In days past, before hospitality groups became big business, many Texas towns featured a restaurant where you could bring the family to enjoy home-style dishes that were freshly prepared using Texas raised meat and locally grown produce, serve with a smile for a fair price. These restaurants of old helped bind communities together and provided an experience that was worth at least as much as the total on the bill.

While it may seem like that kind of restaurant has been driven extinct by so many global flavors and chef-driven restaurant concepts, if you find yourself in Fort Worth or Decatur, you will be happy to discover that the establishments carrying on that tradition that have survived are still keeping that same promise to their guests.

Located in North Richland Hills above the bustle of US Highway 820 is an unmistakable monument to those olden days—the newest location of Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes. Opened in 2021 as a partner to the original location in Decatur, Texas, this family steakhouse that features the authentic century-old Smithfield Gin Mill on its exterior and an immaculate open kitchen within exemplifies the blend of old school hospitality, high quality standards, and fair price that is increasingly hard to find in the search for a night out.

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Along with a relentless focus on preparing time-tested family recipes with the freshest, highest quality local ingredients they can find, co-owners and siblings Joel and Tiffany Vinyard emphasized the family atmosphere at Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes. Fitting since it’s a family business, this tangible warm-welcoming aura traces its roots to their parents; Paul and the late Mary Beth (whose nickname inspired the restaurant’s name), who started in the restaurant business over 40 years ago when they opened Bubba’s “Cook’s Country” in Dallas and continued with the many locations of Babe’s Chicken Dinner House around the Metroplex.

“It’s great to work with your children,” said Paul. “There are lots of jokes and laughs, and we really enjoy each other. It’s fun doing it all together.”

The family camaraderie and honest, down-home cooking are not the only elements of Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes that evoke the sense of reliving fond memories. Each location has its own distinctive interior design, but they both share a reverence for Texas history.

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For history buffs, the authentic gin mill exterior of the new location is just the start. Inside, diners are greeted by countless panels of reclaimed wood, numerous Texas antiques, and photos and commissioned paintings that create a unique atmosphere. Every detail, from the curtains to the floors tells a story. (Just ask Joel and Tiffany’s friendly Uncle Joe, the Supervisor of the Sweetie Pie’s restaurants, and he’ll regale you with the provenance of just about anything that catches your eye.)

You can reserve several themed dining rooms that celebrate Texas’s frontier roots to the fore, including a Wolf Room, two Patriot Rooms that feature portraits of heroes from the Texas Revolution, and the popular River Rock Room with its serene feeling that can’t be captured by a camera.

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The attention to every detail at Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes is certainly not limited to the décor—the back of house operation is also beyond impressive. The immaculate open kitchen is engineered to deliver the wide range of fresh-made homestyle dishes to your table efficiently.

Everything on the menu is farmer’s market fresh and the dishes are regularly tested to ensure that the quality standards are consistently met and everything tastes how it’s supposed to…just like Momma Jo (Paul and Uncle Joe’s mother) made it. That means every delectable yeast roll finished baking just minutes before it lands on your table. Every decadent chicken fried ribeye is perfectly seasoned and cooked to just the right balance of tender inside and crispy outside. And every dessert tastes like fond memories from home.

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Of course, a visit to Sweetie Pie’s would be incomplete without one of its eponymous Ribeye steaks. Every hand-cut steak has been aged to their exacting standards in-house, cut to order in the kitchen, and seared to perfection. Whether you prefer a petite 10oz. cut or a 24oz. slab of beef, cooked rare or well done, Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes is sure to satisfy.

Commitment to sourcing the best means they listen when an opportunity comes knocking. When Joel and Tiffany and their culinary team learned about Goodstock By Nolan Ryan they were skeptical it would outperform the product they had been working with for 16 years. But when they did as they always do with potential new product suppliers and conducted a blind taste test, the difference was undeniable. As Joel explained, “we were shocked that the Goodstock By Nolan Ryan product blew the steaks we had been using for so long out of the water. It was an easy decision to switch.”

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Even amid challenges with the supply chain and inflation, the Vinyard family’s has refused to compromise on their drive to elevate and maintain the quality of the food at Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes. You won’t find any of the ingredient tradeoffs or ‘smaller portion sizes for the same price’ that you might at other restaurants because they are dedicated to respecting their customers and the old school promise of this pillar of the Fort Worth community.

So next time you’re looking to relive the old days while dining out without sacrificing the modern benefits of the culinary arts, take a trip to Fort Worth or Decatur and bask in the glow of a Texas tradition.