No one can deny Houston's enthusiasm for the arrival of The Rustic. Opening next week next to the George R. Brown Convention Center, the bar, restaurant, and live music venue has been a hit in both Dallas and San Antonio.
Part of the credit for The Rustic’s success belongs to co-owner Pat Green. The Texas country music singer partnered with FreeRange Concepts owners Kyle Noonan and Josh Sepkowitz to open the first location in 2013.
Green tells CultureMap that a mutual friend of his connected him with Noonan and Sepkowitz. “They needed a little, for lack of a better word, local celebrity to make their position look a little better to the guys who were selling the property,” Green says. “This one seemed like a no-brainer when I saw the dirt: 75th and Lemon, one of the fastest-growing areas in Dallas.”
His instincts have proven to be correct. The Rustic ranks among the highest-grossing bars in Texas by liquor sales. Asked about the secret to all that success, Green doesn’t hesitate.
“It’s really good food,” he says. “It makes me feel proud. I look at the menu and think I wouldn’t have thought of that. It’s what these guys are good at is creating a nice place. If you want to have food and some drinks, it’s your place.”
He cites the Texas quail with jalapeño spoon bread as one of his favorite dishes. “The burger is too much for me to eat even though I’m a big man,” he adds.
Green will throw down for the invite-only grand opening party on November 1. Expect to see him on The Rustic’s stage at least a couple times a year going forward. Yes, he’ll play all the hits. As he says, “I know if I don’t play these same 18 songs, I’m gonna get a strongly worded email.”
For a certain generation of Texans, those 18 songs conjure lots of memories. Green says now he meets not only those people who discovered his music in the '90s; their children have become his fans, too. “I feel the power of it. More now than I did when I was a younger man.”
Meanwhile, he’s in the studio working on new music. Green says he recorded some new songs last week and likes the direction he’s going.
“It feels real Americana to me. Not a lot of siss boom bah,” he says. “I don’t know what’s coming cause we have eight more songs to cut. It could be loud. I don’t know.”
For now, his fans have The Rustic to look forward to. Green knows he’s part of something significant.
“I’m just so proud to be a part of it,” he says. "I got involved in it cause a buddy of mine called me and said, “hey do you want to be a part of something cool?’ It’s special to me. This invite has turned out to be something special.”