On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Dish Society founder and CEO Aaron Lyons joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the current state of his growing restaurant. Since Lyons' previous appearance on the show in 2017, Dish Society has added locations in The Heights and Finn Hall; the restaurant recently announced it will open its sixth location in the Southside Commons mixed-use development.
Lyons catches Sandler up on all of those developments, as well as the steps that Dish Society is taking in response to changing trends in the restaurant business. For example, delivery has become such a major component of the restaurant's sales that Lyons says he's exploring up the possibility of opening up delivery-only "ghost kitchens" that would expand the company's reach across the city. Similarly, he also discusses plans to expand to Austin and Dallas.
The conversation turns to Finn Hall. Only open a year, the food hall has already replaced its pizza vendor and bid farewell to acclaimed Chinese restaurant Mala Sichuan. In addition, real estate development firm Midway quietly assumed control over the hall's operations at the beginning of November. Sandler asks Lyons' about his company's experiences operating at the location.
"It's been great for us . . . exceeded expecations from a financial perspective. We've doubled our projections," Lyons says. "We went in there thinking this will be an experiment, probably won't make any money, but it will be a brand builder downtown . . . It's just so wildly popular, huge demand for what we do down there. A lot of the other operators in the space same thing."
Listen to the full interiew to hear Sandler propose an off-the-menu twist on the restaurant's chicken pot pie as well as Lyons' answers to the ligthning round.
Prior to the interview, Swanky Maven blogger Felice Sloan joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: the sudden closure of Midtown seafood restaurant Reef; Food & Wine naming Cleburne as the best cafeteria in America; and Sing closing in The Heights.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Sandler and Sloan discuss their recent meals at Rosalie Italian Soul and Candente.