A new sports bar and restaurant called Hero by HG Sply Co. is big. Really big.
This place, from the owner of popular North Texas restaurants HG Sply Co. and Gung Ho, is 25,000 square feet, with two kitchens, six bars and 54 TVs. It fits up to 1,100 people in its four rooms, all of which flank the American Airlines Center in Dallas' Victory Park and look out over its open-to-the-public plaza.
Hero opened in April, quietly. Or as quietly as one of Dallas' biggest restaurant-bars could've. It's been packed with Dallas Stars fans during playoff games and was a new place to stop the night Dirk Nowitzki played his final game for the Dallas Mavericks.
While VP of Operations Eric Woerner points out that Hero was "built for fans," athletes are expected to eat here, too. In fact, one of the balcony rooms in the back section of Hero is designed for after-game dinners for Dallas Stars or Dallas Mavericks players, and Tyler Seguin and Marty Turco have used it already. There's even a secret passageway — a tunnel and an elevator — that can bring players from the locker rooms at the AAC into Hero without having to brave the crowds.
"It's just a cool space for them to be able to unwind after the game," says owner Elias Pope. The private area is open for reservations when athletes aren't using it.
There's a lot to know about Hero, but here are just 5 things:
Hero is 'aggressively tied' to HG Sply Co., a popular Dallas restaurant.
Culinary director Danyele McPherson's menu at Hero, though still in its "soft opening" phase, is more than 50 items long.
Lots of those are inspired by or directly taken from Pope's other restaurants: HG Sply Co., Remedy (now closed), Gung Ho (Remedy's replacement) and Standard Service. The menu at Hero was created by McPherson, a former Top Chef contestant who worked for chefs Stephan Pyles and Brian Luscher before signing on with Pope.
HG Sply Co., which has restaurants in Dallas and Fort Worth, with one coming soon in Trophy Club, is likely Pope's most popular restaurant in the fleet. McPherson says Hero's menu is "aggressively tied to HG." It's a popular restaurant among people trying to eat keto, paleo and Whole 30. Some of those dishes, like HG's build-your-own bowls with veggies and meat, made it onto Hero's menu.
The Remedy Burger is bound to be popular, both because cheeseburgers are a popular sports-bar order and because it's the one from the erstwhile Remedy on Dallas' Greenville Avenue. Hero will also sell sundaes in homage to Remedy's soda-shop motif.
Hero's menu contains other Easter eggs, like the crab rangoon dip from Gung Ho, for foodies paying attention.
The cooks at Hero cook for the Dallas Stars.
Pope's company supplies all the food for Dallas Stars locker rooms, airplanes and pre- and post-game meals. They also make food for some Dallas Mavericks athletes and for football players going to the NFL combine.
The carbonara, for example, is a dish on Hero's menu that was originally created for athletes. "The Mavs and the Stars love it," says McPherson. She hopes sports fans will, too.
Hero has a retro-funky look and an arcade.
Though Hero is brand-new, it breathes a '70s vibe, with a rainbow rug near the front door and mustard and olive on the banquettes throughout.
The first room, which holds over 600 people, has large and small tables curved throughout, which makes the cavernous space feel a little less huge. But only a little.
Through the next hallway, customers will find an arcade with games like Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, Tekken 5 and more. Those who find their way to the back corner of the restaurant will find a pool table and pop-a-shot.
You can shop here. For clothes.
Bullzerk, the cheeky Dallas T-shirt shop, set up a shop in the back of the main room. It brings customers in from the plaza to buy a Dallas-themed shirt. It's also an unexpected perk Hero can offer to companies who choose to host happy hours at the restaurant, notes Woerner: The staff can screen-print custom tees on-site.
Haven't been to Hero yet? Thousands have.
Because of its capacity and proximity to the AAC, Woerner says the staff sees "hundreds" of people in the restaurant on special-event nights. During the Dallas Stars-St. Louis Blues Game 7 on Tuesday, the restaurant was mobbed with fans.
Some were enjoying the restaurant's cocktail menu of frozen drinks, like the popular Miami Vice made with a swirl of strawberry daiquiri and pina colada. Others blazed through the menu of salads, bowls, sandwiches, tacos and entrees.
"We've taken pretty much what we've learned from each of the restaurants we've opened and created a menu that focuses on health, but at the same time utilizes winners from the menus we've had in years' past," Pope says.
"The menu is huge, but it's by far the best menu Dani's ever done," Pope says.
Hero is at 3090 Olive St., Dallas.