Tom Gaglardi brought his passion for hockey to Dallas five years ago when he purchased the Stars, and now he is bringing another one of his passions to the area, his restaurant business. Moxie's Grill and Bar, which is also owned by Gaglardi, is opening its first U.S. location at The Crescent in Dallas this Saturday.
Dallas is a perfect fit for Moxie's as it begins its foray into the U.S. market. The restaurant needed a place to start, and Gaglardi's ownership of the Stars opened the door.
"We're excited. It gives us a chance to do what we do in Canada in Dallas. It was a thought we had at the very beginning," Gaglardi said. "I'd be spending large amounts of time in Dallas, and I'd be able to become very familiar with the marketplace and understand the differences. Now, it culminates with opening the first restaurant in the U.S. and right in Dallas."
Moxie's, which is a subsidiary of Gaglardi's Vancouver-based Northland Properties Corp., has 65 locations in eight provinces across Canada.
"Great food, great drinks," said Stars center Tyler Seguin. "Moxie's is very well known for anyone who is Canadian. It's in all our main cities. It's a good restaurant. Pretty diverse menu. I look forward to going to it."
Those main cities include Toronto along with Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary.
"It's a big chain in Canada," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "It's pretty casual, good food. It's going to be nice to have a little bit of home here in Dallas."
Gaglardi described Moxie's as premium casual.
"We just do a better job than most at high-quality food and high-quality service in a high-quality room," Gaglardi said. "We call it premium casual. There's a category in Canada that is well-known, and we see it less defined in the U.S. and it will be interesting to see where the pieces fit."
The restaurant offers a diverse menu, something for everybody.
"That's the beauty of the Moxie's menu," said Brandon Thordarson, Corporate Executive Chef at Moxie's. "When we first came down to Dallas people would ask what kind of restaurant are you opening, and we would say that we really don't know how to define ourselves.
"Then we would explain that you can get one of the best Italian pastas, high-end USDA steaks, great Asian appetizers. We've got ground chuck brisket burgers with beautiful breads and food truck-style street tacos, and amazing entrée salads. We've got a little bit of everything for everyone on our menu."
There have been some alterations to the menu for the entry into the Dallas market.
"We created a fresh, smashed guacamole. It's freshly made to order. We bring it to your table and smash it in front of you," Thordarson said. "We created a wicked southern fried chicken sandwich that will battle any southern fried chicken sandwich I've ever tasted."
And there will be a taste of Canada as well. It will be poutine, which is made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy.
"We don't have it across Canada, but we have it at one restaurant in Montreal, so we are bringing a Canadian poutine dish down that we are pretty proud of," Thordarson said.
A big part of the Moxie's appeal is the dining experience and Thordarson is excited about what's been created with the new restaurant in Dallas.
"It's a beautiful room that is stylish, modern and speaks to the quality guests expect from a premium experience without being pretentious," he said. "There is an energy to the room that speaks to the casual side of our nature."
The Moxie's in Dallas will have a dining room, a lounge area with more than 20 televisions where you can watch Stars games. There's a wraparound patio and outside bar as well.
Moxie's will offer lunch, dinner, a happy hour and a late night menu seven days a week, as well as a weekend brunch. Stars full season ticket holders will get a ten percent discount on all food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the season.
The location at The Crescent, a prime spot in Uptown, is another reason there is excitement surrounding the new Moxie's.
"It's a fantastic location," Gaglardi said. "We're in Uptown and in an area of Uptown that is really starting to grow. The Crescent is a landmark, and to me, it's the nicest complex in the city. We are thrilled about the location."
There are more Moxie's on the way. Gaglardi said there are plans to open restaurants in Plano, Houston, and Cedar Park and the search is on for more locations in the United States. Northland is also in the hotel business, and one is coming soon in Plano, and there are plans for one in Cedar Park. But for now, Gaglardi and company are getting the ball rolling with Moxie's in Dallas.
"We always wanted to come to the U.S., but we didn't know where we wanted to start. The Stars gave us that," Gaglardi said. "We've spent time here. We know people in the market. I spend time here, and we've got guys here. It's a natural place to go, and it's a good economy. We're pretty excited about it."
Photo Gallery & Menu
Photo Gallery: Moxie's Grill and Bar
Click here to view Moxie's Grill and Bar menu
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.