“I feel like I’ve been put through a blender!” says Grady Spears, the executive chef and co-owner of Reata restaurant, whose maniacally successful second location opened in May atop Fort Worth’s Bank One Tower. “On Saturdays we’re serving nearly six hundred customers. It’s just nuts.” Spears may be grousing, but there’s an I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening look on his face. With equal parts culinary craft and marketing finesse, he has melded mythic and modern Texas with dishes that range from a mesquite-grilled T-bone with an enchilada on the side to pan-seared salmon with perfectly al dente asparagus. A Fort Worth boy, Spears learned to cook “by making a lot of mistakes.” He ran the kitchen at Marathon’s Gage Hotel before opening the first Reata (which is still going strong in Alpine). Now the 27-year-old may have bright lights and a big city in his future: His partners are looking for space in London.
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