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Restaurateur & Chef Felipe Armenta

Restaurateur & Chef Felipe Armenta

If you’ve eaten out in Fort Worth there’s a good chance you’ve enjoyed the food of restaurateur Felipe Armenta. From Pacific Table to Press Cafe, Cork & Pig Tavern and the ode to his mother Maria’s Mexican Kitchen award winning Chef Armenta has taken his roots in west Texas to a super successful career in DFW.  On this episode he speaks to the beginnings of his career, his vision behind his restaurants and his love of cars.

Please enjoy the best Fort Worth has to offer.

Audio Only

Episode Transcription: 

roxo media house


welcome back Brinton to fortitude uh I am JW I think you knew that you’re


Brinton Payne this Rocco was just getting into the music man why are you cut them off like that I’m not cutting anything off welcome to uh thank you for


being here uh we are sponsored by cap techs Bank the best bank in town our opinion but they make all this happen


for us Brinton so we we’re kind of obligated to say that but it’s actually true because we know Mike Thomas he’s a good dude welcome to the stage of the


show Philippe armenta chef and restaurateur in our precious Fort Worth a very beloved chef and restaurant too


it’s a big crowd indeed he does he knows the crowd difference there yeah you get a little big you got more of Arena proud


I like yeah this guy’s got a really cool Vibe too he kind of lays low just enough to you know not to make you wanna do you


want to know what’s going on more does Louis Vuitton shoes uh make a Cool vibe like Louis Vuitton uh sneakers man like


that’s that’s fit and sneakers thank you for joining us yeah thank you


for you to be here all right Felipe there’s a lot going on in your life uh let’s let’s start back at the beginning your background and your family you have


a really cool back story you told me a little bit it’s led to some of your your restaurants but start back when the


family was getting going well we’re we’re ridging from Houston family of uh five uh I have a younger brother and a


younger sister uh I’m the oldest of the three and my whole life my parents have


always had restaurants so literally I’m you know I’d tell people I didn’t have a backyard I literally had a kitchen and


yeah a dining room and what kind of restaurants these were Mexican restaurants in Houston okay Bel Air area


yep and uh like upscale Mexican no no no middle of the road okay middle of the


road and uh you know my my family’s always had restaurants I think my uncle


in Houston had the very first Mexican restaurant in downtown Houston in the 60s and 70s oh no kidding yeah the name


of it uh uh my last name armentus that’s what I was gonna guess I seriously was


was it like um Benito’s here what would you compare it to that’s what is coming


in my mind okay uh you know just massive you know my dad actually worked at that


restaurant and that’s how he kind of got into the business yeah and uh yeah he


said you know it was like 300 people at lunch and there was no computers it was just people screaming hey I need 25


enchiladas yeah blah blah blah and I was like man that sounds chaotic yeah so you


were born into the industry right that’s right did you always know though early on that you want to do the same thing at


some level well kinda you know I I uh I remember when I turn like 14 13 I remember like


okay hey you know I kind of want to get a little job you know whether it’s cutting yards or whatever yeah and uh my


dad was like hey just work in the restaurant we get out of school after basketball practice or football practice and do that so it’s dinner correct for free


right for free yes uh for free and then you know I kind of started working back there and learning


and yeah when we opened uh our Menses in San Angelo because we moved from Houston


to San Angelo um we and my mom were side by side working


together because my dad had his regular job working as a chef and he needed to keep that income so


that we can continue to build a business and that’s kind of how it started it was just me and my mom side by side and yeah


you know I kind of got into it and then finally my dad quit his job you know I started working next to my dad and I would ask him like man you’re


so fast you’re so good you know how long is it going to take me to get like you know as good as you yeah and he was like


well probably six years I was like what I was thinking like next month yeah yeah


so it kind of like messed me up so every day I’d go in there and I just try and I


try and try and finally you know I’m uh you know I’m about to graduate high


school and uh I knew that I wanted to go to college to go do learn business yeah and uh you know something was calling me


and deep down inside saying hey you know uh that’s great and all but you know my


passion was the restaurants and the food you know there’s something about the


energy yeah you’re in there in the night time you ever worked at a restaurant JW I’ve not no it’s like a stress that gets


in you like you it survived you know I agree you know this he’s talking about it’s adrenaline and the cooking is more


more than the bartending or waiting tables or anything the cooking is like it’s this yeah I don’t know what it is


so you four go four wins you four go four went to college I went I went to Angelo State okay in San Angelo yeah


um and it was my freshman year and uh that end of the summer uh that


year you know we had fun I was partying you know yeah doing the deal and uh you


know I was talking to my dad I’m like you know can I want to try culinary school because you know I would cook at the


restaurant and people would literally tip me and be like hey I want to send this to


the guy whoever cooked it back there and I was like what’s this for yeah would you do like different things like a little bit different from your dad I


would have people be like hey just make me something and I was like all right so I’d make it


and you know I would like to see the reaction and I would see them eat it and I don’t even know if they knew who I was yeah I just thought I was just a guy in


the back just doing my thing when I was a little shorter cook in college I would do things like instead of American


cheese I’d put like cheddar on a chicken breast you were a crazy crazy man I know


that’s great yeah so that’s kind of how that transpired


you know what kind of little things would it be though for real like you what would you do like just kind of take it just to Little Next Level I would


make there was this guy that would come in he would come in like at 4 30. nobody was in there and I would make like the


seafood stew for him and I would just you know I’d put shrimp and fish and uh


crab meat and I would just make this up randomly and he was like Wow season it


like a special seasoning of your own yeah I would just you know I would see what was in the kitchen and kind of just


say hey I’m gonna throw this together this together and I would make like this like the stew and it was just like like


you know I would like to see these people’s face afterwards yeah be like wow that was amazing and that’s when I had a feeling I was like you know


I think I’m good at this yeah you know because my mom was in a phenomenal


phenomenal cook she was uh just incredible and I and I you know I remember her as a kid asking these


questions like hey Mom what do I look for in a perfect avocado would I look for a tomato


how do you know and then I would sit there and you know just listen to her and watch her do it and that’s how it


kind of picked up on it yeah so culinary school happened uh well no let me


backtrack a little bit so uh I was going to culinary school that year um I got accepted to Johnson and whales


in the fall my dad was like all right you’re gonna head out so that’s somewhere I was like you know I’m just gonna have a good time because I’m leaving the state of Texas never really


left where’s that culinary school in South Carolina jokes in Wales and I was


accepted a friend of mine said hey you know you have all this Talent you should put your


resume out there and just see what happens I was like no I want to go to culinary school she was like but just try it’d be fun yeah so they’re gonna


make you do that at school anyway well halfway through she said that and I was like kind of intrigued by it so she you


know she helped me with my resume we put it on back in the day if you guys remember that oh yeah that’s why


we’re here we got the jobs like that that’s awesome


so I did that and it comes back where all these hits were like


want to interview me and they were going to fly me to Phoenix they’re going to fly me to uh


Boston and for these interviews I’m like man I’ve never even left Texas yeah people want to hire me


so I met this company that I was really intrigued by and there was two things while I was intrigued one the name of


the company was Houston’s and the the date it opened was my birthday in 1977.


so I was like man I’m intrigued click the button and they were going to pay me this is in 2000 they were going to pay


me 35 000 a year and they were going to send me a culinary school and I was going to get to work with


these high level chefs in Napa Valley and I was like dude this is perfect I get to get paid and I get to learn yeah and you’d get to


go out there too and live out there yeah oh yeah so I was like hmm


culinary school sounds cool but if I can make money and learn yeah that’s even better so I took this route


and I don’t know if you’ve heard of Houston’s or Hillstone yeah for sure uh so you know I I got hired on as a


friend of the house manager with an opportunity to also learn the kitchen and go to culinary school at the


CIA in New York Greystone oh grandpa oh yeah yeah


and uh so I was like you know what I’m gonna do it and my dad’s like are you sure well Daddy um I was 20 years old and


making 35 000 a year like that that sounds pretty good to me yeah I’ve made it yeah and so I start with


this company I move up through the ranks I become one of three executive chefs of the company


um I was living in Los Angeles Beverly Hills and I was in charge of a certain


region I’d fly down here fly down there and you know it was it was an unbelievable experience and did you


really love it like you loved what you’re doing immediately I’m going to tell you that it was like


divorcing my wife that was the kind of feeling that I would feel like most people would say Mary but you go ahead


with that Philip like that’s good it’s a family show here no I’m kidding you know what I mean like it would put a lump in


my throat just to think about it I’m like oh my God and you know at the time I’m 31. yeah so I’d been there for 10


years yeah and I was leaving to open my my first restaurant in West Texas


and I was like man I’m making a lot of money I’m the boss I’m doing this I’m doing that


and then I thought about backing out that last day yeah and I was like I’m gonna have to back out but then I was


like well I owe all this money for this new building all these people are moving there because I mean


because I was scared I was yeah I was scared and I said you know what


I said I gotta finish this Mission because these people aren’t believing in me yeah so I packed up my stuff


I moved up back with my mom and dad I sold every single thing I had I put


every single penny I had in this restaurant literally I had only a car and a suitcase and uh I opened that


restaurant and you know the the building opens and you know I I


talked to the contractor he gives me a budget that we went over budget by quarter million dollars and I’m like oh


great what do I do yeah what was the name of it the grill still there that’s 14 years


old and that’s how long I’ve been gone Still Still yours still mine beautiful and uh


it’s tiny but you do you want that I was talking to somebody about a restaurant and kind


of like that New York thing is you want it always to look packed right like there’s something to that like so


important only so many tables so it always looks packed like if you go to a restaurant that’s too big like big old


barbecue place I mean there’s too many empty seats there right it doesn’t have the same Allure it doesn’t have the same


energy and the harder you make it to people to get in the better place in Vibe it is and that’s how small


it was it was Tiny and uh you know I just said okay I’m just going to take it one day at a time and you know


I started one of my best friends uh John Nester he came down uh he was


living in Paris he quit he used to work with me at Hillstone he left Paris culinary school came down with me he’s


like listen I just need a place to hang out party for a little bit but I’ll help you you just pay me some cash every week and


I don’t wake up before 4 P.M I’ll see you at the restaurant at six he had a deal I had I told you I had a car I kept


my car so I had a Corvette and he was like and I get to use your Corvette I was like all right done so he comes down


there meets his wife falls in love with San Angelo helps me build the business as we’re building the business he’s like


dude you’re you’re making a lot of money this is a good deal


so he said uh was it because you were spending so much time at the restaurant like you were just you enjoyed what you


were doing so you it didn’t you weren’t going anywhere else you didn’t have to right literally he and my dad would hang


out party every night and my dad became his best friend and I was at home in bed


at eight because I had to be there at five yeah but you love what you were doing right I love I loved it and I will


say this I loved it but I cooked every single person’s food for the first two years


every single person’s food and uh to ensure that it was perfect for


a chef you look extraordinarily healthy too you do not look like most chefs like totally exhausted stress that kind of


thing you you look as if you do take care of yourself in that regard very very important I totally do that I try


to work out every single day I try to eat right I try to you know


um you name it I do it so yeah so from the grill what happened next so the grill I


brought in John as a partner and we did Cork and pig and we opened it on the other side of town and it was a success


and then I was like all right so I guess this is what we’re doing so long story short I finally decide to move to I was


like listen Sanders was great I gotta get back to an a market I can’t be I lift literally Beverly Hills to go to


San Angelo yeah that’s not gonna not gonna work for me yeah so how long in


San Angelo then I was there two years okay so I you know I used to live in Dallas I


used to you know I knew the area and you had some family here and I was like you know I’m going to try Fort Worth so I


came to Fort Worth I met a girl she was from Arlington she’s now my wife


and uh uh I said hey I’m gonna I’m just gonna open a restaurant here so I literally


moved here got an apartment had my businesses in Fort with San Angelo but I looked for


two weeks and I saw the tavern and I had seen that location


three years prior because I came down to bike equipment I was like man this is a good restaurant location


what was there then snookies yes but was like but it was Ronnie’s there before


was this pre- um the grocery store um no that’s the grocery store no I know


but but no it was a furniture store that’s right yeah like the the thing had changed that when you went there it was


not it was like Marvin’s was across the street yeah it was just me it was Marvin’s us


um not Trader Joe’s it was Ronnie’s right yeah yeah it’s like before it became Trader Joe’s I think yeah yeah


and you know I look at this location I’m like man this is a good restaurant location so I


went back by there got this guy’s number said uh releasing and it wasn’t supposed


to be that space But he goes hey they’re at least about to come up that’s like well I’ve been looking at that for years


and uh I I took it I got it you know and you know Fort Worth was a really tricky


situation because I was new nobody knew who I was


uh I was there you know my Dad it was me my dad and my girlfriend my wife now


and uh we would just sit there and literally I would cook every single plate and the hand deliver it to every


single guest what was it about those nachos that you did there amazing there was something about them that forced me


to drink like 12 beers in a sitting I don’t know what it was but it was like the perfect you’re dating yourself


because I know you don’t drink and you have them for a while but no we did not just they were heaped on they were just


like the perfect bar food right and it was never too much to where it was like oh I’m so full you know it was no they


were phenomenal yeah uh we you could still order them there they’re not on the menu but they’re a quiched item and


my son and my wife still love them they they were them all the time what was the next after the tavern so after the


tavern I came back I opened uh I opened Cork and pig in Odessa and that


was another really kind of crazy story because the owner of that property is a TCU alumni uh Colin Sewell okay and he


came down here he was going to TCU football game walked in and was like listen


I want you to open Odessa and I was like well it’s kind of far I really don’t want to go out there he’s like listen I’ll do whatever it takes


he shook my hand I was like all right let’s go what kind of like concept is Cork and pig it’s a it’s kind of like


the tavern American Grill yeah but with a wood burning Pizzeria yeah yeah so


it’s got the best of both worlds yeah you know it it it it’s just very unique and uh I did that


uh and then or after that I did Pacific cable Fort Worth and you know I looked at that place when


I it’s been empty forever it used to be an old Italian restaurant there and I just fell in love with it I was like you


know yeah people think I’m crazy that I’m going back to this corner but I think it’s a great location you like


Corners don’t you I do why uh you know I you like Corner bars too I do


I do and I don’t I don’t know why but it just it drew my attention and and uh


you know I would ask people hey I’m gonna open there they’ll be like you’re crazy that’s you’re hidden you’re in the back and that place kind of took off and


it was like fire for forever and uh I did that and then after that


did that I did Press Cafe


did they come to you or you went to them yeah crazy story as well I’m sitting


there at uh The Tavern and a Gentleman Crawford Edwards uh comes in and he’s like hey uh


you got time take a ride with me and I was like yeah sure why not so he takes me to this Ranch I


mean there was no toll road there was none of this was yeah yeah and we’re going he puts it on four by four we’re


just cruising and he’s like look I’d like to eat open restaurant here I was like all right I go how far away


he’s like oh it’s about two years away uh you know it’s my family’s Ranch it’s gonna be this gonna be that I was like


all right great so time goes by and the toll road is just getting going


and I hadn’t heard from him back so I was like I call them one day like hey Crawford


how’s everything going he’s like oh man a great man I you know what I totally forgot to give you a call back and I


just jammed a development through city council so we’re ready for you now it kind of happened that way so he’s got


this building with nobody in it and uh it’s where press is now and he’s like


um I was gonna have you go in the shops closer to Neiman Marcus but I think I think you would fit better here I loved


it there and I was like all right well there’s nobody here but I can see why it’s going to be God and I was like all


right let’s do it yeah and we kind of just shook hands that day and that was another deal where’d you get the name


like what does that mean you know um you know his big thing was he wanted a


we were going to be next to a bike shop he told me that next to Mellow Johnny’s which was Lance Armstrong and I was like


all right that’s kind of cool and he’s like you know these bikers wake up early so kind of thinking like a breakfast lunch and dinner kind of place and I was


like all right and then we were thinking you know it was uh there was a movie that came out and it was uh


it was called Chef I don’t know if you guys have seen it it’s a really really good movie is that your favorite movie by chance not favorite but it’s good


what’s it about it’s about this guy who it’s got this Michelin star in LA and


you know he gets a fight with the owner and the owner wants a menu and he wants to do his own thing they go at it he


quits and gets his own food truck and they do a bunch of press sandwiches like paninis cannons Cubans and then I was


thinking well we have to wake up early it’d be cool to do press coffee yeah and then press sandwiches and you know


because press has a lot of sandwiches yeah and uh that was kind of my my thought


behind it and then I was like all right so we you know I came up with this concept I came up with


this menu you buy a bunch of George foremans for the pressing of them I thought about it and and you know what


they actually not George Foreman we actually bought panini press and they couldn’t keep up so we got rid of it yeah uh because you know press opened up


like like a like a I don’t know like a hurricane is Right a hurricane do they do they just


use them like the metal thing for the pressing now yeah is that what you do she’s gonna get that thing real hot just


we do iron things and and we still have the Panini presses here but it would just take so long yeah so we needed to


improvise and uh we did and you know that in my mind I thought that place


would you know it’ll be busy but it’s small you know how busy could it be no it don’t that


that winter we opened up January 5th and that winter was a warm


winter and I would pray I would sit there and pray every day that snow would hit a ring will hit because just we couldn’t


keep up so yeah it would pray for a break in business yeah I was like please


let these people stop coming here well think about it it was one of the first restaurants in Fort


Worth besides maybe if you went to the botanic garden that real old little restaurant in there where you’re kind of


eating amongst nature man I mean like the at that time you’re either eating in


a strip center of some kind you’re amongst nature in that thing you know totally


and you know I was just like so you know we built the restaurant to kind of fit


the sales of what I thought we were going to do but we blew that out of the water so I had to redesign the whole


restaurant as we’re open because I’m like we just can’t keep up yeah so that was kind of crazy men use


all yours right that’s all your business that’s your child that’s right the salmon the salmon dinner is the is my


favorite thing this is the crazy thing about this guy is all these restaurants these these uh opened and runs there’s


somebody one of your restaurants is everybody’s favorite they have one of yours is their favorite and press is one


of mine and Pacific table and it’s amazing every time you do one of these things it becomes wildly popular you


have a true gift for the the restaurant tour business but it’s like it’s like simple enough to get your mind around to


order it but then when you eat it it’s complex enough to be like that’s the best one


I’ve ever had in that category right I mean like the nachos at the tavern like


the um salad with the tuna at the Press Cafe or the chicken you know it’s just


like it it’s it’s and then he becomes the go-to it’s like I don’t care what else on the menu I’m not trying anything


else this is what I like it’s always delivered I’m gonna just get it again why would I not yeah I mean that’s you


know we are creatures of habit and you know I think you know when you get your


luck your your favorite thing you know what you want yeah you know well and I think understanding that is beautiful


because too many times you go into these places and it’s like we do all this and this and this it’s like I don’t want


that I mean like I’m not into exot like I’m not into like hey here I have the


The Bravery of trying I just want I want that you know I think it’s really good did the Press Cafe then then the next


one was Maria’s No Press Cafe uh the next one was


um town girl nope nope it was Cork and pig West Seven okay very good and we were there for five years uh you know


when I first moved to Fort Worth West Seventh was like the new shiny yeah yeah did you say anything and it was


great back in the day and it kind of just really started turning into a bar yeah and our clientele went from the


kind of clientele that we try to cater with family is that on the circle yep okay families and and uh you know just


you know people date nights and you know just that kind of clientele you know and it


turned into a bar and you know we’d roll up one day and somebody had thrown up all over our patio or you know somebody


had written all over our door yeah and it just started turning into this and we were finally like you know what we have


a opportunity to leave and you know we loved having that quirky Pig concept here but it just was it the location


wasn’t for us anymore yeah and so we had a you know covet hit and you know there was an opportunity to to basically get


out of our lease because it was time time was up and we just kind of walked so is that from your restaurant


standpoint is that when you change kind of Brands it’s like let something that


was there be there and even if you’re doing a lot of the same ditches put a new name new spin on it like don’t try


to replicate different Geographic locations is one thing like far away cities but don’t try


to take something that was here and and redo it here kind of thing is that kind of like it is and you know


locations change you know areas change you know it just it just depends where


it’s going but you know I thought for the brand and for what we did it just wasn’t what we were and yeah


um that whole area has changed drastically you know I think my buddy of mine told me last week that somebody just got shot down there last weekend


yeah so that tells you right there that you know that’s not what we’re about yeah yeah


that’s good to hear by the way yeah um so we opened that and then after that we opened uh


what did we open it’s got so many it’s getting hard it’s getting very no no I open a red oak


kitchen in Odessa okay and that’s a that’s a you know it’s kind of American


kind of Cuisine but it’s right next to Quirk and pig our cork and pig out there is one of the busiest restaurants that I


own uh every single person that eats their order their own appetizer their own entree and their own dessert wow


every single person because they want to or because because they want to and they like to eat it’s good yeah it’s a meat


and potatoes kind of town okay but they like to eat do you ever go like man I’m


not going out like why would you go out to like I mean like to Midland and obviously the demand is


there but is it ever like I don’t have a family member out there who am I going to trust to run this thing did those


things cross your mind like I mean how am I gonna find the good people and then I’m gonna be back in Fort Worth five


hours away or whatever and how am I gonna manage all this I think about that so as I’m looking at these satellite


locations I’m thinking of who can move there that I could trust yeah who can


who can keep an eye on it because you you know this business is very volatile


and you know it’s it’s one of those businesses where you say there’s skimmers in this


business yeah big time big time so you know that’s something to keep an eye on but you have to have good


people good systems in place and if you have those things that it’s possible yeah and uh I totally though all those


thoughts were running through my mind but we opened that restaurant and uh


um it’s been you know out there it’s just been just been crazy it never slows down


even when the oils the barrels at twenty dollars a barrel uh it’s still fire out


there yeah when did the idea to do whatever your son should do honor their mother with a hit restaurant when did


that when did that come into your life that okay so covet’s going on and


you know I was I was actually in Colorado the day the shutdown happened I think it was March 16th I believe


and uh on vacation we’re looking for a location on vacation I just bought a condo there three days


prior and then covet happened oh I take that back I bought a condo


it was supposed to close on that Monday the banks closed I can’t even close in


my house they’re telling me that all my money and escrow it’s it’s gone if I don’t pay


so then I’m looking at my wife I might go do I do yeah the whole world’s shutting down yeah and they I mean


they’re gonna lose all my money or I’m gonna have to write a big check


what do I do so I just bite the bullet and and I had to buy the place cash


and the whole world shut down I I you know I I told my managers and I’m like


look here’s what we’re gonna do I’m coming back tomorrow uh I couldn’t find a flight back the state was shut down so you couldn’t


even cross the lines after like midnight so I find over in a car I pack up


everybody in it I have a bunch of kids by the way and we pack them all in there and we we start driving back home and


um I you know I get out of Colorado I’m getting closer to Texas and you know like I told my managers I’m like look


here’s what we’re going to do we’re going to shut down completely I don’t want you to go shut down completely make sure that


everybody stays safe and healthy I knew that the government was going to help with like you know at least keeping


people’s uh roofs over their heads yeah so I said okay so what we’re gonna do we’re going to shut down completely


until it’s okay to open back up we’re gonna go ahead and um


basically I just wanted to make sure that our staff and our managers were fed so I said hey we’re going to give you guys


food every week until we open back up yeah so we would


do these meal kit preps with you know rice and eggs and milk and you know uh


chicken beef and you know I would order these shipments once a week and they


would get there the guys would get there take their food home and once a week would do it again and we would continue


to do this we did it for eight weeks and you know we’re gonna open back up and when we


opened back up I guess doing this for the staff uh we got every single one of our employees about yeah you know so we


opened back up we’re back in full business we’re at 25 occupancy and at 25 percent occupancy we were


even from last year you know I bet they heard at home a lot uh when they picked up those ready to


make kits this doesn’t taste like it does when Felipe Cooks It


what are you doing here I believe that but you know it was it was a good it was a good thing to do


because we kept our staff we kept everybody and and uh yeah so


um it’s it’s 20 20. and uh I think I believe it’s May yeah


it’s May and it’s Mother’s Day and that morning my buddy’s like hey let’s go for a ride on bikes so I’m cruising down


biking he’s like uh hey I also wanted wanted to show you that hofbra is not signing their lease do you want it I was


like let’s go right down there so we rode down there and we look at it I’m like we’re doing a bicycle like pedal


assistance like okay yeah real pedaling like hard work yeah


and uh I pull up there and I look at it I’m like man this place is run down uh but I


love the location and it was Mother’s Day the day that I saw it


and I said hey I’m an open restaurant here I’m gonna do a Mexican restaurant I’m gonna name it Maria’s it just hits you all right there right there no


pre-planning to that at all it was meant to be yep so a year


construction wasn’t supposed to be a year but it took it in my mind is gonna take six to seven months it ended up


taking up a year and we opened in 2021 on Mother’s Day again and it worked out


to be like perfect perfect so you know it’s one of those things where I know my mom was looking down from heaven and I


named it after her because she had died and uh you know she meant everything to me with food and and uh I that was my


way to pay that’s awesome man yeah yeah yeah what’s the typical day in your life look like


um okay so I get up um I get up just depends when I get up you know I


don’t really have an alarm in my mind I have an alarm so you get up usually about seven seven thirty


and uh I uh I get up brush my teeth go to my office I uh I’m I work out I


either jump on a bike or I do indoor bike cycling uh if it’s hot now I’m definitely do it inside yeah and then I


go around our neighborhood and kind of just do two and a half miles like that yeah and then I come back I I read the


Bible for about 10-15 minutes I meditate I shower and I go to work so when I go


to work I I usually try to get to one of the restaurants by 10 30 to try to you


know we do something in our restaurants called taste plate so we literally taste the entire menu before we open


every single dressing every single sauce every single item and if something doesn’t make it then we we have 30


minutes to fix it or we just don’t serve that item that day every day every single day huh well that explains some


things then on the quality of the food for sure it is very very important to have that consistency you know I once


heard that the what’s where most restaurant curves fail is that what happens they open a place that initial


wave comes in they it’s from a food distributor guy my brother-in-law food uh and they all come in there they love


it then the owners like see this is going to work out starts paying himself pretty well and all then it settles into


what the normal crowd’s gonna be the newness is over somebody goes in there they’re like I’m


not going to cut my wages you know everyone’s doing good I’m going to stay at this so the first thing they do is cut the food like the product quality


then the person goes back for the second time and they’re like you know I went the first time in the opening it was beautiful great then I


went back second time it sucked I’m never going back again and it’s like the story of why these restaurants don’t make it is that true is there a truth to


that yeah you know you gotta stay on quality and I I’m a firm believer consistency quality


if you can nail those things you’re going to be successful leave do you have any questions for the Britton pain show I’m just prefacing a large question here


thank you for your question uh one of the biggest difficulties you you run into doing all this


now I believe it’s Staffing it used to never be right yeah they used to know especially in this town yeah man we had


some of the best staff in the world forever you only in the state of Texas only in the state of Texas would you go


in other states I yes I’m looking at it um would you and other states were to things like marijuana are legal in the


service industry because I’ve heard that’s caused a lot of problems on that Staffing stuff too it has just from a like quality standpoint please continue


I mean you’re obviously going down a thread here no I just heard that it’s harder it’s


hard to get good workers in states where that’s not an issue and it’s even harder


to get good workers where there’s all kinds of distractions I know I think it’s just hard period yeah right now it


I see it everywhere I see it uh not only this state but other states were on vacation and and you know I just


I I don’t know what the answer is and I think you know I


I think we we need to do a better job of teaching the younger generation of what hard work does


I’m still working on Brinton but you know I’ll give you an update and respect maybe we can go into the respect thing


too yeah that’s often falling off on this show too what’s what’s what does the future look for you what’s coming


next a couple things so um I’m signing a lease hopefully today


or maybe Monday for I’m doing a French restaurant called Cafe Margot it’s going to be on Bellaire and Hulen


yeah very nice um I am uh looking really hard at the


Stockyards they’re twisting my arm to go out there yeah uh I’m looking at Plano


looking at doing a Pacific table in South Lake um I’m opening


uh a specific table in Midland Odessa Midland and I’m also looking at Houston right


now is it easier to just do the same concept somewhere else or is it easier to just do a new console it’s definitely


easier to do the same concept the only reason I’m doing different concepts is so that I can kind of fill it up and


pick and choose kind of where I want to go what you want to do and then have more variety to try put them out there


in different places that’s right yeah to add more pressure but I see a sign on the west side of Fort Worth uh think


about that yeah is that what’s the deal with that so that’s it’s gonna be Italian and uh I’m gonna do like an Italian uh


restaurant with a bakery and a deli shop and you know really big patio on the corner there on team Ranch Road kind of


overlooking Fort Worth and uh hopefully that should be open and


construction plans are almost done and then hopefully construction will start in two months you ever go like I got too


much I got too much going on it doesn’t seem like it I think I could get bored yeah really I mean you want this kind of


AD but I will say this I love to create things yeah you know and I love


design and I love buildings and I love building you like that beginner’s curve kind of thing where you’re learning the


most by doing those things like kind of it’s just fun and you know my wife tells


me all the time she’s like because I said I was going to retire at 50. so that’s in six years


and she’s like there’s no way you’re gonna retire I was like well I probably won’t yeah but maybe my my


plate will be less full you know but you know I I will say this you know I feel like this conversation


has all been about me and which is great but you know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today first and foremost if I wasn’t


blessed and two um if I didn’t have the right team around me yeah I was about to ask like


how big is that back office look you know with all the books and is it just like the one-man show at home or no


there’s like a big office we have a corporate team now so you know we have a director of operations we have a


culinary manager we have a human resources and uh accounting manager you


know it’s starting to finally fill up and you know it feels like a really big


company now you know I think I have over a thousand employees wow thousand employees wow yeah I was about to ask


you that but that’s got to feel good too because it probably feels like things aren’t


that things are getting taken care of they’re not anticipating always an emergency kind of deal right


right you know and and I think the more


the more you have people that want to achieve the same goal around you the easier to get to that goals yeah yeah


other than your restaurants what is your favorite restaurant in Fort Worth man


that’s hard this will be some High Praise hopefully I know this is hard man uh do you ever


go out to other restaurants yeah totally all the time uh you know Mike Mike the McDonald’s on 183 or Camp Bowie which of


those might you say has the Waffle House right there I’m just kidding less flies no we uh you know we do it we do


everything you know I have kids so now these days I have to like kind of pick my spots around the kids so you know we


go we go to high and barbecue after the baseball games West in the west you know


yeah and then we uh where else do we go how many kids we


have four kids four kids oh yeah how old nine six two and six months right wow


um busy busy yeah so you know we I mean You Name It We Go


Everywhere I don’t know if I would say favor but you know my favorite stuff um


man that’s hard simple you like the simple notes like simple yeah you know I like simple you


know I will say this I just I went to a restaurant in Dallas last week uh I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but


it’s called Carbone it’s from New York it’s brand new they have a Michelin star and the food was fabulous like that was


I was so impressed and I had a time of my life oh that’s good does that inspire you possibly oh yeah I’m not making some


notes yeah I’m like oh it’s on now all right before we get out of here we have


a few more but most importantly I wanted to get you to talk about your car collection Once Upon a Time you started


getting into cars I did and you boy you have knocked out of the park can we talk about that for a second yeah of course


so I’ve always loved cars I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated by them and you know I remember


living in our little house in San Angelo and just watching this movie with my we my brothers and sisters my mom and dad


would work so I was basically taking care of everybody that’s really where I learned how to cook yeah I would grab like old cookbooks my mom would have and


I would sit there and make them a recipe out of there and then we’d sit down and watch you know movies and I


remember seeing this like red Lamborghini and I remember telling my brother back I’m gonna have one of those and he was like yeah right and I’m like


no I’m serious I’m gonna have one so it kind of started off like that real young and then you know when I


was like Cannonball Run no okay but but you know I I I I first


started off with Corvettes and I was like oh man I like Corvette it’s a school and and then it just kind of just evolved into you know Lamborghinis and


Ferraris and Porsches 4G teams you know I just got a new one a


2022 Ford GT and it was limited you had a they interviewed me so if I can have the


car or not oh wow so they had to know if you were uh


uh a law-abiding citizen they wanted to know what was your other car collection they wanted to know if you were an


influential person they wanted to know uh all the cars you’ve ever had they


wanted to know every address you’ve ever lived in like literally they wanted to know make sure you’re not a drug dealer or


something where there could be some bad stuff happening but you were 1977 you said right like so that poster of that


Lambo so what was that like buying that first Lambo man because like everyone had that poster on the wall you know man


it was gontosh right it was yeah that was it it you know I my first Lamborghini I was like wow I


did it actually I bought that when I opened Pacific table Fort Worth I was like man I did it I got a Lamborghini


where’d he go over to Dallas to get it or something or you just or no I bought it online like they deliver it yeah


it’s kind of crazy that’s how it works yeah do you drive them all on a regular basis where do you drive them well I’m


very picky now where I drive them because you know these roads are bad no no do people tailgate you in Lambos I


don’t know you know what’s the most terrifying thing about driving these cars is that people stop driving and


they start doing this and I’m like or they do this like the lead I like I


disappear so I like my favorite roads are the toll road yeah towards Cleburne yeah


yeah because they’re all the the concrete’s smooth and there’s no bumps or anything yeah and then I like uh Max


Speed you got enough two on there 185. no kidding oh I got a perfect


stretch night or day both yeah excellent that’s where that’s where I do


my testing Sorry police yeah I was just I was looking for my siren button here


do you have a favorite of all these cars uh oh man


yes I just got the new Lamborghini I got a there’s only it’s a there’s only 12 in


the world it’s 11 of 12. there’s only two in the U.S and it’s called Uh Lamborghini Gallardo Blanc pond


and it’s all black it’s like complete stealth and uh inside too oh yeah whole thing’s


black murdered out yeah literally I believe my son saw you driving somewhere and he wanted he had she’s a


car guy he is he believes you’re some sort of race car driver at heart somehow I am I am yeah I race cars too yes


um so I got this card and uh it’s got It’s 700 miles when I bought it


I just bought it like a month ago and it’d been sitting in a garage forever the guy who had it was young uh uh just


kind of randomly died and my friends like hey man I got this card you went I’m like yeah I want it and uh it’s it’s


just special because there’s only two in the United States oh yeah yeah well done yeah yeah well done that’s my favorite


right now easy to see easy to see um I’m assuming Ford versus Ferrari was you’ve probably


seen it a few times a million times do you appreciate what’s happening there I do and and the cool thing about the the


4GT that I got Ken miles the guy who won Le Mans I had the kin miles Edition okay


so the car that he won Daytona because remember Fort Mr Ford Henry Ford was


didn’t want him to drive in Le Mans so the only reason he got to driving Le Mans he had to win Daytona oh yeah so I


got the Daytona uh winter car beautiful what’s your favorite car movie


for Ferrari yeah it’s pretty great yeah all right what amazing job you I always


thought you do keep a very low profile but in a cool way you don’t blab out all the stuff that you’re doing and it’s


it’s awesome but kudos to your success appreciate it you’re a really nice guy I’ve known you for a little bit but


appreciate you very much keep on rocking Fort Worth is proud to have you as one of its restaurant people because you do


a hell of a job and again a lot of a lot of great great stuff you’re putting out there keep it up we’re very happy to


have you we always ask our guests uh aside from your kids and your wife and your family what’s the greatest day of


your whole life wow that’s you could go back and say it if it was


like the car thing whatever will you let him answer I just get I’m dealing I’m


opening it up in case he feels like he’s already said it you know man you could probably handle it that’s


really really hard but uh uh


probably the first time I saw my son born my firstborn so you’re going to family and we you definitely can’t allow


that okay so see that’s why I opened it back up all right you did not help him obviously all right so


um man that’s really tough


while you’re talking thinking I’m going to tell you how great cap text bank is because they are the guys that make sure


this is happening for us thank you Mike Thomas Captain thank you cap techs for all of my Ferrari loans one it’s right


if you need to buy a Ferrari you call Mike Thomas yes we’ll find the way to get you in that Ferrari I’m gonna call him today yeah probably should yes and


he’ll give you that Ford GT one of 12 in the world the favorite day we’ve


distracted Philippe armenta was or is


the day I got to meet Michael Jordan oh turn that music down let’s hear let’s hear that story all right so we’re uh


gambling no less no so this is a crazy story so remember I kept saying I was praying for a cold day when press was


opening yeah well my buddy calls me it’s like hey dude I got tickets to go see uh Seattle and Carolina


uh divisional playoff I’m like let’s go so where my


cars get built my fast cars because I have like super fast cars like like 2 000 horsepower yeah where do you get


like what kind the Lamborghinis oh yeah so they’re custom built so literally they rip out everything and


they put all the forging turns where are they or where in North Carolina okay so I was like all right let’s go I was


gonna go look at one of my cars there let’s go to the game let’s do it it was snowing that weekend or cold flurries


I’m like yes press is gonna be slow let’s get out of here so we go up there uh my buddies


who are in the car dealer or the car uh shop there they pick us up we hang out they take us to dinner and uh that first


time we were at dinner and we’re looking over and he’s like hey sleepy she was right in front of you over there I was like who


Michael Jordan I was like whoa I was so impressed I was like man because he as a


kid he was my idol yeah till this day he’s my idol yeah in the sense of hard-working good leader just ferocious


yeah he wants to win yeah those are all the qualities that I believe yeah a good leader should have


and um he’s there and uh you know my buddy that’s with me my best friend uh John he


was Don I mean he had been drinking all day so he’s like flip I’m gonna go give him my business card with Cork and pig on it


tell him if he ever needs anything in Carolina let me go and put my Sail on there for you Michael as well so he goes


up there and I’m like no because I was worried that he was gonna fumble or yeah or something and you know Michael Jordan


turned out to be great took his card said hi to us and got to meet him and it


was just kind of one of those was it like this yeah you know he’s six six he’s tall


yeah but you know I just couldn’t believe it was him yeah you know as a kid I grew up and you know I he was he


was my favorite ever there you go man that is thank you for joining us great


job great dude keep it up we’re appreciated we love you appreciate it thank you