New venues experience growing pains all the time, but some of them are better at addressing aches than others. Lava Cantina, which opened May 4 in The Colony, heard noise complaints almost immediately. And yet, parent company Rock 'n' Concepts has done an admirable job quieting those concerns.
In its earliest days, the packed crowd partying on the rooftop patio and in the live concert area — which features an abundance of open-air space — carried sound farther than anyone imagined. And although owner Ian Vaughan and city officials had conducted sound tests before opening, residents of a nearby neighborhood on the border separating Plano from The Colony immediately filed complaints.
Vaughan and his team sprang into action, adding extra soundproofing insulation and mobile sound barriers, and moving the nightly music schedule earlier. By May 11, when Texas rockabilly hero Reverend Horton Heat and local cowpunk act the Vandoliers performed there, Lava Cantina was soaring along swimmingly, as if it never happened.
With the noise issues handled, this new multipurpose restaurant and music spot may offer city-dwellers and suburbanites the best of both worlds.
Unlike some of the immediate area's notable live music spots, such as Hank's Texas Grill in McKinney, Lewisville's Hat Tricks or Plano's Love and War in Texas, Lava Cantina and its capacity of 1,000 people is built to compete with established Dallas-proper venues such as House of Blues, the Rustic and Gas Monkey Bar and Grill.
Judging by the robust crowds that have gone to watch '90s rock hitmakers Fuel and local Tom Petty cover act Petty Theft over the past week, it seems as though Lava's competition with Dallas venues will continue. The spacious stage features a large LED board that broadcasts live action from the stage and displays digital images. The main floor sits underneath a retractable roof, and the sightlines from much of the rooftop patio are unobstructed thanks to the height of the stage and LED screen.
It's almost impossible to overstate the looming nature of Lava Cantina's suburban location. We're going to call that a good thing: Lava Cantina has inspired an entertainment district where families, date-night couples, empty nesters and more can find one-stop entertainment with the sophistication of sensible convenience.
And it isn't just the gargantuan Nebraska Furniture Mart nearby: On the other side of the small lake just behind the concert stage, new bars and restaurants with patios are expected. The restaurant will also sell tacos and popsicles to go. Soon, frozen margaritas will be for sale.
Unlike any other area in North Texas, a margarita-sipping patron at Lava Cantina will be able to stroll around that area from one patio to another without having to first power-chug their sweet 'n sour refreshment. It feels like a teeny bit of Bourbon or Beale streets have landed in The Colony.
On the night of Reverend Horton Heat's show, the crowd, though reveling in after-work glee, seemed somewhat sparse in the early goings before 8 p.m. rolled around. But by the time Jim Heath and crew were midway through their set, the floor in front of the stage was comfortably crowded, the tables were full, and suburbs had a new hot spot that's as enticing as any night out in the city might be.