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


New Restaurant and bar to open in Uptown this summer

Photo courtesy of
Kyle Noonan (right) and Josh Sepkowitz (left) of Free Range Concepts.

Kyle Noonan (right) and Josh Sepkowitz (left) of Free Range Concepts. (Photo courtesy of

In 1998 Josh Sepkowitz and Kyle Noonan met in calculus class their freshman year at SMU.  The two later joined Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and became roommates in the house sophomore year.

“We have always looked back on our days at SMU with fondness and are proud of the direction the school is headed in all aspects currently.  Some of our favorite memories and best friends were formed on that campus,” said Noonan. Their lasting friendship has led them to form a flourishing business partnership.

In 2002 Sepkowitz graduated from the Cox School of Business and Noonan from the Meadows School of the Arts.  Coincidentally, some of the first jobs they both had were in the restaurant industry.  Noonan worked for Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen as a regional director and Sepkowitz was a floor manager at Uncle Julio’s.

After 10 years of separation the duo reunited to launch Free Range Concepts, a restaurant management company.  When asked what inspired the creation, Noonan said, “We just have a passion for seeing people have a good time so we decided to make it our career.”  Since they have been working in restaurants for so long they say that sometimes they feel a bit old, but other business owners look at them as the young guys in the game.

Free Range Concepts is a Dallas-based restaurant and hospitality concept development company, which specializes in operations, profitability, capital fundraising and other business aspects.  Some of their projects include Sunset Lounge Dallas, Local Fare and Bowl & Barrel.

Bowl & Barrel particularly shows what Sepkowitz and Noonan set out to accomplish.  Recognizing that it is tough to open a restaurant and do something different with it, they put a bowling alley right behind the bar to spice things up.  Long wooden communal tables and German beer hauls give Bowl & Barrel an Oktoberfest atmosphere.  It is the original and unique twists that these two bring to the table that makes them stand out from the rest.

Their current project is The Rustic, a two and a half acre restaurant, bar and music venue opening this summer on Lemmon Avenue and North Central Expressway.  With room to fit about 400 people inside and 2,000 outside, the Rustic will be the first of its kind Uptown has seen.

“When people come to Dallas from out of town” Noon said, “they do two things – shop and eat.  We hope this will become an institution visitors know they must experience.”

The team has partnered with country singer and star Pat Greene, who both said they respect professionally and personally. For the duo, it was a no brainer to have him on board.  He is sure to perform from time to time, but The Rustic will feature all types of music.

On top of the unprecedented music aspect, it will have the largest selection of Texas brewed beer.  A grassy backyard will make customers feel like they are at a down-home barbeque on their friend’s ranch, grilling something over an open flame, yet with an element of sophistication.

SMU senior Allegra Nigh has lived in Uptown for the past two years and will continue to do so after graduation.  Some of her favorite restaurants are The Common Table, Naan Sushi, Sfuzis, Ocean Prime and Katy Trail Ice House.

“I like the social aspect the best.  There are a lot of young people, a lot of bars and I can walk everywhere on the weekends,” she said.  “It’s kind of just the cool place to be.”

The obvious foodie explained that it is a combination of the social atmosphere and cuisine that draw customers in and have them coming back for more.  Both Seokowitz and Noonan find this to be very true, and strive to provide that combination with every project, however they made clear that The Rustic will be first and foremost a restaurant and bar.

Nigh thinks it could be the next Katy Trail Ice House.  She sees it being the place to go every weekend and said she’ll be there on opening day.

She also suggested some kind of promotional deal for SMU students, since the owners are former mustangs.  Noonan assured there will be something, they are just not sure what yet.  However, starting now $10 buys SMU students an all you can bowl pass at Bowl & Barrel.

“We are definitely proud of our pony pride,” said Noonan.


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