Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Margie's Original Italian Kitchen

I have now had this blog for over a year and from the start, people have said I have to go to Margie's. Because of my general distrust of all random people on the internet (ever since that awkward Craigslist incident) I rarely believe them (just kidding). However, this time I have suffered the consequences of my procrastination and mistrust.

Margie's is on Spur 580/Camp Bowie West, past Loop 820 (East Abilene) and is located in the upscale area next to the Knotty Pine Bar. The restaurant has been around since 1953 and has apparently figured out the "good italian food" thing. I'm ashamed that I've been in this area my entire life and only been to this restaurant once.

The Mrs. and I went over to Margie's for dinner one night after finally giving in to all the recommendations (and needing a restaurant on that side of town). As we approached, we were skeptical, but only because we felt like I needed to grow a mustache and change my name to Dale and she needed to change her name to Rhonda. I don't know why I would think that but the Knotty Pine probably had something to do with it.

If you haven't been - raise your hand [/everybody looks at me] - its a small restaurant with approximately 20 tables at the front and a bar in the back. There's also a jukebox that plays country and oldies (from what I heard) and I'm hoping to find out there is some Journey. It's quaint by all means and immediately makes you think you're about to get something special. I was just hoping it was food.

Our waiter recommended a bunch of stuff but I'm a tool and always get the chicken parmigiana. My wife got the spaghetti and meatballs. Bold move on both parts... We were actually conducting a very distinct and highly scientific test. There are four things an Italian restaurant must get right: sauce, chicken parmigiana, bread and meatballs. And fettuccine alfredo. And wine. And salad. And mafia hits.

I'm glad to report that the high standards set by the Hole in the Wall crew were exceeded.

In my opinion, the marinara sauce at most places is wrong. It's usually sour/tangy or too sharp. Many places don't take into account that sauces that make you pucker are better used for paint stripper. Margie's sauce is smooth and just a bit sweet and has a terrific taste. Check.

The chicken parmigiana dish is normally screwed up by every place in the world. It's supposed to be thin and crispy. Check. Its supposed to have cheese but not be mistaken for a piece of queso flameada. Check. Its supposed to be covered in marinara. Check. Good marinara. Double check. On the side of my chicken parmigiana came a surprise...not just spaghetti, but fettuccine alfredo. Good fettuccine. Creamy and flavorful. Check.

Wine. Check. Comes in little glasses, just like they drink out of in Serbia or where ever wine glasses are not available.

Meatballs. Tender and juicy with a delicious flavor. After checking with the waiter we discovered that they were in fact cooked in the sauce. Can you believe some people don't do this? Of course you can - you believe most of my lies. Don't you? Great meatballs. Check.

But quite possibly the greatest part of this entire meal was the bread. The bread was hot and buttered up and was perfect for dipping in the marinara. It probably helped that we got it comped but it would still be worth it if I had to trade in the kid at the next table. Check.

The salad was also good and didn't come with that lame excuse for dressing of marinara sauce with some extra oil in it. The salad also had more than just lettuce. Check.

So all in all, it was a wonderful meal. I feel like Will Ferrell in Old School when he's talking about the big party the next day and he keeps saying "I had an AWESOME time", even though all of his friends know that. You all knew I'd enjoy it. You don't mind if I tell everybody you're my friends right?

I had an AWESOME time. The food was great, the service was great and the atmosphere is perfect for a small hole in the wall.

If you haven't been, you're the only person left and we're all talking about you now on our social networking website ( Jealous much?

When you go, if you hear some Journey and see some guy eating the chicken parmigiana and singing along, say hi and we can talk like we're two regulars in our favorite Italian joints. AWESOME.

Margie's Original Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

told you so!
glad you finally ate something. I thought you were on a diet.

Michael Bourgon said...

Funny. I live right around the corner. They have great pizza (albeit $$$), but I don't care for their entrees for the same reason you liked yours. I prefer Prima's. That being said, if you don't like Prima's, _definitely_ try Margie's. It looks like a dump/dive/(waitforit)hole in the wall, but the inside is comfy-cozy. A bit pricey, but good.

(oh, and restating it because, well, it's me - Deer Creek is back. In the farmer's market behind Ridgmar Mall)

Michael Bourgon said...

Just to enumerate: I spent $27 on a pizza. Not even full supreme. _Definitely_ grab the Valpack coupon before going for the 'Za. It's really good, but durn that's expensive.

Francis Shivone said...

I have not only never been, I have never heard of it. I grew up in an Italian restaurant (back then Italian restaurants served American food, too) and have had a hard time finding satisfactory spaghetti and meatballs.
Thanks for the post. Well written, too.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Michael, I'll agree that the price was a bit higher than I expected (especially considering the location), but I didn't mind paying. Are their pizzas thin crust and/or something fancy or should I just stick with Mama's? Also, I commented on your ocmment about Deer Creek in my previous post. I'll be there soon.

Anonymous, I don't diet a lot. I find that it hurts the blog. You will all be responsible for my untimely heart attack.

Francis, if you are being serious then thank you. I read Food and Fort Worth everyday and have always admired your writing.

Josie said...

I haven't been to Margie's since I was about 12 and I can't remember much about the food-just the divey atmosphere. Sounds like not much has changed in the past 23 years (yeouch I'm old)-may be time for a revisit, maybe once it gets colder and I'm in need of comfort food.

Francis Shivone said...

I was being serious. Great information with humor and self deprecation. Tough to beat.

Anonymous said...

you want to talk about overpriced? That would be Deer Creek BBQ...I went a sliced sandwich, fries, and a reg. coke...$10.50!!! AND---it wasn't good at all...the bun was burned for crying out loud..Just say no to Deer Creek,,,you'll want your time back...and yeah, Margie's is freakin awesome!!! Their pizzas are brick oven pizzas as well..

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I work for the company that runs the large woodworking factory between Margie's and Loop 820. When we first opened that facility, MARGIE'S WAS OPEN FOR LUNCH ! ! !

You can't imagine the weight gain.

On weekends, I'm the guy in the far back room having spaghetti and meatballs, lovin' the Elvis on the jukebox.

Allen In Fort Worth

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Is it still open for lunch?

I would imagine after that much Margie's, you would start to look like a Mafioso in the back of the room. When I come in, do I need to kiss your pinky?

Anonymous said...

Another great Italian HITW is Toscana in Benbrook on 377. Great atmosphere- nice and quiet. They have a nice variety of standard dishes as well as some creative dishes (capers, artichokes, lemon/white wine sauces, yum!)


Bryan said...

I haven't been to Margie's in at least 10 years, but I grew up going several times a year for family birthday celebrations. My grandparents went every Sunday night during the '70's and early '80's and were good friends with the owner (at that time it was still owned by Margie's son) and a lot of the wait staff.

I don't know if they still have it, but their best menu item used to be the cappucino pie. Sardines makes a good one that pales in comparison to what they served at Margie's.

Thanks for the review. You've probably inspired me to take a trip out to the west side in the very near future.

jdw_home said...

The gf and I went to Margies a few months back after reading a FWWeekly review. I can't remember the dish name, but it was steak filet's covered in a marinara type sauce. It was outstanding. I especially liked our waiter: He had a cheap, transparent short-sleeved white button-up, what appeared to be a clip-on tie, 70's hair and a P_ornstar mustache. It was apparent that 'this' really was his look; both at work and probably at home. Greatness!

Kim said...

I've lived in Fort Worth a little over 6 years and have always wanted to try it. I don't think I've ever met anyone who's gone there, but I know FW Weekly and S-T food critics talk about it a lot. I have ALWAYS wanted to go there. I was secretly waiting for you to write about it before I made my official decision. Thanks for the post. I'm definitely convincing my boyfriend we need to go there... right now.

Michael Bourgon said...

FWHITW, the Pizza is "pizza". Not deep dish, not thin crust, just traditional pizza.

Stephanie said...

Mmmmm. I haven't been to Margie's in three or four years. Everything I've had there has been delish. Must go back soon! Thanks for reminding me of its existence!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

I'm happy to have inspired so many people. Please let me know if you get something we all must try.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fort Worth Hole in the Wall,
I am a local Fort Worthian and avid reader of your blog! You've been a big help when deciding where to eat on a restless Friday night.
I was hoping I could email you a few questions about your interest in restaurant blogging. I am currently enrolled in a class at TCU and one of our assignments is to write a feature article and mine is over food blogs and I love it I could include your information from your blog and about you as a blogger.
Please contact me at

Thank you!

Zee said...

Margie's is close to where I live and I like it. I think their salads are my favorite. I love the vinaigrette with the feta cheese in it. I also like their pizza, I think because the sauce is a little spicy. I'm not a big fan of sauce on pizza, but I do like Margie's.

Thanks for trying our side of town! :)

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...


The salad is great and my favorite part is that they don't use that sad excuse for a dressing (sauce with more oil). It really tastes great. I haven't tried the pizza and now I've got mixed reviews here. Maybe I'll snag a piece from another table next time I'm there.

Thanks for reading.

Ericka, check your email.

And if anybody else wants to email me or has questions or recommendations please shoot me an email at
I check it every week or so.

Hadji said...

Just a couple of scatter shooting tidbits that may or may not be accurate.

I don't think Margies has been open since the 50's....that's painted on the wall just for decoration.

Margies has had several owners since the 70's and has been out of business more than one occasion (not 100% sure about this one).

Margies got popular again when the same guy who started Fuzzys and Pedros bought it and turned things around.

The guy who now owns Margies was at one time partners with Fuzzys and also owns M&M Steakhouse.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Now now, there's no need for "facts" and "truths" in this blog.

And somehow, I get the idea that the Fuzzy's creator is somewhat of a Bill Brasky character.

justintime said...

I’ve lived in this area my entire life and have enjoyed Margie’s forever. We eat there once a month, at least. I just ate at a relatively new Italian Restaurant off of 377 called Toscana’s. It’s another hole in the wall gem in a strip center with awesome food and reasonable prices. BYOB :) Have you tried Mancuso's? If not, that's another great one on this side of town to add to your todo list.

Anonymous said...

I see that this original post ws from 2008 and I would urge you to try it again.

I found Margie's by mistake and decided to research when I came across your blog. The reviews were great so we were excited to try this place out.

I hate to be negative but this place was NOT good. We tried it twice just to make sure it wsn't an off night or something...

1st trip = salad was excellent! Wine choice was good and decently priced, appetizer never showed up, waitress was a complete ding-dong, and we ordered the chicken marsala - GROSS! Do NOT order this dish if you go there! I was basically chicken smoothered in some black crap w/fettucine alfredo on the side... only way I could force it down the gullet was to mix the 2 together. Ugh.

2nd trip = we decided to try something a little more traditional. i.e. Spaghetti and meatballs. Not terrible but a little bland. These meatballs were definitely not cooked in the sauce as I had hoped. Salad was still great, we skipped the app, waitress was a little more competent. The manager stood behind the counter swinging his keys, not helping out his waitstaff a bit. Our waitress, with 2 tables, was overwhelmed (in the weeds for fellow restarauntuers), and we waited for our cc to be swipped for at least 15 mins. before the manager decided he would help a girl out.

Needless to say, we will NOT be back.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous, thanks for the update. Sorry you had such a bad experience. Maybe if you decide to go back (and I'm thinking you will....) you should go to the Knotty Pine first.

Thanks for commenting and reading.