Walking into Black Cat Pizza in the bustling area of the Near South side district near downtown Fort
Worth, you will not find the red and white and chrome décor of a traditional pizza joint. Instead the
space is on the smaller size, with wood and earthy tones creating what founder and chef Jaime
Fernandez describes as a homey and comfortable environment for diners. It is one of the things that sets
Black Cat apart.
“I wanted to be able to control the amount of people in the restaurant and keep an eye on a quality experience for customers,” Fernandez said. “Quality will always trump quantity.”
The restaurant opened in July 2019, about a year after Fernandez started selling his pizzas as a pop-up at
a Forth Worth bakery. Positive feedback from consumers encouraged Fernandez to begin taking steps to
open a physical location.
“We spent 2-3 months doing research and creating a business plan, when I would normally have liked
year,” Fernandez said. “It was a rapid-fire decision process, but everything fell in place to keep things
Of course, it is not just the décor and atmosphere of Black Cat that make the restaurant unique – it’s the
pizza. Fernandez, who is from Central Mexico and grew up in San Antonio before attending culinary
school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin and working at a restaurant in Spain, is an eclectic chef with
experience in a variety of cuisines.
This diversity translates to his pizzas. There are the traditional cheese and pepperoni pies, but other
specialty pizzas demonstrate Fernandez’s creativity with flavors. The Al Pastor pizza, which takes the
ingredients of a taco al pastor – roasted pork, pineapple, cilantro, salsa verde – and puts it on top of a
pizza, is one of the restaurant’s signature pizzas.
“We are finding that more and more people are open to trying new styles and world cuisines. We
present it in a way that’s comfortable so we can push slightly different toppings, but at the end of the
day, it’s still a pizza,” Fernandez said.
An important component of the taste and flavor of his pizza is the dough and how it is cooked,
something Fernandez says he would not be able to accomplish without his 1500 B Lateral, Wood Fired Brick Oven
from Bread Stone Ovens Company. His oven adds in a crisp on the crust that further sets it apart.
“Our dough is not one style like New York or Neapolitan, it’s somewhere in between,” Fernandez said.
“The dough I wanted to do would have been absolutely lost in a traditional gas pizza oven. I don’t think
we could do what we are doing without our oven.”
Though only having been open for a relatively brief time, Black Cat Pizza’s unique atmosphere and menu
has already garnered attention and diners in the Fort Worth community. Fernandez has no plans to
open other locations, focusing instead on making this restaurant the best possible experience for both
customers and employees. Having worked in the service industry since high school and understanding the challenges and issues that can plague restaurants, Fernandez hopes to create an environment that includes better wages, insurance benefits and a focus on healthy living for its workers.
Just another thing that makes Black Cat Pizza unique.
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