Tykhe Group, a new, Austin-based hospitality group committed to the success of emerging culinary concepts, has announced its first venture in Austin with Playground ATX — a holistic platform where culinary creatives can test, learn and grow their ideas before a full-scale launch. The hospitality veterans behind the new culinary incubator and community hub include sisters Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky and Katie Kim. The women-led team is introducing a 75-seat restaurant “launchpad” for aspiring chefs and the greater community, where creativity and gastronomy collide.
Playground ATX is located at 5001 Airport Blvd. in Central Austin, where it’ll rotate an ever-changing lineup of talented culinary creatives as marquee tenants every six months. Entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the industry — like menu presentation, brand identity and marketing, special event execution, pre-opening training, decor and design and hours of operation as well as the financial side of the business — all the way through expansion and launch oversight. Tykhe Group partners will collaborate to provide each group with a unique opportunity to test, incubate and refine their concepts while earning 20% of profits and a market-rate salary for the duration of the pop-up. For the duration of the partnership, the hospitality pros at Tykhe Group will provide C-suite support, operations management and branding. Tykhe Group will then evaluate whether the tenant can be launched into a standalone concept – if yes, then Tykhe Group will enter into a joint venture for a standalone concept and secure locations and funding as well as manage operations for the standalone concept. The Culinary Creative will have an equity position in the standalone concept and the option to be actively or passively be involved in the operations.
The first tenant at Playground ATX will kick off on Nov. 15 with East Meets Wings (EMW), an innovative dining experience that showcases a harmonious fusion of flavors, textures and culinary techniques derived from distinct Asian cultures. The preliminary concept pays homage to the diverse flavors of Indonesian, Indian, Thai, Sichuan, and Japanese cuisines, with a modern twist. Through April 2024, the public is invited on a culinary journey, where they can try dishes full of vibrant spices, aromatic herbs and traditional cooking styles from each culture. Supporting sustainably sourced chicken from Freebirds, Pa. – EMW’s Wings are not to be missed.
East Meets Wings is the latest business dream of Kevin and Rosie Truong, Austinites and owners of the recently shuttered Fil ‘n Viet food trailer. With the help of Tykhe Group, the duo are bringing to life another concept that draws on their own family histories.
“For popular food trucks and aspiring restaurateurs hoping to chase their dreams and open their own brick-and-mortar, it’s overwhelming on where to begin in this industry,” says partner Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky. “Austin’s filled with bright culinary talent, which is why we want to streamline the process and provide a stable environment where food, community and innovation come together.”
Born in Seoul and rooted in Chicago, Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky expanded her brand as a hospitality luminary into Austin in 2020, as a key partner during the opening of Aba on South Congress Avenue. Over two decades in the restaurant industry, she opened a string of acclaimed Chicago eateries, including James Beard-nominated Spring, and served in previous leadership roles at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises from Mon Ami Gabi to Ema.
As the co-founder and chief development officer at Tykhe Group, Katie Kim will spearhead the development side of operations. Her ability to spot opportunities and connect stakeholders makes her a crucial part of Tykhe’s strategic direction. Her knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit come from almost two decades of experience, which includes helming her family’s construction business in 2007, co-founding The Kim Group in 2015, and coaching and launching numerous businesses.
Strategically situated within a multi-tenant development where the lease includes the option to expand into the adjacent house and spacious backyard, Playground ATX allows for a potential expansion of the event space within the first year. Each rotation at Playground ATX will be a working restaurant that’s open to the public.
Playground ATX will also serve as a place for community enrichment, hosting culinary and beverage-focused events, collaborative chef dinners, pop-ups, and fundraising awareness events for local nonprofits. Ahead of the winter holidays, Playground ATX is offering vegan holiday meal kits for two. More information will be available in late November.
Standard hours of operation for Playground ATX are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. However, Playground ATX will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and closed on Nov. 23 for Thanksgiving. Most community events will be held on Monday and Tuesday when East Meets Wings will be closed. The catering menu will launch on Nov. 15, and carry-out and delivery will be available beginning Nov. 22 through DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. To celebrate the East Meets Wings Grand Opening on Nov. 15, Playground ATX will offer the first 50 customers a free order of three-piece Whole Wings (includes wing, wing tip, drumette). The following 50 customers will receive an envelope with special discounts to be used on following visits. Beginning Nov. 15, Playground ATX also invites the public to “Name Our Chameleon” – referencing the chameleon present in the Playground ATX logo. Individuals can submit up to three potential names for the character for a chance to win gift certificates. The top three winners will be announced on Nov. 24.
Tykhe Group is inviting other culinary entrepreneurs to collaborate and join Playground ATX as “Culinary Creatives”, to sign up, please reach out to playground-atx.com to apply. Additionally, the group is seeking investors to support its mission of providing a space for these culinary innovators to showcase their talents, please contact Tykhe Group directly to learn more on their investment opportunities.