Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Pizza Patron’s Antonio Swad to open Latin restaurant-bar in American Airlines Center
Called Pira, it'll have a Latin theme with a rotating menu of tapas.
DALLAS Antonio Swad, founder of Pizza Patron, will open a Latin-themed restaurant-bar called Pira inside the American Airlines Center, in the space previously occupied by Chili's.
Swad wasn't ready to talk about the concept extensively, but said he hoped the place would be open by September.
"It's an aggressive goal, given the amount of work that has to be done and the time delays with respect to permitting with the city, but we'd like to have it open by the start of the upcoming sports season," he said.
He described it as having a "Latin theme" featuring tapas on the menu.
"It's not a full menu, but we'll be offering tapas that'll rotate -- we're developing some wonderful items, along with premium cocktails and killer sound," he said. "It'll be a restaurant that, as evening dawns and the event at American Airlines Center reaches half-time, the interior will transform through the use of lights and sound into more of a ultralouge environment."
While Swad is best known for his success as the founder of Pizza Patron and, before that, WingStop, he's comfortable dabbling in the bar realm, as well.
"While most of my career may look like it's been in pizza or wings, I've been in the restaurant industry for 38 years and I'm familiar with variety of concepts and technologoies that can be applied," he said. "That said, it's really challenging, I'm not saying it's going to be a laydown by any means. We're investing a lot of time and expense to assemble the best team possible. Our mantra is that this has to begin at great and go up from there."
Other operators have hit rough spots at Victory Park, but Swad had two Pizza Patron stands at the arena that have done well.
"I think I got a better shot than a lot of people," he said. "The whole development has slipped upside down hasn't it? It went from being, every one of the spaces were inhabited to being a ghost town. But I also think that if you look at the space inside, it's arguably the nicest indoor arena in the United States. Anybody who's traveled has to realize that AAC is the absolute cream of the crop, one of the nicest buildings of its kind I've ever seen. Just to have any kind of association with that building, you'd better bring your best game."
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