Mike Micallef joins JW & Brinton on this episode of FORTitude FW and talks about the future location of Reata, how the restaurant got its start in Alpine, the incredible team he’s assembled, and the accident that almost took him from us.
call Are we ready? calls our TCU director out these the DoD director of the day
back to FORTitude everybody JW Wilson here with my coach Brinton Payne Season
Two are welling brought to you by the folks at CAP Tex bank are good good
buddies over cap Tex bank Mike Thomas. You know you’re out there. We love you.
Thanks for believing in us. And you know, Brinton, there are a lot of banks
choices around here for sure. They’re none better than Mike Thomas and cap Tex.
I believe that truly do you agree?
I agree that the you can tell the weather’s getting nicer because we’re having
difficulty getting in touch with Mike. We are easy. No, I’m just kidding.
Mike’s our buddy. And he’s good. And thank you very much, Mike.
If you have
any baking concerns, go see Mike. He’s a hell of a guy under hell that makes
Yep. It’ll make it happen. And getting right to our next our first guest of the
day. Let’s see it’s a guy to my left to your right. He’s an old friend, a guy
we’ve known very well. Welcome to Mike McCalla.
doing good. How
doing? Good. Thanks for being here, Mike.
we’re grateful for your time. We know as a recent you’re quite busy for a lot
of other reasons. But we’ll get to that here shortly. But we want to get to
know Mike kalff. Today a little bit on the show. But we Brinton I both known
you from school days, many, many, many years. You’ve done a lot of things.
You’re a really nice guy. You’re a good figure in the Fort Worth helping helping
the town helping the mayor things of that nature.
what was the difference? Graduation?
you graduate? McHale is a younger year younger than me.
your same great as Amanda?
Yeah. Your sister Amanda was a former guest on her show. Awesome, awesome woman
very successful, and some really cool stuff. friend of ours, but so you’re the
second Macalik on this show. So that’s kind of cool.
going to ask you what, what I asked her. How did you get the picture at
session, one on Camp buoy with your dad in that Safari? And she Where was she
at the time? Why did she get it?
long, long time ago, Herman Liu, who was the original owner, Sichuan. Yep, I
think he was a waiter at a Chinese restaurant that’s there. On Heelan and Bel
Air before like the Tom Thumb. I think there was previous to this, there was
another shopping center who
be called who Nan’s would it, it might have been, where there might have been a
bowl that they serve to underage kids in high school. I’m not sure what you’re
speak to that. Okay. But Herman was a chef. I mean, Herman was a waiter there.
My dad ended up giving him a loan. Okay. Sasha, Juan. No. Long, you know, I think
he paid us back in like six months. Yeah. You know, longtime family friend. So
I don’t know how that picture ended up on the wall. Yeah, it certainly ended up
there. It’s a great picture. I was 11. You know, and I think, you know, more
than anything, you know, going to Africa, when you’re 11. Going to South
Africa, going to Botswana. Seeing it then I’ve been back subsequent to then,
you know, it’s changed. Yeah. I mean, you know, you go you flew into mound at
that time. In Italy. The immigration was a summit room that was maybe 10 by 10.
Oh, yeah. Now, they actually if you fly into Mount, there’s like a small
terminal there. Right. And, you know, there’s gates and you know, you know, 730
sevens and say, I got flying in there. So you can kind of see how Africa Africa
is changing. And I think we all kind of realize that, but to see it firsthand
is really, really special. Yeah. Well, it’s
our lives as well. But you’re the president of riada restaurants. Also Sierra
LaRhonda in the squirrel Clearfork. Ranch, could you tell us we know what
reality is what enrolls discuss that, but what’s what is your LaRhonda?
think what this really says is my dad’s an entrepreneur, which means he’s
thinking more ideas. And he has money, though, and we need to go see my
comments over Captech Look at that.
mean, we can start you know, my dad moved his business from J. Mac, which we’re
going to talk about a little bit, um, he moved it from Detroit, Michigan, to
Texas in 1975. So just before I was born, and from there your dad’s from Yes,
yep. And J. Mac had been was before it was called J. Mac was called the droid,
silicone had gone bankrupt. These gentlemen out of Chicago that were buying
parts from it, bought the bankrupt company, brought my dad in to run it until
he found a real manager, because he’s only 24 At the time, ended up really
liking him. And eventually, they created kind of a holding company and made him
a partner and they set it up to where, you know, the partners could buy out the
other partners when they passed away. So that’s kind of how my dad ended up
with, kind of with J. Mac. Yeah. But how he came to Texas, was they were
shutting down fort Walters. Now, Fort Walters is the old helicopter base in
Mineral Wells. So they’re shutting it down and in the late in early 70s. And
when the government does that, they realize they don’t want to totally destroy
the economy of a town. So there’s some incentives for other businesses to come
in. So Come down from Michigan, looked at Mineral Wells. My dad’s story is and
he’s a great storyteller is he was at the Dairy Queen in Weatherford. He was
talking to the guy behind them in line and said, in the guy said, What are you
doing? And he told him the story. He said, Well, why don’t you think about
coming to Weatherford? So my dad started talking to him. So they started a
little industrial park out there in Weatherford. Yeah, power services is right
in front of us. Oh, yeah. We know, ya know, Jeff. Oh, yeah. So I mean, your
families? Yeah, absolutely. So that’s kind of how we got to that’s kind of how
he came to Texas. And being an entrepreneur like he is, you know, every new
idea turns into a business right? So that’s how you end up with someone like
that Rihanna and see if France and Celeron and things like that.
podcast and you got a podcast studio then you got all this other stuff back to
though Britain dad he’s speaking of the greatness of Alma Calif, yes, a well
known guy around town and other parts of the world. So great, great, dude. So,
but your childhood, you’re born in Texas. Tell us a little bit briefly about
your childhood growing up?
mean, you’re here in Fort Worth, and then lived in Fort Worth till I was about
six. And then I think in 81, bought a place out in Toledo. And you tell that to
people now. And you have to realize that when we moved out to Alito, there
wasn’t really a convenience store. There was no grocery store, there was no
place to eat. Yeah. You know, the football team at Alito wasn’t good. Yeah,
that’s how long ago it was. I mean, I think our closest real restaurant was
Marty’s there on highway 80 kind of lives outside of Fort Worth. So it’s
changed a lot from then
It was like fishing and hunting with a pellet gun probably in your backyard.
was, you know, the, the clear Fork of the Trinity River flow to the back part
of our property. So that’s where the CF came from. It was from the clear fork.
So yeah, so I was up running up and down the river when I was little, and spent
a lot of time outside. You know,
that? I don’t think the kids today do that. Do they?
they do a little bit. I think it’s just different. Yeah. I mean, yeah. But I
mean, even when, even when we graduated from TCU, you know, I mean, in 1999, PC
was on a DOS based email system, it was kind of green screen. Nobody really
used it. Right. You know, Microsoft had just bought Hotmail. So that was a
brand new snazzy thing. Yeah, you know, that the changes that the kids going to
college now have experienced throughout their lives that we really haven’t
really experienced until, you know,
guys even have did you have internet in the dorm? Like we didn’t have internet
was not existent? Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, get imagine that like,
love of fishing was ingrained from you early on. But yeah, the old days,
because you’re obviously a huge fisherman, and we see you on social media,
you’re always posting some cool stuff you’re doing fishing wise, and we always
love that about you. But that was early on.
and you know, I think you know, and we’re gonna probably get off topic. But,
you know, my dad is all the time my dad and I, you know, my grandfather fish.
You know, my dad’s grandfather was actually born in Malta, you know, and
immigrated to the United States when he was 12. My grandmother on my dad’s
side, was actually born here in the United States. But her family had just
immigrated from Malta before she was born. So her older sister was born in
Malta. So you know, different culture. You know, if you don’t know where Malta
is at, it’s right between Sicily in North Africa, right in the middle of the
Mediterranean. Lots of great history about Malta. And if you go back to the
Knights of Malta, and even in World War Two, you know, I think it was the most
bombed place ever, because Germany never invaded it. So it was a base right in
the middle of the Mediterranean. Yeah, so when they were in North Africa,
strategically, it was really important, you know, for the British and for the
allies. But, um, but fishing, fishing, absolutely. loved fishing, we loved
hunting, you know, we had a lease out by like Weatherford when I was little,
but it was something that we always did. And I think it’s something that we
experienced at that time. That I don’t know that kids see as much today. You
know, we spent a lot more time with our parents. Yeah. And now what I see is
with a lot of my friends, all their kids are in club sports. Yeah, and nothing
is wrong with club sports. But it looks to me like those parents now become
chauffeurs driving their kids to and from practice, or to and from games or
things like that, in their in their vacations are now involved on club sports.
Where for me and my dad, you know, a lot of our vacations were all centered
around hunting and fishing trips and we spent a ton of time together. And you
know, hopefully if I have a family someday I want to do the same thing. Yes.
grew up in you ended up at Trinity valley where Britain I met you originally
and you went through there what happened at attorney Valley?
I finished at all saints it was one of the things that you know, I think I had
a tough time in school till I was like a sophomore in high school. And then
like I finished on National Honor Society and you know, yeah, you know, we all
have kids or whatever, but we all we all struggle but I don’t know what changed
at whatever time but whatever it is, you know, you
is tough like it’s it and that’s good kudos to you on that then you go right
right to TCU
actually got on my basics at Seoul Ross. Okay little University out in Alpine
in my plan was, you know, I really like wildlife management. Originally my plan
was is to go through TCU ranch management school right in the middle, which
counted as elective, yep. And then finish maybe with a degree in wildlife
management from Texas Tech.
So I was
just with a state legislator this past weekend, who mentioned that university
or that school, so Ross, that the numbers have declined through UTSA. But
a&m is they’re looking at a way where a&m is going to take that over
and put their whole range program or something like that in there. There’s
something afoot, and
heard a lot of different things. Yeah. And yeah, and it has struggled a little
bit. And you know, for a long time, I think it was originally built to be a
university to educate teachers. Uh, huh. You know, first open in like, 1916.
Yeah, and one of the things about Alpine is it is cooler than the rest of the
state and summertime is your the elevation of 4500 feet. So, like, during
summertime, a lot of people working on their masters or something like that
would have programs out there. I think that’s become less important. I think
the thing that you’ve seen certainly, recently, is the oil and gas industry, as
good as it’s been, and is starving for labor as it has been some of these kids
from small West Texas towns. It’s like, Oh, should I go to school? Or should I
go make $50? an hour? Yeah, an oil and gas? Yeah. And they’re saying, well, I
might go to school someday. But right now, I’m going to make money while I can.
Sure. Right. So
restaurant in Alpine when you were out there at school? Or when did that like
give us that chronology of
was so I mean, so So we opened we bought the ranch in 1991. Fine, and bought a
second ranch south of alpine started the restaurant in March of 1995. Okay. And
then I was out there and then started at TCU through the ranks management
school in 96. Okay, 90 C, and it’s only a certificate program at the time. So
it was a year long program. Throughout going to the ranch management school, I
realized how important business was. So I ended up just staying at TCU and
getting my business degree with a emphasis in
Would you go back there in the summers and work at the restaurant? Was that
like the dealer now?
the most part, no, I’d probably do more stuff on the ranch than I would in the
restaurant. Okay, so I really didn’t get involved in the restaurants till about
that’s when the fourth location was was introduced, or is that what now
you know, so in so open the restaurant in March of 95 that fall, even somebody
you probably know are most kids you know, Bob simple, you know, longtime family
Rob on the show. Yeah, Westside literally. Yeah,
um, so Bob’s. So Bob was president of bank one at the time, brought a guy
hunting out at the ranch, one of the customers ate at the restaurant. And he
said, Why don’t you think about opening up a restaurant in Fort Worth? Because
at the top of the bank, one building was essentially two club that had been
closed for a couple years. Yep. You know, Bank. Bank, one on the building said,
hey, we’ll cut you a great deal if you open up a restaurant here. And I think
the interesting thing about that was, you know, prior to that time, if you had
a restaurant in a in a, in a building in downtown, you just turn them into
private clubs, right? Yeah. Now people think about lifestyle developments. You
know, y’all are here over and clear for when you’re there, intermingling,
restaurants and retail and office all together. And when you when you start
putting in just normal restaurants in downtown, you don’t have to be a Club
member. Right? Probably, on average, probably the food’s probably a little bit
better in the in the restaurant than it is maybe in a club scenario. Not
always, but you know, sometimes, but you don’t have to be a club. But you know,
we still have private dining room and people will still have groups. It’s a
great amenity for that building a great selling point from from a leasing point
of view. So that we opened the restaurant in bank one building in May of 96.
Oh, just a little bit more than a year later. Successful from the get go. Yes.
I mean, but you know, we had a restaurant an Alpine antalis 6000. Right. Yeah.
So they didn’t even build up the whole floor. You know, this because it the
whole floor was about 17,000 square feet. Because it’s like, how could we
possibly get as much space? Well, as soon as we open, then it took all the
started blowing and something hit
Well, you want to get ahead of the story. He’s tall, I thought he was about to
there. Keep going.
um, but we finished building out the rest of the floor. You know, I think
fourth really embraced us. But I think that was the same time that the whole
redevelopment of downtown was gaining steam and Sundance Square. Right. So and
I think, you know, soon after we opened I don’t know who was first then Dell
first goes open. So you had more places to dine and downtown other than the
first chef was greedy. Right? He was ready spears of local fame. And you’ve had
several shifts along the way. We’ll continue the story when the winds start
blowing here in a second.
We have and
you know, and but yeah, then march 28 of 2000. So almost 22 year just over 22
years ago. tornado came in through about 530 at night hit the restaurant hit
really all of Fort Worth right. Yeah. We were closed for 42 days but then
reopened Where were you in a hit? I actually was home is at that time. You
know, I graduated? I graduated TCU guys
and close down the friars when you get a chance.
I was I
graduated TCU and went to go work for a hedge fund. Right? And I thought it was
interesting and that was a great experience because you got to look at all
these different Are businesses Yeah, you know, I’m you’re pigeon holed into
one. And I looked at the radar on my computer and I either thought, well, I can
either go home or I can walk over to route and get something to eat. I just
don’t want my, the car to get paled on Yeah, I decided to go home. Yeah, and
turn on the TV. And I think NBC had a camera on the seven, seven main building
looking back towards the north, you saw all the stuff fly through the air,
those papers, there was like some government offices in that building and
America’s building got hit to mean so a
menus, couple riada menus swirling around though, we had
and people, you know, Chair sucked out of the restaurant that was interesting
when you when you looked at the destruction, the things that were the things
that stayed into the restaurant. And then there’s other things that you say,
you know, that just got kind of piled up in the center of a room. And then you
had other things that were tossed, you know, outside of the outside of the
restaurant. And God knows where they landed after the
you drive back downtown, I’m assuming and what’s the sequence of events, you
I couldn’t get to the restaurant because the thing that you don’t it and you
think about it now, and you knew about it the next day, is that there were so
many of the windows were were broken out. The issue was is that some of those
windows were continuing to fall, but they weren’t falling as little pieces.
They were falling, they were falling at you know, two foot by four foot pieces.
And when that happens, they don’t fall straight down because they’re catching
air now or they’re flying to the side like gliders. So um, so I mean, I ended
up did getting hold of the people the restaurant, they said everybody was okay.
I went to the hedge funds office, check to see if we had any damage there. The
dumb thing I did is I went home. I should have just gone and checked into the
check into a hotel, right? Because then the man get back down till like noon,
the next day this the police had downtown close to London in the next day,
which makes total sense. Yeah, I’m betting it on then, you know, I mean, Fort
Worth rebuilt. So we we rebuilt in 42 days, reopen the restaurant, but then had
to leave the building in January of oh, one. So that’s really when we started
and we call the re out on the road. But that was really our catering division.
And that was just to try to keep as many of our employees working until we
found a new location.
think that that damage from the tornado brought you closer into the restaurant
operations? Like I mean, you were working at the hedge fund but or was it just
that was just kind of a insignificant thing?
I don’t know that it’s insignificant, but I mean, but I think I really didn’t
get involved in restaurants till about 2005. Okay. Oh, yeah. Um, you know, I
was thinking like, you see something that your family like, in that disarray
like that you’re like, man, I’ve gotta, I gotta get involved in this. And I
just didn’t know if that happened. Yeah, a
bit. But I mean, I think one of the things that I think that we’re good at, you
know, we do we do have a manufacturing background. And I think a lot of people
I think that success, really successful restaurant tours aren’t always the most
creative person out there. It’s the good managers. Yeah, you know, guys that
build up a good team, you know, and that’s one thing over the years, we’ve been
really lucky to have a great team. Because, you know, even if you’re the best
chef in the world, you don’t want to be in the restaurant every day, right? But
you want people to get a great meal. And the only way you can do that is by
teaching and growing your staff. So that when you’re not there, things are
tending to go and really that’s kind of what we have today. Yeah, no, um, you
know, I can do a lot of things to help promote the restaurant in support the
community, and I don’t have to worry about the people’s experiences at the
restaurant, because we’ve got such a good team. You had a great job.
When was that when how far after the tornado and reopening? Did you move to the
closed in January of a one reopen in our current location in May of 2000 to
2002 Okay, so but in January 2002 was the first year that we actually opened
Riyadh at the rodeo. So that was a that was when we kind of did our partnership
with the Stock Show. We had the front room right there custom the exhibit
halls, then expanded to two rooms. And then we took over the backstage club in
the Stock Show wanted Mexicans So originally we were actually trying to get
them involved with some other local local Mexican restaurants. And that didn’t
work out so when we ended up opening up kind of a little night Mexican concept
of those three weeks, but a really special time of the year for me, you know, I’ve
kind of got shy personality. But you know, at the rodeo you meet so many people
Yeah, it’s kind of drugged me out of that and made me a better person.
backstage clubs been a staple for many people for a long time. That was such a
such a neat deal you put together so that’s that’s got to be a big part of your
life when that happens because you’re always around you’re always doing
and you know things have changed with Dickies arena, you know obviously, but
that being said Dickies arena has been a huge positive for for you know, um,
you know, before you know, you say well, yeah, we lost some we might have lost
some sales during those three weeks of the Stock Show. But all these other
concerts that Dickies is bringing to Fort Worth. They tend to be pretty early
concerts, which brings that our restaurants filling up at 530 at night, which
is not normal. Yeah. So we get a whole early turn that we wouldn’t normally
get. Yeah. And we’re not the only ones. I mean, you know, good friends, Adam
Jones over grace, you talk to him.
got he just got engaged. I
think he’s just getting married, just got
Italian restaurant now opening up right across from Burnett.
of these restaurants do take banking. And let’s not forget about our sponsor,
Cap Tex bank has just started little mids show, like shout out there and
locally owned as well. And so on the local front, you’ve been a real champion
like we had been al on the phone or on the show. And I think the between the
two you guys, you’re like the go to for the restaurant tours. I mean, I would
think that I can’t believe there’s not a more formal organization that’s been
like put together but I think of you two as really fighting for the local guy,
and keep in the forefront of the kind of restaurant scene here.
true? It is but I mean, I think we did start the fourth Food Wine Festival.
Okay, that’s going on right now. Yeah, yeah. So I mean, last night was tacos
and tequila. Tonight you’ve got the main event and night bites. Yeah, you know,
Saturday you got the culinary corral and burgers brews and blues. Sunday you
got Ring of Fire. You know, that was something that that I helped start with
Rosa Kirkpatrick, our manager but then a whole other group of restaurant who is
here in fourth, including Richard King, who’s really good friends with John
Bunnell. We had a in what, what we all realized is a lot of us would go out to
the buffalo gap Food Wine Festival. And if you guys don’t know where buffalo
gap is, it’s about 30 miles south of Abilene, you know, I got some
jerky from out there or some some prime. Isn’t there like a beef place? Oh,
ranch. Yeah. Is that by there? Yeah. Well, that’s where it’s at. Okay, so we’re
located at? Um,
want to talk more about that? Take that.
knew JW looked at me like, What is he talking about? But there was some
legitimacy to that. Okay, keep going.
we would, we would always participate in the in the Buffalo gap Food Wine
Festival. And half the restaurants are from DFW. And it’s like, this is working
in Buffalo gap, Texas. Why aren’t we doing in here in Fort Worth? Yeah. And you
know, there are a lot of food and wine festivals that are really that are
caught started and created by a promoter. Right. And the promoter is in there
to make money. Right? We started the for Food and Wine Festival not to make
money. But it’s really to put a spotlight on Fort Worth. Yeah. And I think by
doing that, that is even brought the whole restaurant community closer
people show up for the Food and Wine Festival? Big deal. It’s
you’re you’re probably selling around 5000 tickets, that’s fine. Some people
might be going to the same event multiple times.
people from out of town to come in, you know, and it’s and I’m not involved.
like I used to be it used to be, we would have people you know, or buying
tickets, you could look at what their zip code is on their credit cards. We get
from like, 20 or 30 different states. Yeah. A couple different countries. Yeah.
So yeah, so bring people in Fort Worth generating hotel motel tax dollars
share, which is very important. That’s kind of our new convention visit Fort
Worth our Convention and Visitor’s Bureau runs off of
audience typically generates a lot of that income to the hotel motel tax,
So um, continue. No, no. So um, but you know, but I think different than a lot
of other festivals, some of these big name chefs, you know, the new mayor
Batali, right? He might come to the festival, but you have to pay him to come
right. And you have to pay him. And this is off top my head if you have to pay
him $20,000 or $30,000. He’s gonna take that $20,000 and maybe go back to New
York with it. Yeah, we want to leave, we want to leave money in Fort Worth,
right. So we’ve not gone that route really focused on promoting our Fort Worth
restaurants and bars and different products.
really good at it, Mike and people respect you for that. That’s one of the cool
things you put together. So great job. Speaking of chefs, can you run us
through besides the original, some of the chefs that you’ve employed over the
years and have gone on to do some big things?
obviously, I mean, Tim LA has done great things, you know, I mean, and
everything that he’s done, he’s worked for us, Brian, all and Jack has gone on.
Juan Rodriguez Magdelena has, you know, I’m assuming still a good friend. God,
this is gonna put me on because I know I’m gonna miss some. So we’ve had
had? Were you at the restaurant when when those guys were there? Was that more
under your dad’s? Or do you have like a GM? Like, I mean, was there somebody
that saw like, these guys are talented, they could see them kind of beyond the
pack. You know, as far as the the chef goes, like,
everybody’s talented. Yeah. I mean, you know, I mean, I think if you you can
always look back and say, well, this person might have had maybe a stronger
business wise and this other person, but I think we’ve always been lucky to
have really talented chefs. But for us, I think for us, it’s more important to
promote the Briana brand. Mm hmm. You know, where a lot of these chefs, they
want to build equity in their name. Yeah. Right. So at some point, you know,
they might want to go off and do their own thing. And that’s okay. Yeah, you
know, they did a great job for us while they were here. And now they’re moving
to the next step of their life. Yeah, though.
you’ve been in the current place for 20 years doing amazing stuff. You’ve shown
many, many, many Eat 1000s hundreds of 1000s of meals a day, there’s a
situation brewing. You were in the news here recently, a couple days ago to
discuss to discuss this issue. We wanted to bring it up to you. Please tell us
what you can there’s a Sundance Square situation going on. And please share
with us the news that you that you did a press conference on, if you whatever
you can tell.
we just we kind of asked for renewal, we’ve not gotten it. So you know, we’ve
got to move forward. You know, our lease is up on June 30, of 2024, which
it’s a far away out. But in restaurant business, you have to play that far
ahead. Well, and I think
I think we have to look at it for a new location. That might be a greenfield
type develop, you know, creamy, Greenfield thing, we might have to build something
right, that’s gonna take a long time. The other thing that you have to remember
is right now we do a ton of like wedding rehearsal rehearsals and that kind of
deal. All those are booked a year out. Yeah, if not more, yeah, right. So so
we’ve got to really be planning that far ahead. Because for the most important
thing is we want to make sure we take care of our customers,
parking, one of the issues you’re dealing with, led to this decision, if you
mind me asking I you
parking is an important part, but it’s really about the total guest experience,
okay? And everything’s got to be thought in there, you know, all those things
have to be taken, you seldom
somebody who comes from out of town, who is paying that hotel, that hot tax,
you know, the hotel occupancy, tax, giving, and providing, you know, income to
this community, who doesn’t go to riada, like the the, you talk to anybody who
goes downtown, and they’re from out of town, they’re at riada, they they’re ate
lunch there, or they’re going to eat dinner there or something along those
lines. And that’s
point, you know, we’ve got a great relationship with our visit Fort Worth, you
know, we’ve got a great relationship with downtown Fort Worth thing. You know,
I think some of the things that you get at being in downtown, is your walking
distance from the hotels. Yeah, you know, yeah, you get moved out outside of
downtown, they don’t see that same impact of a convention, like all the
restaurants in downtown do, I think we’re gonna have to take that into account.
You know, there’s a lot of exciting things happening in downtown, not TCU
related. But you know, Texas a&m, announced their expansion, which I think
is gonna be great for downtown and great selling for that southeast side of
downtown. And then you know, there’s the convention center expansion that’s on
the table. And then you know, hopefully another down another big hotel to help
service that expanded convention center.
to complete the thought real quick on the move is there and people were asking
this, this is why we have to you please take it anywhere you want. But is there
any contention which are you in the in the lessor? Is there is the is the
feeling of mutual feeling? Like they’re like, it’s time for you guys to go? Are
they? Are they unhappy that you’re made this decision? You
really can’t speak for what Sundance is thinking? You know, I think for us, we
just got to figure out what the best thing is for Rihanna, and for our guests
going forward? Well,
you’ve made that decision. Did you have to make that decision wants when it
came from the tornado from the bank, one building and the tornado? I mean, you
all decided you, you had the ability to move right? And you said, We’re gonna
stay downtown? Or, or was that kind of when you first moved that location?
know, so I’ll be honest, I don’t I wasn’t. I looked at Reatta before we signed
the lease or the current location before we sign the lease. Yeah. But I wasn’t
involved in the day to day operations at a time I was actually up in Chicago,
at a at another manufacturing company that we were at. So I wasn’t I wasn’t day
to day riada when those decisions were being made downtown. But I do think
that, you know, that’s where our customer base is. Now now, especially at like
lunchtime. And the convention traffic, you know, you only get that downtown.
Yep. Right. Now, the hard thing, I think with Reatta. Moving is we are so much
of a destination restaurant. You know, there’s a lot of ways that you can a lot
of new analytic tools that you can look and see where your customers are coming
from. And you can say, Yeah, we have a lot of customers that are coming from
Southwest Fort Worth and that kind of deal. But then we have a lot of customers
that are coming from Dallas and right, great, fine, Arlington. Mansfield
Weatherford. Yeah, no. So it’s not like, oh, it makes sense for this or it, you
know, some of those, and I’m not in the real estate business. But you know, the
one mile circle and the three miles or the five mile circle, you know, we
probably have a lot more customers coming from outside of five miles than we do
inside. Yeah, five miles.
of the cool things you did on social media, as you asked the general public,
for people or people in general, some for ideas on the restaurant location and
where that might be? I know, we’re probably early in asking this because you
just released this, but have you had any funny suggestions that you can share?
had some to be honest with you, I’ve not spent a ton of time looking at it. We
probably have over 400 people sending us messages either through Facebook and
Instagram where we where we stream some of it, but then also locations that
riada dotnet that’s where we asked people to go to we had over 400 emails
already Yeah, on that site. And everybody gave me ideas but I mean, some people
are very specific and what they want. They want a beautiful outdoor patios with
a with a sunset deck that’s overlooking this, you know, it’s gonna be hard to
hit every one of these metrics for this person. But but we
some plans, some architecture plans we’d like to share with you now.
see an idea in your list. It’s the it’s the space next door to us. And that
same floor. Yeah. Pay careful attention to that now. Yeah, that’s a good one.
a rooftop for me.
figure that out. Yeah. So maybe later. But speaking of the traffic, we talked
about the traffic earlier, and some of the issues with traffic downtown, and
the valet parking is an issue. But something happened to you a few years ago
that I was I was very privy to, because I saw you the few days after, but tell
us about the day you were hit by a car.
it was October 16 of 2016. I was walking on Throckmorton Street. And I was with
three of my other people that I work with. And we were we were doing like we
should do we were waiting for a little walk signal, right? And we’re all
standing there on the corner waiting in a car was going the wrong way on
of the week was this? Do you remember? Was it it wasn’t a Saturday? Car? How
you remember it was it was Tuesday or Wednesday? We have to go back on like
Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. And yes, the car is going wrong way and talk
more Street runs a red light. But you know, lights are only set up for people
going the right way. They’re not really set up for people going the wrong way.
So that person runs to the Yeah, hits the hits another car, and then that car
hits me in the corner. So I’m
looking at the traffic this way. And so that happened over here. Is that why
that? And I
really what was happening is we were periods we were there were four of us.
Right? And we were waiting on the light. We were all talking to each other.
Yeah. So the first first instant, you know, there’s a problem is when you hear
the cars hit, and you look and you know, Kathy snotty a longtime employee of
ours, my dad’s, you know, who’s literally known me my whole life, he was
standing next to me. And, and literally, you know, cars coming toward me and
me, I I don’t think I make it like a half a step get hit, kind of get thrown
upside down. I think my head maybe breaks the window at the Fort Worth club.
kidding. We’re sharing the video as we speak. So I’ll see what you’re talking.
I land between the car and the Fort Worth club building. So um, and then
I mean, I a little bloody. They said, I never went unconscious. And it’s good
to be honest with you. The first thing that I remember after it was, you know,
our general manager Russell was sitting over me, and I looked at him I said,
Hey, you know, I’m trying to get up my arm doesn’t really work. And he she was
like, don’t move. Yeah. But I think he did a great job. And then obviously, you
know, Fort Worth fire department gets there, they take care of me. You know, I
mean, I’m, I think I remember sitting up in the ambulance gota Harris. You
know, initially I had a brain bleed. So that was the thing that they were most
worried about. So I was going to CT scan every six hours and then had a piece
broken off my humerus on my shoulder and then a crushed vertebrae my back. But
um, but in reality really, really lucky, you know, on the brain bleed stop
without without having to do anything. So that was good. It’s been a couple
days in Harrison, they took great care of me and, and, and then it was a month
wearing a back brace just to let the the crushed vertebrae heal. And the piece
broken off my humerus. It was separated by about a centimeter. But it wasn’t.
But it was in the right spot. Yeah, so they were like, just if we just leave it
it’ll hopefully grow back together which it did.
That’s the crazy part about it. The reason I asked you earlier what day the
week I saw you the Saturday of that week after the accident at the TCU game
with the back price you were hit. You had a back brace on so you walk kind of
hobbling down the road. We’re like because we all knew the story. We’re like,
There’s Mike McCalla. That’s a fan for years that this is the shows the
greatest inside of you. Mikey, you can’t sit down can’t sit still very long.
You were hoping that Oh,
Yeah, I obviously I was following the the doctor’s directions. And they
basically the one thing they told me not to do is they said if it snows and
gets icy outside don’t go outside. You know, he was he was like, they didn’t
have me probably shooting a shotgun. Right? Yeah, it’s hitting here. Right?
Yeah. But the fear was, is if you fell and you landed on the side of your arm,
like you do, like an icy Street, and then you you might have to do surgery
where that piece broke off the humerus? Yeah, you
just fine. You’re normal. Do you have chronic pain?
think I have any chronic pains. fantast. So
is there a day in the history of Reatta. Tornado aside you can designate is one
of the crazier days you’ve ever experienced in the restaurant, something that
stands out any wacky stuff that happened
know, there’s always some rocky stuff. I think sometimes what you’re sometimes
you’re more impressed with is, you know, just the pure number of people that
you take care of today. I mean, you know, when you have when you do over 1000
people, yeah, you know, even a couple of weeks ago coming out of the pandemic,
you know, staffing still really tough. But we did the park City’s quail banquet
over Dallas, which is a big catering event. It was at the SMU Fieldhouse, but
it was you know, 13 130 people and so and you know, the team did a great job.
You know, they nailed the cooking, the steaks, medium rare, something that is
really exciting. And God, I think at the same time, the live auction there at
the park City’s Quill, there is 1,000,006 Though it’s, you know, yeah, awesome
for a good charity that that really is, you know, they’re funding the Rolling
Plains Research ranch for quail management out by Abilene or, you know, by
Sweetwater, but they’re also giving money to the borderlines Research
Institute, which is a little Wildlife Institute that their sole Ross right. So
it’s actually, you know, stuff that we’re doing in Fort Worth, and help you out
in Fort Worth, that money is trickling its way all the way back out to Alpine,
kind of where you came from. Yeah, so on that, and the craziest kind of day of
your life, what we always kind of finish off with this is, you know, family
aside, what was the best what’s been one of the best days of your life would be
really, really tough. You know, and, you know, and because it’s something that
I don’t think about a whole lot, you know, um, and, you know, I can’t go saying
the day I got married, you know, which I’m sure a lot of people have, yeah, I’m
not there yet still looking. Um, you know, I think at some of the success that
we’ve had the rodeo, because for me, that’s brought me so close to people in
Fort Worth, you know, and you know, and you get through the end of the rodeo,
and that last day of the rodeo, and just kind of a relief, because at the
beginning, the rodeo was so nervous, because you want to make sure you do a
good job. Yeah, because if you don’t do a good job, you’re gonna hear about it,
one from people that are upset, but then you’ve got so many friends that are
there, too, they’re going to give you a hard time, you know, and you don’t want
to give them any any ammunition. But you’ll get to that last day of the rodeo
and in you see all your friends, and that’s the Dale the sale of champions day,
and you see your animal sell for, you know, 150 or 200 or $300,000. And you see
how it changes the lives of those kids. Even this last year, you know, the kid
that won the grand champion on Friday, I got a call and say, hey, the kid that
won the kid that won the grand championship, they want to they want to get a
reservation for 50 people. Wow. And I was like, I can’t help you. But you know
what I did help them do? I got him a table a 50 Capitol grill. Yeah, but I
think that goes back and shows how tight of a community that we are. Yeah, you
know, then I’ve got you know, a, you know, a friend that I’ve met through the Stock
Show, you know, that’s, you know, from Far West Texas, you know, and he’s
connecting me with his family, and we’re taking care of them.
everybody’s excited about the potential move the for sure move where it might
happen, how it’s gonna happen. What else is in store? What else in store in the
future for Mike McAuliffe?
I think that’s the biggest thing right now. I mean, obviously pick because when
you have a restaurant that takes care of 250,000 people a year, that’s a big
thing. We need to make sure we make a big decision. The right decision. Yeah.
And we’re coming out of an environment with COVID. You know, I don’t think
people are gonna go into the office five days a week from eight to five, like
they have in the past. Yeah, right. Yeah. So it’s not quite as easy of a
calculation as it has been in the past. Also, if you look over, like the last
10 years, we’ve got other districts in Fort Worth, that you probably wouldn’t
have considered 10 years ago that you have to consider now, you know, I mean,
your offices are over here and clear fork. Right. Incredible area, right. I
mean, look at all the changes that we’ve seen in the south side, you know, same
thing, right. And then, you know, we’ve just seen the opening of the drover,
mule alley, which has kind of changed the change that whole environment down
way he’s just teasing all of these possible locations, but not giving any
preference to tag them all and
you guys need more sponsors. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You just have one bank,
you know, you got a whole lot more spots to fill
Hey, thanks a ton for being here. Mike. We
appreciate it. Thanks for everything. Thank you.
you guys. Did you get the questions? I gotta get rid of that.