August 09, 2018

Texas Live! has its grand-opening blowout. Here are 5 cool things about the venue.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, who has a restaurant called Troy’s in the new Texas Live! entertainment/dining/hotel complex in Arlington, put things pretty succinctly during his turn in a series of speeches at the $250 million development’s grand opening Thursday night.

“I remember when I toured the first time, and they told me that they’d be opening Aug. 9,” Aikman said. “Having built a couple of houses, I said, ‘There’s no way this place opens Aug. 9.’ The fact that we’re here is a real testament to the .... workers who put in so much time and effort.”

Time and effort during a summer that included temperatures as high as 109 degrees, to hit the target date on a two-story complex that houses some half-dozen restaurants, a couple of bars, a large open area with a big screen and an outdoor concert venue. Individual restaurants rarely hit their target dates; that a place with this many restaurants could get them to all open on time is pretty impressive.

Besides Troy’s, Texas Live! is also home to Pudge’s Pizza, from former Texas Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez; Guy’s Taco Joint from celebrity chef Guy Fieri; PBR Texas, a large restaurant and bar with a spacious dance floor and a 7,000-foot-balcony that overlooks Arlington Backyard (the concert venue); a location of Lockhart Smokehouse; and more.

“Pudge serves pizza,” Aikman said. “I serve primarily gourmet burgers. He’s too good of a friend for me to be in competition with him, but I sure hope y’all like burgers a little bit more than you like pizza.” (Rodriguez later greeted fans and posed for photos outside Pudge’s Pizza, which helped explain why it had one of the longest lines.)

Texas Live!, which is kitty-corner from Globe Life Park on Randol Mill Road, will also eventually be next to the new Globe Life Field to its east and to a Live! by Loews Hotel to the west. Both are under construction and expected to open within the next couple of years.

The grand opening was a bit of a whirlwind, with speeches and food tastings and a wall-to-wall crowd that sometimes made it difficult to determine what was a food line and what was just the tide of people trying to move through — and that was at a VIP preview before the place opened to the public at 8 p.m. and Fort Worth’s the Toadies and Dallas’ Eleven Hundred Springs gave a free concert.

Here are a few things we liked about the development.

The view it will have of Globe Life Field ... eventually. Right now, the new stadium, due to open in 2020, is a construction site filled with rebar and cranes. But you can see it shaping up, and the view from that porch outside PBR Texas will be pretty sweet.

The burger menu at Troy’s. There’s more to Troy’s than burgers, but the place is aiming for Rodeo Goat territory with things like a Frito Pie burger, a Texas Heat burger (with Sriracha mayo, fried and seared jalapeños and chipotle garlic ketchup), a Korean BBQ burger and a lamb Merguez burger with harrisa yogurt and garlic pickles. He’s even keeping vegetarians in mind with a house-made veggie patty.

The “living room” of Texas Live! Texas Live! is arranged, more or less, in a large circle with restaurants on the periphery and a large open area on both floors. Most of the restaurants are full-service; a couple, like Pudge’s Pizza and Guy’s Taco Joint, are more fast-casual, order-at-the-counter places. A focal point of the development is Live! Arena, anchored by a 90-foot HDTV, where Rangers games will be screened in a live feed, with watching parties for away games. Naturally, other sports will be broadcast when the Rangers aren’t playing, and the seating area is a comfortable place to watch the action.

The “adult playground” at Sports and Social. Big game room on the second floor of restaurant Sports and Social, with Skee-ball, golf simulators, Foosball, shuffleboard, pingpong tables and more.

PBR Texas. This is the largest PBR Texas location in the country, and it looks like it’ll have a rowdy bull-riding flair, especially with its two mechanical bulls (one of which was being demonstrated by a young woman who wasn’t exactly dressed for bull riding), its large dance floor and its booming sound system — not to mention that big balcony with its concert and new-ballpark views.

Among music acts scheduled to perform in Arlington Backyard in coming weeks are Jerrod Niemann, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Better Than Ezra, Pat Green and Papa Roach.

The 200,000-square-foot complex is across the street from Globe Life Park, the current home of the Texas Rangers, and is planned to be a year-round attraction with events taking place when no games are being played at the Rangers stadium or nearby AT&T Stadium, which is visible from many spots in and outside Texas Live!

The $150 million Live! by Loews hotel, which includes 35,000 square feet of convention space, will open in 2019 and add 220 permanent jobs.

Texas Live! is now open to the public, with grand-opening festivities continuing through Sunday. For info, visit http://texas-live.com

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