Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanner Agar.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was little my mom would cook for me all the time. Once my brother and sister were born she still cooked, but things were not quite on my timetable and I started to cook for myself. The more I cooked the more curious I got about new flavors and combinations and the more experiments I tried. In 8th grade I read the book How to Run a Restaurant for Dummies and I was sold. That’s also the year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, which was served over 7 hours because I didn’t consider the cook time of a turkey, and a caramel popcorn smoothie that was absolutely disgusting. It was clear I either needed training or a different hobby.
I started working in restaurants at 14 and I never went back. I started by making pizza and delivering them on Segways and gradually moved up into fine dining. For college I went to TCU for business and I cooked at night. I’ve been very fortunate that through my work as a chef, bartender, manager and eventual consultant I’ve been able to work in this industry in 3 languages, 6 countries, and even for Michelin starred Chef Marc Fosh.
When I moved back to the US I decided that I wanted to begin moving away from consulting and closer to the food. Rye was the perfect way to do that.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has never been a smooth road, but I think that’s a consequence of choosing the road I have. I insisted on cooking full time while going to school full time, I insisted on moving abroad, I insisted on starting a consulting company, and I instead on having a restaurant. The greatest struggle of all has been to keep up to the pace I set for myself and for my colleagues. It’s true there have been various setbacks. Large business deals that didn’t go through, partnerships that broke up, or simply adapting to change. But all these setbacks seem to go away by attacking the problem and focusing on the vision.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with rye – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Rye is a super seasonal, creative American small plates and cocktails restaurant. Our menu consists of plates between $7-$20 which are designed to be shared. Unlike most restaurants where you can pay $30 for an entrée, our guests get to share a series of plates and therefore be exposed to different ingredients and different flavors in a more interactive dining experience.
What I’m most proud of is our team and therefore our food. Our mission is to make approachable cuisine that is elevated beyond through the introduction of the uncommon. We do this by bringing in fantastic local farmers who start us off with great products. Then we have an amazing team that works closely on our dishes all the way from brainstorming to the menu. This allows us to do food like Japanese Elotes, Brandied Cherry Quail, Burnt Orange and Bourbon Pork Belly Lollipops, Exploding Aquafaba Mousse and more that we couldn’t make otherwise. We’re fortunate to have that type of culture here and to have a base of guests who support our vision.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We have a lot of big plans for the future. At Rye the first major change we want to make is to build out our garden. We currently have dirt garden beds and we grow things like mint. Soon we’ll be converting that whole space into a hydroponics farms supplying our bar and kitchen with all our herbs, microgreens, and even some small produce. Once we’ve done that we’d like to add a “Chef’s Table” and make that a special, prix fixe dining table where guests have access to our newest ideas as well as to myself and the rest of our team.
Aside from that we want to continue to grow as a company. DFW is growing so fast and there are many talented chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, and others who need an outlet for their voice. If we can grow into more concepts that allows these people to add their talents to a culinary scene that is making the country take notice. We are not just steaks and cowboys any more, we are quickly becoming a home for experimentation, free thought, and a place among the greats.
- Address: 111 W. Virginia St
- Website: ryemckinney.com
- Phone: (469) 625-1793
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Photos taken by me, Tanner Agar