Today the second of many restaurants will open in Trinity Groves, the up and coming hot spot which was the brainchild of Phil Romano which was conceptualized nearly eight years ago. There has been plenty written about the area just across the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, but we had a chance to sit down with Romano earlier this week and wanted to share his vision first hand.
Our first conversation discussed the new Hofmann Hots which opened its doors today. You can read about that here. We did nab plenty of information that we were asked not to share yet pending contract signatures, but those interviews are in the can and waiting for the heads up to run them on craveDFW. Here is what we discussed this week:
Tell me what’s going on in Trinity Groves.
We have been buying up land here for seven, almost eight years now. First we are taking fifteen to twenty acres and putting in new restaurant concepts. We are not going to put any brands down here, we are going to create brands. Every company that is out here will have its first location here.
We are taking young people and opening businesses they like. Most of them do not have money, so we have got an entrepreneurial fund and we are funding them. It is an equity proposition not a loan payback.
How does the rent work in Trinity Groves?
There’s no rent, we just get 6% of the gross sales. If you don’t do well, we don’t do well.
I understand you get hundreds of ideas sent your way, how do you select who is in?
We have had over 200 applications already and they are still coming in. Some people ask if we are still taking them, and I say if you are better than the worst one we got then we will talk to you. But we have some very good young ideas. Very entrepreneurial.
How exciting is this for a young person to come in and work with seasoned professionals?
We’ve got a little committee called a consulting group to make sure this is successful, because if they meet the parameters they will be all over the Metroplex or the state. You know, we are doing what the government can’t do for itself. We are creating jobs and creating opportunities.
What are some concepts coming up?
Oh, we have some nice ones. You met Uno [Immanivong] and she is opening Chino, an Asian fusion restaurant. There is Kitchen LTO where they will take four chefs and profile them on Facebook and they will talk about what they would do if they had a restaurant. So they will discuss what the menu would be, the pricing, and just it all out there and let the Facebook people choose a new chef each quarter. And the same thing with the designer. It’s like building their own restaurant.
If the chef from LTO is good we will find them a place out here. It’s like an incubator inside an incubator.
This is a terrific idea and I am excited to see this all take place.
Oh, it’s going to be great. In phase one will have the restaurants, there is a concert area. By the middle of the year we will have 6 restaurants opened up out here. Then we will have between one and three restaurants a month opening up out here.
The critical mass is we will have a lot of restaurants down here. The minor mass we will have an off Broadway theater, a brewery, a culinary arts school, an outdoor concert area, We have a chocolatier coming in. We will have a lot of artists also with their own galleries and shops. So you come here and eat and drink with plenty to do before and afterwards.