A new restaurant is joining the popular establishments in downtown McKinney.
Black and Horn is coming to 216 E. Virginia St. via a local couple who are passionate about the community.
Karleigh and Chris Ford — with their friends Steve Terry and Ben Hammond — have partnered to bring the concept to life in a historic building.
Terry is a chef who operates three restaurants in New York City, while Hammond is a project manager at Toyota Motor North America. The Fords, who live in McKinney, are first-time restaurant owners.
They aim for the restaurant to have a modern vibe balanced with vintage touches throughout. Antiques they’ve scrounged for in the area will decorate the dining room that will seat 62 guests. A bar area with tables and bartop seating will hold about a dozen people.
They're presently refining their menu, which promises to bring something a bit newer to McKinney’s downtown square: Dubbed “global comfort food,” their dishes will blend flavors from different cultures.
“We felt our community needs a restaurant that serves an eclectic menu,” Karleigh Ford says. “McKinney is traditionally a very conservative town, with traditional menus.”
It’s time for more variety up north, she says. They’ll serve a Vietnamese pho, a gumbo made with jerk chicken and Asian-inspired tacos.
“Everyone wants a good steak, chicken and a fish dish,” Ford says. “We will have a well-rounded menu of Southern-comfort staples.
The restaurant currently under construction has turned out to be a DIY family project.
“We started out with an investor. The day after we signed the lease, they pulled out because of a family emergency they needed to support,” Ford says. “But, that has allowed us to use the current framework of the building peeling back the layers of history. This is more in line with what we want to do for the community.”
The Fords and gang are doing the renovation themselves, chipping away plaster walls to expose the original red brick. They’re working seven days a week on a tight schedule to finish the place for opening in November, just a few short weeks away.
“We are working together to create something really interesting. We’re all in there sweating, building every bit of this restaurant,” Ford says. “The next 30 days will be double time and stressful, but we are with friends and we’re very happy.”
The property of Black and Horn has a history of its own. Constructed in 1910 as a three-story brick building, it opened as a furniture store, eventually a shoe store and a radio sales and repair shop. It was first known as the Butler Building, but came to be known as Butler, Black and Horn over the years, with new players joining the building, Ford says. A tornado in 1948 swept away the entire top story from the building, leaving just two floors.
The second story will be called the 1948 Lounge as a home to live music from original artists. No cover bands here.
“Upstairs will be a more casual, laid-back bar and music venue with high-top and lounge seating,” Ford says.
In the 1948 Lounge, they will serve bar bites and highlights of the menu from the restaurant below, with a full bar. Yes, selections from McKinney’s only brewhouses, Tupps Brewery and Franconia Brewing Company, will be among the craft beers available.
Ford believes Black and Horn will help draw more 20- and 30-somethings to the downtown area, but she also expects it will be a place everyone will enjoy.
“This is going to be the start of a movement of a more youthful vibe in the downtown area,” Ford says. “We aren’t just serving them food, we are serving them with our hearts and hospitality.”
Black and Horn, 216 E. Virginia St., McKinney. Planned to open Nov. 1.