The former Top Chef contestant is hitting the scene hard, too, with several forthcoming projects: Roots Southern Table at Trinity Groves, Roots Chicken Shack in the future Legacy Hall in Plano and a grab-and-go spot off Cedar Springs.
“I knew that if I wanted to do chicken, it had to be great,” the 33-year-old says.
Derry was last in Dallas with Private Social on McKinney Avenue in 2013. Now, she’s jumping in with simple Southern food.
“I feel like I’ve been out of the restaurant now for three years; not a day goes by that I can’t wait to get back in. I love people, I love the whole dining scene,” she says.
Derry says the Trinity Groves spot will open this winter, and she has another more grab-and-go type concept off of Cedar Springs opening up in the spring. She’s looking forward to the Legacy Hall project, which is expected to open by fall 2017 and is designed to be a European-style food hall.
“One of the things that drew me [to Legacy Hall] was, under one roof you can find some of the most talented chefs, incredible food, and everyone's making something incredibly different,” she says. “Folks are going to come from downtown Dallas to come up north. ... There’s nothing else like it; it can't help but be incredible.”
Even when she's talking about chicken, her passionate demeanor makes her business partners salivate.
“What really endears her to me is the passion she has, not only the food that she’s cooking, but the people she works with, the industry, and she’s all about quality," says Jack Gibbons, who, with Randy DeWitt founded the Food Hall Company. A subsidiary of Front Burner Restaurants (Velvet Taco, Ida Claire), the Food Hall Company aims to create “destinations in local communities to benefit aspiring restaurateurs, real estate developers and the most influential consumers alike,” according to a company news release.
The Trinity Groves location will have a larger menu with whole chickens and side vegetables, along with a big bar and patio. It will be “streamlined for the atmosphere of what we designed it to, with what I grew up with, things that are close to my heart,” Derry says.
Her Legacy Hall location will have a much smaller menu.
“We’re going to stick to what we do,” Derry says. “We’ll have five items, we’re going to keep it tight, do what we do well. ... Of course you got to have duck fat fries, I mean, come on.”
With three concepts in the works, this chef is going to have a busy winter.
“If I like something, I go all in," Derry says.