A customer doesn't even have to enter TruFire Kitchen & Bar to discover the pulse of the restaurant. At both locations, in Frisco and Southlake, the company motto is proudly displayed as part of the outdoor signage: "Life happens in the kitchen."
TruFire expands on its message through its menu and via its website at www.trufire.usa: "The kitchen is the heart of the home and the engine of TruFire. With food and drink the best of conversations are had, celebrations erupt, alliances are struck and laughter can be heard for miles."
TruFire owners Jay Clark and David Kazarian have spent their adult lives working in the food industry, primarily with large corporations and restaurant chains.
When they started TruFire in Frisco in 2008, they didn't want the focus to be on concept, design, theme or even atmosphere. They wanted to concentrate on the quality of the food.
Consequently, everything is made from scratch, organic and fresh.
"Even for our specialty cocktails we use fresh fruits and our own sour," Kazarian said. "I like to joke that at TruFire we make our own antioxidants."
That's about the only time Kazarian laughs when it comes to food quality. It's serious business at TruFire.
"We are very aggressive with our quality," Kazarian said. "Food quality is a living, breathing and moving target. You have to be constantly developing it, so we are constantly changing the menu. A dish won't be on the menu unless we absolutely love it."
So what is on the menu? The simple answer is salads, sandwiches, pizza and pasta.
But these aren't simple dishes. The pizza, for example, is from dough made fresh daily with imported flour. Kazarian does have a ready answer when asked to describe TruFire's offerings.
"We have a progressive American concept specializing in Mediterranean and Italian flavors, with a strong wine and spirits program," Kazarian said. "Our wines are comfortably priced. We offer very generous portions. We do upscale casual in a smaller box."
The owners don't want the quality of their food to get lost in the size of their restaurants. Both locations are less than 4,000 square feet.
"We like this size; we like this footprint," Kazarian said. "At many places you go to, when the restaurant is half full, it seems empty and lifeless. Our place is always alive and full of energy, no matter how many people are in it."
Most of the people in TruFire are repeat customers. One of the goals of the TruFire staff is to turn each guest into a regular.
"Most of our customers consider TruFire 'their' place," Kazarian said. "That's when you know you are doing things right.
"It is because of our regulars' passion for our restaurant that we are where we are," he added.
From the TruFire kitchen
TruFire opens daily at 11 a.m. The restaurants close at 9 p.m. Sunday, 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
TruFire offers a gluten-free menu.
Among the most popular dishes at TruFire are the Naked Avocado Salad, Latin Fire Pizza and the Spicy Garlic Noodles.
Owners Kazarian and Clark moved to the Dallas area to start TruFire. "We had a dream of going into business together," Kazarian said. "He was living in Denver and I was in Las Vegas, so we were going to move somewhere. We wanted to go to a place with an entrepreneur spirit and a good place to raise a family. DFW really fits the bill."
The owners like the growth and development of their kitchen-driven restaurants. This summer, TruFire added its second location in Southlake. "We started in the worst economy in decades, but we're pleased with the results," Kazarian said.
6959 Lebanon Road, Ste. 114, Frisco, 214-872-3830, wwwtrufire.usa,
Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.