The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Trinity Groves expansion brings hope to local restaurateurs

LUCK in the thick of things
LUCK (center) will be surrounded by Souk (left) and Chino China Town (right) once they are open for business.”

Just over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, down Singleton Street and next to a gravel parking lot sits Hofmann Hots.

Families gathered on benches surrounded by trees, indulging in gourmet hot dogs and burger hot dogs while listening to fun, classic rock music from the 1970s and ’80s.

Just eight years ago, the hot dog restaurant wasn’t even an idea; all that sat off of Singleton Street was barren land.

For nearly a century, the West Dallas neighborhood that sits just across the Trinity River was filled with abandoned storefronts and warehouses. With the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, however, the neighborhood was ready for its transformation.

Across the Trinity River in West Dallas, all there was to see were 65-acres of undeveloped land owned by two restaurateurs. Now, after driving over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, 15-acres of the once-rundown area have been transformed into an entertainment destination called Trinity Groves.

Phil Romano, Stuart Fitts and Butch McGregor, who are part of West Dallas Investments, sunk nearly $50 million of their own money into the project so that the greater city of Dallas could have a place to wine, dine and even shop.

Romano, Fitts and McGregor came up with the idea to have local restaurateurs and entrepreneurs submit, or “incubate,” their original business ideas for a chance to have their dreams developed by the three entrepreneurs.

The three restaurateurs had a specific goal when planning the development of Trinity Groves.

“We wanted to help create new brands along with jobs and economic growth so we felt this was the best way to do it,” Romano said.

Trinity Groves, which was conceptualize nearly 10 years ago, has rapidly expanded with six restaurants currently open to the public. The eateries are the original ideas of entrepreneurs who submit their restaurant concepts to the founders for consideration.With the addition of some retail stores and bars by the end of the year, there will be 15 destinations open for business.

Just in October, Trinity Groves has four restaurants set to be unveiled. Souk, LUCK, Resto Gasto Bistro and Casa Rubia are all set to finish construction and open up for business right off of Singleton Boulevard. Babb Bros. BBQ and Blues, 3015, Four Corners Brewing Company, Hofmann Hots, The Workroom & Gallery 422, and Kitchen LTO are already up and running.

Romano, who has been happy with the development and success of Trinity Groves thus far, still believes there’s even more room for growth.

“I’d say we’re probably about 50 percent done with the entire project,” Romano said.“We really want to make this a destination for the people of Dallas so there’s still some work to be done.”

Although in the past Romano has been known for his chain restaurants such as Fuddruckers and Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the philanthropist had a different goal when beginning to develop Trinity Groves.

“We didn’t want any chain restaurants because we want these people to start their own brands,” Romano said.

Erin Murphy, project manager, added that this isn’t about creating a name for Trinity Groves; it’s about helping the restaurateurs get on their feet.

“We find regular people that may not have the money to start up their own restaurant and we help their dreams become a reality,” Murphy said.

One of those regular people is Daniel Pittman, co-founder of LUCK.

LUCK, which stands for Local Urban Craft Kitchen, is a craft beer-inspired kitchen that was started by Pittman, his cousin Jeff Dietzman and Ned Steel.

Dietzman and Steel took cooking classes together and had the dream of opening their own restaurant, but never had the funds to get the ball rolling.

Once the Trinity Groves opportunity arose, Pittman was brought in to deal with the business side and quickly, their dream slowly became a reality.

“We could’ve never come up with the amount of money it takes to start a restaurant,” Pittman said.“With Trinity Groves as our partner, they’ve helped put up the money and it’s really been a great, low-risk opportunity.”

If there is one thing Pittman wants future customers to know about LUCK, it’s that everything they cook and serve is from the heart.

“We’re just real people using local farmers and local produce trying to help small business make a name for themselves,” Pittman said.

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