What happens when an award-winning chef and an entrepreneur team up? Vintage Grill and Car Museum, a new restaurant envisioned to enhance the local culture by providing a destination atmosphere and a quality dining experience.
The idea for Vintage is nearly three decades old, dating back to 1988, when local entrepreneur and co-owner Tom Moncrief and his wife were on their honeymoon in Australia. During their trip, the two visited an eating establishment that took them back to the 1950s.
Moncrief’s initial dream was to bring home a similar experience, with poodle skirts, roller skating servers and a mid-20th century atmosphere, chef and co-owner Jerrett Joslin said.
Although Joslin was in his teens at the time of his business partner’s revelation, fast forward approximately 27 years later and Joslin was just the chef/restaurateur Moncrief had been waiting to meet.
When Joslin got involved, however, the vision of the project turned two-fold. Beyond Moncrief’s hopes and dreams for the establishment, Vintage became Joslin’s new outlet to maintain a presence in Weatherford and continue serving his loyal customers.
For several years, Weatherford was home to Wild Mushroom Steak House and Lounge. Although many locals loved the fine dining experience Joslin brought to the area, he recently made the tough decision to take the establishment to Fort Worth, where much of Wild Mushroom’s clientele base lives.
To get Vintage off the ground, Moncrief provided Joslin with a set of blueprints. After spending time with the documents, Joslin redrafted and transformed them into an ideal restaurant and bar layout, he said, while also leaving out some of the less appealing aspects of the 50s.
“I gave him what he wanted,” Joslin said. “In my mind, the 1950s had a lot of concrete, it had a lot of metals [and] funky, vintage-style lighting.”
The original name for the restaurant was Classic Grill and Car Museum, Joslin said, but he didn’t feel like “classic” captured what the duo was after, especially considering that not every car in the restaurant’s museum is technically a classic.
“To me, classic means [at least] 20 years old; it means sitting in the field somewhere on blocks,” Joslin said.
Vintage is harder to put your finger on, he continued, but it encaptures a sense of uniqueness. He pointed out that in the museum’s collection, they have a one-of-a-kind 1997 Pontiac G8 concept car, and while it doesn’t fit the definition of classic, it still fits with the chemistry of Vintage Grill and Car Museum. Another interesting piece in the museum is President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Lincoln Town Car, revealing the variety of the collection.
Beyond being a destination spot in the Metroplex for its atmosphere and museum, Joslin said, Vintage serves a unique plate of food as well.
To sum up the style of Vintage’s food in one phrase – “Southern Comfort,” Joslin said; however, the depth and breadth of the restaurant’s offerings mix simplicity with elegance.
“When I set the menu, I tried to make it comfortable [food]: chicken and waffles, chicken-fried steak, ribs, fish tacos, fish and chips, three or four burgers,” Joslin said. “But I also wanted to get back to where the Wild Mushroom was [with] sea bass, calamari [and] filets – so I brought that same kind of flare here.”
Akin to Wild Mushroom’s plates, Joslin kept the food portions the same, he said, while decreasing the prices.
“The prices on the items are a little less expensive because the overhead is a little less expensive,” he said. “I wanted to keep the food as friendly and as comfortable as possible, without having super high prices.”
Joslin noted that while some patrons consider his prices high, the quality of his food comes with a higher tag.
Don’t expect to dine with Vintage and order a regular 80/20 beef burger. Instead, enjoy the Akaushi beef or a brisket blend seasoned and cooked to perfection.
Other than Joslin’s demand for higher quality food, another vision behind Vintage is that of “farm-to-table,” he said. Although seasons control what and how much Joslin can acquire locally, he noted that whenever he can buy in the area, he will.
“As the spring progresses, we’ll start bringing in the different greens that you may not be able to get in normal spots,” Joslin said. “We try to source what we can from the [Farmers] Market across the street. ... Once the weather turns and they have a larger quantity of stuff, instead of trying to buy it from other organic wholesalers here in Texas, we’ll try to source it from them.”
Health and the environment are other factors Joslin takes into account at Vintage.
“We try to use free-range chicken; we try to be as health-conscious as possible,” he said. “And we try to shrink our carbon footprint ...”
During lunch, patrons might be seated to a table with corn/glucose-based silverware and compostable plates, Joslin said.
Future plans for the restaurant involve making it a venue of sorts, hosting live music and using the parking lot for various events, Joslin said. He even hopes to incorporate valet parking, another first for Weatherford.
Joslin is a legacy child in the food industry, as his father was a chef and his grandfather was a baker. His career in the kitchen began in Seattle, Washington, where his first focus was on bars and nightclubs. He worked with several night club owners with “big dreams and big visions,” he said. One of them, Keith Olson, served as a mentor to him. Later on in the 90s, he helped some friends establish a Greek restaurant, and his passion for food has continued to develop ever since.
Since arriving in the Metroplex in 2001, Joslin’s accolades have begun amounting. He has been named one of Best Chef America’s Top 5000 Chef Personalities, and Savoy magazine has given him the title of New Chef on the Rise.
Joslin has also served as a co-owner, executive chef and manager of multiple local establishments including the Bent Lounge, Bar 9, Sodo Grill and the award winning Randall’s Gourmet Cheesecake.
When he is not spending time in his restaurants, Joslin can often be found giving back to the community with his skill sets. He teaches several times a year at Central Market in Fort Worth and engages in various charity events, frequently participating as a celebrity chef.
Vintage is located at 202 Fort Worth Highway, just off the square in Weatherford. The grill is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., the kitchen stops making entrées to prepare for dinner, however, drinks and appetizers are still served. To learn more about Vintage, visit www.vintagegrillandmuseum.com or call 817-594-3750.