Overall, the restaurant can seat more than 650 customers, both inside and outside. The venue is equipped with lawn games such as corn hole and giant Jenga, and the patios have fire tables and flat-screen televisions for group seating.
“There were no rooftop patio bars [in The Colony], but there were in downtown Dallas,” Plew says. “So the people here weren’t getting the same kind of experience. And so I was like, wow, if I could do a rooftop, two-story patio/restaurant/bar like it would be in an urban core and bring it to the suburbs, people would be thrilled about it because it’s not just a normal restaurant.”
The store is based in Grandscape, a gigantic mixed-use development owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The first outlet on the land was Nebraska Furniture Mart, which earned $1.3 billion in its first year, well beyond the previous $750 million projection. For perspective, Plew says regional shopping centers typically do anywhere from $500–$900 million. In other words, Buffet’s furniture store “makes IKEA look like, I wouldn’t say it’s 7-Eleven, but it makes it look like a small, small furniture store,” Plew says.
With Nebraska Furniture Mart as the anchor, Grandscape features more than 400 acres of entertainment venues, restaurants, apartments, and office towers. There’s even a 200-foot ferris wheel.
“I mean it’s just gigantic, right? It’s kind of like Disneyland,” Plew says. “It’s one of the destinations of developments. When they started this, that was just the beginning of what a lot of developers were trying to do. [Now] everybody’s chasing restaurants and entertainment things, and these guys had the vision six years ago to do this as opposed to trying to do a bunch more retail.”
Thirsty Lion began working on the new prototype in 2016. The brand was in line with what the Grandscape developers were seeking, namely restaurants that were unique to the area. For instance, nearby is Windmills, a concept out of India, and Akira Back, the namesake restaurant of a world-renowned Michelin-starred chef.
The innovative two-story building was supposed to open in 2020, but plans were halted due to COVID. The exterior had already been constructed, but the inside wasn’t finished. Buffett’s team agreed to hold the space, as long as the restaurant opened by May of this year.