Reata grows from one restaurant to four every January.
So owner Mike Micallef needed extra help.
That’s how former chef Brian Olenjack returned as a guest chef starting Friday in Reata at the Backstage Club, one of two Reata locations at the Stock Show.
“Brian was available, and he knows our menu,” Micallef said.
Olenjack had parted ways with the other owners of his namesake Olenjack’s Grille in Arlington, now operating under chef Ryan Gallagher.
He joins Reata’s Melissa Aguilar among several chefs in the Backstage, the $150-per-membership private club that operates atop Will Rogers Coliseum at the rodeo.
The restaurant’s more familar location is Reata at the Rodeo, opening Friday inside the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall. Reata also operates La Espuela, a casual Tex-Mex grill in the show’s Moncrief Building.
The restaurants will serve Reata’s basic menu, including items Olenjack cooked as a Reata chef in the late 1990s.
“We don’t change many things at the rodeo, because we serve a lot of people these 23 days,” Micallef said.
“People want their Reata favorites, but in the Backstage we also try to have some chef’s specials, and having somebody with Brian’s experience helps.”
Olenjack was a chef at Reata before moving to the Chisholm Club in the Renaissance Worthington hotel, now Vidalia’s.
One general rule for restaurants is: If business goes bad, go Tex-Mex.
It seems to be working at El Primo’s Mexican Grill & Cantina in Mansfield.
The restaurant opened as a prime steakhouse, then scaled back to a bar-and-grill before switching.
Judging from the busy lunch crowd one day this week, El Primo’s is working as a Tex-Mex restaurant. The new menu includes brisket tacos, carne asada, seafood and the usual enchiladas and tacos, served with three salsas including a spicy green one. Lunch specials are $7.50.
(It’s not related to the Primo’s restaurants in the Dallas area.)
The new Dallas location of Rodeo Goat is open. If you’re familiar with the Fort Worth burger grill and bar (winner of DFW.com’s 2013 Burger Battle), expect more of the same at the Dallas location, 1926 Market Center Blvd; 214-741-4628, rodeogoat.com.
A Social call
After a long delay, the Social House is also near opening. Look for it the next few days at 840 Currie St. on Crockett Square; socialhousefortworth.com.
Mudd’s the word
Mudd’s Good Eatin’, a long-ago Denton County home-cooking landmark, has reopened in Krum under original owner Chad Mudd.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538