With mismatched chairs and red Solo cups, Tom Sacco wants Bo’s Steak & Grill in Lindale to feel like a backyard gathering with friends and family.
Bo’s is a “fresh-casual” restaurant, putting a spin on the growing fast-casual concept, and is the first of its kind. It is part of Plano-based Homestyle Dining LLC.
Sacco, 60, chief executive officer of Homestyle Dining, said they started renovating the 4,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Juanita’s in Lindale, and added a patio in January. They hired 60 employees, and after a weekend of soft openings, held a ribbon-cutting and opened the doors to the public Tuesday.
Judy Crews, past president of the Lindale Chamber of Commerce, was the first in line Tuesday but already had eaten Bo’s food twice. She was one of 14 residents invited to Bo’s test kitchen in Plano and checked out the restaurant Sunday during a soft opening. She went back Tuesday because of the wonderful, reasonably priced food, she said, adding that she was excited the restaurant came to Lindale.
When they were finalizing the menu for Bo’s, Sacco said they invited people from Lindale to try some of the dishes. They changed a few of their recipes from the feedback. He said the response from the community has been “unbelievable.”
Before the restaurant’s grand opening, employees gathered around to sing Toby Keith’s song, “Red Solo Cup.” Sacco said it is their birthday song. The restaurant serves beverages in red Solo cups and sauces in mini versions.
“It’s all about fun and community and social engagement,” he said. “When you come in here, it’s like going to somebody’s backyard barbecue on a Saturday.”
Mismatched chairs and couches are littered throughout the restaurant to project that feel and the names of country singers sit on each table instead of numbers, including locals Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves.
“We’re breaking every other mold so why not break that mold,” Sacco said.
The menu consists of familiar items everyone has grown up with, but with a culinary twist, he said. For example, deviled eggs are turned into gourmet delicacies, he said. They also have candied bacon, rolled with Cajun spices and coated with brown sugar.
Ms. Crews’ favorite thing is the candied bacon, which she called “to die for.”
Bo’s also offers bison burgers and meatballs, Shiner Bock beer can chicken — which Sacco said might be the best item on the menu — chicken fried steaks, ribeyes, sirloins and flat-iron steaks. They have five signature salads and a salad bar, as well as bacon-wrapped hot dogs, ribs and brisket.
Sacco has been in the restaurant business since he was 13, worked for Homestyle Dining in the late ’80s and returned in 2012 to help grow the new concept, he said.
Stewart Subotnick, 72, is chief executive officer, president and owner of New York-based Metro Media Inc., a diversified company that owns Hometsyle Dining, as well as television, radio, cellular, fiber optics and outdoor businesses. Subotnick has been with the company since 1967 and said Metro Media got into the restaurant field in the late 1980s, when it acquired Ponderosa and Bonanza steakhouses. Subotnick said, they decided to try something new and came up with Bo’s.
At Bo’s, produce comes from the Lindale farmer’s market, and breads are made locally by Brookshire Grocery Co.
While they are not fast food, they are “not a stuffy steakhouse from my generation,” Subotnick said. “No one is doing anything like this in the country, with respect to steaks.”
Subotnick said they want Bo’s to be a very comfortable place, “almost like you were home with family and friends.”
Guests order at the counter but receive full-service at their table.
Sacco said there’s “nothing ostentatious. It’s not a white tablecloth place, but we take our food really seriously.”
Bo represents someone from a small town.
“This is a friendly, homely place and Bo is inviting you in to have a really good meal at a reasonable price,” he said.
Within the next five years, Subotnick wants to open 250 Bo’s restaurants in Texas and other states. He said they want to open them in smaller communities with growing economies like Lindale.
They spent several years trying to figure out where to open the first restaurant. They looked for a place with a nice population and a lot of traffic, but a smaller community that didn’t have a restaurant like it. Subotnick wants Bo’s to be Texas based and open more restaurants in the state, but franchisees in Maryland and Chicago are already showing interest.
Sacco said they have franchisees coming in from other states to get a look at Bo’s, including the founder of Applebee’s and a local franchisee of IHOP. He said there will be corporately owned Bo’s restaurants, as well as franchises.
Sacco said they could open more Bo’s in communities surrounding Tyler, such as Whitehouse, and could have 25 to 30 in East Texas, down to the Gulf Coast.
Bo’s Steak & Grill: 3405 S. Main St. in Lindale
Hours: 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:45 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday (with a brunch until 3 p.m.)