If you're a local concertgoer or comedy fan, you've likely heard of Toyota Music Factory by now.
The $200 million project located near the Irving Convention Center is anchored by a live entertainment venue, which opened in September with a christening performance by ZZ Top. But those who made it to that first concert didn't get to see all the complex has to offer. In addition to the convertible music venue, which can seat as few as 2,500 people or as many as 8,000, Toyota Music Factory is home to a number of restaurants and bars that are gradually opening.
Here's where to dine and drink if you're headed that way for a show.
Top Round Roast Beef
Las Colinas marks Top Round Roast Beef's first foray into Texas, and the restaurant is bringing its signature between-breads with it. The fast-food concept claims to be "chef driven," promising to pair quality ingredients with quick service. Obviously, roast beef is its signature, which comes topped with a variety of condiments and veggies. The beef and cheese sandwich feature homemade cheese "whizz" and a house secret sauce. The Horse and Hole comes with provel cheese, horseradish cream and roasted mushrooms. And the Cali adds lettuce, tomato, avocado and ranch. Top Round also serves fried chicken sandwiches, fries (also smothered in a variety of things like gravy), ice cream custard and breakfast. Good morning indeed.
Yard House is catch-all bar and grill with enough menu options to make your head spin. Think soups, salads, sandwiches, street tacos, steaks, ribs, seafood and burgers -- and those are just the menu categories. Drill down in the tacos, for instance, and you'll find numerous flavors, like the baja fish taco (with cabbage, cilantro, pico de gallo, guacamole, Sriracha), carnitas (pork, grileld onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, pineapple), and Korean beef short rib (with spicy green papaya, green onion, Sriracha aioli). The same kind of seemingly endless offerings extend to the beer. Yard House boasts 130 brews on tap, many from Dallas-Fort Worth. With the opening of Yard House Las Colinas, the chain, which began in California, now has seven locations in Texas and 71 nationwide.
Boi Na Braza
A churrascaria is a type of barbecue joint, but not the stereotypical style you expect find in Texas. The word refers to how the meat is cooked -- churrasco, or roasted on a skewer. This style of Latin American and European grilling is commonly found at Brazilian steakhouses in North Texas, including Boi Na Braza. The restaurant, which opened at Toyota Music Factory in January, serves 16 different meats, including varying cuts of steak, pork, chicken and lamb, plus side dishes and an extensive salad bar. Each guest pays a flat fee of $24.95 (salad bar only) or $48.95 (full dinner with meats) for access to bottomless food.
That's your cue to come hungry.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill
With a menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, burgers, steaks, tacos, fish and more, Thristy Lion likely has something for everyone. The restaurant, which began as a British pub in Portland in 2006, opened its ninth location in an 8,000-square-foot space at Toyota Music Factory with 24 draft taps for beer and cider. Almost everything here is made from scratch, according to owners, from the dressings and soups to the sausages and other meats that are roasted in house. Specialties include bacon-wrapped barbecue prawns that come served with coleslaw, and the Gastropub Burger featuring a cheese-stuffed patty topped with maple-pepper bacon, caramelized onions, arugula and horseradish cream.
On a nice day, you'll want to take a seat on one of three patios and sip a house cocktail, such as the grapefruit and basil martini, a mix of Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, basil, bitters and lime.
If you've been to one of Bar Louie's other locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, you know what to expect here: dependable bar food with a stiff drink on the side. The same menu of flatbreads, burgers, and appetizers is served in Irving, as are the martinis. Grab a classic recipe like the Rat Pack (Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, dry vermouth, an olive) or a one with a modern twist like the Clover (Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier, agave nectar, lemon and orange juice) and head to one of two patios to soak in the sun. Occasionally, the bar also hosts live musicians outside, too.
Bar Louie is a great spot to hit after a weekend concert since it's open until 2 a.m. That means you can chill with a nightcap and let the post-show traffic die down before getting a safe ride home.
Say you work in Irving and are just looking for a quick lunch. Freshii is a healthy, fast-casual joint that specializes in salads, wraps, bowls and burritos. The Teriyaki Twist bowl, for example, includes brown rice, edamame, wontons, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, green onions and sesame seeds in a teriyaki sauce. The Tex Mex burrito wraps up brown rice, avocado, cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, salsa fresca and Greek yogurt in a tortilla with your choice of protein (falafel, tofu, chicken or steak).
Diners can also treat themselves to a frozen yogurt, juice or smoothie at Freshii. The restaurant also lists each food item's nutritional facts on its website.
Lots more to look forward to
Many more restaurants and venues are expected to open at Toyota Music Factory in late 2017 and early 2018. Here's a rundown:
- Alamo Drafthouse dine-in movie theater
- Bar Manzanilla, a taqueria and tequila bar that plans to host DJs
- Burgerim, a mini-burger joint with Chipotle-style options for buns, patties and toppings
- Gloria's Latin Cuisine, which specializes in Salvadorian, Mexican and Tex-Mex food
- Gramaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria, 'nuff said
- Highway 61 South, which will offer burgers, barbecue and blues music under one roof
- Kabuki Japanese Restaurant with sushi, poke, noodles and more
- Kitchen 101, a fast-casual concept (no cuisine type specified)
- Martini Ranch, a bar and dance club promising DJ performances
- Nosh and Bottle, a Mediterranean- and New York-style deli
- Pop Factory, which will sell popsicles
- TCBY frozen yogurt spot
- Texas C-Bar, a watering hole promising extensive wine and Scotch collections
- Texas Jam House, a 24-hour eatery expected to host live country acts
- Uncle Gino's Cucina Italiana featuring Italian cuisine
- Violet Room, an upscale restaurant and bar with seasonal menus and live music
Depending on when you go, the parking experience at Toyota Music Factory can vary widely. During the day, there are several street lots outside of the restaurants for visitors. However, on show nights, most drivers are forced to park in paid garages -- and you can expect there to be traffic. The Thirsty Lion has said it will offer valet.