Trinity Groves Plans Construction Phase II, May Include an Additional Six New Restaurants

Phil Romano rules West Dallas' restaurant development, and he's got big plans for it.

Phil Romano, Butch McGregor, and Stuart Fitts made a big bet on West Dallas in 2005. Eight years later, it’s paying off. photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Phil Romano, Butch McGregor, and Stuart Fitts made a big bet on West Dallas in 2005. Eight years later, it’s paying off. photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Dallas’ Economic Development Committee met yesterday morning at Dallas City Hall, and Trinity Groves was on the agenda, specifically TIF (tax increment financing) reimbursements related to Phase II of the Trinity Groves project.

“They’ll be widening sidewalks and redeveloping two of the vacant buildings,” explained Karl Zavitkovsky, Director of Office of Economic Development for the City of Dallas.

Other plans for Phase II include creating an additional 20,000-26,000 square feet of mixed-use retail and restaurant venue space, improving sidewalks in the area, improving and adding landscaping to the area, and adding additional parking. For Trinity Groves, this means an additional six spaces for tenants, concepts to-be-determined, to go with the nine restaurants “coming soon,” such as Potato Flats, Didi’s Tamale Diner, Kate Weiser Chocolate, Off-Site Kitchen, Sushi Bayashi, Saint Rocco, and Cake Bar. The additional six spots would be housed in the two rehabilitated buildings. While the six additional tenants are not yet known, they will likely be restaurants.

While Romano didn’t comment on what, if any, ideas he had for non-culinary tenants at Trinity Groves, he did explain his vision for the area. “We are doing all the amenities first – the restaurants and entertainment. Then, we’ll put in more of a community–more people living there. So you’ve got the community, the amenities, and the city.”

With that, he says, the Trinity Corridor could be the next Central Park. “If you are a visionary, the Trinity Corridor is going to be like Central Park in New York, only four times bigger.”

The current goal, however, is to expand on Trinity Groves’ recent successes and create new, innovate restaurant ideas.

“With the incubator project at Trinity Groves, we are trying to create brands, things that haven’t existed before. I understand the size restaurants need to be to grow – I know the parameters. Millennials, I call them,” says Romano. “New people don’t want anything old. They want everything new. Who better to create new concepts for new people than new people? So we have young people come in – new young chefs – who have good ideas and are passionate and they control their own destiny.”

That process will continue with Phase II, with the hope of continued revitalization of the community and neighborhood. Construction on Phase II is set to begin in June 2014 and must be completed by June 2015 in order for Trinity Groves to receive any TIF reimbursements. And whoever is head of these six new restaurants better know there’s no guarantee the good life at Trinity Groves will last. They’ll have to follow Phil Romano’s rules.

“Now if you don’t do $1.5 in sales, you’re not profitable, and you don’t meet our profit matrix, you are out of there and we put somebody else in there. It’s like doing oil wells, it’s perpetual. If you hit a dry hole in an oil well, you have to move everything,” says Romano. “…So the entrepreneur is gone, we just put another driller in until we hit bingo. It goes on.”