Richard Rawlings' Gas Monkey Garage merch store revs up for Dallas taco party
It may not be the Grassy Knoll, but Dallas has one tourist destination that draws visitors from around the world: the Gas Monkey Garage Merch Store, part of the Richard Rawlings Gas Monkey Garage empire, located in northwest Dallas at 2330 Merrell Rd.
The store sits next to Gas Monkey Garage, the shop Rawlings launched in 2002 customizing classic and hot-rod cars for customers worldwide. The garage became the centerpiece of the Discovery Channel's Fast N' Loud, with Rawlings' charisma leading to follow-up shows such as Garage Rehab. He also opened a restaurant, Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill, and live music venue, Gas Monkey Live, both now closed, although he has two new venues in the works.
The merchandise store, which opened in 2012 — "it used to be out of a Ford Econoline van," Rawlings says — features the T-shirts and ballcaps you might expect, but it's all rendered with the same kind of rock 'n roll edge and obsessive perfectionism that Rawlings applies to cars — some of which are on display inside the store.
It's half memorabilia store — half car museum, with the cherry on the sundae for Rawlings fans being that the man himself drops into the shop a few times a day to talk cars and whatever else is on your mind with whoever shows up.
"We get thousands of visitors — this morning alone, we had people from The Netherlands and Australia," Rawlings says. "Fast N' Loud has appeared in 100 countries and been translated into 20 languages, and now we have a big presence on YouTube, so they make Gas Monkey a destination."
"I'm usually here, so I try to come over and say hello," he says.
The store boasts 50-or-so unique T-shirt designs, plus hoodies, books, sunglasses, retro license plates, koozies, Gas Monkey Garage onesies for your baby, plus automative gear including wheels and car-detailing supplies.
There's a chill lounge area with a massive comfortably-worn leather couch, loveseats, and side tables featuring chrome fender lights.
"We make those tabletops — everything in the store, we fabricate ourselves," he says. That includes a wild Game of Thrones-style iron throne, made from dozens of wrenches.
There are always vehicles on display — motorcycles and vintage cars they've restored.
"Right now, we have a 1930 Model A, a '68 Coronet, and a '65 Mustang fastback, but we rotate those in and out," he says.
Behind the store there's an outdoor patio bar available for weddings — yes, people want to get married here — and private events. It's outfitted with a collection of beautifully restored vintage signs Rawlings has accumulated over the years, including a 20-foot-tall vintage gas price sign with a kooky lit arrow.
"I like old motor memorabilia," he says. "I saw that in Minnesota, I passed it when I was up there buying a car. It took me four years to talk the guy into selling it. What's cool about it is that the price of gas it displays is 23.9 cents a gallon."
On Saturday October 8, they'll be hosting an event called Tacos N' Tires, that's open to the public where they'll unveil Gas Monkey Garage's latest build: a 1952 Chevy Fleetline with some sentimental value.
"It's the first car we ever built, back in 2003," Rawlings says. "I think this is the fifth time I bought it back, we brought it from California, it had been just for decoration but we'll put it back on the road."
They'll be serving tacos from Primo's Gas Monkey Cantina, the limited-edition concept Rawlings is opening at the Boardwalk at Mercer Crossing this fall — a preview of his massive restaurant and live music venue, Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, which will open two locations in Lewisville and Farmers Branch in 2023.