Approximately 150 yards north of the historic Rockwall downtown square, home to restaurants like Zanata and the Fatted Calf, is Bin 303, a family-owned tribute to Texas gastronomy. Owned by Mat and Breean Nugent, Bin 303 is the culinary brainchild of the two food industry pros.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Southwest Texas University and a level one and two sommelier certification," Breean Nugent says. "Mat has a bachelor's in Culinary Arts Management from the Culinary Institute of America [in] New York."
They met in Austin when Mat was working in fine dining for Roy Yamaguchi. After a move to Dallas and a period under Nick Badovinus at Consilient Restaurant Group’s now-shuttered Hibiscus, Breean and Mat decided to make a drastic change.
“We took a 1927 Sears catalog home and turned it into our restaurant,” Breean says. “In terms of restaurant start-up, we truly went against the grain. [It was] hard to manage; there is no line of sight anywhere. To see, one must walk in and check on every dining room. So, a couple chapters in the book of how to open a restaurant were simply thrown out.”
By throwing caution and the metaphorical instruction book to the wind, the two have created the best-known secret in Rockwall. They have transitioned their menu over time and refined it to best reflect their interpretation of Texan cuisine. Dishes like pepper dusted beef filets, redfish grilled over mesquite and shrimp and grits compose the main menu, though seasonal dishes and chef specials sprinkle in throughout the year.
“We have adapted a bit to where we are and to feedback from our community. However, we are surrounded by a supportive community full of amazing people and these guests are our greatest gifts," Breean says.
Mat and Breean live in Rockwall with their daughter Korbyn and their two sons, Kai and Kamden. The Bin 303 pair believes that a restaurant expansion is not far away.
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“We would love to add a patio on site and create our own snack shack concept with live music and different bites to add to our brand," Breean says. “Bin has officially found its identity, and, at times, that limits the things we can change, but we look forward to expanding what we do in food, wine and in our beverage program; maybe another concept is on the horizon.”
The possible new concept, Breean teased, could be totally different from Bin 303. This, she says, would allow chef Mat to experiment with different cuisines and sommelier Breean to venture into new territory with wine and design.
For now, from the comfort of their Sears catalog home-turned-restaurant, this husband and wife team churn out some of the best elevated homestyle food and atmosphere around.
Bin 303, 105 Olive St., Rockwall