Paris Coffee Shop, Fort Worth TX, exterior mural detail (photo by Sheila Scarborough)It’s the kind of unpretentious downtown diner where the owner pauses at the table of a longtime customer, and they commiserate about how their bum shoulders keep them from playing tennis as much as they’d like.

The kind of place where the coffee in your cup never seems to drop below the midpoint of the mug before the waitress is standing there with a carafe saying, “Wouldja like a refill?”

Paris Coffee Shop pie display with takeout bag (photo by Sheila Scarborough)The kind of place that displays pies behind a long counter, in a rack with mirrored shelves so you can see that yes, the meringue really IS that high.

The kind of place that doesn’t list pecans as one of the options for your homemade waffle, but hey, this is Texas, so all you have to do is ask for them. The waitress will say, “Sure, honey.”

The kind of place that serves ice tea in pebbled plastic glasses the size of a small bucket.

Paris Coffee Shop, Fort Worth TX, glasses of iced tea (photo by Sheila Scarborough)It’s the Paris Coffee Shop in Fort Worth on West Magnolia and it has zero to do with Paris, France (the original owner’s name was Vic Paris.)

That guy talking tennis with customers and making sure you’re happy with your order? That’s Mike Smith, son of Gregory K. Smith who bought the place from Mr. Paris in 1926.

I love restaurants like this, especially for breakfast….unpretentious joints like Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago or the Brookside Restaurant in Luray, VA or Cookie’s Soul Food Kitchen in minuscule Ames, TX.

Here’s what I found frustrating from a tourism perspective, though – I found out about this place from a Frommer’s guidebook. The Fort Worth CVB does have a Paris Coffee Shop listing, but I had to already know what I was looking for to drill down the restaurant listings for it, and I had to know that the location is something called “Near Southside.”

The CVB descriptive listing for Near Southside? It is blank.

There is a CVB website link under Restaurants, for Distinctive Dining. It’s a page with a bunch of logos, many of which are to chain places like Ruth’s Chris Steak House and P.F. Chang’s. I mean, I’m sure they’re distinctive in some way, but how unique are they to Fort Worth….like the Paris Coffee Shop?

Tourism organizations must help visitors (including those who are not determined research-junkies like I am) to find those eateries that make your town unique and wonderful.

The world needs more pecan waffles and waitresses who say, “Honey.”

Update:  This post is part of WanderFood Wednesday over on the Wanderlust and Lipstick blog – check out today’s post, Mini No-Meat Burgers (in Tijuana, Mexico.)

(If you like this post, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS feed or by email – the email signup box is on the right sidebar near the Search box. Thanks!)