Before Emigdio Raymundo was in the restaurant business, he owned and managed a furniture warehouse?in the very building that now houses Louisiana Street Grill. Raymundo's knowledge and love of furniture now adds to his restaurant's ambiance, from his hand-carved cedar-wood bar to the rest of his hand-built furniture. But he also loves food, and that's clear as well: the daily baked house bread comes from his original recipe, for starters. Other made-from-scratch food includes wood-fired steaks and seafood, complemented with hand-crafted cocktails, beer, and that "ahhhhh" sound made when sinking into one of the comfortable chairs here.
Starting in 1982 and for years after that, the original owner of The Pantry Restaurant, Sherri Mraz, treated droves of loyal customers to hearty homestyle dishes pulled from her grandmother's favorite recipes. The food, which included classic American eats such as chicken-fried steak, patty-melt burgers, and pecan and apple pies, was so treasured that current owners Tom and Cleo Meredith continue to serve it.
When Sherri first opened it, The Pantry Restaurant was located on South Tennessee Street in historic downtown McKinney. Now, it's located in the confines of the historic Hope Hardware building, built in 1898.
The building's original brick walls and hardwood floors make the perfect backdrop for guests sipping soda-fountain milkshakes or learning old-timey cusswords such as "horse's pompadour" or "pickled peaches." The historic building also serves as a charming wedding venue, with food catered by The Pantry Restaurant.
Like a surname, a collection of family recipes often gets passed from one generation to the next. That's certainly the case at Brother's Pizza, which not only has a familial reference in its name, but its chefs also rely on third-generation recipes to make their authentic Italian dishes. One main draw is the restaurant's New York-style pizza, famous for its thin crust and ability to hail any cab when flung at the windshield. In 2013, it was ranked #1 in a local pizza crawl. Brother's diners can fill up on many pizza combinations inspired by the Big Apple, or on more than 10 other gourmet pizzas. Pastas with chicken and seafood are also hits here, and a BYOB policy makes it easy to sip a favorite drink with dinner.
Past flickering lanterns and an outdoor patio, heavy wooden rafters and a crackling fireplace give Churchill’s British Restaurant & Pub a downright Dickensian feel. From behind the wooden bar, bartenders sling an impressive collection of drinks, including 13 specialty cocktails, nine beers on tap, and 20 kinds of scotch. Complementing the suds and sips are classic British pub offerings such as bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie, alongside American eats, including meatloaf and chicken tenders that have declared their independence from the rest of the bird. Underneath hanging beer steins and a massive Union Jack, guests can lounge on leather sofas or pleasantly worn wooden chairs as soccer matches flicker on TV screens. When there’s not a match on, pub-goers can play darts or pool in the game room, listen to live rock and bagpipe music, or play trivia on Wednesday nights.
On the Gather McKinney website, mother-daughter pair Jennifer Klassen and Crystal Bryant claim to "know no strangers." That's because everyone who steps into Gather McKinney—the pair's event venue—becomes part of the celebration. The space has hosted weddings, receptions, and showers, all with the help of a trained staff that plans as many or as few details as the client needs. They can handle everything from the ceremony to the seating arrangements, or simply find the right flowers to suit a color scheme. Outside of matrimony, Gather McKinney uses almost any excuse to throw a party, including corporate networking meetings, bar mitzvahs, and festivities for traditional and obscure holidays alike.
Though the space's decor can be customized, Gather most often features a mix of rustic and Victorian aesthetics. Inside, an exposed brick wall meets an embossed tin ceiling, which glitters with Swarovski crystal chandeliers. Plants sprout from Roman-style urns or sport Christmas lights. Even the smallest touches demand hands-on attention, such as the twine wrapped around the silverware sets.
The silverware is far more than a decoration, however. Guests make good use of their forks for each meal, when Mexican, Italian, or down-home dinner entrees grace the tables. Gather also serves homemade lunch every Thursday through Saturday, where the sandwich selection includes a pastrami reuben and the Monte Crispo—turkey breast and gouda cheese between jalapeño cornbread, dipped in egg batter and flash-fried. On Sundays, there's a BYOB brunch buffet with a scrambled-egg bar and pecan french-toast casserole.