Located at 7950 Camp Bowie West Blvd, Fort Worth, TX, West Side Cafe, a cherished home of “Country Cookin’,” embarks on a new era under the ownership of Joel Hancock, the cafe’s familiar face and General Manager for over 20 years. Joel, together with his son, Brian Hancock, who will be joining him in this new endeavor, and in partnership with Westland Restaurant Group, ensures a seamless transition that honors the cafe’s legacy since its beginning in 1996.
West Side Cafe’s story began with Tracey Sanford, who purchased the establishment in 1996 when it had been open for only three months. Under his leadership, the café flourished, gaining local fame for its comfort food and community spirit. Tracey passed away in 2021, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to shape the cafe. Joel, who had been at the cafe for over two decades, considered Tracey both a mentor and friend. Now, Joel takes ownership, honoring Tracey’s vision and continuing to build upon the strong community ties that define West Side Cafe.
Customers can expect the same home-cooked favorites that have defined West Side Cafe’s experience, such as buttermilk pancakes, biscuits and gravy, chicken n’ dumplings, and chicken fried steak. Open every day from 7am-3pm, the cafe serves breakfast all day, including a special senior menu for those 55 and over. The menu offers something for everyone, reflecting the cafe’s appeal to people of all ages.
West Side Cafe’s reputation is underscored by several prestigious accolades, including being named “Best of the West” by the Star-Telegram, recognized for the “Best pancakes in Fort Worth” by TripAdvisor and Yelp, and ranked the “#1 family destination” by FamilyDestinationGuide.com. The long-time employees, who are the backbone of the operation and integral to its success, will continue to serve the community, ensuring that the beloved traditions of West Side Cafe remain intact.
“West Side Cafe might technically be changing hands, but from a customer perspective, nothing changes,” assures Joel. “Taking ownership with my son, Brian, is both an honor and a continuation of our commitment to serve the same great food, with the same great service. Tracey’s mentorship and friendship mean the world to me, and partnering with Westland Restaurant Group, led by Bourke Harvey and Gigi Howell, aligns with our values.”
Gigi Howell, a partner at Westland Restaurant Group, adds, “I’ve been a fan of West Side Cafe for years. You can often find me there on a Sunday morning, sitting at the counter. Their dedication to quality and community resonates with us, and we’re thrilled to support Joel and Brian in this next chapter.”
The walls of West Side Cafe, adorned with Air Force and military service memorabilia, reflect Fort Worth’s many servicemen and women. Joel and Brian’s new beginning honors this history while embracing the future, supported by the expertise of Stacy Phillips as General Manager.
Adding modern convenience, West Side Cafe’s partnership with DoorDash delivers cherished dishes right to doorsteps, extending its accessibility. Whether it’s the military tributes, the efficient kitchen, or the connection with loyal patrons, West Side Cafe’s new era, under Joel’s leadership, preserves the tradition of creating delicious memories, even as the torch is passed.
Joel reflects on his new role with gratitude and anticipation: “I’ve always felt a sense of ownership in my work at West Side Cafe, even before taking the keys. Now, as an owner, my connection to this place and the people we serve deepens further. We’ll continue to honor our past while embracing the future, making sure the heart and soul of West Side Cafe remain unchanged.”