Plus: The owners of Rye will open Apothecary, a “loud, sexy” cocktail bar, on Lowest Greenville.
As restaurateur Tanner Agar tells it, it’s easier to open a restaurant in the suburbs than it is to open one in Dallas. It’s often less expensive, too. So after he and his business partners happily operated the small-plates restaurant Rye in McKinney since 2018, they decided it was time to make the jump to Dallas in 2021.
There’s a similar story with an unrelated restaurant, Haywire, which opened in Plano’s Legacy West development in 2017. Its operators are expanding to Dallas in 2021.
Here’s a look at plans for each suburban company’s restaurant 2.0 in Dallas:
plus new cocktail bar Apothecary
The operators of Rye, an American restaurant in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, are opening a restaurant by the same name on Lower Greenville.
CEO and co-owner Tanner Agar says he feels like his team has been “practicing for three years” to enter the Dallas restaurant market.
“We wanted to do this for years,” Agar says. “We think we have something we can add to the discussion about food. … This is our time to finally do it.”
The restaurant will move into the former Laurel Tavern. Next door, at a closed bar called the Wah Wah Room, Tanner and his partners plan to open a “loud, sexy” cocktail bar named Apothecary. The bar is expected to open first, in May; Rye is slated to open a month later.
The restaurant in McKinney will remain open.
Like the original restaurant in McKinney, co-owners Taylor Rause, Nic Cain and Agar plan to source veggies and meat from local farms for the Dallas restaurant. Early in the pandemic, Rye sold meal kits so that McKinney residents could support local farms at a time when grocery stores were understocked.
“One of the coolest things, to me, was people were buying heads of lettuce and a dozen eggs from some local farm and coming back and saying, ‘Oh, that was fantastic!’” Agar says. He used it as an educational tool for customers, to show how brittle the supply chain is during a crisis — and to encourage people to eat local.
“It has been very much this awakening, and I think it’s really going to embolden the type of work we do,” he says. The pandemic didn’t come without its challenges, however. “I got a little tired of putting queso inside meatballs so we could sell hatch green chile Juicy Lucys,” Agar says. “But I’m keeping this place running and I’m keeping the jobs for the people who work here.”
The restaurant dates back to 2015, although the original owners closed it in 2017. Agar and his team reopened Rye in 2018 and turned it into a small-plates American restaurant.
Rye in Dallas will be similar to Rye in McKinney, in terms of food. Agar says the restaurant’s best-seller will definitely land in Dallas: It’s an appetizer of bourbon and burnt orange-braised pork belly lollipops.
Rye in Dallas will also sell cacio e pepe, a simple pasta dish studded with pink peppercorns that has become a fan favorite. “I’ve had many people threaten to boycott the restaurant if we ever took it off,” Agar says. “After two years, I’m still excited to taste the dish.”
At Apothecary, the team plans to create “the reverse of Rye”: an avant-garde cocktail bar playing with “strange” flavors, Agar says. Some of the cocktails will be recipes that the team had come up with previously but didn’t match with Rye’s food or vibe.
“There’s nothing more creatively frustrating than to make something you believe in and not be able to put it out into the world,” Agar says. Apothecary will be the place for all those creative extras.
Rye will be at 1920 Greenville Ave., Dallas; Apothecary will be next door at 1922 Greenville Ave., Dallas. Apothecary is expected to open in May 2021; Rye is expected to open in June 2021.
“Texas-themed” restaurant Haywire will open on McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas, where Water Grill was.
When it opens in June 2021, it’ll be the second Haywire in Dallas-Fort Worth, after the original at Legacy West in Plano. But it’ll actually be the third, in concept: The Ranch at Las Colinas is the same as Haywire, with a different name.
The Ranch was the first eatery that restaurateur Jack Gibbons opened with Randy DeWitt, some 13 years ago. Since then, they started, then sold, Velvet Taco. They launched the food hall at Legacy West in Plano. The parent company, currently called FB Society, manages a handful of other D-FW-based restaurants you’ve likely heard of, including Whiskey Cake and Mexican Sugar.
At first, Gibbons and his team focused heavily on Plano. Now’s the time to take those concepts and expand them to Dallas, Gibbons says. Sixty Vines and Son of a Butcher are two examples: Both started in Plano and have spawned Dallas offshoots.
(The company will again place its bets on Uptown Dallas when it opens Mexican Sugar there later in 2021. The company is also focused on Nashville, with a food hall and a Sixty Vines coming soon.)
Haywire in Dallas will be designed to feel like you’re in the Hill Country. Its menu will match the menus at Haywire in Plano and The Ranch at Las Colinas: fried green tomatoes, elk tacos, chicken-fried steak and chicken-fried chicken, Texas redfish and other dishes that seem like they belong on a “Texas” menu, CEO Gibbons says.
He describes it as “food people in Texas grew up with.”
At Haywire in Plano, an Airstream acts as a ‘lounge’ on the third-floor patio.(Rose Baca / Staff Photographer)
The restaurant is around the corner from Klyde Warren Park. The patio, which formerly felt insular, will be opened up to McKinney Avenue to let some of the bustle in, Gibbons says.
He thinks the neighborhood is a “great fit.”
“Believe it or not, a lot of people drive out to the Plano one now,” Gibbons says. “We feel like we already have an audience.”
Haywire in Plano is gorgeously decorated. I described it in 2017 as, “If your rich friend had a home in Marfa, Texas, it’d look like this: inviting, indulgent and eccentric.” An Airstream is parked up on the third floor, where customers can cozy up inside for drinks or appetizers. Gibbons wouldn’t say whether the Dallas restaurant will have an Airstream, but he said he’s working with the architect on some kind of “surprise.” He wouldn’t elaborate.
Haywire is expected to open in June 2021 at 1920 McKinney Ave., Dallas.
Story updated on April 26, 2021 with new expected opening dates.