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Tupelo Honey spreads to Texas

‘Mountain South’ brand opens 15th restaurant

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar on Thursday opened its 15th restaurant, expanding its footprint into Texas after opening earlier this year in Colorado.

The Texas opening was the second this year for the Asheville, N.C.-based casual-dining brand, which debuted in Denver in May. And the 9,500-square-foot restaurant at The Star development Dallas Cowboys headquarters in Frisco, Texas, is the company’s largest unit, seating 362. 

Related: A look inside newest Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen

Tyler Alford, Tupelo Honey’s vice president of operations, said that not only is the Texas restaurant larger than the concept’s typical 6,700 square feet, but it features some new initiatives like a charcuterie and raw bar near the kitchen, and expanded bar area to highlight signature craft cocktails and a covered patio.

The restaurant also offers private dining spaces that can serve the dual purpose of providing regular service as well as accommodating private parties, he said.

Ron Ruggless

From left, CEO Steve Frabitore, Vice President of Operations Tyler Alford and Corporate Chef Eric Gabrynowicz

“Expanding into Texas was a natural move for the brand,” said Tupelo Honey CEO Steve Frabitore in a statement. “The Dallas/Fort Worth culinary scene is exploding, particularly in Frisco, and we found the perfect location at The Star.”  

The original Asheville restaurant opened in 2000, and Frabitore bought it in 2008. The brand has expanded to seven states, including Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

Vice President of Culinary Eric Gabrynowicz, a New Yorker who left his Restaurant North in Armonk, N.Y., last year September to join Tupelo Honey, has created a lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menu that features both traditional and reconstructed Southern dishes like honey dusted fried chicken and Tex-Mex items like huevos rancheros.  Alford calls Tupelo Honey’s menu “Mountain South” cuisine. 

Tupelo Honey's Mountain Smoke Cocktail
Video: Ron Ruggless

Gabrynowicz, who is also the chain’s corporate chef, said he is committed to sourcing as many products as possible locally, including Texas beef and other ingredients, in the newest location. 

Thomas Robey, formerly of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, La., leads the Frisco kitchen as executive chef.

“I look forward to collaborating with local farmers, vendors, wineries and distilleries to offer Texas-sourced menu items with our traditional Southern flair," Robey said.

The Texas restaurant also has an expanded beverage program, Alford said, and will offer promotions like 75-cent martinis at weekday lunches and a group of batch and shareable cocktails that use locally produced beverage brands.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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