The newest restaurant and pub opens in downtown Waxahachie on Saturday.
The Plaid Turtle Draft House got its start in Hillsboro last year. A visit by builder Chris Acker then persuaded its owner, Justin Hargrove, to make an investment in Waxahachie, just a few paces off of the square on Franklin Street.
“I came over here, and the building was nothing of what it looks like now. It was ugly on the outside, and the inside was ugly. Chris said, ‘do you think that we can do something here?,’ and I was like, ‘I think we can,” Hargrove said. “I knew what mine in Hillsboro started out looking like and what it turned into. So I had a vision of what it could be.”
The transformation of the space involved gutting the interior, reframing the building, roof repairs and a facelift of the exterior with new windows, doors and reclaimed brick. The brick on the structure came from a 50-year-old structure in Dallas that was demolished.
The Irish pub will have a mixture of 56 craft beers, three wines and one blackberry mead, which is a honey wine — all on draft. Hargrove explained mead is “almost like a grape juice with a kick.”
“I have always liked good beer and, being in the military, I traveled around and tried different beers in different places. I finally got a taste that there is good beer out there,” Hargrove said. “Most people, when they think of beer, they think of light beer because that is what the mainstream media puts out there. But there are a lot of good beers out there and lots of good flavors.”
Hargrove considers himself a self-taught beer connoisseur. He works to find the right beer for his customers by asking questions. This helps him determine what beer might fit a person's tastes.
“Most of them start out with the lighter and blonde beers. That is your introductory to craft beer — starting out with a blond. Once they start drinking that they will go a little bit darker,” Hargrove said. “When you go to the dark side that is when you start enjoying craft beer. You start drinking the stouts and porters. We have one that has a coffee flavor, which opens up your palate.”
Hargrove stated once people have craft beer they always come back and look for something new to try. He added the goal is to educate visitors on the variety of choices.
For those who need advice on beer and want to locate Hargrove, simply look for a bearded man in a kilt. Though he is a born-and-raised Texan, Hargrove explained that as he was researching his ancestry, he found out he had family that immigrated to America from Ireland.
The Plaid Turtle has a varied menu with classic bar foods that they have placed their own signature twist on. It has been expanded from the Hillsboro location but features the same quality and consistency.
“The burgers we do are 100-percent Angus beef, and it is a fresh pattie that we make ourselves. We use a jalapeno cheese bun and use all fresh ingredients on it. To make it extra spicy, we have jalapeno cheese jelly that we put on it too,” Hargrove explained. “We do boneless wings with six different sauces. Our boneless wings are not like your normal boneless wings where they are heavily breaded. It is almost like a naked wing. It is full breast meat. I am picky when I eat boneless wings, so I wanted my own,”
The Plaid Turtle also has its own take on Irish nachos, consisting of the pub’s beer-battered fries with white queso and corn beef on top. One of the most popular appetizers are the Turtle Balls, which are just hand-shape corn nuggets with jalapenos, bacon and cream cheese mixed in.
Hargrove stated The Plaid Turtle Draft House has more of a pub-and-tavern-type feel where everyone can feel welcome when they walk through the doors.
“This is a place where people can bring their families and, at the same time, enjoy great beer, great food, and the people they are with. That is the feeling we want to give,” Hargrove explained. “We are for people who want to come and hang out to enjoy a drink like you're having with a friend at your home, but doing it in downtown Waxahachie. Maybe you will meet some new friends here, too.”
Dalton Bradbury with Acker Construction stated he hopes the project will start a chain reaction in downtown by creating spaces that both the younger and older crowds can enjoy together.
“Acker Construction is really excited to be in this joint venture with Justin, and hopefully it will make a good impression on the people when they come here this weekend,” Bradbury said. “I think that it is huge for the downtown area and the community. It means a lot for us to be involved in this. We have had a lot of positive reactions from people at the city and throughout the town, just begging us to get this place open.”
Bradury stated the inside of the pub has a classy feel to it with the exposed brick, chandlers, and a glass bar top that lights up. The taps will run behind the bar, and the glasses will be on the shelves behind them. Three televisions sit over the bar, and a monitor is on the side that will list the menu and what is on tap.
Bradbury added, since there was not a space for a patio, the front windows open up to allow fresh air into the building.
Hargrove explained that, while The Plaid Turtle will be open throughout the Texas Country Reporter Festival on Saturday, it will have a limited menu and beer selection.
The pub will be open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 a.m. – Midnight on Friday- Saturday. It is also closed on Sunday and Mondays. The Plaid Turtle is located at 208 W. Franklin Street in downtown Waxahachie.
For more information, search "The Plaid Turtle Draft House" on Facebook or go to its website at www.plaidturtledrafthouse.com.