McKinney restaurant E.J. Wills Gastropub goes beyond food: ‘We’re about bringing the community together’

Greg and Joy Booth named their McKinney restaurant by combining their daughtersu2019 initialsu2014u201cEu201d and u201cJu201du2014and adding in a reference to their strong wills.

Greg and Joy Booth named their McKinney restaurant by combining their daughtersu2019 initialsu2014u201cEu201d and u201cJu201du2014and adding in a reference to their strong wills.

Image description
MCK_10-19_Dining-1
Joy and Greg Booth saw a gap they could help fill in the McKinney community when they began planning for E.J. Wills Gastropub. The restaurant moved to McKinney from its two-year-old Dallas location in March 2018.

“We always wanted it to be in McKinney,” Joy said. “We knew it was going to be quite a while before we could build this from the ground up, so we opened in Dallas while we were waiting.”

E.J. Wills serves the need for food that appeals to a wide array of people’s appetites, especially on the west side of McKinney, where there are fewer novel food options, Joy said. The restaurant also strives to support the neighborhood, she said.

“We’re not just about food, we’re not just about drink, but we’re about bringing the community together,” she said.

In an effort to encourage that community, E.J. Wills hosts guest bartenders every week from local organizations. The restaurant had more than 30 guest bartenders in the last year and has raised thousands of dollars, Joy said.

“They don’t really have to know anything about bartending,” she said. “They just have to want to support their charity.”

E.J. Wills hosts spirit nights for local organizations and sets up food tents at as many local festivals as possible, including a recent local food and wine festival. Trivia nights and live music are also frequently featured.

In the kitchen, changes to the menu come roughly every three months to match the food options with the season. The restaurant has recently developed a vegan menu, which is certified by the Plant Pure Community.

Written on the wall of the restaurant in large script is the motto of the E.J. Wills Gastropub: “Where friends and flavor come together.” Joy calls this message the kernel that the restaurant has grown on.

“It is really like the place where people feel comfortable,” she said. “They can come on a date night; they can bring their kids; they can bring their elderly parents; they can just come for a drink after work; they can come with their ladies, you know. Whatever they want, they can find some way to make that happen here.”

E.J. Wills Gastropub
1910 N. Stonebridge Drive, Ste. 100, McKinney
214-592-0145
www.ejwillsgastropub.com
Hours: Mon. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Tue.
11 a.m.-midnight, Thu.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.,
Sat. 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that Greg and Joy Booth are the owners of E.J. Wills Gastropub. 
SHARE THIS STORY
By Liesbeth Powers

Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


MOST RECENT

2020 vote buttons adobe stock image
Collin County primary candidates to meet for forum at Collin College

Candidates for Collin County, Texas and U.S. Representative seats will meet for a forum Jan. 25 at Collin College.

Serendipity Labs will open in McKinney's new Hub 121 mixed-use development. (Photo courtesy Yale Gurney)
Serendipity Labs to open coworking space in McKinney's new Hub 121 development

Serendipity Labs is opening this spring at Hub 121 in McKinney.

Lone Star Pediatrics is now open in McKinney. (Courtesy Lone Star Pediatrics)
New pediatric clinic opens in McKinney

Lone Star Pediatrics opened a new pediatric practice Nov. 21.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

The McKinney Planning & Zoning Commission approved the plan for an apartment development, which will move on to McKinney City Council for discussion and consideration. (Courtesy city of McKinney)
McKinney P&Z approves zoning for apartment complex

The McKinney Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted Jan. 14 to rezone 12.64 acres that would allow a multifamily housing development to be built.

McKinney Wine Merchant will relocate from its current location to a new space on the southeast corner of Virginia Parkway and US 75. (Jean Ann Collins/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney Wine Merchant to relocate out of downtown McKinney, expand offerings

McKinney Wine Merchant will relocate in early spring from its current location to a new location at 131 S. Central Expressway, McKinney.

The Comedy Arena is planning to double the size of its current space by expanding into the second floor. (courtesy Comedy Club Arena)
The Comedy Arena doubling space in downtown McKinney, undergoing renovations

The Comedy Arena, located at 305 E. Virginia St., Ste. 104, McKinney, is looking to double its size with an upcoming renovation and expansion project.

Jiffy Lube is now open in McKinney off of US 380. (courtesy Adobe Stock)
Jiffy Lube now open in McKinney

Jiffy Lube opened Nov. 4 at 3076 W. University Dr., McKinney.

mission regan loading supply plane mckinney
McKinney nonprofit Mission Regan relocating to new space

Mission Regan expects to relocate in February from 330 Industrial Blvd., Ste. 111, McKinney, to 2140 Redbud Blvd., Ste. F, McKinney.

A McKinney-based organization with the goal of preventing substance-abuse among local youths has recently received more than $1.6 million in federal and state funding to further its initiatives. (courtesy Adobe Stock)
McKinney youth drug-prevention organization receives over $1.6 million in federal, state funding

A McKinney-based organization with the goal of preventing substance abuse among local youths has recently received more than $1.6 million in federal and state funding to further its initiatives.

The menu will feature modern American food, including pancakes, waffles, French toast, burgers, sandwiches, coffee and espresso drinks, bloody marys, mimosas and more. (Courtesy Mary's)
Mary's to open upscale family diner in McKinney

Mary’s expects to open in February at 4150 Eldorado Parkway, Ste. 500, McKinney.

Horizon Medical Center McKinney is expected to open in mid- to late-January. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Horizon Medical Center to offer long-term acute care at new McKinney location on US 380

Horizon Medical Center McKinney is expecting to open in mid- to late-January at 6601 W. University Drive, McKinney.

Back to top