Why Dallas Restaurants Are Streaming to Plano

Categories: Food News

lockhartsmokehouseplanoactual.jpg
Plano now has its very own Lockhart Smokehouse, with more Dallas restaurants to come.
When Lockhart Smokehouse owners Jeff and Jill Bergus announced they were opening a second location of their barbecue restaurant, it just sounded like another successful restaurant making plans to expand. The Berguses sold out of paper-wrapped brisket on a regular basis at their first location in the Bishop Arts District, so why not test a second in the suburns?

Then the owners of Smoke announced similar plans: a second location north of 635, or "outside the loop," followed by Dalat, a modern pho restaurant on Fitzhugh, which snagged some real estate just a few steps from Lockhart. By the time Dee Lincoln announced the second location of her burger bar, also in Plano, it looked like Dallas restaurants had started a mass exodus to the north.

According to Bergus, Plano is simply the most logical place for expansion.

"I think it's a reverse bubble," Bergus told me, describing Plano residents as the Bizzaro counterparts to their neighbors to the south. Just like Dallasites cringe at the thought of driving north of 635, Plano residents can't be bothered driving to the south.

Bergus said Plano gives her access to a new customer base, with little chance of cannibalizing sales from her first location. She also liked the atmosphere of downtown Plano. "Its similar in feeling to the Bishop Arts," she said. "It feels up and coming."

Dalat_SpringRolls.jpg
Dalat's egg rolls within a spring roll will be available in downtown Plano.
Khanh Nguyen opened his first Pho restaurant on Fitzhugh Avenue in 2012, and he admits sales were a little slow for the first year. Hoping to learn from what he thinks was initially a bad real estate decision, he wants to open his second location where there will be plenty of foot traffic on his first day of business.

Nguyen said Lockhart's move and early success helped him to decide to make a similar move. "That was a huge factor for me," he said. Nguyen said restaurants have a symbiotic effect on each other, and that a large cluster of restaurants will pull more customers than they would on their own. Customers aside, Nguyen said he simply loves the neighborhood.

Downtown Plano has had a renaissance in recent years as the city has carried out a significant revitalization effort, with restaurants like Urban Crust and Urban Rio joining restaurants and bars that have been established there for years. "Downtown Plano is very unique," Nguyen said. "There's a lot of history there." And with a new train station, and businesses like AT&T building large office complexes nearby, there's much more potential on the way.

Thumbnail image for Smoke Burger.jpg
Smoke's burger will be available in the same plaza as the burgers from Dee Lincoln later this year.
East of downtown Plano, the address of Smoke's second location lacks the same historic charm. The new restaurant will be built into a former Snuffer's location in the Preston Town Crossing development, alongside a TGI Friday's, a Famous Footwear and a Trader Joe's. Still, partners Christopher Zielke, Christopher Jeffers and Tim Byres Byres will have access to those same "reverse bubble" customers pointed out by Jill Bergus from Lockhart.

"They do come down here occasionally," Zielke said of Plano customers willing to trudge down the toll way to visit Smoke, "but they would come a lot more often if Smoke were closer." Zielke sees his Plano customer base as former Uptown and Downtown residents who have moved to the suburbs and long for the diverse restaurants they used to access easily. "They know good food, and they want more than chain restaurants," he said.

And if they want upscale burgers they will likely flock to Dee Lincoln's Burger Bar, which will open in the Preston Towne Crossing this year as well. Dee's first location in Uptown has earned a reputation for messy, high-end burgers and top-notch steaks. A second location in Plano makes as much sense as the rest of these restaurants.

If Lockhart is any indication, expanding to Plano stands a good chance at being a recipe for success. Khanh Nguyen has spent a lot of time walking around the Plano neighborhood that will someday hold his next Dalat, and the lines outside Lockhart are unmistakable. "They're killing it," he said.

Location Info

Lockhart Smokehouse

400 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Smoke

901 Fort Worth Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar

2626 Howell St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Dalat

2537 N. Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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35 comments
cannonflowers
cannonflowers

They need to make sure they are easily accessible to public transit (DART) to keep their urban  customers coming.

van79k
van79k

Today's Plano was yesterday's Arlington...

bklm4502
bklm4502

If you haven't had the pleasure of enjoying Dalat's amazing Pho & unique Vietnamese comfort foods, you are definitely in for a treat & be prepared to be addicted!

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

She also liked the atmosphere of downtown Plano. "Its similar in feeling to the Bishop Arts," she said. "It feels up and coming."..........................really?  We've been saying that about downtown Plano for over 30 years! It is nice to have Lockhart's so close; except when we went on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago, they were out of product.  We went to Urban Rio, and that place rocked......very nice brisket taco's.

sammy
sammy

I remember a few years ago when restaurants tried to clone their Dallas successes in Addison and it didn't work. Maybe it will this time as some claim that Plano is now "centrally located".  Not for me, I would rather get a tooth pulled than go up there.

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

I'm an hour or so north of Plano, and I drive to the Dallas locations. Makes me an odd duck, I suppose. (Or it's just the dislike for the latest fad chasing, band-wagon jumping, faux-hip-and-oh-so-fake Suburbanites?)

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

why are restaurants going to Plano? to quote Willie Sutton, "Because that's where the money is".

an exurban community with strong daytime and nighttime population densities with above average education levels and incomes. high discretionary spending income levels.

mbarkett
mbarkett

Preston crossing is west not east of downtown plano


kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@cannonflowers  


I like your funny joke.....people don't take the train to downtown Plano.  Sure there is stop there, but it's not like Larry from Oak Cliff is gonna hope on and go to Plano. That stop is for the folks who live and work there.  

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@van79k  


What?  That is so confusing!  Plano and Arlington can never be compared........Arlington is just a dump-and Plano is, just, well, Plano. Kind of boring, good schools, chain restys, etc.  Let's face it, if Arlington didn't get lucky, it would be Garland.  So may be it should be........Today's Garland was yesterday's Arlington.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

If I'm driving to Plano...Id rather eat at ur place.

tv2754
tv2754

You won't be missed.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@sammy  


I'm thinking the same thing, but in reverse......I'd rather have bleeding, puss encrusted hemorrhoids, then to have to drive past 635; first it's the smell, then the stink, then the decay......oh my blight and decay is fun!

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@CheeryBitch As opposed to crossfit enthusiast, hipster, 30K billionaire douchebags.  Pick yer poison I suppose.  I live between Dallas and Plano so I get the best of both worlds.     

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@CheeryBitch  


I always go North; downtown McKinney's got some nice eating spots........Villages of Fairview and Allen have some decent spots-of course, Smoky G's in Van Alstene is always a treat.  Windy's Catfish across the HW 91 bridge in Cartwright is most great; I love Pizza Inn in Du Rant, and then there is BBQ place  in the Shell station in Atoka, OK.

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

@mavdog Go a few blocks North or East from that 'downtown' Plano area, and you'll see people who don't have that kind of disposable income. (I train there thrice weekly.) Had these businesses opened by NorthPark or Shops at Legacy then that rationale makes sense. Though, I do think old Plano money is on the I75 side of Plano.

cannonflowers
cannonflowers

@kergo1spaceship @cannonflowers

We prefer to take the train everywhere and wish more Dallasites would as well. Oak Cliff isn't the urban crowd I was really speaking of... Go more to the center. Many of us live downtown and Deep Ellum. So we could go either location, but much easier if public transport takes us there (and gets more cars off the road). 


kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley @CheeryBitch  


as CheeryBitch notes below, "I train there thrice weekly"....oh brother. Please tell us you work out....please.......I'm heading north for sanity/sanctity. 


ps-I LOVE the description of the Tollway Trash/Patio crowd- he he. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@CheeryBitch


Come on, you are talking about a few blocks; with a population of nearly 300,000, you are bound to find the disadvantaged somewhere-right? Old Plano money??  What are you talking about....two Plano families have old money, and most of that is Haggard. You should get back to training; for our sake. 

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

@kergo1spaceship Yep. 'tis my job to make other people fit.

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@CheeryBitch @kergo1spaceship  

"It really shocks me that people won't drive outside of a 15 minute radius."  

No shit.  The entire metro area has a great deal of different activities.  Not everything is gonna apply to everyone but it seems more and more people just want to stay in their own backyard.  

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

@kergo1spaceship The old nouveau riche. My (admittedly poorly made) point was that if some people in Plano can't be bothered to drive to Dallas, they won't be bothered to drive from the West side of Plano to the East side of Plano.


It really shocks me that people won't drive outside of a 15 minute radius.


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