Lion of a Gastropub

Music Factory entices new-to-Texas gastropub to join its restaurant ranks

Music Factory entices new-to-Texas gastropub to join restaurant ranks

Thirsty Lion shrimp ceviche
NW Pub Burger from Thirsty Lion Gastropub, an anchor tenant at the upcoming Music Factory in Irving. Photo courtesy of Thirsty Lion
Bacon wrapped BBQ prawns from Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Bacon-wrapped BBQ prawns. Photo courtesy of Concept Entertainment
Peasant pizza
Thirsty Lion also does beer flights. Photo courtesy of Peasant
Thirsty Lion shrimp ceviche
Bacon wrapped BBQ prawns from Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Peasant pizza

Music Factory, the entertainment megaplex coming soon to Irving, has lured another new restaurant brand to Texas. This time it's Thirsty Lion Gastropub, which promises to deliver hand-crafted food, beers and cocktails in an attempt to "evolve the gastropub business."

The Oregon-based mini-chain is making its first foray into the Lone Star State after establishing five previous locations in Oregon, Arizona and Colorado. West Coast sushi chain Kabuki also is making its Texas debut at Music Factory.

John Plew, president of Concept Entertainment, which owns Thirsty Lion, says they have been trying to get into the Dallas-Fort Worth market for a while.

"We had been working on Dallas for about a year and a half," Plew says. "This was one of probably four locations in Dallas we were looking at. We're looking at Austin and Houston as well as we expand further to the south."

The 7,800-square-foot space Thirsty Lion will occupy is also unique at the Music Factory, as it's the only free-standing restaurant there. It will have a patio on three sides — an attractive amenity in the sure-to-be popular complex.

Plew says the chef-driven menu should prove pleasing to foodies and non-foodies alike. "We have mixture of approachable and edgier things that the consumers have really gravitated toward," he says.

Top sellers include fish tacos, burgers and salads. Thirsty Lion also has an expansive and eclectic appetizer menu, which includes items such as bacon-wrapped BBQ prawns, sushi rolls and traditional Scotch eggs.

This is the fourth restaurant announced for Music Factory, following Gloria's Latin Cuisine, Kabuki and TCBY. Plew says that because Thirsty Lion is considered one of the anchor tenants of the complex, it will be ready to go at the grand opening in mid-2016.

Located just north of O'Connor between U.S. Highway 114 and Las Colinas Boulevard, adjacent to the Irving Convention Center, the $165 million Music Factory complex will have an eight-screen Alamo Drafthouse, an 8,000-seat concert venue run by Live Nation, a 50,000-square-foot outdoor plaza for special events such as fashion shows and food festivals, and 100,000 square feet of office space. It can all be accessed by the DART Orange Line.