The latest iteration of expansion plans for Richardson Restaurant Park has been greenlighted by the city plan commission, paving the way for council to once again consider the proposal Oct. 11.

The Richardson Restaurant Park, located near the intersection of Spring Valley Road and US 75, was approved by council in 2014. The first building opened in 2017, but much of the property has remained undeveloped due to snags in the approval process for additional tenants.

Kirk Hermansen, developer of the restaurant park, and Clay Eiland, owner of Eiland Coffee Roasters, briefed the commission on their revised plans at a Sept. 21 meeting. Both applicants want to bring drive-thru restaurants to the property, triggering the need for special permits. Hermansen's project has already been approved for a drive-thru; however, at a meeting in December, council required approval of the tenant. In June, council denied Hermansen’s request to add Dave’s Hot Chicken to the development. The objection rested primarily on the desired full-service drive-thru, which the majority of council argued is incongruous with the vision for the area. The Dave's Hot Chicken franchise would be owned by Ryan Binkley, a Richardson resident who also lead pastor at Create Church.

In addition to enhanced wayfinding and traffic cues to increase pedestrian safety, Hermansen’s latest request eliminates one of two drive-thru lanes and obscures the drive-thru window by pushing the building further back from the road. It also removes the approved drive-thru component from a separate restaurant pad Hermansen plans to develop in the future.

The revised plan also incorporates a 16,000-square-foot outdoor dining and entertainment plaza known as the Biergarten. Hermansen said the area would include picnic tables, a bar, a firepit with seating, cabanas, space for live music or movie screenings, a game court for cornhole and pingpong, and space for a food truck, among other amenities.

Food would be served in the Biergarten, he said, from both the adjacent Dog Haus Biergarten restaurant and from a small kitchen on-site. Hermansen likened the environment of the Biergarten to that of the Katy Trail Ice House in Dallas.

“We want people to feel like they can hang out here,” he said.

Eiland also presented his revised plan for the second location of Eiland Coffee Roasters, a longtime Richardson staple known for its roasting operation and storefront on Interurban Street. In 2019, Eiland pitched his idea for a coffee roasting warehouse and drive-thru restaurant on the north end of the property. After four hours of impassioned commentary by residents both in favor and opposed to the project, council voted down the proposal, citing potential traffic congestion on the US 75 frontage road and insufficient parking as the main areas of concern.

His latest proposal includes a two-story restaurant with a drive-thru as well as an adjacent coffee roasting warehouse that includes administrative offices.

Jason Claunch, president of Catalyst Commercial, said this version of Eiland’s plan eliminates access from the frontage road, which should alleviate traffic. Cross access and cross parking with Hermansen’s property should improve access for pedestrians and provide more parking, he said.

“The sites are cohesive now,” Hermansen said of the integration with Eiland’s plan. “It’s the first time ... that we have had the full vision come together.”

The commission unanimously approved the requests from both parties.