What happens when you cross a limited time offer with a new restaurant? You get Kitchen LTO. That’s the concept which Dallas restaurateur Casie Caldwell had in mind when she created the new eatery that will open in July. However, she’s in the process of auditioning — literally — a new chef and designers for the fledgling establishment, which will start out as part of a restaurant incubator project created by the legendary Phil Romano.
Kitchen LTO will unveil its chef and designer finalists during a special event on Thursday, May 30, that will benefit the culinary arts program and facilities at El Centro College. Caldwell, who wants to support the area’s future chefs, will showcase her new establishment that night. The special event is aptly titled “Meet. Taste. Review. Vote.” and will be held at 3015 at Trinity Groves in Dallas, beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door; they can be purchased at kitchenlto.brownpapertickets.com.
Kitchen LTO will change dramatically every four months — almost like a chameleon changes its color: a new chef will rotate in; that chef will introduce a new menu concept. Each rotation also prompts a change in the restaurant’s transformable interior design or elements. New chef, new menu, new décor — all for a limited time offer, or Kitchen LTO.
“Essentially, Kitchen LTO is a new restaurant born three times a year,” explained Caldwell. “It really is a limited time offer. I designed the restaurant for food lovers like myself who are always exploring new trends and who are searching for the next best culinary adventure. I can’t think of a better way to do that while fostering the great culinary talent that is available on local, regional and national levels.”
The special event on May 30 will give partygoers an opportunity to meet the finalists, taste-test the chefs’ dishes, explore proposed interior designs and be the first to vote for their favorites. Voting starts at the event and will continue through June 10 on the restaurant’s website: www.kitchenlto.com. Voters can cast their ballots once every 24 hours; winners will be announced on Tuesday, June 11.
The finalists participated in an intensive screening process in which a judging committee vetted qualifications. Led by Caldwell, the screening committee’s members were: Chris Zielke, owner of Bolsa, Bolsa Mercado, Smoke and Chicken Scratch; Michael Miller, senior vice president of UCR Urban; Chad Houser, executive director of Cafe Momentum and El Centro College culinary arts alumnus; Jason Kosmas, owner of The 86 Co.; Sharon Van Meter, chef and owner of 3015 at Trinity Groves; Rebecca Wright, special events coordinator for Trulucks; Blythe Beck, executive chef for The Movie Lounge; and Bob Sambol, founder of Bob’s Steak & Chophouse.
Kitchen LTO will be located at Romano’s incubator restaurant development at Trinity Groves. Romano said that Kitchen LTO will fit well with the overall personality of the project. “In the way that Trinity Groves acts as an incubator to provide restaurateurs with a lower-cost venue for testing a concept’s viability, Kitchen LTO becomes an ‘incubator within the incubator’ by providing a rotating home to new chef talent and their ideas,” said Romano.
Caldwell, who grew up in Duncanville, loved corn tortillas as a child but never dreamed about the restaurant business until after she completed her bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech in broadcast journalism. Her path went from advertising to the Internet and then to a digital advertising agency. Her quick thinking, imagination and flexibility led to her first culinary adventure: Greenz (“salads for z’ adventurous”) restaurant in 2004. The first location sprouted and grew to four; later, with encouragement from Phil Romano, she came up with the concept of a pop-up restaurant that would focus on rotating chefs and designers. That’s how Kitchen LTO was born.
The future home of Kitchen LTO is 3011 Gulden Lane, Suite 108, in Dallas.
For more information, visit www.kitchenlto.com.