Photo via Wikipedia Commons

A new business summit launching in Dallas is being hailed as a dream event for entrepreneurs.

It's called "Changing The World For Good - The 2023 SMU & GSV Mission Summit," and it's a three-day event from May 22-24 with big names and big ideas.

Leading businesses, investors, educational innovators, and entrepreneurs will convene for an inspiring three days of panel discussions, creative huddles, and company presentations designed to bring business + ideas + financing together.

The event was created by GSV and builds on the tradition of an annual summit that GSV holds with Arizona State University. "GSV" stands for “Global Silicon Valley,” an investment platform that has invested in businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Palantir, and Spotify.

In addition to host university SMU, partners in Dallas' inaugural Mission Summit include Hoque Global and American City Business Journals.

GSV’s work in Dallas also includes a partnership with Hoque Global in the development of SoGood in Downtown Dallas and an Innovation District at its core. SoGood is a master-planned urban community adjacent to the Famers Market, Deep Ellum, the Cedars, and Fair Park just south of Interstate 30.

Student pitch
One especially inspiring element of the event is The Texas Cup, a Shark Tank-like competition in which students from Texas universities will present business ideas and compete for funding.

Students will give live pitches before a panel of judges. Finals will take place Wednesday, May 24, at the Varsity room at SMU Hughes-Trigg Student Center at 3140 Dyer St, and promise to be a one-of-a-kind live event emceed by Gina Miller, FC Dallas VP of Communications.

The pitches will come from 12 finalists among 100 students who competed statewide from pretty much every DFW college or university: Dallas College, Dallas Baptist University, Paul Quinn College, SMU, Tarrant County College, Texas A&M, TCU, TWU, University of Dallas, UNT, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Dallas, and UT Southwestern.

Judges include executives from Goldman Sachs, Mt. Vernon Investments, Interlock Partners, CDX Advisors, Artemis Agency, and Hoque Global, who are co-hosting the event. They'll consider criteria such as the market, business model, the inspiration, and what kind of impact it'll have.

Three winning pitches will receive funding from SoGood by HG and GSV. Every participant will receive a free “pitch practice” session with the world’s top vocal coach, Roger Love, plus a free ticket to the Summit, and the chance to rub elbows with other mission-minded entrepreneurs.

“This is a dream event for entrepreneurs, to be able to see great ideas win support to become a reality,” says Hoque Global CEO Mike Hoque in a statement.

Participants leading the Summit include:

  • Clark Hunt, CEO, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Robert Kaplan, Former President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas
  • Avery Johnson, Partner, Avery Capital
  • Jennifer Chandler, Managing Director, Bank of America
  • Michael Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College
  • Michael Moe, founder of Global Silicon Valley and
  • Co-Author of the best-selling The Mission Corporation
  • Elizabeth Loboa, Provost, Southern Methodist University
  • Mike Hoque, CEO, Hoque Global
  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt

Self-driving rideshare company cruises its robotaxies into Dallas

Hi-Tech News

A new driverless ridehail service is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth: Cruise, the all-electric, driverless car company backed by GM, is expanding in Texas with launches in both Dallas and Houston.

This follows an initial launch in Austin in 2022, their first city in Texas.

Cruise builds and operates driverless vehicles that you can call via an app, like any other ride hailing service. "But our vehicles show up without anyone else inside," they say.

The entire fleet is all-electric and the vehicles are equipped with a 360-view, with the ability to react to whatever they encounter on the road.

They test their vehicles using simulations, through millions of scenarios and virtual miles; they’ve also driven more than 4 million real miles, mostly in San Francisco.

They have not defined what the cost will be but according to The Verge, the rates in San Francisco vary depending on length of trip and time of day: "A customer taking a 1.3-mile trip would pay 90 cents per mile and 40 cents per minute, in addition to a $5 base fee and 1.5 percent city tax, for a total of $8.72." By comparison, an Uber ride for the same trip would cost at least $10.41.

The company was founded in 2013 and vehicles began to hit the road in 2022. They operate a total fleet of roughly 300 all-electric AVs, powered 100 percent by renewable energy. In addition to Austin, they operate in San Francisco and Phoenix, where they've completed 35,000 self-driving deliveries in a partnership with Walmart.

According to a statement from CEO Kyle Vogt, they'll begin supervised driving (with a safety driver behind the wheel) in Houston as they finetune their AI technology to understand the nuances and unique elements of the city, with Dallas to follow shortly after.

In a blog post, Vogt says their cars drive the speed limit and come to a complete stop at every stop sign. They respond to police sirens, flashing lights on fire trucks or ambulances, and stop signs that fold out of school buses.

They react to people on scooters, people using bike lanes, and cars driving on the wrong side of the road. "In short, they are designed to drive safely by obeying the law and driving in a humanlike way," he says. Actually, that sounds better than humans.

When vehicles encounter a situation where they aren’t 100 percent sure of what to do, they slow down or stop and pull over to the side of the road. This has caused some bumps in San Francisco where cars stopped and idled in the street for no apparent reason, delaying bus riders and disrupting the work of firefighters.

Some of the "bumps" have been comical, such as the 2022 incident in which a confused San Francisco police officer pulled a Cruise over, and then the Cruise drove away.

And as Reuters notes, autonomous vehicles have not rolled out as fast as anticipated, due to regulations, safety investigations, and arduous technology.

When Cruise first enters a city, they hire a mapping and data collection team to learn bike lanes, school zones, and major intersections. But most of the time, the vehicles will be carrying riders in the back seat, or completely empty and en route to another pickup.

The company partners with first responders, including police and fire departments, to ensure they’re ready and familiar with how to interact with the vehicles, engaging with those agencies before and after launch.

"Our guiding mission has always been to improve road safety, reduce emissions, and reduce congestion with our driverless ride-hail service in cities, which is where we’ll see the most significant positive impact the soonest," Vogt says. "Houston and Dallas are committed to reducing traffic deaths as part of their Vision Zero commitments, and we are excited to operate in and partner with these new communities in this shared mission."

Courtesy photo

City of Dallas computer network gets hacked by shady ransomware gang

Technology News

The city of Dallas is recovering from a ransomware attack on its computer system on May 3 that affected some services including the Dallas Police Department website and the 911 system, although there was no effect on 911 calls and the outage has not affected police response.

The FBI defines ransomware as a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents users from accessing their computer files, systems, or networks and demands a ransom for their return. Ransomware attacks can cause costly disruptions to operations and the loss of critical information and data.

On May 3, the city’s security monitoring tools discovered a likely ransomware attack, and staff confirmed that a number of servers had been compromised.

According to a release, the attack impacted several functional areas, including the Dallas Police Department Website. The City team, along with its vendors, began working to isolate the ransomware to prevent its spread; remove the ransomware from infected servers; and restore any services impacted.

ITS and its vendors are working around the clock to contain the outage and restore service, prioritizing public safety and public-facing departments.

A story on TechCrunch has a copy of a "ransom note" that reportedly showed up on city of Dallas printers, in which a group called Royal claimed responsibility, with a lecture that "most likely you decided to save some money on security. Alas your critical data was copied and can be published online."

What kind of ransomware gangsters use the word "alas"?

The same group perpetrated an attack on the Dallas Central Appraisal District website in late 2022. DCAD paid $170,000 to get back online. According to bitdefender, that attack was likely the result of an employee who got tricked by a phishing email.

Meanwhile, the city of Dallas offers this update as of May 4:

  • DPD and Dallas Fire & Rescue service to residents is unaffected.
  • 911 calls continue to be received and dispatched.
  • 311 Calls are being answered but non-emergency service requests may be delayed.
  • Courts are closed and LiveChat is inaccessible. All cases will be reset; jurors do not need to report for service and notices will be sent by mail.
  • Saturday’s election is unaffected; Dallas County will share official information including results.
  • Meeting notices are being posted and meetings may be viewed at dallascityhall.webex.com, dallascitynews.net/watch-live, and Spectrum channels 16 & 95 and AT&T U-verse at 99. Contracts may be delayed.
  • Dallas Public Library All branches are open and in-person checkouts continue; online materials are currently unavailable.
  • DWU Billing is unaffected; meter reading will be delayed. Only IVR can take credit card payments. Disconnections will be discontinued until the outage is resolved.

In a statement, city manager T.C. Broadnax said he's optimistic the risk has been contained.

"Since City of Dallas’ Information and Technology Services detected a cyber threat Wednesday morning, employees have been hard at work to contain the issue and ensure continued service to our residents," Broadnax said. "While the source of the outage is still under investigation, I am optimistic that the risk is contained. For those departments affected, emergency plans prepared and practiced in advance are paying off. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank residents for their understanding as we continue to work around the clock until this issue is addressed. For updates, please keep an eye on dallascitynews.net."

Pizza Jukebox

Pizza 'jukebox' with pizza made by robots to debut at Walmart in Frisco

Pizza News

There's a new twist on pizza opening in Frisco: Pizza made by robots. Called the Pizza Jukebox, it's a new concept from Brix Holdings, which owns the Red Mango frozen yogurt chain, and it's opening inside the Walmart at 16066 TX-121.

This concept will feature an automated pizza-making robot, side-by-side with a Red Mango frozen yogurt stand. A release promises that customers can watch the Pizza Jukebox robot create pizza with "spectacle you'll have to see to believe."

The spectacle involves the sight of a robot making your pizza with a high-tech "pizza jukebox" that spins the pizza, assembles the toppings, and pops it in the oven, ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, one to three minutes later, pizza is ready to go.

Robot servers became a bit of a darling in the restaurant industry during the pandemic, inspiring wonder and delight, even if the actual service sometimes paled next to humans. Brix Holdings CEO Sherif Mityas says they're seizing some of that wonder and delight, but with better performance.

"We're seeing so much innovation with robots and Artificial Intelligence," Mityas says. "This is a robot that actually makes pizza with no human intervention."

They partnered with L2F, a California company who helped develop the technology, and have been testing it for the past few months.

"We're just having some fun," he says. "Everyone's used to having pizza delivered. But part of the fun of restaurants is going out. After the pandemic, people want a reason to come back out to restaurants, so we're trying this out with our friends at Walmart."

You can choose from a 16-inch pie or a 7-inch personal pizza. The crust is placed into a machine and spins - "like a record, that’s why it's called a jukebox," Mityas says. "It then puts whatever topping you've ordered, it slices the pepperoni, it's not pre-sliced."

The robot places the pizza in the oven, where it bakes almost instantly: 3-1/2 minutes for the 16-inch, and 1-1/2 mins for the 7-inch. "You can see your pizza made and listen to your song played on the jukebox while you wait," Mityas says.

Finally, a human steps in to place the pizza into a box, and ring up your order, and then you can get your Red Mango for dessert.

They're aiming to open in mid-June, when they'll share a full menu, and plan to follow with more locations in other Walmart stores.

“We’re so excited to launch such an innovative concept,” Mityas says. “You can’t just get this experience delivered, you must come to see and taste it to believe it. I think that was part of our motivation, to get people to come out to restaurants again."

Photo courtesy of 19Keys

19Keys: The Highest Level Tour

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19Keys and special guests will talk about everything from making more money to being happier and more successful.


Bennigan's Monte Cristo  sandwich now served at 2 Dallas-area ghost kitchens

Monte Cristo News

A once-popular Dallas-based chain is getting a revival, beginning first with baby steps. Bennigan's, the Irish-pub-styled neighborhood tavern, has opened two ghost kitchen operations in DFW called Bennigan's On The Fly, that are serving a concise menu of Bennigan's classics including the famed Monte Cristo sandwich.

The two kitchens opened in late January at the following locations in Dallas-Fort Worth:

  • Richardson: Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel, at 900 E. Lookout Dr.
  • Grapevine: Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas DFW Airport, at 2401 Bass Pro Dr.

Their opening is part of a revival by Legendary Restaurant Brands, a Dallas-based restaurant company that recently signed a development agreement to open Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale across the U.S.

Both Bennigan's and Steak and Ale were founded by restaurateur Norman Brinker, founder of Brinker International. Steak & Ale was founded in 1966, and beloved for providing a steakhouse experience at a less expensive price. Bennigan's was founded a decade later.

Both faltered in 2008 after the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and all of the Steak and Ale locations were closed. But there are currently eight Bennigan's locations remaining in the U.S., including two in Texas, in Monahans and Borger, plus four On The Fly locations that include two in the DFW area and two in Iowa.

CEO Paul Mangiamele joined Bennigan's in 2011 to overhaul the chain, then purchased Bennigan’s, along with Steak and Ale, housing them under a new company called Legendary Restaurant Brands LLC.

Mangiamele is passionate about the brands and is partnered with a company called Endeavor Properties to bring them back, including a Steak and Ale in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, though no leases have yet been signed, he says.

He scored a recent victory when Bennigan's earned a major role in a film called About Fate, released in September 2022, in which Bennigan’s is featured during key scenes throughout, including menu items as as the Turkey ‘O Toole sandwich, Death by Chocolate dessert, and Peach on the Beach drink getting prominent placement.

The scenes were filmed in a shuttered location in Boston; Mangiamele shipped vintage fixtures from Dallas to serve as set pieces and also appeared as an extra with his wife and business partner Gwen.

Bennigan’s On The Fly is considered a "host kitchen" rather than a ghost kitchen, and is managed by Franklin Junction, a company that runs e-commerce platforms for restaurants and does to-go orders and delivery.

The On The Fly menu is an abridged version which includes:

  • Monte Cristo
  • Kilkenny Country Chicken Salad
  • Buffalo wings
  • Hogan’s egg rolls
  • Sheela’s sriracha shrimp

Bennigan's helped popularize the Monte Cristo greatly, and still has legions of fans who crave it. Its version has honey wheat bread with ham, turkey, Swiss, and American cheese that's batter-dipped, fried, coated with powdered sugar, and served with red raspberry preserves.

Orders are available for lunch and dinner via Uber Eats and DoorDash. There is also food hall at the hotel, where people can pick up a to-go order, or hotel guests can order to their rooms.

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Top Dallas chef re-emerges at upscale Mexican pop-up at West Village

Chef News

There's culinary action brewing in Dallas' West Village with an award-winning chef turning out some amazing Mexican food. It's a new restaurant pop-up called Mexican Test Kitchen, located at 3699 McKinney Ave. #307, and it stars Matt McCallister, one of Dallas' most high-profile chefs.

Mexican Test Kitchen is the working title for a new concept in the works between McCallister and restaurateur Mike Karns, who recently took ownership of the West Village. It occupies the space that was previously Honest Tacos (and before that, Taco Diner); Honest Taco closed in April.

For now, they are doing a pop-up, with a menu that McCallister has designed, featuring tacos, bowls, and salads, plus inventive margaritas.

"I didn't want to see the West Village get hurt with the closure of a restaurant, so we mobilized our team and opened Mexican Test Kitchen as a pop-up," Karns says.

Their plan is to be open this summer with an interim menu of dishes they are developing, while they reconcept and redesign the space.

"It'll still be Mexican but leaning a little more healthy than Tex-Mex — more like healthy Mex, with a lower price point and a little more casual," Karns says. "We feel like it will bring some energy to West Village."

McCallister is now working with Karns' Local Favorite Restaurants (El Fenix, Snuffer's, Meso Maya, Taqueria La Ventana, Tulum, Village Burger Bar, Jalisco Norte, Twisted Root) full time. He joined following the untimely closure of Homewood, the award-winning restaurant on Oak Lawn Avenue.

"When Homewood closed, I reached out to Matt," Karns says. "He works with us now as well as Alex Urrunaga (Plan B Group, Reach Restaurants)."

That team will help create their fun new concept. Karns says they'll close the pop-up in late August, then re-open in September after the remodel is complete.

"Mike is a super cool guy, it's kinda crazy I get to work for him," McCallister says. "At the end of the day I just want to contribute my slice of the pie to Mike's vision for the company."

Those craving McCallister flavors can meanwhile enjoy the current pop-up menu featuring:

  • Citrus pig with citrus-braised carnitas, griddled onions, pineapple, cotija cheese, & mint
  • Brisket, barbacoa style with rajas, blistered corn, & chipotle mayo
  • Asada Steak with cilantro, caramelized onion, peanut salsa macha
  • Grilled chicken with smoky chipotle marinade, chiles toreados
  • Habanero lime shrimp with pickled red onion & watermelon radish
  • Tempura cod with Mexican tartar sauce, & green cabbage crunch
  • Griddled Came, with sweet potato, goat cheese, toasted pepita sprinkle, charred green onions
  • Mexican mushroom with caramelized creminis, maitakes, trumpets, & oyster mushrooms, griddled onion, cilantro, & watermelon radish

Chips & queso feature a pale whipped queso fresco with peanut salsa macha and pumpkin seed crunch. Guacamole comes topped with pomegranate and toasted pistachio.

Salads and bowls include a beautiful ensalada rossa with wild arugula & matchstick beets; a “shades of green” salad with hearty greens, spinach, tri-color quinoa, crispy chickpeas, avocado, roasted corn, cried cranberries, & green Carognola olives; and a Ranchero bowl with black beans, white rice, sweet potato, marinated beets, crispy Brussels sprouts, Mexican kimchee, hearty greens, & mojo.

If all that's not enough, everything's crazy-cheap: Tacos come in at $4-5, and salads and bowls at $12.

Chicago Italian restaurant Quartino readies for Texas debut at The Colony

Italian Restaurant News

A new Italian concept from Chicago is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth: Quartino Ristorante and Wine Bar, a Chicago-based authentic Italian neighborhood restaurant, pizzeria, and wine bar, is making its Texas debut with a location in the Grotto District of Grandscape, in The Colony.

According to a release, it'll open June 19.

Quartino will occupy two levels of indoor and outdoor bar and dining room seating. A red-toned brick exterior with awnings gives the space a relaxed yet refined vibe.

Quartino features an approachable menu of Italian shared plates that feature regional specialties, like artisanal salumi, housemade cheeses, Neapolitan-style pizza, handmade pasta, Aquerello risotto, and seafood.

The bar program includes an expansive, value-driven wine list highlighting family-owned, small-production wines available by the quartino (quarter liter), mezzo (half-liter), litro (liter) and bottle; plus craft cocktails, negronis, and house-made limoncello.

Quartino is part of Gibsons Restaurant Group, which also owns and operates American brands like Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse and Gibsons Italia in Chicago and The Boathouse at Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida.

GRG chose to expand into Texas because of the area’s promising future. This is the first Quartino to open since the original opened in 2005. It is the latest location for GRG, one of the highest-grossing independent restaurant groups in the nation.

Quartino's General Manager, Erick Starke, recently relocated his family from Chicago to The Colony. He says, “Quartino selected The Colony as its first home in Texas because of its friendly people, incomparable growth, culture, and diversity. Our goal is to serve up southern hospitality Italian style and create an unforgettable experience for our customers."

Customers can make dining reservations at www.quartinoristorante.com.

GRG founder Steve Lombardo says that customer satisfaction is at the heart of every GRG restaurant.

“Quartino is known for its commitment to the highest quality, authentic Italian food and wine, a lively dining experience, and putting the customer first, and we are excited to bring this experience to North Texas," Lombardo said.

Quartino is located at 5754 Grandscape Blvd, The Colony, TX 75056, directly behind and across the street from Andretti Indoor Karting and Games, and next to Thirsty Lion.


About Quartino:
Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar first opened in December 2005 by Gibsons Restaurant Group and founding chef John Coletta in Chicago’s vibrant and bustling River North neighborhood. Quartino is the recipient of the coveted Ospitalita Italiana, which is awarded by the Italian government and recognizes restaurants that uphold the traditions of Italian culture. In 2022, Thrillist named Quartino as one of the Best Italian restaurants in Chicago. Quartino is on Open Table’s 2019 list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America for a Big Night Out. In 2018, Quartino was named one of the world’s 70 best restaurants with a pizzeria by Ristorazione Italiana Magazine. Always festive and welcoming with two spacious levels and outdoor seating, Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Brooke Shields to headline trailblazing Dallas nonprofit's big fall fundraiser

More than a pretty face

Model, actress, and author Brooke Shields will deliver the keynote address at the 2023 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon on September 29 at the Hilton Anatole. The annual fundraiser - one of Dallas' most anticipated luncheons of fall - benefits The Family Place, Texas’ largest family violence service agency marking its 45th year.

Lindsay Jacaman and Holly Krug will serve as luncheon co-chairs, with philanthropists and former Real Housewives of Dallas stars Stephanie and Travis Hollman as honorary chairs, the organization announced on June 6.

"We hope attendees will be inspired by our featured speaker Brooke Shields as she shares her unique story and her personal resilience that led her to become the role model she is today," says The Family Place CEO Mimi Sterling in a release. "Through the collective efforts of our co-chairs and honorary chairs, we know we will raise important funds to serve women, men and children in need of safety."

Shields, who turned 58 on May 31, has made headlines recently as the topic of a critically acclaimed new docu-series about her life. Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, released in April on Hulu, examines her journey "from a sexualized young girl to a Princeton graduate, mother, and advocate who has embraced her identity and voice," Hulu says.

Shields famously started her career as a child star, becoming - at age 14 - the youngest fashion model ever to grace on the cover of Vogue. In addition to garnering awards as an actress onscreen, Shields is now a best-selling author and creator of an apparel and accessories line called Brooke Shields Timeless.

The wife and mother of two teen daughters is also, the release notes, "an advocate for women and the arts and serves on the board of WIN, an organization dedicated to providing housing, services and programs to homeless women and children in New York City."

The Trailblazer Awards Luncheon is The Family Place's biggest annual fundraiser. Proceeds will help further the nonprofit's mission to empower survivors of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling, and skills that create independence, organizers say.

The event will include a VIP reception, seated luncheon, and recognition of this year’s Texas Trailblazer Award recipient (not yet announced). Tickets start at $350 are available on The Family Place's website.

Family Place Luncheon 2023, Brooke Shields

Courtesy photo

Brooke Shields will headline the Trailblazer Awards Luncheon on September 29.