Wednesday, June 6, 2012 , Updated 11:50 a.m., July 30, 2012
UPDATED: Start, new restaurant from Erin and Mike McKool, to open on Greenville Avenue August 8
It's a fast-food restaurant with good food, but don't call it healthy.
Open for breakfast-lunch-and-dinner, it'll have the hours and efficiency of a fast-food place, except that the food will be good and wholesome, not fast-food awful.
Erin wanted to have a place where she, a Whole Foods regular, would eat; that means healthy, "clean," and organic, but she also wanted something that was accessible and convenient.
"I wouldn't want you to say it's 'healthy' fast food -- we're not trying to be a diet place," she says. "We're not My Fit Foods. We have ice cream. But it's organic frozen yogurt, hand-dipped. We have a cola, but it's not Coca Cola, it's Maine Root. We don't have aspartame."
They're calling it "real food fast," or "from scratch fast" -- organic, no preservatives, and made from scratch. "It'll be as mainstream as you can be, but we're taking a healthier twist," she says, with a menu that reflects her personal touch.
"They're all recipes I either make at home or things I thought people would like to try," she says. "We're doing a hamburger that's 100% grass-fed beef, and we'll do breakfast sandwiches. But rather than an egg McMuffin, we want to do soft eggs on a wheat English muffin, with organic butter and organic cage-free eggs. We have a kids menu, too, because it's important for kids to like what they're eating, but also be healthy."
There'll be salads with dressings made in-house, wraps, burgers, sandwiches, cookies and muffins baked with whole-wheat flour, house-made granola with Greek yogurt, whole-wheat quiches, and fresh juices.
Erin was a successful lawyer, and her husband is founder of McKool Smith, one of America’s leading trial firms and a regular on any "Best Lawyer" list. She took a break from practicing law after having her son, who is now four years old. She'd fantasized about having a little coffee shop or restaurant, but wanted to do something that wasn't already being done.
"Having kids, you're in a car, not being able to find fast-food where you can drive though and get something healthy, I realized there was a niche waiting to be filled," she says.
It took them more than a year to find property that could accommodate a drive-through, located in what she calls the "sweet spot" between Greenville Avenue to the east and the tollway to the west, between Walnut Hill to the north and downtown Dallas to the south. They found what they needed at the old Cuckoo's Nest space on Greenville at University. And as a sign of the seriousness of their venture, they've hired veteran operator Frank LaRocca, a former district manager for Einstein's with 30 years of experience.
They also intend to be "green," even if it means a higher cost of doing business.
"Almost everything is compostable, our coffee cups will be compostable, the forks and knives, everything down to our napkins is green," Erin says. "Our margins won't be as great because we won't pass on the cost to our customer. I wanted to keep our prices as close in line as we can. But our competition is not fast food. We're more like Company Cafe, except to-go."
Their plan is to open quietly in July to get on their feet, then come out with a big bang in August.
[UPDATE: The restaurant officially opens August 8.]
They'll have beer and wine -- "for mimosas on Sunday mornings," Erin says.
"We'll be open until 3 p.m. on Sundays because we wanted to get runners in," she says. "I ran a couple marathons. When you're training at the lake, you want to go somewhere after that to eat."
Here's the menu:
Start menuStart Menu
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