Dallas is no stranger to the pop-up dinner, a recurring trope used by everyone from chefs hosting illicit cannabis dinners to buzzy restaurants expanding into the Dallas market. But as with many dining trends, our suburban neighbors often get left out of the fun.
While Dallas residents are enjoying Brooklyny-burgers and stoned-suppers, their counterparts across city lines are often left with a slew of chain restaurants and a few token independent options. In Flower Mound, Trio Craft Coffee is looking to change that with its new series of pop-up dinners.
Carlos and Susan Palacio, the cafe's owners, are familiar pioneers in the food-and-beverage scene in their town, having introduced the suburb to specialty coffee in 2014 when they first opened Trio. This year, the Palacios moved their operations down the road into a beautifully designed new space, which they intend to use for more than just serving coffee. With this new pop-up program, they aim to bring high-quality food prepared by reputable chefs into their community.
For Carlos Palacio, the pursuit of creating intentional, ingredient-focused coffee products draws a lot of parallels to cooking, making this collision of the coffee and dining worlds feel natural.
“Because of the nature of what we do at our coffee shop, there is an overlap with chefs in that we play with flavor profiles and creative and diverse ways to present common things like coffee,” he says. “This attracts to our shop a lot of customers that are into this sort of thing as well, so merging coffee and food at a dinner was an easy door for us to walk into. In a way, we wanted to push the boundaries of service for our customers that love what we do in regard to coffee and appreciate well-executed food.”
Leading the charge in the kitchen at this pop-up: Nameless Chefs, a group anchored by Jeremy Hess, sous chef at Pyramid at the Fairmont, and Josh Farrell, who has recently decided to focus all his energy on being "nameless." The pair met while working together at the Rosewood Mansion at Turtle Creek, and while the name originated out of necessity – neither was able to advertise himself publicly outside of his job – they created a group focused on partnering with passionate but less-established culinary professionals, empowering them creatively and professionally with pop-ups.
The idea for the dinners originated from conversations between Carlos Palacio and Hess, a resident of Flower Mound and a regular at Trio for years.
“They loved the idea of incorporating coffee into an entire four-course meal in a sophisticated but approachable way,” Carlos Palacio says. “They really love the idea of bringing high-end food to down-to-earth places like a coffee shop.”
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The inaugural dinner, and, according to Carlos Palacio’s introduction, Flower Mound’s first-ever pop-up dinner, took place May 11 and hosted 22 diners. The café was rearranged to feature lots of shared seating in an environment that was both intimate and communal. Conversations between guests flowed as freely as the wine, and the feeling was much more neighborly than some Dallas pop-ups, which sometimes feel like a stuffy room full of name-dropping food nerds.
Dishes were crafted from local ingredients – seriously local, ranging from goat cheese from Flower Mound’s Latte Da Dairy to eggs from the hens of a Trio barista – and focused on food and coffee fusions like pork belly cochon stuffed with cascara salsita. The night ended with a charred carrot ice cream affogato with chevre, French curry and a shot of Novel’s Rogue espresso blend.
While Trio envisions doing up to four of these events a year, this year will likely see just one moret. Seats will remain limited to 22, so keep an eye on Trio Craft Coffee and Nameless Chefs for information on the fall dinner that's already in the works.
Trio Craft Coffee; 2650 Flower Mound Road, Flower Mound