Pecan Lodge Sneak Peek

Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum dishes out pre-opening 'cue to Carry The Load supporters

Pecan Lodge Deep Ellum dishes out pre-opening 'cue for Carry The Load

Stephen Holley, Justin Fourton at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Carry The Load co-founder Stephen Holley, Pecan Lodge co-owner Justin Fourton Photo by William Neal

Mandy Shubcda, Molly Holley at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Mandy Shubcda, Molly Holley Photo by William Neal

Rosa Hanson, Nathan Hanson at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Rosa Hanson, Nathan Hanson Photo by William Neal

Kristina Kiik, Brandy Simpson at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Kristina Kiik, Brandy Simpson Photo by William Neal

Gordon Keith, Rebecca Harsila, Todd Boeding at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Gordon Keith, Rebecca Harsila, Todd Boeding Photo by William Neal

Courtney Covey, Jamie Covey at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Courtney Covey, Jamie Covey Photo by William Neal

Stephanee Bates, John McCaa at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Stephanee Bates, John McCaa Photo by William Neal

Charles Meachum, JJ Shubcda, Drew Shubcda at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Charles Meachum, JJ Shubcda, Drew Shubcda Photo by William Neal

Chris Parnell, Vanessa Parnell at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Chris Parnell, Vanessa Parnell Photo by William Neal

John Muschalek, Clayton Sheppard at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

John Muschalek, Clayton Sheppard Photo by William Neal

Employee slicing sausage at Pecan Lodge
Slicing sausage behind the line at the new Pecan Lodge. Photo by William Neal
Sausage at Pecan Lodge
Pecan Lodge handmade jalapeño sausage. Photo by William Neal
Judy Rawlinson, Margaret LeDeere at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Judy Rawlinson, Margaret LeDeere Photo by William Neal

Pecan Lodge patio
Carry The Load supporters enjoy the new Pecan Lodge patio. Photo by William Neal
Scotty Hardin, Ken Clayton at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Scotty Hardin, Ken Clayton Photo by William Neal

Roberto Pereira, Amanda Pereira at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

Roberto Pereira, Amanda Pereira Photo by William Neal

Stephen Holley, Justin Fourton at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Mandy Shubcda, Molly Holley at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Rosa Hanson, Nathan Hanson at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Kristina Kiik, Brandy Simpson at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Gordon Keith, Rebecca Harsila, Todd Boeding at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Courtney Covey, Jamie Covey at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Stephanee Bates, John McCaa at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Charles Meachum, JJ Shubcda, Drew Shubcda at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Chris Parnell, Vanessa Parnell at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
John Muschalek, Clayton Sheppard at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Employee slicing sausage at Pecan Lodge
Sausage at Pecan Lodge
Judy Rawlinson, Margaret LeDeere at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Pecan Lodge patio
Scotty Hardin, Ken Clayton at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge
Roberto Pereira, Amanda Pereira at Carry The Load fundraiser dinner at Pecan Lodge

One could make a solid argument that Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum is the most hotly anticipated restaurant opening this spring. So Tuesday night’s private dinner at the barbecue favorite was special not only because it honored the top fundraisers for CultureMap’s 2014 service partner Carry The Load, but also because these troops got to eat at the restaurant before its official opening on May 23.

Just more proof it pays to be charitable in Dallas.

Another coup: Attendees — including Rosa and Nathan Hanson, Kristina Kilk, Brandy Simpson, John Muschalek, Clayton Sheppard, Courtney Covey, Jamie Covey, and Amanda and Roberto Pereira — dined on menu items prepared especially for the event, such as jalapeño sausage sandwiches, barbecue chicken atop cheesy potatoes and tacos loaded with that famous brisket. With ice-cold beer in hand, they took their plates to the spacious light-strung patio to enjoy the perfect springtime weather.

Then Carry The Load co-founder and former Navy SEAL Stephen Holley got down to business. His passion was evident as he spoke about the organization and introduced honorary chair Gordon Keith of “The Ticket” and WFAA’s John McCaa. Both shared why they are proud to stand behind this organization.

The Carry The Load Memorial May National Relay is a 2,000-mile relay with 348 legs from West Point, New York, to Dallas. Participants compete in teams during this epic show of support for the American heroes — military, law enforcement, firefighters and rescue personnel — who go to work to keep us safe every day.

Funds raised during this annual event help support the nonprofit in its mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day.