Popular Plano steak-and-whiskey restaurant is taking over Water Grill space in Uptown Dallas

A familiar Texas-bred steak-and-whiskey restaurant will open in the former Water Grill space near Klyde Warren Park this summer.

On February 19, despite a writer at DMN crediting another outlet, we broke the news that seafood purveyor Water Grill had closed. We also mentioned that we knew who would be moving in.

“We have a pretty good idea who’s knocking on the door to take over the space, but nothing has been signed,” we told you. “Could it be a steakhouse?…hmmm…”

Now we can reveal to you that yes, indeed, a Texas-born steakhouse will be opening in the Uptown space at 1920 McKinney Ave.

Haywire, the immensely popular Plano offshoot of Irving’s The Ranch at Las Colinas, will make the jump this summer, bringing its smoked fried chicken, cinnamon roll pecan pie, Gulf snapper and prime steaks from Celina’s A Bar N Ranch to the southern tip of McKinney Ave.

The restaurant is part of the growing FB Society restaurant group (formerly Front Burner), which also created brands such as Velvet Taco, Whiskey Cake Kitchen, Ida Claire, 60 Vines and Legacy Food Hall. (Haywire and The Ranch are long-time supporters of EscapeHatch). FB Society describes The Ranch and Haywire as “farm-to-fork, chef-driven, locally sourced restaurants serving from-scratch Texas cuisine.”

Judd Fruia, vice president of operations for the growing Haywire/Ranch brands, says guests should expect the same kind of welcome hospitality found at the originals. “If you’re looking to show off Texas food and hospitality, we’re that place – especially if you’re entertaining someone from out-of-town,” Fruia said. “We’ll offer live music on the patio, a whiskey library filled with hundreds of different whiskeys, and the best wine cellar in Uptown.”

Haywire and The Ranch are also well-known for selling all of their wines for half-price on weekends – including $1000-plus bottles of French Bordeaux and super premium Napa cabernets. (If you’re really into wines, be sure to sign up for their “Judgement of Texas” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27 (Haywire Plano) or Thursday, Jan. 28 (The Ranch) for a blind wine tasting that pits 16 Texas wines against famous non-Texas competitors.)

“We have a lot to do to get the place ready,” said Fruia. That includes removing Water Grill’s nautical-heavy interior design, which resembled the claustrophobic inside quarters of a wooden schooner. “We want people to feel like they’re at a Texas ranchhouse – somewhere they can kick back, relax, and enjoy Texas hospitality.”

Christine Agee has been tapped to be the Uptown restaurant’s general manager. Agee, a former manager at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas, joined Fruia at FB Society several years ago and has managed both The Ranch and Haywire Plano. “She knows how to run a busy restaurant while making everyone feel special,” said Fruia, “and that’s what we’re all about.”

Haywire is the third big-deal restaurant FB Society has opened during Covid, with two more on the way. Mexican Sugar opened in Las Colinas last spring, followed by Son of a Butcher on Greenville Ave. last fall. A chicken tender concept called Buttercup and a pizza by-the-slice joint will roll out soon.