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Tex Tapas seeks novelty through culturally-inspired dishes

Tex Tapas seeks novelty through culturally-inspired dishes

Customers enjoy a variety of dishes at Tex Tapas which opened September 15 on Industrial St. The restaurant specializes in tapas but also offers a variety of dishes. Sanchez Murray | Staff Photographer

Tex Tapas seeks novelty through culturally-inspired dishes
June 24
12:46 2016

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighbywater

Chef Cassie Parrish listens as the next few orders are called up. As she pays attention, she drips apple Dijon maple syrup meticulously over a hot pork chop and cheddar-pecan-bacon waffle.

The restaurant is as busy as it usually is at lunchtime. Instead of focusing only on the food, Parrish briefly leaves the kitchen, trusting the other chefs until she gets back.

She checks on the servers to make sure their days are going well. She shakes the hands of their customers, thanking them for coming and asking how the food tastes. She checks behind the bar to make sure the bartenders are stocked up on everything they need.

Not only is Parrish the executive chef at Tex Tapas, she is also the general manager. She strives to bring people in Denton together through diverse food, even if it means her workdays last more than 12 hours a shift.

“We want to bring a more diversified array of food to Denton,” Parrish said. “We want to bring more to the city than just burgers or sides. And the base of that starts with what this restaurant was based around: tapas.”

Tapas are small plates of food that originated in Spain. Normally, people would hop bar to bar and try different tapas with whatever they were drinking. Usually, a group would order multiple plates and share among each other.

When Tex Tapas on Industrial Street opened in September 2015, the restaurant started out solely as a tapas restaurant. While they decided to expand their menu to bigger plate options this past March, Parrish wants people to be drawn in by the classic food options. Morgan Hull, the owner of Tex Tapas, had always wanted to open up some sort of tapas restaurant in Denton because he saw a need for one.

“What is important to us is that people can get exactly what they want quickly but that they experience something new and different,” Parrish said.

Parrish said the expansion of their menu has not affected their desire to present Denton with something new and unique. While customers are still able to order from a collection of several tapas, Parrish dishes a variety of plates, including fish and chips and chicken potpie.

“I think some people just really like big, hearty meals and that is okay,” Parrish said. “We weren’t doing that before. Even though we changed that, we still wanted the essence of Tex Tapas to be the same. We wanted it to be an environment where people could come sit around, talk and just have a good time while eating great quality food, big or small.”

Dan’s Silver Leaf’s Dan Mojica has been a customer since the restaurant opened and knew about the idea of Tex Tapas before the restaurant opened. Mojica, whose business is just a few doors down, said Tex Tapas is more than just food, but a place to unwind.

“I’ve always loved the concept of eating just a number of small plates,” Mojica said. “My wife and I will just sit there for two or three hours with a bottle of wine and will just order when we feel like it. There’s no rush or no sense or urgency.”

Customers enjoy a variety of dishes inside a dim-lit country like Tex Tapas which opened September 15 on Industrial St. The restaurant specializes in tapas but also offers a variety of dishes. Sanchez Murray | Staff Photographer

Customers enjoy a variety of dishes inside a dim-lit country-like Tex Tapas which opened September 15 on Industrial St. The restaurant specializes in tapas but also offers a variety of dishes. Sanchez Murray | Staff Photographer

The atmosphere, which is inspired by the Ponder cattle ranch where the owner was raised, presents a classic Texan aesthetic. Yet while it is bright, vibrant and definitely Texas-inspired, Mojico said it also provides a soulful feel.

Head bartender Kasey Wilde has also made it clear that their bar is a niche breed like their food. Since people originally ate tapas at bars, Wilde has extended the nostalgia into her area of expertise. And though the drinks are important, Wilde said the experience is just as crucial.

“Guests that sit at the bar are more often than not coming to you for entertainment and friendship,” Wilde said. “You meet so many colorful personalities. You get to be a bit of a therapist at times when you see someone is a little down, or you get to hear about the best things going on in someone’s life because they’re there to celebrate.”

Though the food, drink and culturally rich atmosphere are what initially attract folks to their restaurant, Parrish’s goal is for Tex Tapas to be somewhere for all of Denton to converge and bond with the help of Wilde and all of her other coworkers.

The restaurant is less than a year old, yet Parrish is excited to watch how Tex Tapas matures in Denton. While they have strayed from what their original plan was, the staff at Tex Tapas is continually seeking more they can do to provide a different experience for those in a city with hundreds of different eateries.

“We strive to stay unique, just as Denton does,” Parrish said. “I think people are actually starting to understand what all it means to be a small, locally-owned restaurant. That’s where you get the diversity in life, and we are wanting to help provide that.”

Featured Image: Customers enjoy a variety of dishes at Tex Tapas which opened September 15 on Industrial St. The restaurant specializes in tapas but also offers a variety of dishes. Sanchez Murray | Staff Photographer

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