WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW HIM:
Because along with his business partner, oil tycoon Tim Headington, 40-year-old Tristan Simon is changing the way we eat and drink in North Texas. Since 1998, Simon’s company has provided a stiff backbone for down-on-their-luck neighborhoods in need of revitalization. Sense and Cuba Libre, Consilient’s first two restaurant undertakings, breathed life back into Dallas’ Henderson Avenue, for example. Foot traffic in the area today is robust.
Now, years of planning have led the wunderkind to execute a series of restaurant openings in the heart of Dallas. CBD Provisions debuted late last year adjacent to The Joule Hotel. A subterranean cocktail bar soon will go underneath it, and a fine-dining spot led by Chef Greg Bussey is planned for inside The Joule. “These are amazing times at Consilient,” Simon says. “Where we are is special, and we’ve got a lot of talent, creativity, passion, and drive in our community right now.”
Consilient currently has seven restaurant concepts under its belt, and 11 eateries in all. Dining savants who’ve stepped inside Hibiscus, Victor Tangos, The Porch, Fireside Pies, and the brand-new AF+B in Fort Worth can probably recognize their commonalities. Credit for their flawless service and impeccable, minimalist décor belongs to Simon, who graciously says that none of it would have been possible without Headington, Consilient’s other owner.
A graduate of Duke University from a working-class family, Simon essentially jumped from college to a managing partner post at Cool River Café in Las Colinas, with no previous restaurant experience. He had spent most of his childhood in Norfolk, Va., building tree houses and tinkering with BMX bikes. That background, he believes, helps him make “place-making” a special art. But he also credits the people of Dallas. “The city is not just growing in size, it’s evolving in sensibility and sophistication,” Simon says. “I think it’s challenging those of us who are playing a prominent role in moving the city’s dining culture forward to stay in front of that. And that’s exciting. It’s how a city grows up.”