In a strip mall just south of Fort Worth Alliance Airport off the westside 35W frontage road at Westport Parkway is a place patrons of television’s Cheers bar would be happy to call their own.
That’s exactly what owners Cheryl and Sandy McKay envisioned when they bought Gardens Bar and Grill last year. Walk in the front door and the welcoming atmosphere is obvious. Just ask the many people who visited during race weeks at the nearby Texas Motor Speedway and the Alliance Air Show.
“We want to be the neighborhood bar especially with all the distribution centers opening up,” said Sandy. “People come in here not knowing anyone and leave with a new best friend.
“There are no expectations for people. They come and can be themselves. People even come here from Dallas. Our pricing is less than Dallas and the people are friendly.”
Both McKays have full-time jobs in other fields – Cheryl as a nursing technology executive, and Sandy as a business consultant. Always on the lookout for new opportunities, they came upon Gardens which opened in 2018.
“There is a real sense of community that you can feel when you walk in the bar,” Sandy said.
“It reminded me of Cheers, the bar you walk into and everybody knows your name,” Cheryl said.
They also were impressed with the staff which now includes eight bartenders and three cooks.
“They are the ones who make the bar work and we are very fortunate to have a great team serving our customers and community,” Cheryl said. “I think anyone coming into the bar today would come back to see their new friends, including the bartenders, and enjoy some great cooking.
“One of the things that caught our eye here is the growth of the area,” Sandy said. “/We just want people to know we’re here. We’re still on that journey. We’re not even halfway through that journey. When people are here overall they have a good time. We are very service oriented. We want people who spend their hard-earned money to be entertained and have a good experience.”
Gardens prides itself on appealing both to families during the day and evening and adults later at night.
“We want to have a good lunch crowd. We want to have a good dinner crowd. We want to have a good late-night crowd,” Sandy said. “We’re open until 2 (a.m.) so a lot of service people come here at night to drink after they get off.”
Since bringing in Tamesha Davis as a manager in June, the updates she proposed from her long-time background in food and beverage have made Gardens Grill and Bar even more inviting. That includes a new granite top bar and beer taps and fresh paint throughout. They also revised the menu and added weekend brunches.
“We just wanted to make it a bit more welcoming for everybody,” said Davis, whose fiancé Jesse Manning oversees the facility’s entertainment options.
That welcoming feeling includes adding special events like the Dec. 9 Christmas Paws for a Cause fundraiser with the Justin-based Apollo Support and Rescue.
“I love Apollo Rescue,” Cheryl said. “It’s for a good cause.”
Expanded catering is another newer service Gardens provides for the growing number of area offices and warehouses.
Food is a big part of Gardens Bar and Grill’s success thanks to the complete menu put together by head chef Raul Juarez. Davis said there’s a food choice for every patron many of whom have rated it with five stars.
“I just want to make sure everyone leaves here happy,” Davis said. “I want you to feel you are part of my family.”
There also are 19 big-screen televisions to view your favorite sports team, two pool tables, several video games and a small stage where DJs play music on weekend nights and karaoke takes place on Thursday nights. A nice outdoor patio area adds to the ambiance.
“That’s our secret sauce here,” Sandy added. “We want you to come here, have a good time, and be treated like family. We look forward to seeing you soon.”