Refined NY sports bar opens in Plano with burgers & famed 24K gold chicken wings
A new restaurant-bar with Big Apple ties is coming to Plano: Called The Ainsworth, it's a classy sports bar set to open in the Shops at Legacy North at 7300 Lone Star Dr. #C150, in the space previously occupied by Shakertins.
The Ainsworth is from a team that includes Martin Corboy, a hospitality veteran whose past projects in Dallas include Henderson Avenue Tap House, Henderson Avenue Country Club, and Mason Bar (although he's probably just as well known for his various ventures outside Dallas, in Washington DC and New York).
They're hoping to open in early February.
The Ainsworth was originally founded in New York in 2009 and currently has three locations: two in New York and one in Phoenix. The concept brings a sophisticated twist to the all-American sports bar, with classic American dishes and craft cocktails. Sort of like a Houston's with big-screen TVs.
"It's an elevated sports watching place with good food," Corboy says. "But no Dan Marino jerseys, no NASCAR posters. It's more refined."
Corboy is friends and partners with the current Ainsworth ownership team, and got permission to use the name.
"It started when I invested in The House of Comedy, the comedy club that opened in the Shops at Legacy in 2021," Corboy says. "We saw that, after the shows were over, there'd be a few hundred people leaving with nowhere to go next."
As if by magic, which is how things often seem to work around the irrepressible Corboy, the Shakertins spot opened up.
"We got this space, and I said, 'Well, we can't call it the Henderson Tap House,'" Corboy says. "I always liked The Ainsworth, so we decided to use the name."
They'll keep late-night hours for that apres-comedy crowd, but also will be open for lunch, a niche that was going unfilled.
"There aren't many places in the center if you want to get a basic lunch," he says. "You can get Mexican or Thai or steak or sushi, but there was nothing right down the middle, with a menu that has something for everyone. That's how we approached the menu: A little something for everyone, and done well."
For the menu, he worked with Noah Hester, the award-winning Texas chef-turned-reality TV star who appeared on E! Entertainment TV show The Bradshaw Bunch (Hester is married to Lacey Hester, daughter of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw).
"Noah is a great chef, and he's also from Hawaii, so he suggested a few Hawaii-influenced dishes like poke bowls, which people love," Corboy says.
The Hesters, who bought Hamm’s Butcher in McKinney in 2023, are doing custom ground beef blends for the burgers at The Ainsworth.
The menu will include Ainsworth trademarks such as the signature Mac burger with an 8-ounce Angus patty and cheddar cheese on top of a fried mac-n-cheese patty with Ainsworth sauce on a brioche bun. There's also pasta in pesto, tuna tacos, and brick chicken.
But the talker is definitely the famous chicken wing dipped in 24K gold, a recipe by chef Jonathan 'Foodgōd' Cheban, who created it for The Ainsworth in New York.
gold chicken wingsFacebook
"It's gotten quite a bit of attention, and we'll have it so that people can do Instagram posts, but I'm sure nobody will order it after that," Corboy says dryly.
The bar features a big selection of bourbon, reflecting a newfound personal interest on Corboy's part.
"I'd never been a liquor drinker in my whole life, and thought it would be fun to see what bourbon was about," he says. "Now I've got guys sending me bottles, it's become my new thing, and it's fun because most of the time, you can't get your hands on this stuff."
The bourbon element meshes with the space, which has received a handsome makeover, with chocolate-brown tufted leatherette banquettes that wrap around the interior, and big screen TVs enclosed in gilded frames.
"We borrowed a lot of features from the Polo Bar in New York, like the furniture and the herringbone patterned wood floor," Corboy says. "It's like a Ralph Lauren version of a sports/whiskey bar."