A constant breeze of development and entrepreneurship is whisking about the streets of Dallas. Cowboy boots co-exist with Louboutins and cowboy hats float amid beanies and blowouts. Dallas natives blending with implants from all over the world, leading us to a perfect mix of tradition and “up and coming”. But where would we be without the appreciation for our southern genesis? Though it may seem difficult to represent our classic roots beside the new and shiny, three men and their team have figured out how to do it in the best of ways.
Enter stage left: PAT GREEN, KYLE NOONAN & JOSH SEPKOWITZ
Now most reading will know of the country singer Pat Green. His music resonates through all the dance halls of Texas, echoing a sound of comfort, causing an epidemic of compulsive two stepping across our grassy plains. So what’s this native Texan to do when presented the opportunity to become co-founder of a restaurant/ live music venue hybrid with Noonan and Sepkowitz of Free Range Concepts? He takes it in hopes to help remind people what Texas has to offer: Great food, booze by the buckets and the joy of live music.
Enter stage right: THE RUSTIC & I
With a beautiful inside decorated in rustic culture and a patio large enough to have its own name, “Pat’s backyard”, it’s no surprise why the design alone has customers in awe. Needless to explain why we chose to give it a try for our daily Girls Lunch Outing! As we walked in, the warmth of the wood colors, high ceilings and open concept ensure me that this place has to be staffed perfectly to maintain its consistency as a well-oiled machine. It was freaking huge. Since this was our first time visiting, we chose to sit in a booth inside by the bar (it was 95 degrees out and I was already glistening). With the huge open doors open to our left, it felt like anything but being indoors.
Once we were situated, it was time to take a peek at what this gorgeous slab of property had to offer. Yes it was beautiful, but could the flavors counterpart the visuals? I was starving and though the menu only consisted of one page, it was saturated in various artisan concepts I was interested in sinking my teeth into. But first, cocktails….
With a listing of over 40 draft beers (35 being from Texas) and Texas liquor spilling as far as the eyes could see, this place has been huge for the DFW alcohol game. It’s no wonder that within the year they are one of Texas’ highest grossing venues in alcohol sales and opening another location down in Pats hometown of San Antonio (as well as Frisco in 2018). We asked our server for a specific recommendation and she steered us in the direction of the Cinco Fizz (similar to a sonic limeade). Talk about thirst quencher. Plus, if you went to high school in Texas, this drink will bring you back to pouring alcohol into your cherry limeades at sonic before sneaking them into Football Games.
Now, I was starving and it was time to feed my ever-so-hungry appetite. Since I’m a fan of trying everything I can on a menu, we decided to order a couple appetizers to start our food journey. Again, we asked for a recommendation and she wasn’t messing around! We went with the Chorizo Empanadas and Wild Gulf Shrimp Cocktail.
The Chorizo empanadas were filled with house made ancho chile sausage and served with a garlic queso adding a great finish to the flavor profile, but it was the shrimp that took the appetizer cake.
The Wild gulf shrimp cocktail was an interesting take on a seafood classic. The mix between the spicy chile de arbol, avocado, cucumber, jicama, cilantro and ginormous gulf shrimp was just as tangy and savory as it was refreshing. It came with a side of tostada-like crackers, lightly salted and perfect to stack the goods on top of.
By this time the laughs were flowing and we were content thus far with our choices. We ordered our mains and another drink: The Rimy Rita.
In Texas we like our margaritas to be as big as a small childs head, and this was definitely size appropriate. The sangria popsicle was absolutely delicious as I took a bite then allowed it to melt into my Marg. Perfect for photos and Margarita lovers the same.
It was time for our mains and unfortunately, we were too late for the hot chicken (lunch stops at three). We all know how obsessed I am with hot chicken, and since it was already on the brain I decided to go with what seemed like the next best thing. I followed my poultry tendencies and ordered “The Drunk Chick”. Its name seemed to reverberate off the page as a good time and I was looking for one, so I began awaiting her arrival and boy was she worth the wait…
The drunk chick was a game hen stuffed with a beer can, sided with jalapeno cornbread. The chile lime butter was in the beer can and poured all over my hen. It was so fantastic I could have drunk it straight out of the fine pilsner can it came in. The cornbread wasn’t your regular flaky consistency, but rather a bread pudding that surprised me to my core. The mesh between all the flavors on my plate created a respect for this place as a dining establishment. My taste buds were satisfied and I’d need a take away to take the rest of my drunk chick home.
My friend Madeline ordered the Market Fish which was a cheeky portion of seabass and veggies. I was too excited about my own meal to snap a proper photo of it, but it looked fantastic and Mads polished it off quick as can be.
Mum ordered The Rustic Burger which was stacked with brisket, white cheddar, green chile, green onions and sided with smoked salt chips.
We finished up our food, tabbed out and decided to take a walk around the outdoors as we finished our bevys. As we walked around, it was easy to see why this place gets so packed on the weekends. The stage is huge and the seating outside is almost overwhelming. With live music playing almost every weekend and Dallas being huge on it’s brunch game, it’s no question why theirs is such a popular one.
Overall, I’d say the Rustic is a great contribution to the Dallas scene, coming upon us wave on wave and expanding the availability of not only local alcohol, but local fresh market produce as well. With savory food and a different menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, it’s easy to appreciate the selective concentration on each proposed item on them. The drinks were perfect for the lushes we are and it’s obvious how much thought and hard work went into opening what could easily be a new staple in the Dallas Community, for tourists and locals alike. So come and get down and dirty in our pretty little city, they’ll treat you right here.