The dining room at Tillman's Roadhouse in 2012

The dining room at Tillman's Roadhouse in 2012

File Photo

Tillman's Roadhouse, the 24-year-old Bishop Arts restaurant that earned a rare zero-star review from Mark Vamos in 2012, has new owners, a new chef — and plans for big changes. 

Jeffrey Kollinger and Ross Kollinger, chef brothers who are chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively, of the Spice of Life Catering and Innovative Hospitality Group, have purchased the restaurant from Todd Fiscus and Sara Tillman. Tillman was the restaurant's original co-owner and wife of the late Ricky Tillman. 

The Kollingers have brought on Michael Morabito, an executive chef with a long history in Dallas. "I think what Sara built is an institution," says Morabito. "She was one of the first here in Bishop Arts."

Will "Tableside S'Mores For The Team" be one of the signature dishes to get a makeover at Tillman's Roadhouse? 

Will "Tableside S'Mores For The Team" be one of the signature dishes to get a makeover at Tillman's Roadhouse? 

2012 File Photo/Staff

Not surprisingly, the trio plans to rethink the menu. "What's going on there is not our cuisine," says Morabito. "The food obviously needs to be updated. We're going to expand upon that roadhouse to keep it fun and playful and hopeful and Texas. It's going to be eclectic and fun, with great service and wonderful craft cocktails and wine and good local draft beers. We want to be the place to come and hang out. We want the locals to come and eat more than once a week."

"We're kind of toying around with the idea of a new kind of Texas chic," says Ross Kollinger. "I don't want to say New Texas cuisine, but something along those lines."

Michael Morabito, executive chef at Tillman's Roadhouse

Michael Morabito, executive chef at Tillman's Roadhouse

Tillman's Roadhouse

"There are definitely some signature dishes that we're going to have caress and put a 2016 stamp on them," says Morabito. "It's so exciting to be able to take a classic like this and give it a face-lift."

The dining room will get some attention as well. "We need to do some decor work," says Ross Kollinger, adding that "the private dining room is not going to change. It will eventually need to be updated, but the whole feel of the room will stay." 

"It's so exciting to be able to take a classic like this and give it a face-lift."

The Kollingers and Morabito worked together at the Mansion on Turtle Creek when Dean Fearing was executive chef there, according to Morabito, who says Fearing — and French chef Arnauld Briand — really taught him how to cook (he worked for Briand in the late 1980s at Caeasars Palace in Las Vegas). 

The team hopes to roll out its new look and menu by mid-October or so, says Ross Kollinger.

"We're going to do a beer-can chicken, that's for sure," adds Morabito. "And I want to do grilled oysters. It's going to be sharing plates, good recipes from all parts of Texas."  

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