In 1978, Danny “Chef D” Badillo began his culinary career at the Fort Worth Petroleum Club. After cheffing at the distinguished establishment for over two decades, Danny decided it was time to create his own menu. In support of her husband’s vision, Rose Badillo left her downtown corporate job, and together the two embarked on a ‘leap of faith’ journey.
Chef D and Rose opened their catering business in 1998, using a tax-refund check to purchase a food truck. As demand quickly grew for the Badillos’ flavorful food, the couple decided it was time to open their first brick-and-mortar location. After a short stint in River Oaks, the couple moved to 2700 W 7th Street, where they would steadily grow their business from 2000 to 2006. The 7th Street Station Grill operated as a daytime diner serving homestyle comfort foods, it quickly became a favorite among locals, including philanthropist Martha Leonard.
Despite their continuing success, the Badillos’ dream looked to be coming to an abrupt end in 2007, when they were given just thirty days to move their business - the building had been sold. Unable to overcome the expenses of relocation in so little time, the couple made plans to close indefinitely and return to their respective industries. Feeling defeated, they hung a sign on the door informing the community of their impending permanent closure. Unbeknownst to the Badillos, there was one regular who refused to be satisfied with this ending.
One evening, as they cleaned after closing for the day, Danny and Rose received a knock at the door. Standing outside their restaurant was Martha Leonard; they invited her in, and a business conversation ensued. The couple disclosed their financial predicament, but Martha insisted the two tell her what they wanted to do, not what they felt they had to do. The restaurateurs expressed that despite the difficulties, they wanted to continue their journey as business owners. Martha responded by inviting the Badillos to visit her museum a handful of blocks away on Carroll Street. The following day the two arrived at Leonard’s Department Store Museum, they were greeted by Martha, who gave them a tour of the space.
Following the tour, she proposed an idea to the Badillos. What if they moved to the vacant adjoining space and built-it-out as a restaurant for museum visitors? The philanthropist accompanied her proposal with the offer of a business loan. Suddenly, the couple’s dream no longer had to be over. As they considered this new path forward, they realized they once again were faced with an opportunity for a ‘leap of faith.’ Danny and Rose decided to take the leap.
Just three months later, on the 18th of November 2007, the Badillos reopened their restaurant at 200 Carroll Street. This time, however, it opened as the M&O Station Grill, a name chosen as a gesture of gratitude toward Martha.
Since relaunching their business in 2007, Danny and Rose have been happily serving the best burgers in Fort Worth, picking up a plethora of awards along the way. Today, the Badillos are proud to have just opened the M&O Cocktail Lounge. Led by son Nathan Badillo, the family is excited to see where the M&O journey takes them next!
Rachel is the daughter of Chef & Rose and has been assisting with the business since they opened, from the front of the dining room with daily operations from building daily lunches, catering, and front dining room manager, the best and overall qualities about Rachel is she will always greet you with a smile and patiently walk you through the menu and take care of each and every customer to best of her ability. She is definitely a key person to have in any business!
Also known as the Rose & Danny Luncheonette, the Diner is the perfect spot to chow-down. Whether you’re watching the game, chatting with friends, or solo enjoying the company of an ice-cold beer; you’re sure to discover why people feel so at home in the M&O diner.
Place your order at the counter, grab a fountain drink, and settle into the nostalgic retro vibes of the restaurant. Vintage memorabilia and classic rock create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy some gourmet comfort food. Don’t forget to sign your name on the old freezer door!
Attached to the diner is Leonard’s Museum - free to the public. Crossing the threshold between restaurant and museum is akin to traveling several decades back in time. The space is filled with vintage household items, novelty trinkets, and a treasure trove of Leonard’s memorabilia.
In 1918, Marvin Leonard opened a small grocery and merchandise store. Soon joined by brother Obie, the two grew the store to be absolutely enormous. Taking up six blocks of downtown Fort Worth, the store wasn’t just a place to grab milk and eggs, it was a uniquely immersive experience. Leonard’s department store continued to captivate and delight the people of Fort Worth until 1974, when it was sold to Dillard’s. The legacy of this once prominent Fort Worth hub is celebrated and honored at Leonard’s Museum.
Make sure to check out the exhibit the next time you stop for a burger or drink!
For questions about Leonard’s Museum:
Phone: (817) 336-9111
The Foundry District
M&O Station Grill was the first business in the Foundry District. With over 90,000 square feet of redeveloped mid-century warehouses, the Foundry is the most exciting up and coming area in all of Fort Worth. Centered around Inspiration Alley, the largest outdoor art gallery in Texas, the Foundry finds itself at the intersection of art, culture, and everyday life. With offerings of retail, wellness, and a multitude of other services, M&O Station Grill & Cocktail Lounge won’t be your only stop in the Foundry!
To learn more about the Foundry District, visit foundryfw.com.
Join Our Team
M&O Station Grill & Cocktail Lounge is looking to add new members to our team! Hiring full-time and part-time positions.
Fill out an application today!