For nearly 10 years, Local Yocal has been known as a purveyor and butcher of grass-fed meat, and a reason for beef eaters to drive to McKinney — along with local poultry, dairy, and pantry products.
In June, they'll expand their mission, with a new restaurant at 350 E. Louisiana St., called Local Yocal BBQ & Grill.
The restaurant will be part of a compound that includes an expansive bar, outdoor patio, retail market, and private dining room, and will build on the expertise that owner Matt Hamilton developed from the food trailer operation he tested in 2016.
"We've had a lot of success with the butchery, but the reality is that people eat out a whole lot more than they cook or grill at home," Hamilton says. "My dream was always to have a place where you could come eat and have fellowship. We've been doing that with special dinners where we've built a community of people eating together."
Hamilton was thrilled to witness connections being made as a result of the dinners and cooking classes he's hosted regularly. "You'd see people sitting together and meeting their neighbors for the first time," he says.
His vision is of a destination with a large barbecue and grill restaurant that changes its theme depending on the meal.
"At lunch, the idea is to get a great lunch in and out, so we'll be doing expedited service where you order and the food is brought to your table," he says. "At dinner, it'll be a more tradiitional style with a hostess and reservations."
The menu will include barbecue and comfort food, with burgers, salads, and sides.
He's taking over a space that was previously Louisiana Street Grill. "It's a beautiful building, a century old, and we're restoring it, including putting in proper windows," he says. "The back is raw open space, about 10,000 square feet where we'll open a retail store and a private dining room for special monthly dinners. People are already booking that for wedding rehearsals and corporate dinners."
There's also a climate- and humidity-controlled wine room with racks for wine club members. "We're putting in a table made of old growth oak, from the wooden columns that were part of that building," he says.
He's moving his entire operation into the new building, including the butcher shop. Think 10,000 square feet with wine room, private room, new farm-to-market butcher shop, market, with beer and wine on tap.
He's recruited some top talent, including chef Adam West, formerly of The Porch, and mixologist Manny Casas, who's lined up an amazing cocktail and bourbon program, with single barrel whiskeys — including entire barrels.
"It's a big vision, but I feel like my experience will help it succeed," he says. "As a direct source butcher shop, we have a heart for people trying to farm and make a living. I've made relationships with people in the restaurant industry. I can speak to both sides of the aisle. And as a restaurant with an in-house butcher shop, we'll get as close to farm-to-table as it gets."