Thompson Family Values: Mark Thompson on Home Security and Pest Control

Providing peace of mind is a full-time job. Mark Thompson, the founder of Smith Thompson Security, gladly accepts this responsibility. In a time when tragedies seem to take place on a daily basis, Thompson emphasizes the value of safety and security.

Mark Thompson started Smith Thompson Security in 1978. Smith Thompson Security is often regarded as a company born out of tragedy.

“My father was killed by a drunk driver,” Thompson says. “Our hometown’s newspaper did a story on our family and said we’d be out of town for the funeral. When we got back from the funeral, we discovered that our house had been robbed.”

The look on his mother’s face upon discovery of the horrific incident was enough to motivate Thompson to take action.

“I will never forget how much this broke my mother’s heart,” Thompson says. “Our family completely understands how violating such an act can be.”

Since that day, Thompson has been committed to providing security to families at a reasonable price.

“Back then, home security systems were expensive,” Thompson says. “Only the wealthy could afford them. We tried to find ways to make them affordable for everyone.”

Smith Thompson Security customers can create personalized packages to match the needs of their families.

“Everyone’s needs are different,” Thompson says. “You have to make the system adapt to the customer’s to live with them, not make the customer live with the system.”

Like his home security business, his pest control business, Smith Thompson Pest Control, has also proven lucrative. However, Thompson is a firm believer in working for one’s earnings. At the moment, his children are learning the ropes of the family business.

Smith Thompson’s official Pest Control truck (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

“Everybody in my family starts off like I did,” Thompson says. “I was crawling around in attics running wiring. My son, Jordan, is in the pest control business, and he’s learning it from the ground up.”

Thompson’s years of hard work and dedication have proven to be fruitful. Smith Thompson Security is currently the official home security system of the Dallas Mavericks.

“On our 30th anniversary, my wife and I came up with this crazy idea to visit all 30 NBA arenas,” Thompson says. “It started off as a joke, then it became a dare, then we actually did it. And then, the following year, we became sponsors after receiving a lot of media attention. We’ve been sponsors ever since.”

Having been heavily involved with the Dallas Mavericks for nearly eight years, Thompson won MFFL award at the final Mavs game of the 2017-2018 season.

Rick Carlisle, Lynda Thompson, and Mark Thompson at recent Mavs luncheon. (Photo credit: Tammany Stern)

Despite his staple status in the DFW community, Thompson has remained humble, hardworking, and dedicated to providing quality service to families and homeowners. Since Smith Thompson’s early beginnings, Thompson has never increased his home monitoring rate from $16.95 per month.

Smith Thompson Security currently serves families and homeowners in over 150 cities and towns in Texas. To get set up with affordable home security, call 1-888-888-1695, or visit http://smiththompson.com.

Weekend Happenings: 4/20 – 4/22

Unlawful Assembly Brewery Tour

Tired of the same boring brewery tours? Then make your way over to Legacy Hall! Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. offers tour every Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The tour is led by the hilarious David Jessup and Phil Parsons. For $15.00, each participant receives a souvenir pint glass, two beers, and the brewery tour of a lifetime.  If you enjoy raunchy humor, good beer and obtaining educational information, then UABC is the place for you.

A selection of beers available at Unlawful Assembly Brewing Company (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

EarthX

Dallas’s annual Earth Day festival will be taking place starting today and ending this Sunday. The three-day long free event will feature interactive exhibits and showcase a variety of documentaries. There will also be musical performances by Chucho, Atlantis Aquarius, Black Joe Lewis, and more. To see the musical performances, you will need to pay a $5.00 fee, but on Sunday, if you bring a vinyl record, you can see the music performances free of charge! For a full schedule of events, click here

A screencap from “Bangladesh,” a short film to be showcased at EarthX this weekend (Via EarthX)

Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival

Got rained out of Deep Ellum Arts Festival? Well lucky for you, Fort Worth will be having an arts festival of their own this weekend. The Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival will showcase a variety of food, paintings, sculptures, music and more from local artisans. The best part? Attendance is free! For a full schedule of events, click here

The Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival will have activities for people of all ages (Via Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival)

Live Music at Chocolate Secrets

Chocolate, wine, and music: the best way to end a stressful week. Every weekend Highland Park’s Chocolate Secrets features live performances from local artists. Be sure to catch Cindy Hortsman and Mike Medina tonight beginning at 7:30 and Joe McBride this Saturday at 7:30. Check out Horstman’s “Summertime” below!

 

Al Biernat’s Introduces Brunch Menu

Earlier this month, Al Biernat’s unveiled their brunch menu and began to share its offerings with the public. For those wanting a luxurious, lavish brunch experience, Al Biernat’s should most definitely be on your food bucket list.

Now, before you make any brunch plans, be prepared to break the bank. The items on Al Biernat’s brunch menu are a bit pricey, however, I can vouch for the fact that the service, quality of the food, and the overall experience is worth every penny.

I arrive at Al Biernat’s on a Sunday morning. Upon arrival, I am quickly greeted and offered a place to hang my coat. The rest of my party has arrived before me, so I am immediately guided to my table.

To kick things off, I order a mimosa. Al Biernat’s mimosa can be described as a glass of champagne with slight touches of orange juice, which, if we’re being honest, is the way to do it. I mean, come on! No one wants to spend $7 on a glass of orange juice, am I right?

A selection of drinks from Al Biernat’s (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Al Biernat’s brunch menu boasts a variety of options for appetizers, including Atlantic Calamari, Lump Crab Cake, and Crab & Corn Chowder. I, however, opt for something light; the Seasonal Fruit.

The Seasonal Fruit is an arrangement of fruits of almost every color of the rainbow. There is a small bowl of raspberry yogurt in the middle of the fruit plate, which complements the already sweet, fresh fruit nicely.

Seasonal Fruit from Al Biernat’s (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For my main course, I order the Carne Asada with scrambled eggs. The other two people in my party order the Chicken Fried Chicken and the Shrimp & Grits. During the main course, my party and I pass our plates around and allow each other to take a bit off of each others’ plates.

Carne Asada from Al Biernat’s (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Out of all of the items I sample that morning, I must say, the Shrimp and Grits is my favorite. The grits are warm and have a sweet flavor to them and the shrimp are thick, meaty, and hearty. The shrimp come slathered in Al Biernat’s creole sauce, which is absolutely to die for! The creole sauce packs a perfect punch of sweet, spicy, and tangy. I love it so much that I order the sauce on the side, so I can put it on my eggs and carne asada.

Shrimp & Grits from Al Biernat’s (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

To wrap things up, we order the Brioche French Toast for the table to share. The Brioche French Toast comes topped with caramelized bananas, blackberries, and Chambord cream. The toast is cooked to a fluffy, cake-like consistency. It is a warm mound of pillowy goodness. Plus, the fruit was good and fresh, not mushy and soggy like in other restaurants.

Brioche French Toast from Al Biernat’s (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

If you’ve got extra money to spend, Al Biernat’s brunch is definitely worth dropping a pretty penny. Be sure to arrive in your best clothes with your favorite people.

Al Biernat’s brunch is served every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Joon Choe on FreshFin’s Legacy Hall Revival

Within the past few years, poké bowl restaurants have spread rapidly across the Dallas metroplex. Poké is a raw fish salad popular in Asian and Hawaiian cultures.

FreshFin, a concept which originally opened its doors in Lower Greenville in 2016, can be credited as one of the first restaurants to popularize poké in Dallas.

Earlier this year, FreshFin closed its Lower Greenville location, however, they are currently thriving in its new home in Legacy Hall.

One of FreshFin’s poke bowls. (Via Instagram, photo credit: @platesofplano)

“We don’t like to say ‘closing,’ rather, we like to think of it as a revival,” owner Joon Choe says. “As much as we would’ve liked for the Lower Greenville be our flagship location, I think it makes more sense to have Legacy West as the new flagship. I can’t split my body into two and be in both locations at once, but luckily, I’m able to put my energy into the Legacy West location and focus on making it great.”

After being approached to open a stand in Legacy Hall, Choe was excited for the opportunity to grow within Plano.

“Real estate was definitely a big factor for us moving to Legacy West,” Choe says, “but working with Frontburner Restaurants was the biggest factor for us. Seeing how Frontburner has opened restaurants and proven time and time again to be successful, it was really a no-brainer for me.”

Prior to opening FreshFin, Choe spent a lot of time traveling throughout Asia, learning the craft and studying the food consumption habits of various Asian countries.

“The demands are completely different food-wise,” Choe says. “The fact that each region had its own impact on the type of food that was served, was eye-opening to me.”

Following his travels, Choe decided to take what he learned and incorporate it into FreshFin’s operations. As a restaurant owner, Choe places a lot of weight on customer satisfaction.

FreshFin offers options for vegetarians (Via Facebook)

“I’m no celebrity by any means, but I always search ‘FreshFin’ on social media outlets to see how people are reacting to the food,” Choe says. “FreshFin is my baby, and I want to see if there’s anything people don’t like about it. I opened this business to serve people and I always want to make it better, for the best interest of my customers.”

FreshFin’s signature Crispy Rice Ahi Tower (Via Facebook)

From the moment Choe wakes up to when he goes to sleep at night, his mind is always on FreshFin. Luckily, he has a good team behind him to help lighten the load.

“I spend roughly about 80 to 90 hours per week in the restaurant,” Choe says. “ I consider myself always on the run, I’m always taking calls for FreshFin at all hours of the day. Doing everything on my own has been difficult, but I’ve good a good group of people at Champion and Frontburner helping with marketing and advertising. It’s a huge weight off of my shoulders.”

Despite having accomplished more than most 25-year-olds can say, Choe insists he is just getting started.

“I feel like we’ve made such a small dent in Dallas’s industry,” Choe says. “Poké is such a small factor of food in Dallas. For me, I consider my success helping people eat a little more healthy.”

FreshFin is currently open in Legacy Hall. Be sure to stop by and try their many poké bowls, sushi burritos, and their signature Crispy Rice Ahi Tower.

Toulouse Marks Another Win for Legacy West

If five years ago, someone told me that Plano would grow to be a thriving restaurant and nightlife district, I probably would’ve never believed them. What I love about Legacy West are the many opportunities for shoppers, diners, and consumers to embrace a variety of world cultures. At Legacy West’s newest addition, Toulouse, Planoites are offered a wide selection of fine, authentic French cuisine.

Toulouse is the product of Lombardi Family Concepts, the founders of Taverna. It is the second of three Lombardi restaurants to open in the Legacy West development thus far (the third being Kai, which is set to open later this spring.)

On a Thursday evening, my best friend Nick and I dine in Legacy West’s newest addition. Upon arrival, we are promptly greeted by a hostess, who appears to be in great spirits. Although my reservation has somehow managed to have gotten lost, we are welcomed with open arms and seated immediately.

The restaurant’s walls, ceilings, and floors are decorated in white and silver. Each shelf of the bar is stacked to the brim with fine wines and pricey liquors. It is a replication of an authentic French brasserie.

Moments after being seated, we are approached by a server, who is clearly knowledgeable of the menu, ready to make suggestions based on our tastes.

To kick things off, we both order Old Fashioneds. Traditionally, an Old Fashioned consists of bitters, rye whiskey or brandy. Although the drink is served in a tiny glass, the amount served was satisfying. It is a very strong cocktail, so it is best sipped slowly.

Toulouse’s spin on the Old Fashioned (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For my second drink, I order the Blackberry Mule. I had previously tried the Blackberry Mule at Taverna and it immediately became a favorite of mine. I am thrilled to see that Lombardi brought it over to Toulouse. The Blackberry Mule is heavy on fruit flavor, but not too strong on booze. It’s like drinking a pressed berry juice with a ginger kick.

The Lombardi signature Blackberry Mule (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

When it came time to order appetizers, we ordered the Escargot Bourguignonne and the Oysters Rockefeller. When Nick and I order appetizers we typically take a little bit off of each others’ plates, and that night was no different.

I had never tried escargot before, but I am quite surprised by how much I enjoy Toulouse’s. They are easy to chew and taste no different from most kinds of seafood. Plus, the garlic sauce they come coated in adds an absolutely divine kick.

Escargot Bourguignonne from Toulouse (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

What I like about Toulouse’s oysters is the fact that they aren’t super greasy and oily, like those of most restaurants. Albeit light on oil, Toulouse’s oysters are still very hearty and flavorful.

Toulouse’s signature Oysters Rockefeller (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For my main course, I order the Duck Two Ways. The Duck Two Ways is a plate containing Long Island Duck Breast, both grilled and fried, compressed apples, potato dauphinoise, and dark cherry demi. I find the duck to be delicious beyond my expectations, and the pairing with the fruits allow for sweet touches.

Toulouse’s signature Duck Two Ways (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Like the appetizers, Nick and I go splitzies on our desserts. We ordered soufflé and crème brûlée. It was my first time trying soufflé, and I wasn’t expecting it to be so egg-heavy. It’s good, but perhaps I probably would enjoy it more around breakfast time.

Soufflé from Toulouse (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

The crème brûlée, on the other hand, is incredible. The caramelized coating is crisp to the touch, and the custard filling is thick, creamy, and consistent; not at all sloppy or oozy. Toulouse’s crème brûlée is probably the most well put-together version of the dish I have ever had the pleasure to try.

Crème brûlée from Toulouse (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Overall, I feel Toulouse is a fabulous addition to Legacy West. It is the closest thing to a French brasserie one can get in Dallas and makes for a remarkable cultural experience. Lombardi Family Concepts can do no wrong, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Luciano Salvadore on Early Career Beginnings and Coming to America

Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in the realm of Dallas fine dining is Southlake. Known for its lavish neighborhoods and shopping centers, the city of Southlake boasts a variety of fine dining experiences. Although Southlake may be a bit of a drive, lovers of Italian food should most certainly pay a visit to Il Calabrese.

Il Calabrese is the brainchild of  Luciano Salvadore. From a young age, Salvadore was passionate about food. He studied culinary arts in Italy and graduated from The Recoaro Terme Culinary School at just 17 years old.

“School was pretty easy for me,” Salvadore says. “The hard part comes after. School is just pen and paper, but when you start cooking, it becomes a much harder process. Even now, 40 years after finishing school, I still find new ideas and challenges.”

Calamari Fritti from Il Calabrese (Via Facebook)

Despite owning one of the biggest, and most acclaimed restaurants in Southlake, Salvadore is always sure to keep an open mind. He believes that no matter how far one comes in their career, there is always room for improvement.

“A lot of people come out of culinary school thinking they know everything, and that’s the worst thing you could do,” Salvadore says. “There is something to be learned from everyone. Always be humble, be polite, and be respectful to others.”

Salvadore has lived by this code since the early beginning of his career. He came back and forth from Italy three times before he finally opened Il Calabrese.

“The first time I came to America, I told myself ‘if it doesn’t work out here, it’ll just be a vacation’” Salvadore says. “I worked in six different places my first year here. This guy hired me to help open a restaurant in January of that year. It didn’t end up opening until May, so in between that time, he had me helping out his friends in different restaurants all over town for anywhere between two weeks and two months at a time. Once the restaurant where I was working opened in May, I worked there for six months, then I moved back to Italy. Everything here was all too much for me.”

Salvadore’s return to Italy, however, didn’t last long.

“You grow to miss America,” Salvadore says. “Your mentality in your career changes when you get to America. You become open to more challenges. There’s a lot more competition in Dallas’s restaurant industry, but there are also a lot more opportunities to thrive.”

Insalata di Mare from Il Calabrese (Via Facebook)

Salvadore cites American eating habits as major factors in his decision to return to the states.

“In Italy, they go out to eat for special occasions, like birthdays,” Salvadore says. “Americans eat out seven days a week. There are a lot of people here who don’t mind spending money on different products, therefore, it is easier to work and make money here.”

Il Calabrese makes their tortellini in-house (Via Facebook)

Since Il Calabrese’s opening in 2014, Salvadore has certainly proven that by being open to challenges and new ideas, one will most certainly see success. Il Calabrese offers a variety of Italian dishes with ingredients sourced directly from Italy.

Il Calabrese is located at 1281 E State Hwy 114, Southlake, TX 76092. They are open seven days a week, from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Bar Manzanilla Joins Irving’s Big Beat Dallas

With the popularity of the Toyota Music Factory, Irving is quickly becoming DFW’s newest art and nightlife district. Visits and outings to Irving/Las Colinas are expected to exponentially increase with the opening of Big Beat Dallas this Thursday.

Big Beat Dallas is an amalgamation of a Texan’s two favorite things; food and live music. It is a project ten years in the making by Billy Bob Barnett,  founder of Billy Bob’s Texas, one of Dallas’s most famous country dancing clubs.

Upon opening this Thursday, Big Beat Dallas will be home to five original restaurant and bar concepts, seven live music stages, an open-air plaza, and a rancher’s market. Big Beat Dallas will also host live music performances every single night.

One of Big Beat Dallas’s five new restaurants is Bar Manzanilla. Bar Manzanilla is a coastal taqueria and tequila bar offering guests a variety of cocktails and dishes with impeccably fresh ingredients. I had the privilege of trying Bar Manzanilla last week at an exclusive media preview lunch. Based on my experience, I can say that Bar Manzanilla is most certainly promising.

First and foremost, if you plan on going out to Big Beat Dallas, I would highly suggest going the Lyft route or parking somewhere nearby. The parking garage was nearly packed to the brim. I can’t even imagine how it will be once the pavilion officially opens to the public.

To kick things off, I tried their house mule. It came served in authentic Mexican pottery and was jam-packed with ginger and lime flavor. As a lover of mules, I was fully satisfied with the taste and presentation of Bar Manzanilla’s version. However, given the drink’s price, I would’ve preferred a larger serving.

Bar Manzanilla’s mule, served in authentic Mexican pottery (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For appetizers, my party and I ordered the Campechana Ceviche and the Chicken Tinga and Cheese Nachos. The ceviche was thick and had the consistency of tomato soup. The chunks of shrimp, scallops, octopus, and crab were plentiful, giving the dip a perfect amount of meatiness.

Campechana Ceviche (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Normally, I don’t care for nachos, but I think that’s because a lot of restaurants make them greasy and oily. Bar Manzanilla’s Chicken Tinga and Cheese Nachos were a marvelous exception. Rather than the typical tortilla chips slathered with Velveeta, Bar Manzanilla’s nachos come baked, topped with Queso Oaxaca, avocado, crema, and pulled chicken. The chicken was seasoned and cooked to where it had the perfect amount of spice and sweetness. Despite being topped with so many ingredients, the chips remained crisp and didn’t get chewy and floppy as most nachos do.

Chicken Tinga and Cheese Nachos (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For the main course, I ordered the Beef Barbacoa tacos. These tacos contain slow braised brisket, guajillo aioli, queso fresco, shredded cabbage and avocado with radish. The combination of the ingredients made for the most savory tacos I had ever tasted in a bar/grill style restaurant. Albeit somewhat Americanized, these tacos were hot, fresh, and flavorful.

Beef Barbacoa Tacos (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

To wrap things up, my party and I ordered the Avocado Creme Brulee and the Coconut Tres Leches. The Avocado Creme Brulee may sound a bit eccentric, but it was surprisingly very good. Although the taste is very discernable from that of a traditional creme brulee, the avocado still allowed for creamy, custard-y goodness.

Avocado Creme Brulee (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

The Coconut Tres Leches cake was also quite delectable. Personally, I prefer coconut products in place of dairy products, so I was excited to try this. Although the portion appears to be small, it is just the right serving size to where one won’t feel uncomfortably full upon finishing.

Coconut Tres Leches cake (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Overall, I was highly satisfied with my visit to Bar Manzanilla. If Big Beat Dallas’s other restaurants are able to match Bar Manzanilla’s quality and service, the new music and dining epicenter is guaranteed to be a nightlife staple for years to come.

Big Beat Dallas will be having grand opening events beginning this Thursday through Sunday. For a full list of festivities, be sure to check out Big Beat Dallas’s event calendar.

Pascal Cayet Shares Secrets to Making a Restaurant Feel Like Home

Perhaps one of Dallas’s best-kept secrets is Lavendou Bistro. The provincial style restaurant, which rests outside of far north Dallas’s Bent Trail neighborhood, specializes in authentic French cuisine. Although French culture is often associated with luxury and hyper-romance, owner and operator Pascal Cayet wants for Lavendou to have a more familial feel.

“I opened up my first restaurant, Chez Girard, in 1984 on McKinney Avenue,” Cayet says. “It was a country, French restaurant, but I wanted to do something different.”

Cayet eventually sold Chez Girard, then opened up Lavendou Bistro in 1996.

“Lavendou is more of a Provençal restaurant, inspired by south of France,” Cayet says. “A couple of friends and I had gone on vacation in the south of France and wanted to recreate some of the feelings and bring them over here.”

French onion soup from Lavendou Bistro (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

And thus, Lavendou Bistro was born. Since its opening nearly 22 years ago, the menu has stayed relatively the same. Lavendou has since become well known for its signature items, including their souffle.

“Not too many people do souffle anymore,” Cayet says. “It’s very time consuming, but making a good souffle is a matter of having the right ingredients, the combination, and the right oven. In the beginning, making a souffle can be challenging, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.”

Having built a strong customer base over the course of the past two decades, Cayet has made very few changes to the menu, for the sake of the customers.

“I think some of my customers might kill me if they saw that their favorite item was no longer on the menu,” Cayet says humorously. “Oftentimes, they come in with the same order each time, which is why we try to keep our menu consistent.”

Tournedos Félix Faure (via Facebook)

Both Cayet and his customers are very fortunate to have had much of the same staff working in Lavendou since its opening.

“We’ve had the same cooks, the same servers, and same waiting staff for almost 22 years,” Cayet says. “Most of our patrons are regulars, so the servers know their customers’ orders by heart.”

Lavendou Bistro’s signature crème brûlée (via Facebook)

Because of the fact that Cayet has emphasized consistency in his operations, this has established a sense of familiarity with Lavendou’s customers, allowing them to feel at home. Guests are often so satisfied with their experience that they will often bring new customers into the mix.

“Sometimes, bringing in new customers can be a challenge, since everything tends to stay the same,” Cayet says. “But luckily, our regular customers bring in their friends and family all the time, so we pull in a lot of new customers organically.”

Whether you try the gooey goodness that is Lavendou’s French onion soup, or one of their delicious soufflé, customers are in for an authentic French experience at Lavendou.

On April 1, Lavendou will be having an Easter Sunday brunch, featuring a special menu. Tickets run at $42.95 each, plus beverage, tax, and gratuity. Call (972)-248-1911 to make your reservation today.

Bob Jackson Shares Keys to Successfully Operating a Business

“If the customer is wrong, pretend,” Bob Jackson says regarding his store’s approach to customer service. Jackson is the founder of Jackson’s Home and Garden, a longstanding home and garden supply store in Dallas. For 35 years, Jackson has sold a variety of fixtures, plants, furniture, and grilling fixtures to the Dallas community.

“People come from all over Texas, as well as other states, just to shop here,” Jackson says. “They love the unique patio furniture and different grills we carry. They also love our customer service compared to that of other stores.”

The “Green Egg” grill is one of many items Jackson’s Home and Garden has to offer. (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

In order to ensure that Jackson’s Home and Garden is providing customers with the best customer service, Jackson will sometimes send his employees on “secret shopping” missions to competing retail chains.

“We look to see how friendly their employees are to their customers,” Jackson says. “We also look to see how knowledgeable they are about the products they are selling. Over here, we train our people. We want them to know everything about what we sell and we don’t like to let them go once they’re trained.”

In Jackson’s office sits a placard that reads “Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will.” Jackson believes that the key to good customer service is to prioritize those providing the customer service.

“We love our employees,” Jackson says. “We like to retain them as long as we can, so we do all we can for them in terms of pay, insurance, holidays, and vacations. We care more about their success and happiness than we care about how much they can do for us.”

With good employee morale comes a positive customer experience. Apart from providing customer service with great fervor, Jackson keeps people coming back by offering unique and high-quality products. He has traveled to 36 different countries as a means of finding inspiration for the store and its product offerings.

Ceramic tabletops from Jackson’s Home and Garden (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

“The chandeliers we sell are handmade in Florence, Italy,” Jackson says. “The works of art are by artists from all over the world, and we buy them at trade shows throughout the country.”

The Jackson brand is one that is associated with quality, therefore he is making sure his family carries on the legacy for generations to come.

“My son Forrest is the Chief Operating Officer,”  Jackson says. “He runs the wholesale and manufacturing and has an overall view of the retail aspect. My son Hunter does all the photography for the website and the catalogs. He used to be the general manager, however, he now does photography for us and for his own clients.”

Maintaining a home and garden store with multiple departments and floors takes hard work, but even after 35 years in business, Jackson shows no signs of slowing down.

Jackson’s Home and Garden offers a variety of plants and flowers

“We will continue to do just what we do,” Jackson says. “I enjoy working and I am thankful to be in good health. I will soon be 73 years old, but I continue to work every day except for Sunday.”

Jackson’s Home and Garden is located at 6950 Lemmon Ave. in Dallas. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Be sure to drop by on March 31 for Spring Open House! Come early for cooking demonstrations, food sampling, and Diamond Jim the Magician.

Evandro Caregnato Prepares for DeLucca Opening

After having spent most of his life working in Brazilian Churrascaria restaurants, Chef Evandro Caregnato has decided that it’s time to go his own way. In a Churrascaria restaurant, guests pay a set price and servers, known as gauchos, walk around tables offering a variety of meats to the guests. Today, Caregnato will be opening DeLucca, a new restaurant in Southlake that will be serving pizza in the churrascaria style.

For as long as he could remember, Caregnato has had a passion for the culinary arts.

“Since I was a little kid, I have always loved helping my parents in the kitchen,” Caregnato says.

One of Caregnato’s first jobs was working in his grandfather’s restaurant, Churrascaria Caregnato, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He was later approached by the founding partners of a Dallas Churrascaria chain to assist in the opening of their restaurant. They sought his help in order to ensure that all of the operations were performed faithfully to Brazilian customs and traditions.

“I was at this chain for over 20 years,” Caregnato says, “But now, I feel it’s time to finally have something of my own.”

After having spent much of his career working in a chain, Caregnato wants to bring something unique to Dallas restaurant scene.

“In my hometown, we have something called ‘Rodizio pizza,’” Caregnato says. “The pizza is served in the similar style of the Churrascaria. It’s a beautiful concept, but there’s nothing like it in the states, as far as I know. I thought it would be cool to bring it here.”

DeLucca will be gracing Southlake with its ‘rotisserie pizza’ beginning on Wednesday. Caregnato refuses to settle for anything less than authentic perfection and has made sure to use the best appliances to prepare the menu offerings, despite any challenges he may have faced.

“Moving the pizza oven inside the building was a very difficult task,” Caregnato says. “It weighs about 7000 pounds. We have two ovens, this heavy one and a smaller one imported from Italy. Both are wood-burning ovens.”

These ovens will be used to bake a variety of pizza, including Kale & Bacon, Chicken Tikka Masala, and more. On the dessert side, guests can choose a Nutella pizza and a dulce de leche pizza.

“There’s not a such thing as a ‘Brazilian style pizza,” Caregnato says, “It’s about the way the pizza is served. With one set price, the customers get to try so many different styles, and we’re going to create several unique options.”

Upon DeLucca’s opening, Caregnato’s family will be playing a significant role in the restaurant’s operations.

“My wife has a lot of restaurant experience,” Caregnato says. “She has a great personality and will be running the show. I will be in charge of menu development and will be focusing on the food side. I will also be scouting out future locations, as I hope to duplicate the concept.”

DeLucca officially opens its doors to the public today. They will also be having a grand opening celebration on March 29th at 4:30 PM, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a DJ and a laser show.