A new lounge concept from Atlanta is headed to Dallas: Called Cru Hemp Lounge, it's owned by Atlanta entrepreneur Dennis McKinley, and will open a location in Carrollton at 2512 E. Belt Line Rd., in the former Coconut Thai space.
According to a release, it'll open July 16.
Cru Hemp Lounge is a fast-casual hookah-hemp lounge offering unique hookah flavors, hemp oil extracts, small plates, and specialty cocktails. You don't often see all those four things in one.
McKinley is a restaurateur and promoter who appeared in Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2018-19, while he was dating cast member Porsha Williams.
In a statement, he says that combining hookah with a CBD element in a casual-dining lounge atmosphere has made his concept not only a big success, but also a celebrity hotspot. Which celebrities, he does not say. Probably not Porsha, since they split.
"Cru Hemp Lounge isn’t your standard bar or a nightclub, it is a lifestyle lounge that is catching the eye of not only the patrons but franchise developers alike," McKinley says. "We have grown exponentially over the past couple of years and we are excited to be the largest hookah lounge in the United States."
Food items include wings, burgers, quesadillas, crab mac & cheese, lollipop lamb chops, and crab cakes.
Cocktails include their Cru Rita, with Avion Tequila, agave, lime Juice, with a salt rim; and Cru Lemonade, a spiked house lemonade infused with peach, strawberry, or mango puree.
But food and drink are not all that's on the menu. They also have:
- hookahs such as their house mix with mint, orange, peach, banana, watermelon, strawberry, cherry, coconut, and vanilla
- hemp pre-rolls
- hemp/CBD products
They currently have six locations: four in Atlanta, plus Charlotte and Houston, which opened in March 2021. Throughout this summer, they plan on opening more locations in Atlanta, plus Memphis, Austin, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Miami, Macon, and Phoenix.
The release says that, due to the high number of vacancies due to COVID-19 closures, the company is able to get in there and open stores, often 90 days after signing a lease.
This will make them not only the largest hookah lounge operator but also the largest Black-owned nightlife chain.
And as the release notes, once cannabis becomes legal nationally, they'll have an established VIP customer base already in place, one that presumably likes cannabis. Which VIPs, they do not say.