A North Dallas neighborhood begging for late-night options will soon welcome a heavy-hitter new restaurant that tips its hat to Texas. Called Republic Grille, it will open at 12300 Inwood Rd., in the former Tupinamba space, with a date tentatively set for April.
It comes from John Kinzer, a private equity guy who in his early days helped open Barley House, and Scott Smith, a restaurant industry veteran whose extensive experience includes Sullivan's Steakhouse, Del Frisco's, Texas Land & Cattle, and Brinker.
Smith is still immersed in the restaurant world, but for Kinzer, it's a fun little throwback.
"I helped open Barley House when I was 24, with two of my best friends from high school, and got a taste for the business," he says. "For a while, my friends who live in that area of North Dallas have been telling me I need to open a place in that part of the world, where everything closes at 9:30 pm. I always promised that, if the right location came up, I would do something."
When Tupinamba made its move to its new location at US 75 and Walnut Hill Lane, he and Smith and a few of their friends jumped in.
"We have a group of friends who all put in a little bit of money, and we're all in on it," Kinzer says. "That way, we have a built-in marketing machine and clientele. It's everyone's restaurant."
Kinzer says he's not so interested in having his name out there. "But I went out and found the best people I could to be my partners," he says. "On the operations side, that's Scott, who has years of experience. And our chef, I guess we're calling him the chef with no name, but he's our culinary partner."
Chef Kent Rathbun, who recently left the company that owns restaurants such as Abacus and Jasper's, is currently involved in a lawsuit over the rights to his name, and is currently operating under the tag "chef with no name."
The cuisine will be a Texas twist on classic dishes, and they'll also have a serious commitment to bourbon, Kinzer says.
"This is the Republic of Texas, so we'll have Texas products available whenever we can, like Tito's," he says. "We'll have a lounge area with leather chairs and seating. If you've been inside The Mercury, their bar has those leather chairs, and that's what inspired this lounge. Yes, we're a restaurant, but we'll be bar-centric."