Managing Partner Cassandra Hernandez said she has adjusted on the fly to keep her one-and-a-half-year-old restaurant, which specializes in local favorites and high-caliber wines and spirits, thriving. Her business partner, local fast food franchise owner Michael Baird, managed to relocate kitchen staff to other restaurants during the worst times.
“My business partner invested everything in cash,” said Hernandez, a culinary specialist who spent more than a decade in New York after being raised in Arlington. “We didn’t have a lot of outstanding debt. Of course, there’s the overhead. Especially in this area, that can be pretty high, but we were able to stay open and do takeout. Our business—before COVID[-19], we didn’t do a whole lot of takeout, but as soon as we started doing takeout, we started to do a whole lot of takeout, and the [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission] allowed us to do alcohol to go.”
Another advantage Uncork’d had was the fact that it is local and holds strong to its identity. Hernandez said she and Baird wanted some distance between themselves and the chain restaurants that flock to the suburbs to establish their brand.
Then, there is the cuisine itself. With the exception of bread, which is baked in Dallas, all menu items are prepared in-house to complement the wines and spirits, most of which are produced in the United States. The restaurant has a handful of exceptions to celebrate other wines from Europe and Argentina.
The end result, Uncork’d, with its sleek interior and attention to plate presentation in the heart of McKinney, is here to stay after opening in November 2018, Hernandez said. A second location opened in Frisco just a week before the pandemic took hold in the area.
“The main idea was making it approachable and making it something you can come to on Monday night, Sunday afternoon or Friday night,” Hernandez said. “Our menu ranges from appetizers, salads, burgers, paninis and things like that at lunch. Then, at dinner, we do have some things like steaks and seafood. The idea for the community was to offer something for everyone.”
Uncork’d Bar & Grill
301 N. Custer Road, Ste. 180, McKinney
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.