Earlier this month I sat down for a conversation with the CEO (Chief Experience Officer), Tanner Agar, for an inside peek at the new-ish Rye, the popular restaurant on the square that broke hearts upon closing its doors in January.
Here are 5 things you'll want to know about the revival of Rye:
1. New Service Style, Original Heart and Soul
The service style will be New American Small Plates - similar to tapas but each dish will be more of a complete meal than tapas. Expect to come and order a few dishes per person; sharing is encouraged! As far as the overall vibe, not much will change. Says Agar, "Everything [the previous owners] believed at their core as what they wanted Rye to be is fundamental to who we want to be".
Craft food, craft drink. A curated experience. High standards for level of service. Locally sourced when possible. Ever changing menu.
"We really love what Rye was", Agar explains. "We worked hard with [the previous owners] in this space for hours at a time trying to wrap our heads around Rye. And the service style will change and the people will change but we bought Rye for a reason. There's a reason you walked in today and it wasn't painted neon green and we're serving salads…"
2. New Executive Chef, Taylor Rause
Rause has uprooted his life and relocated from Raleigh, NC after being tapped to lead as the new executive chef at Rye, which is fitting considering Rause's culinary philosophy is that "food can transport you places". Of course he means something more figurative than a cross country move. For Rause and the entire team at Rye, a meal is about more than just our tastebuds. On top of amazing flavors they aspire for their dishes to invoke emotions, memories, connections.
For example, here is what Agar had to say about the tempting new Smores dessert on the menu, which consists of almond marshmallows, spiced graham crackers, and dark chocolate ganache. The kicker? It's served with a smoking ember. "Our goal is to take you immediately back into the woods or wherever it is that you used to have smores. Even if for 30 seconds the smell, taste, and little wisps of smoke can make you forget that you have to get home and let your babysitter off, and take you into the woods... back to a time when nothing else mattered but being away with the people you loved, eating smores... then we have achieved our goal".
3. Dessert and Cocktail Hour
McKinney will now have another after-dinner option on the square. After dinner they'll wipe down the tables, light some more candles, and invite people in for a late night dessert and cocktail hour. Picture a cozy, intimate late night setting to unwind with friends or a romantic date.
Speaking of cocktails... YES their craft cocktails will have the same inspiration as before: prohibition-era and modernist cocktails. House made syrups and infusions with fresh herbs. The bar staff has experience at Proper, which just won best cocktail bar in Fort Worth, as well as the James Beard house. So I'm expecting some exciting concoctions!
4. Limited reservations
I'm excited to report that Rye will now take reservations for all party sizes (previously it was only for parties of 6 or more). Note that they are operating under a limited reservation policy which basically means they will take a few reservations for each service, but will not book out the entire restaurant on reservations. The majority of the tables will be open for walk-in customers. So if you do want to get a reservation I'd suggest calling in advance!
5. July 4th preview party
Rye will open its doors on July 4th for a preview party from 11a-3p (or until they run out of food). They are not taking reservations for the preview party - first come, first served. Come preview the new menu and meet some key members of the team. Food, wine, beer, cocktails will be available for purchase.
Preview Party Menu items will include:
Japanese Elotes – Uni butter poached corn, togarashi, black sesame, Bonito flakes
Brussel Sprouts two ways
Pork Belly Lollipops
House made ice cream
*from the previous menu
Barrel Aged White Negroni
New York Sour – A whiskey sour with egg white and malbec
Fancy Free – An old fashioned variation with rye, maraschino liquor, and house bitters
rye. craft food & drink
111 W. Virginia Pkwy, McKinney
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