Starting up a restaurant is never easy, but chef Megan Potts had two significant hurdles during her first year as owner of Restaurant Anise.

For one thing, COVID-19 was happening. Then, on Valentine’s Day weekend in February, Winter Storm Uri slammed the entire state.

Not only did Potts have to close because of icy winter weather that weekend, she also ended up canceling reservations that had been rescheduled for the following Thursday because the restaurant’s pipes froze.

But despite all that, Restaurant Anise is proving to be much like its owner: strong enough to withstand challenges, and unique enough to stand out.

The eatery is quite different from other restaurants in town that serve bacon cheeseburgers, hot wings, chicken fried steak or Mexican food in a casual atmosphere to a backdrop of happy noise.

Located off US Hwy. 377 near Best Western Granbury Inn & Suites, Restaurant Anise offers fine dining in an elegant setting, with dishes that look as much like works of art as the paintings of local artists that hang on the restaurant’s walls.

For those who like fare that is way off the beaten trail, such as Kangaroo Tartare, Wild Boar Osso Bucco, or Seared Wagyu Striploin, the little restaurant at 605 Calinco Dr. might be your cup of tea (iced or hot, both are on the menu).

Potts said that her menu items, which change monthly, are moderately priced and about 25% lower than similar restaurants in the Metroplex.

Prices vary but with the October menu, appetizers were $9-$13, entrées ran $32-$38 and desserts were $9-$12.

“The community’s been very, very receptive,” Potts said of her niche restaurant, which is popular with tourists and those with lake homes who come to Granbury for weekend getaways. “I think everyone was looking for something a little bit more high scale, a bit more refined without the drive to Fort Worth.”

November’s menu includes Fennel and Winter Squash Soup, Seared Diver Scallop, Braised Lamb Shank, and Coacoa Rubbed Antelope Denver Leg.

Dessert offerings are Chocolate Fudge Cake with Cherry Cordial Ice Cream and Rum-Chata Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust, Raspberry Coulis and Candied Walnuts along with Potts’ standard meat and cheese plate for those who prefer a less sweet finishing touch.

One thing that never changes is the lavash (flatbread chips) and whipped goat cheese with Aleppo honey that is served to every table to provide what Potts calls “an element of familiarity.”

Potts is planning a punch card promotion for 2022 that will involve a yearlong raffle with eight or 10 prizes for people who come for “regular” dinner (not monthly wine pairing dinners) for at least eight months.

Those who come for dinner once a month all 12 months of the year will be eligible for the grand prize: a private chef dinner for eight at their home.

Potts, 38, was born in Richmond, Virginia, but grew up in a small town in France. As a little girl, she dreamed of being a chef.

Potts tries to help young people who have similar dreams. She works with students in Granbury High School’s culinary program.

On a recent autumn Thursday, Daniel Vanranden, a 2019 GHS graduate who spent three years in that program, prepared Pumpkin Flan with Molasses Whipped Cream and Pecan Praline Brittle in Restaurant Anise’s modest-sized kitchen. He has worked at the restaurant for about five months.

“I absolutely love it,” he said, smiling.

Restaurant Anise is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5-10. There is plenty of parking.

For a look at the full menu for November, visit restaurantanise.com.

Those who want to experience Restaurant Anise are advised to make reservations. Although the fire code capacity is 41, Potts has kept it cozy with 28 seats and eight tables.

To make a reservation, call 682-205-3376 or email reservations@restaurantanise.com.