The Rustic will soon break ground on its first Houston location in anticipation of an early summer 2018 grand opening.
The concept is the brainchild of Kyle Noonan, Josh Sepkowitz, and Texas country artist Pat Green, whose love of the outdoors and live music helped bring The Rustic to life in Uptown Dallas in October 2013.
The Rustic’s casual atmosphere and live musical acts, paired with its unique, full-service dining experience featuring farm-fresh, homestyle dishes and a Texas-sized selection of wines, spirits and 40 beers on tap, has carved a distinctive niche among Dallas restaurants and will soon bring the same exciting vibe to Houston.
The Rustic will likewise offer an ideal venue in downtown Houston for large-scale events and corporate gatherings. The original Dallas location books more than $1.5 million in annual group sales hosting events for such varied organizations as the United Way, Texas A&M University, Kershaw’s Challenge, and PwC.
Located at 1836 Polk St., next to the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Toyota Center downtown, The Rustic will be hiring more than 200 team members for all positions in the restaurant in the months ahead.
“It’s been a long time coming, and I can’t wait to introduce my hometown of Houston to our one-of-a-kind concept,” says Noonan, co-owner of FreeRange Concepts, which operates The Rustic and other innovative restaurant concepts, including Bowl & Barrel and The General Public in CityCentre. “The Rustic is the perfect venue for fans to see their favorite local and national artists under the stars in an intimate setting like no other. We’ll have live music seven nights a week and our menu will feature all of the Lone Star State’s best cuisines, beers and liquors.”
The 25,000-square-foot space will have a large outdoor stage and patio, a retractable roof, two VIP areas flanking both sides of the stage, an Uber Lounge and The Rustic’s signature u-shaped bar backed by a massive U.S. flag made with beer cans.
“We love Houston, which is why we’ve opened two, soon to be three, of our concepts here,” says Sepkowitz, co-founder of FreeRange Concepts. “The Rustic embraces the fact that everything is bigger in Texas, which is why we created this concept in the image of the Lone Star State. Our award-winning patio is the perfect place to relax and enjoy top-notch artists like the Josh Abbott Band, Brothers Osborne, Salt-N-Pepa, Kacey Musgraves and our own Pat Green under the big Texas sky. It’s something downtown Houston has never seen, and it’s going to be awesome.”
FreeRange Concepts is leasing the space for its second location of The Rustic from Houston First Corporation, the entity that manages the neighboring George R. Brown Convention Center and the broader convention district now called Avenida Houston. Launched late last year with the completion of convention center renovations, a pedestrian plaza and new retail sites, the goal of Avenida Houston is to create a welcoming downtown destination for visitors and locals alike with special events, dining and entertainment.
“The Rustic is precisely the kind of establishment that we want at Avenida Houston—an interactive experience that will draw patrons seeking everything from live music to great food,” says Dawn Ullrich, CEO of Houston First. “In just a few short months, we’ve built incredible energy around this emerging district with spectacular events, innovative art installations and new restaurants. The Rustic will help us perpetuate that momentum and excitement into 2018.”