First Look

First Look: Rye Offers Avante-Garde Cocktails and Small Bites to Savor

Alex Gonzalez
This is the second location of Rye; the flagship is in McKinney.
If you’re still waiting on your reservation for Apothecary, you’ll probably have better luck getting into Tanner Agar’s other concept, Rye. Located next door to Apothecary, this McKinney-based concept has opened its second location on Lower Greenville, offering avante-garde cocktails like those of its sister concept, as well as a robust food menu spearheaded by chef Taylor Rause.

Inside the space previously occupied by Laurel Tavern, diners will see a long bar, low, intimate lighting, and a wall bedecked with mirrors. Outside, there is a small garden from which they grow some of their produce for the kitchen.

Rye’s cocktail menu is curated by bar manager Heather Cox, with an adventurous line-up of libations. Light options include the Somebloody to Love cocktail, made with vodka, blood orange, Aperol, buddha’s hand, cava and soda. This fruity and refreshing beverage is like a light pop drink, ideal for those who want something different, but don’t want to go overboard on booze. A bolder choice is the Spent Grain Old Fashioned, made with Still Austin bourbon, spent grain syrup and house bitters.

If you’re feeling generous, you can add an extra $5 to your bill for drinks for the staff.

It’s best to sip each cocktail slowly, as you peruse the menu and decide what you want to eat.

When ordering food you'll want to have about three to five courses in mind. It’s better to order them all at once, that way, the kitchen can bring another course out after you finish one. Like Apothecary, the plates are small in size and designed for sharing and savoring.
click to enlarge Grit cakes - ALEX GONZALEZ
Grit cakes
Alex Gonzalez
The shrimp and grits isn't your typical hearty bowl, but rather a plate of three grit cakes atop a bed of etouffee gravy topped with shrimp crème fraiche, chives, red bell pepper, onion and tasso seasoning garnished with tiny pieces of lobster tempura ($22).

Equally as good are the churrotes, a plate of four corn-based churro cakes seasoned with elote spice and tequila-lime beurre blanc, topped with jalapeño aioli, cotija cheese, salted popcorn and micro cilantro ($14).
click to enlarge Cacio e pepe - ALEX GONZALEZ
Cacio e pepe
Alex Gonzalez
If you’re looking to fill up on a larger dish, the cacio e pepe is an indulgent plate of yolk pasta made in-house mixed with rio fresh beet marinara, mushrooms, goat cheese, arugula, vegetarian chorizo, basil-english pea puree and microgreens ($17).

While the portions may look tiny, the idea is to savor every bite and immerse your taste buds in each nuanced flavor.
click to enlarge Peanut butter jelly thyme - ALEX GONZALEZ
Peanut butter jelly thyme
Alex Gonzalez
Assuming you have room for dessert, we recommend closing out with the peanut butter jelly thyme, a plate of challah french toast, topped with creme anglaise, mixed-berry thyme compote, crystallized berries and candied peanuts, garnished with peanut butter cream cheese mousse ($10).

Much like its sister concept, as well as its McKinney flagship, Rye is intimate and calming; an environment where diners can really think about what they’re eating and enjoy every bite. If the hype for Rye is anything like Apothecary, you may want to book your reservations in advance.

Rye. 1920 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville). Open 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday.