Bacon News

Upscale Southern restaurant in McKinney gets a second lease on life

Upscale Southern restaurant in McKinney gets a second lease on life

Hail the new, more affordable return of Sugarbacon. Photo courtesy of Sugarbacon

A McKinney restaurant is being brought back to life. Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen, which first opened in 2016, has been given a makeover by new owners, and is now serving elevated Southern comfort food in a stylish, contemporary atmosphere.

Located at 216 W. Virginia St., Ste. #100 in Historic Downtown McKinney, Sugarbacon was originally a venture from steakhouse vet Johnny Carros (Chamberlain's, Sullivan's, and Del Frisco’s) and chef Jon Thompson, named for the evocative properties of sugar and bacon as well as a dish on the menu featuring pork belly with a barbecue sauce glaze.

They rather-ambitiously opened a second location in Lakewood, in the former Dixie House space, but that location didn't last a year. The original in McKinney closed in 2019.

In early 2020, restaurant group One Esca — who are quite busy these days with the opening of Anju in Uptown Dallas as well as the introduction of New York-based Mad For Chicken Korean chicken chain to DFW — acquired the popular modern American restaurant and set out on a mission to bring an enhanced, one-of-a-kind experience to guests.

One Esca's renovation upgraded the restaurant with a modernized, industrial interior design showcasing neon signage and exclusive artwork. The bar hosts several chic mirror TVs and an updated music playlist.

In addition to a remodeled interior, there's a new enhanced American menu with a Southern twist by One Esca chef Don Flores, who revamped it with items using premium ingredients, such as Wagyu beef and Gulf shrimp, plus expansive flavor profiles, all at an approachable price point.

The menu includes:

  • Crawfish Pot Pie
  • Short Rib
  • Filet mignon
  • NY Strip
  • Ribeye

Flores also updated the signature sugarbacon dish by drawing inspiration from a backyard barbecue, with house-smoked pork belly, ancho BBQ, grilled watermelon, and B&B pickles.

The bar has a focus on dark liquors and specialty cocktails, wth 30 bourbons and local beers on tap, plus a Happy Hour Monday-Thursday from 4-7 pm. The restaurant will be open weeknights for dinner, and lunch/brunch and dinner on Friday through Sunday.

One Esca owner Michael Kim has big plans including opening another location in Allen.

"Throughout this process, we really reimagined what Sugarbacon had the potential to be," Kim says in a statement. "Now, it’s an all-around more energetic atmosphere with contemporary décor and music, making Sugarbacon the go-to spot for dinner and enjoying delicious cocktails late into the night."

Kim knows what it's really about: the price.

"Our enhanced menu features really great cuts of meat and several unique spins on Southern foods, but the real differentiator is these dishes are affordable," he says. "With our modern interior and elevated menu all at a great price, we’re giving locals a place to come regularly, as opposed to being a special occasion spot."