McKinney Eats

McKinney dining scene swells with new restaurant in historical spot

McKinney dining scene swells with new restaurant in historical spot

Rye McKinney
Rye McKinney's glazed pork belly, with candied butternut squash. Photo courtesy of Rye McKinney

Historic downtown McKinney has a new restaurant with a reverence for its hometown. Rye, which opened on November 17, is helmed by chef Jeff Qualls, and features a New American menu with burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and a full bar.

Qualls is a familiar name on the McKinney dining scene. In 2005, he opened Poppy's Garden Cafe in downtown McKinney. According to his resume, he's worked at Hibiscus and Hickory, Kent Rathbun's burgers and barbecue restaurant. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York; studied wine in California's Napa Valley; and trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, where he fine-tuned his skills in patisserie and artisan bread baking.

Rye is open for lunch, dinner, and brunch. The lunch menu includes sandwiches such as a BLT, apricot chicken salad, and banh mi with pork belly, plus a few entrees including beef tournedos and pork Milanese.

At dinner, the menu has more entrees: roasted half chicken, New York strip, and fennel pollen seared scallops. Starters include almonds, calamari, and a meat and cheese board.

The brunch menu features steak and eggs and a slider trio served on buttermilk-cheddar biscuits. The bar includes craft beer from around the country, cocktails, and more than a dozen wines by the glass. Specials might be a chicken and corn chowder, or a roast beef sandwich on an Empire Baking Co. baguette with caramelized onions, grilled tomatoes, and horseradish.

Rye is invested in the history of its location at 111 W. Virginia Pkwy., which was once the law office of James Webb Throckmorton, a former Texas governor (1866-67) to whom an entire page is devoted, with a request for more info: "As we learn more about him, we will add it to this page," it says. "If you know of anyone who might be able to provide us with photos of him or his family, please contact us at"