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Cream of the Crop, Y'all! Award-winning Texas chefs and restaurateurs continue to change the national culinary conversation

PUBLISHER Richie Jackson, CEO Texas Restaurant Association EDITOR Wendy Woodland, Vice President, Marketing & Communications Texas Restaurant Association ART DIRECTOR Jani Whitesides Whitesides Design CONTRIBUTORS Chantal Rice Libby Lussenhop RESTAURANT VILLE MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Texas Restaurant Association.

Editorial and advertising questions can be directed to Wendy Woodland at 512-457-4100 or

It is the mission of the Texas Restaurant Association to be the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice and hospitality industry in Texas. Camote, Hugo’s Restaurant, Houston

P.O. Box 1429 Austin, Texas 78767 512-457-4100 800-395-2872

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CREAM OF THE C ROP, Y’ALL! Award-wi nni ng Texas c h ef s and restau rateu rs co n ti n ue to cha nge the nati onal c ul i n a ry conversati on.




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Cream of the Crop, Y'all! Award-winning Texas chefs and restaurateurs continue to change the national culinary conversation.



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Chef Tyson Cole, owner, Uchi & Uchiko, Austin, Houston, Dallas; Photo Brett Buchanan

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hili, Tex-Mex, barbecue and chicken-fried steak: for eons, these staples of Texas cuisine have been the extent of what non-Texans expected from the Lone Star State, and many Americans, including a profusion of national food-focused media outlets, were just fine with lumping Texas fare into a less-than-stellar pigeonhole. In recent years however, as more and more Texas chefs and restaurants have gained acclaim and

Majuro sashimi and goat cheese, Uchi; Photo: Erica Wilkins

garnered some of the food industry’s most prestigious awards, the rest of the country seems to have awakened to what Texas diners, chefs and food writers have known for


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decades: that Lone Star cuisine is, in fact, innovative, refined, diverse, down-right tasty and, indeed, worthy of national attention. For a glowing example of this, one must look only to such lauded culinary commendations as the national James Beard Foundation Awards, widely known as the ‘Oscars of the food world’, presented to the culinary industry’s best and brightest. For 2016, Texas chefs and restaurateurs amassed an astonishing 19 semifinalist and finalist James Beard Award nods across a variety of categories. They range from Best New Restaurant (Austin’s Launderette and Houston’s Helen Greek Food and Wine), Outstanding Bar Program (Houston’s Anvil Bar & Refuge), Rising Star of the Year (Misti Norris of Small Brewpub in Dallas, and Grae Nonas of Austin’s Olamaie), Outstanding Wine Program (Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas), Outstanding Restaurateur (Tracy Vaught of Houston’s Caracol, Hugo’s and Backstreet Café) and a slew of other acknowledgements.

...Lone Star cuisine is, in fact,

innovative, refined, diverse, down-right tasty and, indeed, worthy of national attention.

ACQUIRING A TASTE FOR TEXAS CUISINE But what’s driving the recent national popularity of Texas’ food scene? According to some of the state’s most notable chefs and food writers, much of it comes down R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


Visitors from around the world flew into Austin,

expecting tumbleweeds and horses, and instead, saw a vibrant, contemporary city.

to the nation’s growing interest in all things edible, which has led to an excess of food-related TV shows, events and print-media coverage. “Top Chef certainly had a very prominent effect on bringing national attention to Texas in the last five years. National magazines like Bon Appétit and Food & Wine (the latter with its ‘Best New Chefs in America’ annual feature) have made a point of featuring Texas,” says Patricia Sharpe, longtime food editor and restaurant critic for Texas Monthly. “The Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, starting in the ’80s, gave Texas a national presence and brought big- name chefs here. The most important American regional cuisine of the last 30 years is Southwestern cuisine, which started in Texas and in New Mexico in the mid-’80s. It absolutely put Texas chefs on the national map way before the present blip on the radar.” Brandon Watson, food editor for The Austin Chronicle, notes that, at least in Texas’ capital city, much of the industry’s mushrooming national attention can be traced back to the annual South By Southwest festival.


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“Visitors from around the world flew into Austin expecting tumbleweeds and horses, and instead, saw a vibrant, contemporary city,” Watson says. “That led media outlets as diverse as The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Food Network and Forbes to feature Austin and its food culture. Even though Dallas and Houston both had and continue to have vital dining cultures, the attention given to Austin helped spark renewed interest in the state’s culinary scene as a whole.” While she concedes that media outlets and large food festivals have helped propel the popularity of Texas restaurants, Veronica Meewes, a food writer, cookbook author and Zagat editor, points to the rising U.S. demand for two longtime Texas favorites — tacos and barbecue — as having attracted much attention to the state. Additionally, Texas’ climate, which is conducive to growing produce year-round, and plenty of local

Photo: Austin convention and visitors bureau R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


ranches practicing humane, sustainable methods have amassed the state some well-deserved recognition for its focus on the farm-to-table movement. “In my tenure covering the Texas food scene, the biggest change I’ve noticed is a welcome diversification in cuisine,” Meewes says. “We’re seeing not only an expansion in types of cuisine, but chefs are developing their own unique styles, particularly as they become more established. In the past decade, the food scene here has absolutely soared. Restaurants have blossomed into restaurant groups, each with its own thriving culture attached.” Then, of course, there is that modern-era catchall — the Internet — that helped create a recipe for virtually instant acclaim. “The rise of food bloggers, niche media and social media has transformed the hospitality industry,” Watson says. “It used to be that a handful of writers and editors had the power. Now, anyone with an Instagram account can participate in food culture.” Chef Hugo Ortega of Houston’s Caracol and a James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef: Southwest, says his city government’s push to highlight Houston’s well-established food industry has also made a national impact. “The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau is helping this effort in a big way, with ad campaigns directed at national and international visitors,” he says. “The food


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Tracy Vaught & Chef Hugo Ortega, owners of Caracol, Hugo’s and Backstreet Cafe, Houston

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scene is also embracing and refining our identity; it’s easier to understand, write about and get behind.”

The transformation from tacos and chicken-fried steaks to more,

refined dining has been going on for decades.


Despite much more national attention on Texas’ culinary scene in the past 10 years or so, Sharpe notes that the transformation from tacos and chickenfried steaks to more refined dining has been going on for decades. “It is not recent,” she says. “I want to emphasize that Texas has had sophisticated restaurants for a long time.” Tracy Vaught of Houston’s Caracol, Hugo’s and Backstreet Café, a James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur and the wife of Chef Ortega, agrees. “It may seem to have come out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” she says. “Many Texas chefs have been working very hard for years and the hard work is beginning to show in their food. Food writers from other cities are beginning to take notice. It is building on its own success now. With lots of creative, talented chefs and restaurateurs, great things are happening.”

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Hugo’s, Houston; Photo: Eric Sauseda

The national attention has attracted more talented chefs to the state, further growing the culinary talent pool. Which continues to perpetuate the betterment of Texas fare, says Chef Tyson Cole of Austin’s wildly successful Uchi, and James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Chef. “I’ve been cooking in Texas for 25 years, and if you look back, it’s amazing to see how the culinary scene has changed in every city, how Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, they’re all pushing boundaries and making a mark in the culinary world,” Chef Cole says. “This era of the foodie that we’re living in and all the talent that is flocking to Texas helps as well.” BRINGING HOME THE BACON While many Texas chefs say the increased national attention on Texas restaurants hasn’t and will not affect how they do business nor influence the strict standards they already strive to maintain at their restaurants, R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


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some say such widespread notice, combined with recognition from such esteemed culinary honors as the James Beard Awards, does tend to draw more business from locals and visitors alike. In fact, dining opportunities have become a tourism attraction. According to a 2015 report prepared for the Texas Tourism Office of the Governor, Texas restaurants greatly contributed to the $70.6 billion in direct travel spending in the state in 2014.

...Texas restaurants greatly contributed to the

$70.6 billion direct travel spending in the state in 2014.

“I definitely feel like Dallas’ growing dining scene is increasing tourism in Texas,” says Chef David Uygur of Lucia Italian restaurant in Dallas, and a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest. “We see a good number of out-of-towners at Lucia. It’s especially fun when we have outof-towners who make a point to come back and see us on return trips to Dallas. We’ve been known to tease New Yorkers for having to come all the way to Texas to get Italian food.” Chef Cole notes that culinary honors can only serve to help his business, saying James Beard Awards and nominations help further establish Uchi’s brand and reach a wider geographic audience. “Texas, as a whole, is booming, the economy is amazing and all major cities are thriving, so I think Texas’ growing culinary scene definitely helps interest tourists,” he says. “As dining is becoming more important to travelers, we’ve seen an increase in tourists in our restaurants.” R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


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For Chef Steve McHugh, any and all favorable attention on Texas’ culinary domain positively impacts not only his restaurant, Cured, but also his city’s still-developing food scene. “San Antonio is still very much a city that is still trying to show the national culinary stage its identity. I believe people have been supporting Cured because it makes them proud of their city,” he says. “We get a lot of non-Texans here at Cured, and I think the restaurant’s reputation helps attract those outof-state travelers. I’ve also noticed that a lot of visitors are using the Internet to find the place that everyone is talking about, and I’m lucky it’s mine!” Cured charcuterie case; Photo: Scott Martin

Even for chefs with restaurants in cities with more established culinary reputations, national attention and acclaimed awards continue to build on what they’ve spent years working to develop. “I can’t speak specifically to other cities, but Houston’s dining scene is exploding and receiving well-deserved national and international recognition. It is very important. We get travelers from all over the world. I love that,” says Chef Ortega. “I have been welcomed by Houstonians from the beginning of my career. In the past five years, folks from other R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


Texas' vibrant culinary scene is integral to growing the state’s tourism.


places are learning about our city and it is becoming a dining destination. We’ve always known what a diverse, amazing city we are, especially with our food, and now, the rest of the country is finally embracing Houston.” The Austin Chronicle’s Watson notes that Texas’ vibrant culinary scene is indeed integral to growing the state’s tourism. “There are a few places that can get by on natural beauty alone, but every other tourist destination needs good dining,” he says. “Increasingly, food is the reason for the tourism. Map out the state’s best barbecue restaurants, and you have one heck of a road trip!” But when it comes to tourism, barbecue is just a steppingstone, claims Meewes. “I think the food scene in Texas has much to do with growing state tourism. The barbecue culture, in particular, brings foodies from far and wide to sample the best smoked meats the state has to offer, both in cities and small towns in between,” she says. “And once people arrive, they realize Texas has a lot more to offer than just barbecue.”

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Poutine, Cured, San Antonio; Photo Jonathan Alonzo

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I absolutely love the

vast history of ou r state and I enjoy learning about the journey that Texas has taken to become the state that it is today.

Chef Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio; Photo: Jonathan Alonzoo


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EVERYTHING’S BETTER IN TEXAS With its wealth of restaurants and attractions, immensely fascinating history, dedication to the arts, culture and industry, and hospitality, it’s no wonder Texas continues to captivate the rest of America. But what makes the state the ideal location for chefs and restaurateurs? Some chefs says it’s Texas’ proximity to so many varying locales or because they grew up here, are proud to call the Lone Star State home and want to contribute to the local economy. But for many, it’s so much more than that, a deeper connection that harkens back to Texas’ diverse culture and history. “I absolutely love the vast history of our state and I enjoy learning about the journey that Texas has taken to become the state that it is today,” says Chef McHugh. “If I can capture only a small amount of that history and tell a story through each dish on the menu, then we are giving people something that they can, in turn, connect with.” Texas Monthly’s Sharpe says an abundance of disposable income, particularly in cities like Houston, Austin and Dallas, where business-wise chefs and restaurateurs can take advantage of growing culinary scenes, whereas Watson points to the state’s vivid heritage and vast opportunity. “Texas is a growing state with a rich culinary tradition that includes Mexican, Czech, German, French influences. Add growing immigrant populations that bring their own R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


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traditions and a youthful population unafraid of innovation, and you have the ideal environment for a complex conversation about food,” he says. “There are also new frontiers for chefs in Texas. Look at San Antonio and their emerging food scene. It must be exhilarating for chefs to build something from the ground floor. I think we should respect those roots of Texas cuisine. Tex-Mex gets a bad name, but the tortilla is a vessel for some of the state’s most electrifying creativity. I think the next few years will build on those traditions with a mind toward sustainability, creating a cuisine that is in conversation with the rest of the world that is still authentically Texas.” From her perspective, Meewes says people are more adventurous eaters these days, wanting to taste and experience new things like never before — a dream for any chef. Plus, lower overhead than many other states is enticing for restaurant startups, and the temperate climate makes it easier to start smaller with a food trailer versus a more expensive brick-and-mortar location. “I predict chefs will continue to refine their own unique styles of cuisine without worrying about fitting into a mold. These days, there are more and more restaurants whose cuisine you can’t define in a word or even a phrase, and I think that’s wonderful,” she says. “Food, like art or music, should continue to push boundaries and challenge its participants. That doesn’t mean steaks, burgers and tacos should be banished; there will always be a place for such staples, but there will also always be room to ask questions and use ingredients in new and exciting ways.” R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


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Unsung Heroes: 3 Things You Need to Know about Music Licensing in the Restaurant Industry By Libby Lussenhop


ou might have the speaker system, the music streaming service, and the auxiliary equipment to play songs in your restaurant, but are you missing one crucial element? Music licensing can’t be seen, heard, or locked away in a back office filing cabinet…but if you’re playing music in your bar or restaurant, it should be a part of your daily operations.

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For restaurants, music can be your customer’s first impression of your establishment. Your service and products are important, of course, but music can support and shape your business by setting an atmosphere and a pace of life. Jessica Frost is senior director of industry relations for Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI). She works on sales and customer relations with a focus on business relations, which means she works with many restaurant associations to make sure their members understand the need for a music license. There are three key things to keep in mind about restaurants, the music industry, and the value of a songwriter’s craft.


No matter how accessible music is these days, you still have to have a license if you plan to play music publicly.

A lot has changed about music in the electronic age, you can listen to anything for free on the web, and you can copy entire music albums from one device to another, but one thing remains the same. The one consistent trend in music is that the creators of music deserve to be compensated for their work. This applies to bars and restaurants, as well as television, radio stations, and more. BMI is an American performing rights organization, or a PRO. They represent songwriters, composers, and music publishers to make sure they are paid for their work whenever their music is played or performed in a public place. “The BMI approach is that we spend a lot of time educating the business owners about the value of music,” Jessica


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Frost explains. “If we encounter a business that isn’t licensed, we work hard to explain the need for a music license and why songwriters need to get paid. We help them through the process of getting licensed.” While BMI’s approach is “education first,” a failure to obtain a license could end up in court. “The majority of business owners do the right thing and secure a license,” Jessica comments, “but a small percentage end up on the legal route.” It’s important to understand that litigation is costly for both the defendant and the business in question, so it’s best to obtain a license and play music the right way.


It’s not just about the legal risk that a restaurant assumes if it’s not licensed; songwriters simply deserve to be paid for their work.

The professionals at performing rights organizations don’t want to take anybody to court; they are in the business of protecting songwriters because they believe in the value of their work and want their music to be publicly performed. “I was raised with a deep appreciation for the craft of songwriting,” Jessica explains. “Songwriters are the ‘unsung heroes.’ They might be behind the scenes, but without them, the brilliant, award-winning artists we know and love would have nothing to sing in the first place.” A songwriter’s creative work is protected through royalties that come from establishments that play R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


those works either as live performances or recorded versions. “Anytime a song is played publicly; the songwriter is owed a performance rights royalty. At BMI, 85 cents of every dollar goes back to the songwriter,” Jessica specifies. “We represent the interest of our songwriters, composers, and music publishers and make every effort to ensure they receive payment for their creative work.”


It’s easy to obtain and maintain a music license.

BMI is an example of a performing rights organization that makes it especially easy to obtain a license to play a wide variety of music. They represent more than 700,000 songwriters, which means they protect more than 10.5 million musical works. The exciting fact is that a license gives any restaurant owner or operator the right to play all the songs in BMI’s catalog. BMI is also associated with state and national restaurant associations; they offer discounts to allied restaurants thanks to these associations. As an owner of a bar or restaurant, you would first go to On this page, you can find applications for licenses, a place to pay invoices, and ways to contact BMI for additional help. Here is a quick look at the costs associated with a blanket license: • The minimum fee paid is $363 per year; • The average cost of a license is $800 per year; • The license provides flexibility in that you can change your music license up to four times a year


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• The annual fee is based on the size of your establishment and the frequency of the music performed The process is simple, and the results are incomparable: you pay songwriters for their honest work, and you no longer risk legal repercussions (as you would if you were not licensed). The takeaway is to get a music license and support the songwriters whose work is featured at your restaurant. A restaurant is a business, yes, but operating a restaurant is also a craft. Artistry and creativity play a huge role in feeding your customers—and artistry and creativity are key components of songwriting as well. As Jessica puts it, “I wouldn’t walk into a restaurant, order, eat a meal, and then get up and leave without paying.” The songwriter probably won’t be seated at one of your tables every time their song is played in the restaurant, they probably won’t be there to hold you accountable for what you owe them...but they deserve to be paid for their artistry. Songwriters spend time, energy, and money honing their craft—just like you and your fellow restaurateurs. You’ve painstakingly shaped every component of your business; songwriters make that same effort. They support your business by helping you set an atmosphere and tone for your restaurant; return the favor by getting a license and paying them for their hard work. Article first ran in Michigan Restaurateur. Permission to re-run article given by the author, Libby Lussenhop and Adriane J. De Ceuninck—VP, Marketing & Communications, Michigan Restaurant Association.

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You r Industry. Your Show. The restaurant business isn’t easy. Good thing you’ve got TRA Marketplace to help you succeed! Thin margins, tough competition, rising costs, employee issues, government mandates, changing consumer trends, demands on your time – it’s enough to make you a little crazy. TRA Marketplace can help you sort through it all. It’s more than a tradeshow. It’s a gathering of the very best in the Texas food service industry – an important network of industry experts, key resources and experienced restaurateurs. This is YOUR show. TRA Marketplace is for owners, chefs, and food service executives from all facets of the booming Texas restaurant industry. 78% of all attendees are senior level professionals (owners, managers, C-level executives, chefs, senior management). Over half, 57% are independent owners/operators, 22% are chains, and 21% are from other food service segments such as hotels, hospitals, military, c-stores and universities.

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The Education Idea Center features sessions on marketing, social media, tipping policies, mobile pay, technology and more. Our Specialty Areas include companies on the cutting edge of the latest industry trends in technology, craft beverages, and mobile food trucks and more. The new Culinary Innovation Station showcases healthy, ethnic and/or trending food products that are new to the Texas market. And you won’t want to miss the New Product Showcase, a collection of the newest products being introduced by exhibitors. Take two days in Houston to make your company more competitive and profitable all year long! Register online before June 21 for the best pricing. THANK YOU TO OUR 2016 TR A M ARKETPL ACE PARTNERS!




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TEX A S 3 60 Download the Official TRA Marketplace Mobile App Make the most of your time at the show with the free TRA Marketplace app. The TRA Marketplace mobile app features: • Up-to the minute exhibitor, speaker, and event information • Multi-Device Sync capability • Real-time communications from TRA Marketplace • Ability to build a personalized schedule and bookmark exhibitors • Interactive show floor map to easily locate exhibitors and sessions

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Downloading the app is easy! Search the App Store or Google Play for TRA Marketplace Or scan the QR code:

- Where the industry parties! After a busy, successful, productive day of business at TRA Marketplace, cut loose with your colleagues at Match. The Texas Restaurant Association is hosting this opening-night party for all attendees and exhibitors. We promise great food, refreshing beverages, kickin’ music and a good time!

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Honor ing Excellence A long standing Texas Restaurant Association tradition, the Hall of Honor recognizes members who have made significant contributions to the Texas restaurant industry, the association, and their communities. Over the past 35 years, over 125 restaurateurs have received this honor, which is the most prestigious award the association bestows. This year, three exceptional restaurateurs will join that exalted group at the 2016 Night of Excellence, June 25 at Revention Music Center in Houston in conjunction with the Texas Restaurant Association Marketplace. Greg Stockton, Owner, Golden Chick, Wichita Falls Greg and his family opened the first Golden Chick in Wichita Falls in 1984. Thirty-two years later, he and his wife Cathy own and operate four locations. As his business grew, so too did his commitment to the community. Greg believes that while Golden Chick is a chain restaurant, it is foremost a locally-owned, family business with a responsibility to give back where and when it can. He’s active in many local non-profits such as the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Wichita Falls Fire Fighters Association, and Maskat Shriners.


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TEX A S 3 60 After joining the Texas Restaurant Association in 1985, Greg attended LeadershipTRA and then took a very active role in his local North Texas chapter, and the state organization. He served as chapter president four times, co-chairs the chapter’s annual golf tournament, and is the ‘pasta guy’ for the chapter’s annual Hotter N Hell Spaghetti Meal. Greg is a current member of the TRA Board of Directors. Jeffrey Yarbrough, Owner, The Cedars Social, bigInk, Dallas Jeffrey is known for his entrepreneurial spirit, which was first demonstrated at the age of five when he sold plums he picked from his grandmother’s tree to the neighbors. His first foray into the entertainment industry was Concept Nouveau, Dallas’ original four clubs-in-one complex, including Art Bar, Blind Lemon, Club Clearview and Red. In 1998, he launched Liberty Noodles, the first pan-Asian noodle house located on Lower Greenville in Dallas. In 2004, Jeffrey took his knowledge of the hospitality industry and opened bigInk PR & Real Estate, using his experience to help other restaurateurs and business owners find success. However, he can’t stay away from a hands-on role in the restaurant business and is currently part-owner of Cedars Social, one of Dallas’ best cocktail bars. Jeffrey joined the Texas Restaurant Association in 1991. He served on the Dallas chapter board of directors for many years, and as chapter president in 1998. Jeffrey was elected TRA president in 2001 and is currently a member of the TRA Board of Director’s executive committee.

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TE XAS 3 6 0 Russell Ybarra, President & CEO, Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen & Jimmy Changas, Houston As a 25-year veteran of the food service industry, Russell started out as a dishwasher in his father’s company El-Toro Mexican Restaurants. In 1986 he helped develop El-Matador Foods, a successful tortilla factory in Baytown. In the early 1990’s he was asked to take over a restaurant that had previously failed under four different concepts. Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen has since grown to 10 restaurants in the greater Houston area, and San Antonio. After a trip to Spain, Russell was inspired to start a fast casual restaurant called Bullritos. After franchising the concept and growing it to 20 locations in Texas Louisiana and Georgia, he sold it in 2012 to continue focusing on his first passion, full-service restaurants. In 2011, he developed a new Tex-Mex concept called Jimmy Changas, a family oriented restaurant that has grown to four locations. One of Russell’s company’s core values is “reinvesting in our associates and the local community.” He, and his employees, are active in all of the communities in which they are located, supporting organizations such as the Boys & Girls Harbor and The Neighborhood Centers, Inc., PTSD Foundation of America Camp Hope, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to name a few. Russell joined the Texas Restaurant Association in 1981 and has been active in the local Houston chapter, serving on the board and as chapter president. He’s also a member of the TRA Board of Directors where he has served on the executive committee. The TRA Education Foundation also benefits from Russell’s commitment to philanthropy, as he is a major donor that supports the Texas ProStart program for high school culinary arts and restaurant management. Get your tickets for the Night of Excellence today!


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i t n n d a u r u stry! a t s e r e h t Celebrate the best of

Saturday, June 25, 2016 Revention Music Center | Houston, Texas

6:30 pm –10:00 pm

Texas Restaurant Association leaders and other luminaries will gather for an elegant evening to honor outstanding individuals and their contributions to our industry.

Purchase your tickets today!

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Heritage Travel Conference Highlights

Histor ic Destinations Heritage tourism is on the rise, as travelers seek authentic experiences at historic and cultural destinations. Presented by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in partnership with the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, Real Places 2016 is a heritage travel conference focusing on this lucrative and growing sector of the tourism industry. The conference will be held June 13–15 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin and features three days of workshops, panel discussions, and networking events. Real Places 2016 brings together individuals and organizations passionate about identifying, saving, and leveraging heritage travel destinations and the stories they tell about a community. Featured speakers include destination business specialist Jon Schallert; Texas food historian and writer Robb Walsh; and Texas travel show host and columnist Chet Garner from The Daytripper.


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NRA PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONFERENCE BRINGS 600 RESTAURATEURS TO D.C. More than 600 restaurateurs from 45 states traveled to Washington D.C. in April to speak up for our industry and carry our messages to Capitol Hill during the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference. This year, the three key issues restaurateurs focused on were: blocking a harmful overtime rule, preventing a damaging rewrite of the joint-employer standard, and laying the groundwork for effective tax reform, including preserving the 45(B) FICA tax reimbursement for employers of tipped workers. The Texas delegation was the largest with more than 50 people. Our members met with 24 members of Congress to discuss issues of concern.

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COMMU N I T Y N EWS TEXAS PROSTART TEAMS TAKE TOP TIER AWARDS AT NATIONAL PROSTART INVITATIONAL Nearly 400 students across the U.S. competed for scholarships and national acclaim. Two Texas ProStart teams, New Caney High School and the Academy of Culinary Arts at Byron Nelson High School nabbed first and third place respectively, in one of the nation’s most rigorous culinary and restaurant management competitions, the National ProStart Invitational, hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation April 29–May 1. Competition was fierce, with 89 teams and 400 students from across the United States vying for thousands of dollars in scholarships. New Caney High School near Houston, swept first place for restaurant management, marking the third time a Texas team has


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won that top honor, while Byron Nelson High School located near Fort Worth, garnered third place in the culinary competition - the first time a Texas team has ever placed in the top five in that category. Cherie Busch, restaurant management instructor from New Caney High School is thrilled to see such a payoff for her students’ hard work, “My students feel honored and blessed to have been able to represent Texas at the National ProStart Invitational. Winning the National Title represents what they can achieve through dedication and hard work. In addition to scholarships enabling them to attend college, my students have evolved into leaders with goals for their futures. This experience will be something they will always remember.” Byron Nelson High School practicum instructor Chef Joseph Maher’s team has represented Texas at Nationals for the past four

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years. “For the last three years, we finished in the top ten - but never the top five. The students worked incredibly hard, giving up weekends, family trips and even holidays to achieve their dream of having the name ‘TEXAS’ being called as one of the top five teams in the nation. Receiving their third place medals on stage was so gratifying - for all their hard work as a unified team that started at the beginning of the school year.’ ProStart, a program of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation is one of the largest industry-supported career technical education programs in the nation. The National ProStart Invitational is the finale of a nationwide series of state competitions hosted by partner state restaurant associations. Texas ProStart, administered by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, hosts two regional level competitions, this year turning out a total of 60 teams from 44 Texas high schools and 320 students. Top teams then advanced


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COMMUNIT Y NE W S to the Texas ProStart Invitational State Final held in March in Waco, with twentyfour teams competing. Now in its seventh year, it is one of the largest state ProStart competitions in the country. Students compete in one of two categories; restaurant management or culinary. All competing schools are part of Texas ProStart, the industry-based culinary arts and restaurant management program and curriculum. Culinary teams demonstrate knife skills, develop and price a three course meal, preparing the menu items in 60 minutes using only two butane burners and no access to battery-operated appliances or electricity. Judges evaluate creativity, plate presentation, taste, team work, professionalism, and safety and sanitation. For the management competition, teams develop and present a business proposal for a new restaurant that includes a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu and marketing plan. Teams prepare a comprehensive written proposal and verbal presentation, and are tested on their critical thinking skills by reacting to potential management challenges.

For more information on Texas ProStart, visit






FARE is the one-of-a-kind conference providing a platform for uninhibited collaboration, a differential advantage that is unmatched in the industry. We’re bringing all the channels of foodservice together to help operators and suppliers meet the consumer demands for consistently fresh, fast and portable foods and beverages. PRESENTING SPONSOR:


Operators: Mark Hatch | 480.337.3419 | or Jacob Winsor | 480.337.3428 | Suppliers: Luke Kircher | 480.337.3407 |

1138 N. Alma School Rd., Ste. 206, Mesa, AZ 85201 480.337.3400




Online • FAST • Affordable

at your service!

Have a question? Ask our experts.

Industry leading food manager safety certification

KE N N E TH B E SSE RMAN General Counsel • 512.457.4170 TI M SE KI YA Director of Insurance • 512.457.4161 PHI L WI LLI S

No proctored exam. Take the course and exam online and receive your certification.

Director of Products & Training Manager • 512.457.4165

800. 3 95 . 2 872 • re s t au ran t vil l e .co m

Accepted by all local health departments in Texas

We’re Social! @TXRestAssoc #TRAEF #TXProStart #TRAMarketpalace #TABCToGo

Quick & Easy Online Alcohol Certification Course Get Certified Today! Valid anywhere in Texas A Texas Restaurant Association Product




The East Texas chapter’s Taste of Tyler was a great success with over 35 participating restaurants. Proceeds benefited local community charities and educational programs.

ADVE RTISING INDE X FARE 2016...............................................43 HEARTLAND...........................................22 ICX 2016.................................................. 37 REVENTION............................................ 16 RVM CLASSIFIED...................................44 FOODGUIARD TABC TO GO TRA AT YOUR SERVICE TRA: WE’RE SOCIAL

SERVSAFE TX FOOD HANDLER..........46 TEXAS MUTUAL..................................... 14 LONESTAR BASH................................... 33 TRA MARKETPLACE..............................30 TRA NIGHT OF EXCELLENCE............. 37

Thanks to everyone that came out for the Tarrant County Chapter Slice & Dice Golf Tournament! Proceeds benefited the chapter and the Texas ProStart program.

UNITED HEALTHCARE.........................24

For advertising information contact Wendy Woodland at 512.457.4100 or

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with coupon code

TEXASFH through September 1, 2016

Texas Requires Statewide Food Handler Certification Ge t C e r ti fi e d wit h S e r v S afe Food Han dle r Te xas on li n e ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE IN TEXAS

ANSI-accredited; approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services

Cream of the Crop Y'all! | Restaurantville magazine Spring 2016  

Award-winning Texas chefs and restaurateurs continue to change the national culinary conversation