Francesca Nor Details Dive’s New Renovations, Personal Journey to Dive

Dive Coastal Cuisine is going into its eighth year of serving hearty seafood in the Highland Park district. For the past three weeks, Dive has been undergoing some major renovations. They will officially reopen their doors on Wednesday.

“We are basically taking the front walk-up center and putting in a full-service bar,” owner Francesca Nor said of Dive’s renovations. “We’ve always been a walk-up concept and have never been ‘full service’ anything. There will be five or six seats at our bar where we will serve beer, wine, infused tequila, and our signature sangria.”

Apart from the bar and full-service aspects, Dive’s rebranding will also include changes to its aesthetic.

“Where there was a high-top communal table, there will now be a banquette,” Nor said. “We’ve added some lighting, we’ve redone the menu, we’ve redone the website, and we’ve added coral to our color palette. Our color palette was originally navy and turquoise, but now, it’s navy, turquoise, and coral, so it has a little bit more of a ‘poppy’ feel.”

From a very young age, Nor became fascinated by culinary arts, cultures, and unique dishes.

“I was about five or six years old when I first became interested in food,” Nor said. “I was born in Los Angeles and my parents would take us to upscale, hip restaurants. I would go into these restaurants and order things like the caviar or the shark, and the waiter would look at my parents like ‘Is she for real?’ I didn’t know any different, I just knew that I liked that food because my parents exposed me to it at a young age.”

Dive’s signature SURF+TURF dish, consisting of Churrasco steak, grilled shrimp, cilantro rice & black beans with house-made chimichurri sauce (Photo Credit: Claire McCormack)

Despite having developed an interest in food so early on in life, Nor began her higher studies in the realm of art.

“Funny enough, I went to school to study photography and mixed media art,” Nor said. “It wasn’t until I was about 21 years old until a light went off. I was living in Florence, Italy and I took a workshop at Cordon Bleu, and realized ‘this is what I need to be doing,’ so then I decided to go to culinary school.”

Nor finished culinary school at the top of her class. Following culinary school, Nor traveled the world, acquired knowledge of various world cultures, and eventually opened Dive. When selecting her employees, Nor believes in a personal approach, as opposed to modern technological pre-screenings.

“There are a lot of ways restaurants select their employees,” Nor said. “There are HR departments, there are all sorts of personality tests, but honestly, I just kind of go with my gut. I get the first impression of someone and I just kind of go off of how they click with me. Experience is always important, but if they don’t respect my business and what I do, then it’s just another job to them.”

For those wanting to follow in Nor’s footsteps and open a restaurant, Nor offers a bit of advice.

“Hands down, you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing,” Nor said. “Stay true to yourself and make sure that what you’re doing is something you enjoy. Staying honest with yourself and not doubting yourself is conveyed in everything you do. If you believe it, your customers will believe it too.”

Fish on the Grill (Photo Credit: Claire McCormack)

Dive Coastal Cuisine officially reopens on Wednesday and operates from 11 a.m to 9 p.m. They will also be open until 11 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday and will offer a variety of late night bites, including cheese boards, hummus boards, and more.

Dallas Hale details conception of Sushi Marquee

In the dining industry, the quality of each guest’s experience is just as important as the quality of food they’re being served. The minds behind the Crafted Bar Concepts restaurant group strive to create a guest experience as unique as possible. Sushi Marquee, the newest addition to The Star in Frisco, is a hot, fresh concept from the minds of CBC.

Various sushi rolls arranged to celebrate Sushi Marquee’s opening in The Star (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Sushi Marquee started off as an idea of  CBC’s Vice President Brad Hawkins. Hawkins partnered with Dallas Hale, CEO of Crafted Bar Concepts, to create what would become Sushi Marquee.

“At Sushi Marquee, the guest comes in anticipating a phenomenal meal,” Hale said, “In addition to that, they receive an interactive, fun experience. We’ve got sake bombs, ’80s and ’90s music, and we aim to create just an all-around good time, that way, when the guest leaves, they say ‘man, I can’t wait to go back!’”

Sushi Marquee’s large television screens, which often play classic movie clips and music videos from the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. (Photo Credit: Tammany Stern)

When approached by Hawkins to partner in the creation of Sushi Marquee, Hale, confident in its success, immediately agreed.

“I wish I could take credit for this idea,” Hale said. “This is the brainchild of Brad Hawkins. We’ve been the best of friends for about 25 years and we’ve always talked about creating a concept together.”

The minds behind Crafted Bar Concepts. Dallas Hale (left), Brad Hawkins (center) and Matt Saba (right). (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Sushi Marquee is largely inspired by the sushi restaurants Brad Hawkins encountered while visiting Los Angeles.

“Brad has been telling me about this concept for about 20 years,” Hale said. “He had gone to L.A. and came across a place that had a fun, interactive vibe but the worst sushi he had ever tasted.”

Because of his experience in L.A., Hawkins was determined to create something better with Hale.

“He came to me and said, ‘Dallas, we need to recreate this concept, but we need to jazz it up and make it the best sushi they’ve ever had,” Hale said. “I told him, ‘let’s go.’”

A couple of the many options Sushi Marquee has to offer. (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Despite having been primarily relying on word-of-mouth promotion, Sushi Marquee has seen much success since its grand opening two weeks ago.

“It’s surprising how well the turnout has been,” Hale said. “We haven’t advertised yet because we’re still working out all of the kinks, but the food’s been amazing, we’re getting great reviews, and the crowds keep pouring in, it’s been great!”

Sushi Marquee’s signature Lamb Lollipops (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Although Sushi Marquee is currently only open for dinner, they plan to officially open for lunch at the top of next year. Their lunch menu will feature a variety of options which they call their “Power Lunch” meals.

“Our Power Lunch menu is amazing,” Hale said. “We will offer our full menu at lunchtime, but we will also have poke bowls, sushi burritos, and bento boxes.”

The Power Lunch menu will provide guests with easily customizable options.

“We’ll have signature poke bowls, but we’ll allow the guests to select their choice of fish, along with their choice of rice, sauce, and veggies,” Hale said. “Once their bowl is ordered, the customer will be served within five to seven minutes.”

Although Sushi Marquee is fresh off of its opening, they have managed to keep the ball rolling with all sorts of events.

“We’ve already had people call to set up their bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and bridal showers,” Hale said. “We also hope to get a video DJ for New Year’s Eve.”

Sushi Marquee is a novelty for lovers of sports, music, and Asian cuisine. It is a fresh, fun, modern concept, unlike any other sushi restaurant in town. Sushi Marquee is officially open in The Star in Frisco.

 

Haywire to Begin Serving Brunch

In the three weeks since their official grand opening, Legacy West’s Haywire has proven to be a hit. People from all over the metroplex are stopping by to get a taste of southern hospitality.

This coming weekend, Haywire will begin serving brunch.

I was lucky enough to try some of Haywire’s soon-to-be-available brunch items last weekend during a special Frontburner friends and family event. Their items are far different from the regular chicken and waffles or eggs benedict Dallasites know and love. Haywire’s brunch menu consists of many traditional brunch items that have a southern touch one couldn’t find anywhere else.

To kick things off, I ordered a Seelbach cocktail. The drink had a fruity, citrus flavor, similar to grapefruit, followed by a strong, alcoholic aftertaste. I cooled down with a mimosa, in which the champagne and orange juice flavors had a perfect balance.

Mimosa (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)
For the starter, I was served the Cast Iron Cheddar and Jalapeño Biscuits. The biscuits were served with sides of sausage gravy and peach compote. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the biscuits were crispy, with a crunchy, cheesy outer layer, and didn’t fall apart leaving a flaky mess. The gravy complemented the biscuits in a way that made them feel warm and comforting.
Cast Iron Cheddar and Jalapeño Biscuits (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)
The biscuits were followed by the Ranch Chicken Cobb Salad. Although the salad was phenomenal, I found it a bit oddly presented. It looked like two chicken strips were simply plopped atop a bed of greens. Perhaps the salad would’ve been more aesthetically pleasing had the chicken strips been cut into smaller pieces and spread among the salad. Despite the salad’s peculiar appearance, it was packed with flavor. It was heavy on bleu cheese and Texas honey & herb vinaigrette dressing, which gave the greens a creamy texture. Plus, the bacon bits gave the salad a sweet, meaty kick.
Ranch Chicken Cobb Salad (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)
I ordered the Texas Gulf Shrimp and Grits for my main course. Normally, I’m not very big on grits, however, I do not regret trying Haywire’s. The grits were topped with a beautiful arrangement of high-quality shrimp and a poached egg. The shrimp was the brightest shade of red, and thick and meaty like sausage. The grits were creamy and soupy in texture and had a spicy kick courtesy of Haywire’s signature creole sauce.
Texas Gulf Shrimp and Grits (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)
I concluded my brunch meal with the Texan Pecan Brown Butter Pancakes. In all honesty, these pancakes were the best I’ve tasted in my life. I’ve never had pancakes with a perfect cake-like texture, but Haywire hit this nail on the head. These pancakes were a stack of heavenly, fluffy goodness, topped with delicious whiskey peach compote, pecans, and whipped cream.
Texan Pecan Brown Butter Pancakes (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)
Legacy West’s Haywire is a manifestation of southern hospitality. It’s an experience unlike anything you’ll find in Plano and is sure to be a hit for years to come.

Haywire officially rolls out their brunch menu on December 23rd at 11:00 am.

Laura Sanchez on her Family Mexican Food Empire

In the heart of the Bishop Arts district lies one of DFW’s longest standing Mexican food restaurants. El Ranchito has been in business for nearly 35 years, and owner Laura Sanchez is still expanding upon her empire.

In September, Sanchez opened El Ranchito’s South Cooper location in Arlington. Opening the restaurant was a process that took nearly seven years.

“The original building owners originally wanted to lease the place,” Sanchez said. “I wanted to own it, so I had to wait until the owners were ready to sell the space. When we heard the building was finally for sale, we bought it, and then it took two and a half years to actually build the restaurant.”

When deciding on a location to open the restaurant, Sanchez made sure to strategically pick a Hispanic-populous area.

“We are feeling very optimistic about the new location,” Sanchez said. “It’s a larger restaurant attracting the Hispanic communities of South Arlington, Mansfield, Grand Prairie and Fort Worth.”

In terms of measuring up to the success of the original Oak Cliff location, Sanchez is looking forward to seeing the new Arlington location thrive.

“It’s doing very well so far,” Sanchez said of the new location. “The Oak Cliff location has been in business for 35 years, so the new store is gonna take some time to meet the original’s success, but as for now, we are very confident about it.”

El Ranchito’s menu consists of North Mexican cuisine. Sanchez emphasizes that much like the food in the U.S., Mexican food specialties differ by region.

“Northern Mexico is very meat, beef, and pork oriented in terms of food,” Sanchez said. “We have a lot of tripas and other dishes that aren’t as popular in the south or southwest regions of Mexico. Northern Mexico offers a lot of cabrito, asado, machado; all those dishes they don’t have in the other places.”

Delicious Tacos Al Carbon plate from El Ranchito (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

 

With its new location having opened up, El Ranchito will also be dividing its traditions and events among the stores.

“Every year, we celebrate the birth of Elvis Presley and we commemorate his death,” Sanchez said. “The event takes place across four Wednesdays in January and four Wednesdays in August. However, my brother and I have decided that the Elvis events will take place two Wednesdays in Oak Cliff and two Wednesdays in Arlington during the two months.”

The Elvis Presley celebrations consist of look-alike contests.

“The people who come to compete just make it a culture,” Sanchez said. “They just always go all out. People are already calling to reserve their spots.”

El Ranchito pays tribute to Elvis Presley twice a year (Photo credit: Tammany Stern)

 

When she’s not holding down the fort at her two El Ranchito locations, Sanchez is either helping organize events in her Jefferson Tower event center, or handling matters at La Calle Doce, her Mexican seafood restaurant.

“At La Calle Doce, we serve a lot of Monterey-inspired seafood dishes,” Sanchez said. “Some of our specialty dishes include our tilapia, which is served on top of our signature paella. We also serve a really good ceviche, and our shrimp cocktail is loved by Oak Cliff’s Hispanic community.”

Sign in front of La Calle Doce, also owned by Laura Sanchez (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Part of what makes Sanchez’s dishes so authentic is the fact that many of her employees are members of both her immediate and extended family.

“It’s wonderful working with family,” Sanchez said. “Most of them have been working for me since they were legally able to work. It helps that they really love the restaurant and put a lot of care into creating quality dishes and providing good service.”

Mariachis in El Ranchito give Sanchez’s restaurant an authentic Mexican feel. (Photo credit Tammany Stern)

El Ranchito is currently open in Oak Cliff and in Arlington. Also, be sure to try some delicious Mexican seafood at La Calle Doce in the Bishop Arts District.

Legacy Hall is an Artistic Celebration of Food and World Cultures

The most anticipated addition to Plano’s Legacy West shopping center is finally set to open its doors this Wednesday. Legacy Hall is a three-story food hall containing a variety of restaurant set-ups and bars. It is the first of its kind in the United States, inspired by the food halls Jack Gibbons, president of The Frontburner Group, encountered during his international travels.

“My business partner Randy and I were in Russia traveling back through Amsterdam,” Gibbons said. “When we studied the history of food halls and how they started in Europe, we felt that there was a big place for this in the United States.

Legacy Hall’s opening comes shortly after the opening of Legacy West’s Haywire, which is also parented by The Frontburner Group. Like Haywire’s three stories, each floor of Legacy Hall has a different feel to it.

“On the first floor, there are 20 stalls that are serving all different product from shawarma to lobster rolls. Each of the 20 stalls is run by local chefs and restaurateurs,” Gibbons said. “There’s a full working brewery on the third floor.”

This past Saturday evening, media and press were invited to a sneak preview of the much-anticipated food hall. Each of the attendees was given a pre-loaded “hall pass,” containing $25 worth of credits, valid at any of the bars and food stalls.

For dinner, I made my way over to Blist’r and ordered a Char-grilled chicken tikka naan wrap. I was given the option of choosing “regular” or “spicy” and opted for the latter. My wrap was assembled quickly, in the same fashion of a Chipotle burrito.

Char-grilled chicken tikka naan wrap from Blist’r in Legacy Hall (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

I was very satisfied with the taste of my naan wrap. While the chicken was hot, spicy, and flavorful, it was the tamarind and mint chutney, along with the pickled onion that gave the wrap a sweet kick. I washed down the wrap with a lemon berry acai flavored Stubborn Soda. The soda tasted different from any other soda I’ve ever tasted, as the sweet fruit flavors overpowered the carbonated water. Originally, I had planned to give up drinking soda in the imminent new year, however, I may have to make an exception for Stubborn.

After dinner, I opted for a healthy dessert at Berrynaked, a stall offering a variety of popsicles, smoothie bowls, and sundaes. I was able to try both the matcha latte and the blueberry lavender popsicle. While both popsicles were refreshing, I preferred the blueberry lavender. The matcha latte was good, however, the dairy base doesn’t allow for the consumer to get to the flavor as quickly as the water base of the blueberry lavender does. As for both popsicles, they were frozen to the right consistency to which they didn’t melt immediately upon removal from the freezer.

A display of popsicles at Berrynaked (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

To end the night, I paid a visit to the third level bar and ordered a drink called “Teaches and Peaches.” The Teaches and Peaches consists of Peach Brandy, Madeira, lemon juice, raspberries, and billers. Albeit a bit pricey, it was packed with fruity flavor and had a strong impact.

Teaches and Peaches from Legacy Hall’s third-level bar. (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Although I didn’t get a chance to try every single food stall, there were several items that looked very appetizing, including “The Soulman” from Press Waffle Co., as well as handcrafted pizza from Forno Nero.

The Soul Man from Press Waffle Co. (Photo Credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Apart from offering a multitude of delicious food options, Legacy Hall encourages its guests to be environmentally conscious, as they have different trash containers for paper, plastic, and food waste.

My only complaint of the night was that the first floor felt rather crowded, however, this is likely to change, as more outdoor additions are underway.

In March of 2018, Legacy Hall will open an environmentally friendly music venue right outside of the first floor.

“Our venue will be called ‘The Box Carton,” Gibbons said. “It is made out of recycled shipping containers and has different bars and restaurants that will really complete the food hall project.”

Although the Gibbons and The Frontburner Group have a lot on their hands right now, they have no plans to slow down in the near future.

“We’ve started a company called ‘The Food Hall Company,’” Gibbons said. “We’re starting our Plano hall as our first one, but we plan to create more of these unique venues and make them wildly popular across the country.”

Legacy Hall is an artistic celebration of food and world cultures. There is something for everybody at Legacy Hall and it will undoubtedly be a hit upon opening.

Legacy Hall is set to open on December 6. For a complete list of bars and food stalls, click here.

 

Dee Lincoln Prime is a Remarkably Lavish Dining Experience

To kick off December, Dee Lincoln, also known as the “queen of steaks,” opened the doors of her highly anticipated new sushi bar and steakhouse, Dee Lincoln Prime. Prime comes seven years after Lincoln parted ways with Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, of which she was one of the co-founders.

During Lincoln’s seven-year hiatus, she spent time traveling the world, learning firsthand about international dining cultures, and studying the craft of chefs she admires. Over the course of the past two years, she began to conceive what is now Dee Lincoln Prime.

This past Thursday evening, I got the chance to have dinner at Prime before it opened its doors to the public.

In a previous interview, Lincoln mentioned that when creating Prime, she had the “young, hip millennials” in mind. This was evident with the restaurant’s simple black and white setups and the upbeat music playing throughout the night.

I decided to kick the night off with a drink. Prime’s drink menu contains a variety of uniquely-named beverages, including “Asian Persuasion,” “Fashionably Western Manhattan,” “Bubble Bubble,” and “Voodoo Smoke.” I decided to go with the latter, which consists of Roca Patrón Reposado, Apple Brandy, Benedictine, Dolin Rouge Vermouth, and Aromatic Bitters. The Voodoo Smoke was packed a very strong, citrus flavor, similar to that grapefruit. It was sour, but for the most part, tasty. Apart from taste, the drink was beautifully presented. It was purplish-pink in color, with a blackberry and mint for garnishing.

Dee Lincoln Prime’s signature Voodoo Smoke beverage

 

For the rest of the night, I refrained from drinking alcohol and opted to drink water. As strange as this sounds, even the water exceeded my expectations. Instead of water from a spigot or a fountain, Prime’s standard “free” water is actually Fiji Water. At this point, I could tell I was in for a meal of lavish proportions.

I selected the Char Grilled Oysters as my appetizer. The plate contained six oysters with a lemon and slice of toasted bread in the center. The bread had an olive oil and garlic spread, and the oysters were covered with this spread as well. Personally, I’m not much of a seafood eater, however, the oysters were absolutely phenomenal. They were chewy, easy to pull apart, and tasted like chicken. The oysters had the consistency of tapiocas or bobas and were more juicy and saucy with each bite. The outer shells of the oysters were very clean, and not crusty or grimy, like those of other restaurants.

Dee Lincoln Prime’s Char-Grilled Oysters

 

When it came time to select the main course, I chose the eight-ounce filet mignon with lobster macaroni on the side. I had never previously tried lobster macaroni, but Prime’s set a very high bar to reach. The lobster chunks in the pasta were meaty and had a taste similar to that of breakfast sausage. The cheese in the dish was hot and melted to a consistency that gave the dish a soupy texture. As for the steak, it was very thick, however, fairly easy to cut. It was marinated with just the right amount of spices and juices to allow for a bold, sharp, and distinct flavor.

Dee Lincoln Prime’s 8oz Filet Mignon with the signature Lobster Mac & Cheese on the side

Apart from the incredibly delicious food, Prime’s front of house staff did a great job tending to me and other guests that night. In her interview, Lincoln described choosing only the best of the best for her staff or “internal guests,” and her staff most definitely did not rest on their laurels. By frequently visiting with me, asking me questions, and fulfilling my food and drink orders in a timely manner, the staff demonstrated how much they cared about the quality of my dining experience.

Dee Lincoln Prime’s top-notch staff made sure things ran smoothly throughout the course of the night
(Photo credit: Tammany Stern)

Dee Lincoln Prime is currently open in The Star in Frisco.

Dee Lincoln Details her Journey to Dee Lincoln Prime

From the woman behind Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House comes a beautifully lavish new concept. Dee Lincoln’s newest restaurant, Dee Lincoln Prime, opened up this past Friday in The Star in Frisco.

Dee Lincoln Prime is a unique concept, offering a variety of tequila, steak, and sushi.

“My entire career has been in upscale steak business,” owner Dee Lincoln said. “Over the past seven years, since I’ve taken a little sabbatical and traveled around the world, I’ve seen that there’s been a huge evolution in food. You always think about sushi and sake, but I wanted to do something different.”

When creating the concept of Prime, Lincoln had a younger, modern generation in mind.

“I knew I wanted to have an upscale steakhouse like everyone expects, given my thirty year career,” Lincoln said, “but I also wanted to do something for the young, hip millennials, with the vibe of a classic steakhouse.”

Dee Lincoln Prime contains many signature elements, including a tequila library.

“I thought it was very neat that we were able to secure tequilas from $15 a shot to tequilas from $950 a shot,” Lincoln said. “I am not a tequila expert, but fortunately my bar manager has a passion for tequila. Together, we were able to put a program together that consists of various styles and brands of tequila. For starters, we secured about 40 labels, some of which are not available in any other restaurant.”

A glimpse at Dee Lincoln Prime’s tequila library

Lincoln’s aforementioned bar manager, Kamakana Hoaeae, along with the rest of Prime’s staff, are all masters of their crafts. When putting together her team, Lincoln was sure to choose the best of the best.

Managers Kamakana and Steve, all smiles on opening night.

“I’ve built an amazing team,”Lincoln said. “Some of these people, I’ve networked with for many years, some I have not, but they have fabulous reputations.”

Executive Chef TJ Lengnick, along with the rest of Dee Lincoln Prime’s carefully selected kitchen staff.

One of Lincoln’s most notable team members is her sushi chef, Mark Tungcmittrong. Lincoln recalls meeting Tungcmittrong long before conceiving the idea of Prime.

“Mark did a lot of catering for big hotels like The Anatole and The Hyatt, and designed their sushi bars.” Lincoln said. “I met him when he was catering for me in my Bubble Bar, which is my private event space in Uptown. His sushi was art.”

After meeting him, Lincoln spent time studying Tungcmittrong’s craft.  

“He and his family have their own small businesses,” Lincoln said. “One’s called Bamboo and one’s called Sushi Rock. I would sit at his bars many a nights and watched an unbelievable artist do great things with the best quality fish. I started him off by hiring him as a consultant, but was then able to pull him full time. Now his son’s taking over the family business.”

Sushi Chef Marc Tungcmittrong arranging his display at the sushi bar

 

With great skills and craft comes great responsibility. Although Lincoln holds her staff to a very high standard, she insists on treating them like family. She makes sure that her staff has a good work-life balance, that way, they can provide the best guest service.

“When my staff, or as I like to call them, my internal guests, are happy, I can rest assured that they will take care of the restaurant’s guests,” Lincoln said. “I believe that people in the service industry need to have harmony, which is why I’m closed on Sundays. By closing on Sundays, I can be sure that my team can leave here on Saturday knowing that they will be able to spend time with their families, and not have to worry about coming back to work until Monday.”

Having had an extensive history in the realm of upscale dining, Lincoln is not feeling any pressure stepping back into the game.

“I had a good run with Del Frisco’s, but I believe every era comes to an end,” Lincoln said. “I’m don’t see them as competition. My only competition is within myself and inside myself.”

Dee Lincoln Prime is currently open Monday through Saturday from 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

 

Haywire Brings Southern Comfort to the Middle of Suburbia

This Wednesday, Legacy West’s newest addition, Haywire, has officially opened its doors. Haywire is a three story building that serves as a lounge, restaurant, and a bar.

“They’re all an experience,” General manager Brian Knoy said of Haywire’s three floors. “On the first floor we have the whiskey lounge, which is like a jazzy cocktail lounge with a Texas twang to it. On the second floor you can have your full dinner. The second floor bar is called the butcher bar, and we have a great selection of wine on tap, wine by the bottle, and wonderful crafted cocktails. There’s also an open kitchen up there.

On the third level, there is an outdoor patio complete with high definition televisions, and a remodeled Nomad Airstream designed for parties and group dinners.

Inside look at Haywire’s Nomad Airstream

“We like to look at our third floor as our Marfa West Texas Lounge,” Knoy said. “There’s something for everybody here.

Prior to Haywire’s opening, each of the servers and bartenders underwent intensive sommelier training.

“Sommelier training consisted of four master sommeliers coming to Haywire for a two-day class,” server Casey Mallow said. “At the end of the second day, each server takes a 75-question test and if you pass, you receive your level one introduction to the Court of Masters Sommelier certificate, and a pin.”

Server Casey Mallow testing the wine ahead of Monday night’s Friends & Family event

By requiring their employees to go through such thorough training, Haywire can attest to the fact that their service will be nothing less than absolute quality. This was the case during Haywire’s friends and family night this past Monday.

I had dinner Monday evening on the second floor, which consisted of an open kitchen, a bar, booths, tables, and vintage record setups.

A glimpse at Haywire’s open kitchen, located on the second floor.

I was served by Lisa, who, despite having many tickets to fulfill, still tended to my requests happily and professionally. There were roughly around 200 people being served at the same time as I, but I still managed to receive each of my courses in a timely manner.

I kicked things off with Haywire’s signature Marfa Mule, which consists of Cinco Vodka, Ancho Reyes Verde, Ginger Beer, and lime and grapefruit flavorings. The individual elements of the Marfa Mule complimented each other and created something very sweet. The Marfa Mule had a citrus flavor, similar to that of Sprite or Squirt. The cocktail’s aftertaste was strong, but overall, the drink was one of the best I’ve tasted in years.

Haywire’s signature Marfa Mule

To follow up the Marfa Mule, I then ordered the Cadillac Margarita, which consists of Dulce Vida Tequila Añejo, Paula’s Texas Orange, light agave for sweetening, and Himalayan salt. The margarita was my favorite cocktail of the two I consumed on Monday evening, as it was sweet but not too tangy or citrus-y. It had just the right amount of lime flavor, with little to no aftertaste. The impact, however, was strong enough to my liking.

Haywire’s Cadillac Margarita

Overall, Haywire’s cocktails are perfect for those who don’t like the taste of alcohol but enjoy the feeling of intoxication.

For the appetizer, I ordered the Spicy Tortilla Soup. Admittedly, as a Hispanic man, I wasn’t expecting for the soup to taste as great as it did. The soup had a very authentic flavor. It had just the right degree of hotness and a good amount of chicken and avocado chunks. The tortilla strips on top allowed for a good southern crispness.

Spicy Tortilla Soup, with avocado, chicken, and tortilla strips.

The Charbroiled Angus Filet made for an exceptionally delicious main course. The steak was served with Haywire’s Warm Roasted Marble Potato salad. The potato salad was a phenomenal side dish and contained caramelized onions, bits of bacon, and a signature sauce. The salad’s unconventional ingredients allowed for a sweet kick that one would be hard-pressed to find in potato salads from anywhere else. The meat was topped with a chili butter, which complemented it very nicely. The steak itself was thick, flavorful, juicy, hearty, and managed to cut like bread.

Charbroiled angus filet with warm roasted marble potato salad.

From service to food quality, Haywire far exceed my expectations. The three-story restaurant and bar officially opened its doors on Wednesday, but guests can expect a variety of celebratory opening events over the course of the next two weeks.

 

“We look forward to welcoming a true taste of Texas to the Plano community,” Jack Gibbons, President of Frontburner Restaurant Group said.

 

Haywire’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on December 14th at 4:30 P.M., but don’t wait until then to check the place out. See below for a list of events taking place at Haywire!

 

  • Wednesday, Nov. 29, 5:30-7 p.m: Grand opening sabering event featuring Tattinger on the first-floor patio. Take part in the celebration as the restaurants’ leaders wield large steel sabers to expertly lop the necks off bottles of fine champagne, then take a guided tour through all three floors of this incredible building.

 

  • Thursday, Nov. 30, 5:30-7 p.m: Boots and Bubbles wine and cheese event. Janet Trefethen, principal of Trefethen Family Vineyards, will be pouring her award-winning wines – paired with Haywire’s delicious, locally sourced meat and cheese boards – in the Private Dining Room.

 

  • Friday, Dec. 1, 7-9 p.m: Whiskey Tasting. Haywire’s whiskey experts will explain the intricacies of the spirit while offering tastings in the one-of-a-kind whiskey lounge. The lounge stocks more than 400 brands, including the best Texas has to offer. House of Cigars will likewise be on-site rolling handmade cigars for guests.

 

  • Saturday, Dec. 2, 6-8 p.m: Don Julio 1942 Party featuring craft cocktails on the third-floor rooftop patio bar and in the Airstream trailer. Yes, you read that right – there’s an Airstream trailer on the roof so guests can relax with a signature cocktail, a cold local craft brew or a fine bourbon under the stars.

 

  • Sunday, Dec. 3, 6-8 p.m: Half-off wine nights begin. Haywire is wine lovers’ new Sunday destination as the restaurant offers half-priced bottles of over 100 labels on its impressive wine list every Sunday night. The series kicks off at a special time on Dec. 3 before settling in for its regular 4 p.m. start on Dec. 10.

 

  • Monday, Dec. 4, through Friday, Dec. 8, from 4-7 p.m: Happy Hour, featuring Haywire’s handcrafted specialty cocktails and signature drinks at each bar. An array of vendors will be stationed on every floor offering booze and bites to guests.   

Community Pop-Up Dinner Review

By: Alex Gonzalez

This past Thursday evening, Community Beer Company hosted a pop-up dinner prepared by Matt McAllister, a local favorite. McAllister is the owner of FT33, a restaurant in the Design District whose menu is daily-changing with different items as they become in-season.

“Nature is usually my inspiration,” Matt McAllister says of his ingredient selection process. “I get ingredients from whatever the farms are growing and that’s what I base our menu off of.”

Because of FT33’s ever-changing menu, McAllister does not associate the restaurant with a signature dish. “We’ve done 1100 dishes since we’ve opened FT33 and we haven’t repeated one,” McAllister says.

The dishes from Thursday night’s pop-up dinner were vegetable-based, and paired with beers from Community Beer Co.’s taproom.