Stampede 66, the newest effort from celebrity chef Stephan Pyles, opens October 29. But the opening is preceded by a trio of charity events offering a preview of things to come. Those include two private, seated fundraising dinners (October 20 and 22) and a la-dee-da invitation-only gala October 25.
On Saturday, October 20, Stampede 66 hosts the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry Dinner, with a cocktail reception at 6 pm. Pyles is a founding board member of Share Our Strength, America's largest private source of hunger-relief funding; a life board member of the North Texas Food Bank; and co-founder of the Dallas Hunger Link, Dallas' perishable food program. Over the past 12 years, Pyles has awarded $180,000 in culinary scholarships in his name.
October 22 is the 30th Anniversary North Texas Food Bank Dinner. The evening's honorary chairs are Ambassador Kathryn Hall and supermarket scion Liz Minyard. The night begins with a 6:30 pm reception, followed by a seated dinner and dessert with wine pairings by Hall and Walt wines.
Thursday, October 25, is the opening preview gala. Guests can expect modern Texas bites; Texas wine, beer and spirits; and live entertainment by Jody Nix and The Texas Cowboys Band.
In a release, Pyles said that he feels like he's "coming home," and that Stampede 66 pays homage to his parents' cafe in Big Spring, the Phillips 66 Truck Stop Cafe.
"I practically grew up in that cafe," he said. "I have taken inspiration from the memories there to create a concept that is a more modern, refined version of those experiences."
Stampede 66's signature Modern Texas culinary creations include smoked chicken and sweet potato dumplings, pork barbacoa with clay pot black beans, classic bowl of red, Pyles' mother's buttermilk pie with nitro-shattered Texas grapefruit, sous vide honey fried chicken, and "smoking" margaritas. Pyles and crew will also make tortillas from fresh nixtamal; taco fillings include brisket and "faux" gras crispy sweetbread.
Located on the ground floor of the Granite Properties high-rise offices and residences, the 7,000-square-foot restaurant includes a lounge, screened-in porch with firepit, private dining room, and margarita/taco bar. The dining room can seat approximately 120 patrons; a private dining room can accommodate up to 36.
The ranch house-inspired design was executed in collaboration with Duncan, Miller and Ullman Design in Dallas. Focal points include a steel and driftwood tree rising into a Texas sky with moonbeams filtering through it; a glowing, steel rattlesnake above a serpentine banquette; a pine wood pergola with picnic tables and relief sculptures of charging horses by steel artist Santiago Pena; and 20 stampeding longhorns suspended over the taco bar.
The warm-toned dining room, conjuring earth and sky, exudes Southern hospitality and comfort, with wood paneling and floors, reclaimed materials, and Austin stone columns. One of those columns showcases a band of back-lit, etched-glass horny toads by Pyles' friend and glass artist Polly Gissell. Longtime fans will notice an original Star Canyon chandelier and a new modern chandelier envisioned by the chef.
High-tech touches include projection screens for movies and a triptych of plasma screens overlaid with window panes showcasing images of outdoor ranch scenes. A plasma screen broadcasts the action in the kitchen.
Projected on a focal wall in the dining room are gobo images in the form of famous Texas quotes and Pyles' favorite sayings. These alternate with images from some of Texas' best photographers.