Located in the historic Grand Hotel in downtown McKinney, Rick’s is easily the most handsome restaurant in this charming Collin County suburb: mahogany walls, gas lanterns, deep leather booths, restored pressed-tin ceiling, and a towering cut-limestone wall that dates back to 1885. It’s a fun and friendly place, too. Owner Rick Wells glad-hands the casually chic crowd, and it seems like everybody’s on a first-name basis. “Look out, I’m tailgating you!” squeals a patron as she squeezes by Wells and gives him a playful slap on the butt. The owner winks at our table and asks us, “But really? How are those fried green tomatoes?” Honestly? Nice and firm with a well-seasoned crust—one of my favorite bites of the night. Alas, I didn’t care for the surprisingly bland skewered tenderloin slices that rested atop the tasty tomatoes. And that’s what disappointed about Rick’s: great ideas, spotty execution. That’s not to say that the meal didn’t have its high points. An appetizer of chile-glazed quail with honeyed pears and a fried quail egg was clever and a perfect mélange of spicy and sweet. The Carpetbagger filet was a generous, buttery cut of beef stuffed with a fried jumbo shrimp and topped with a kicky Creole mustard hollandaise. But blackened tuna—though a perfect scarlet rare—was shockingly dull, as was the mole-rubbed sirloin. Drowning the hapless steak in a heavy-handed poblano blue cheese sauce didn’t help. Portions are generous, so you don’t need to order side dishes. But you won’t want to miss the monstrous onion rings and Cajun mac and cheese. In fact, order an extra side and skip dessert. Both the bread pudding and toasted coconut banana cream pie disappointed. Yet despite its flaws, I like Rick’s. The menu is intriguing and the atmosphere so jovial that I wouldn’t hesitate to return. Credit Wells for fashioning a stylish joint with occasionally stellar food. A playful pat on the butt doesn’t hurt either.