort Worth native and French-trained chef gained experience at The Commissary and The Screen Door in Dallas and is excited about his first executive chef gig. He describes the restaurant’s concept as American regional.
“Everything will be scratch-made. We’ll have in-house ground burgers and whole fish filleted and portioned,” he said.
The restaurant comes from two owners of neighboring Sushi Axiom who’ve partnered with Houston-based Innovative Restaurants, a restaurant group that also own Otto’s Deluxe Grill in Katy. The Fort Worth location will be somewhat of a spin-off, Nelson says, but considered a flagship location for the concept.
Weekend specials might include Nelson’s experimentation with molecular gastronomy – a style of cooking that uses chemical processes to transform ingredients and create new dishes – although he’s excited to keep things simple and at a comfortable price, he says. He enjoys imparting Arcadian and Cajun flair to his dishes.
“We’ll have shrimp and grits on the menu along with eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and collard greens. We’ll also have whole, primal cuts of beef that will be butchered in-house,” he said.
Building interiors have been gutted and revamped to include a spacious lounge area ready for couches and ottomans, new booth seating built with eye-catching chocolate and cream-colored strips of wood, an expanded patio area and an extended brick bar about eight feet longer than the Monty’s version.
There’ll be at least 18 craft beers on tap, include varieties from local breweries Rahr & Sons and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. to start, and 17 flat-panel TVs plus one large four-tiled TV in the back of the bar. Nelson is already planning beer and wine pairing dinners to be held in the restaurant’s new private dining area, which is enclosed in glass.
Deluxe Bar & Grill will open early for breakfast instead of brunch on the weekends and will offer specialty breakfast cocktails, Nelson says.
“It will be everyone’s eatery – breakfast, lunch or dinner.”
 
Chop House Steaks & Seafood nears opening
Chop House Burgers chef and owner Kenny Mills, most noted for his Food Network Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fame last year, says his new Pantego steakhouse will be reminiscent of Steak & Ale, back when the longtime chain was at its prime, but in a Texas-themed way. Mills says the restaurant’s dining room and kitchen, located in the former Blue Danube space at 2230 W. Park Row Dr., has a ’70s and ‘80s steakhouse feel that he wanted to expand upon.
“The landlord approached me with a spot he had in Pantego and we decided it was more suited for steakhouse,” said Mills. “I’ve been doing steaks my whole life.”
Featuring a 15-foot salad bar, mesquite wood-grilled Texas steaks and a focus on Texas wine and spirits, the restaurant is expected to open in April. Kenny Mills and his wife Rachel designed and contracted the new Chop House.
Mills has more than 25 years of steakhouse experience, including time at Capital Grille and Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Dallas, but says he started with burgers in Arlington because dining out was a luxury for many folks during the economic downturn at the time.
“We decided to do a burger joint here because I thought the economy was more suited for a $10 entrée than a $50 or $60 entrée like I was doing in Dallas,” he said. “It was very successful.”
Mills will split time between his original Chop House Burgers and the steakhouse, as they’re located just blocks apart. A second location of Chop House Burgers opened in Mansfield earlier this year.
 
Downtown stinger
Adam Jones of GRACE won’t have to travel far to oversee his second area restaurant, he’ll just have to wait for a “Walk” signal.
Little Red Wasp Kitchen and Bar will be located at 808 Main St., between Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and The Capital Grille. According to a posting on the Downtown Fort Worth Inc. website, key members of the GRACE team will also manage the new establishment, including longtime bartender Jason Miller.
– Robert Francis

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Did the College Football Playoff Committee get it right?