FORT WORTH, Texas — If you stroll along West Exchange Avenue in the Fort Worth Stockyards, you’d never know anything was filmed there.
The dirt road has disappeared and the Hollywood actors are gone, but if you look closely, you’ll probably recognize the rustic saloon. Hooker’s Grill, a Stockyard restaurant, sits at the center of the road where part of the "Yellowstone" prequel "1883" was filmed earlier this year.
The restaurant’s owner, Ruth Hooker, agreed to close her small business for six months throughout the filming process. She reopened it last Saturday.
“We’re excited to be a part of it, the restaurant just, for some notoriety, but the fun thing for Fort Worth and the Stockyards is that I have so many friends and customers of the Stockyards that were extras in the movie,” Hooker said.
She said the front of her restaurant got a new look for the filming of the series, something she calls a "Hollywood facelift." The two-story outdoor deck where her customers dined was transformed into a rustic saloon that takes you back in time.
When the filming ended, she wasn’t quite ready to let go of the Western feel.
“I thought, we have a true opportunity to make a go of this and make it permanent,” Hooker said.
With the help of Fort Worth city leaders, Hooker went through months of permitting requests and paperwork. Now, the western façade will stay in the Stockyards forever.
It’s the only building on West Exchange Avenue that will keep its façade from the show.
“It’s fun for the people that come,” Hooker told WFAA. “They can get a little bit of nostalgia through the building as well as the food.”
For years, Hooker’s Grill has served friend onion burgers and traditional Native American fry bread.
Hooker said it was as if her restaurant was meant for the show, because coincidentally, some of the food she serves is featured in the series.
Cowboy and Native American cultures collide in 1883, and that’s something that resonates deeply with her roots.
Hooker’s mother is Native American and her dad was a quintessential cowboy.
“We’re really lucky to have something like "1883," which celebrates both of those cultures,” Hooker said.
City leaders like Fort Worth Councilmember Carlos Flores, who represents the Historic Stockyards area, helped Hooker preserve the building’s façade.
“We want to make sure that people know that something significant happened here,” Flores said. “The business community was really excited to have that production here, as well as the City of Fort Worth.”
What was once a temporary show set façade is now, a permanent fixture that fans of the show can admire for years to come.